[ band / music ][ synths demos & patches ][ gallery ]
 

 

DSI / Sequential OB-6  | demo + 150 patches


 



 

Via PayPal:
Please send 26,00 (Euro) to this paypal address: [wcologarb at gmail.com] writing "ob-6 patches" + your email in the title / note. I will send the soundset after I get notified about your payment (max 24 hours).

Via Debit / Credit Card:
Send me an email letting me know you'd like to have your card charged - I will send you a payment request and it will be processed by my Paypal (you don't have to own a Paypal account, your card is enough - here's a fuller explanation).

How many patches?:
You will receive all the sounds from my Youtube videos plus extra sounds that are not included in the demos (136 original patches + their variations = 150 presets in total).

Need to hear more patches?:
Apart from the video demo, here's an audio demo of more of my sounds:

[ https://soundcloud.com/jexus-wc-olo-garb ]

What format / import method?:
My soundbank will come to you in two formats: sysex format and OB-6 Sound Tower editor format.

Any external processing?:
I did not use any external FX in the demo, no layers, etc. All the delays and reverbs are part of the OB-6 engine.


Notes on grades lower than 3/3:

modern: this is a "vintage" type of architecture / sound more than anything else
engine: interesting features, but only one lfo, some shapes missing
low end: fantastic, but not as dense as the champions (like Rev-2)
plasticity: nice fx, but still not enough tools to bend the sound out of recognition
versatility: not bad, but the above limitations keep it down


BUILD QUALITY

Just like the products of its countrymen from Moog, this Sequential synth is a top quality instrument with even less shortcomings - if any! It's great that Dave Smith decided to use a "no force necessary" type of buttons, and guys at Moog have yet to figure out this is the only right way to go. There is not one thing in the OB-6 that seems likely to break or at least malfunction (provided, of course, that you protect it from dust). Perfect resistance of knobs, nice keyboard, not too heavy, not too light.

USER INTERFACE - NO MENUS COME AT A PRICE

It's pretty obvious for everyone that has eyes, but it needs to be mentioned: the interface should win an award. It's a classic design and an instant-gratification synth. I know, I know - there are numbers instead of patch names, no possibility to edit the sequence without relying on software, etc. But let's be honest. If you can afford this kind of synth, you probably are so successful that you have no time to play it, let alone dive deep into the sequences or come up with fancy patch names. So why care about these quirks? You don't experience them anyway. Joke.

It's natural to praise a synth which has every feature laid out on the front panel and bemoan the one which has some menu-diving. But we have to remember that many times the "easy" synth has everything on the panel because its engine is limited - and that's why there is enough room on the panel for all the controls, whereas the synth that requires some menu-diving does so because it has much more features. Trying to fit all the knobs for all these features would result in a synth as big as a cow barn. So yeah, the OB-6 could win an award for the what-you-see-is-what-you-get UI, but at the same time it should get a spanking for the obvious limitations of the engine.

THE SOUND

When I got the OB-6, I asked my friend why this synth sits on the bestseller list while it costs so much. I mean, there's the Deepminds and the Odyssey clones and the Microfreaks and the OB-6 among them looks like a macaw in a field of cabbage. "It's the sound", he said, "people pay for the Oberheim sound". Although I have to admit that at the beginning the OB-6 sounded thin & glossy & metallic, and the limited modulation options seemed illogical and surprising for me. I went to Youtube but all the videos only confirmed my first impressions: it costs $3000 and sounds like crap! Holy cow! Call the police! But very soon I managed to "get" this sound (or my sound), and some patches managed to enter the league of "the unbeatable"  (LP/BP filter morphs, x-moded basses, synthetic brass-like tones, etc). Also, the envelopes are so snappy and punchy that I would swear the sounds are running thru a compressor if I hadn't made them myself.

Let's get back for a short moment to the fact that the modulation possibilities of the synth are in some aspects severely limited. Even though it's true, this is only a piece of the picture. Let me throw in the Prophet REV-2 for comparison. The REV-2 has much more modulation options, but the core sound is "stiffer". The effects of such modulations may fall short of your imagined or anticipated results. OB-6, on the other hand, has a more "cooperative" sound from the get-go, so it's easier to modulate it into something convincing or appealing. Still, the scope of timbres (or "plasticity") of the OB-6 is below average. It's quite a common thing; synths that have very original sound are limited in plasticity of this sound. It's a real joy to be able to hear this specific, dirty, wonky, sometimes-creamy, sometimes-metallic sound of the OB-6, but it's quite hard to escape it.

So when you finish having your usual fun with your OB-6 (like tweaking the hell out of the variable filter), don't forget to tamper with the Detune knob, the Pan Sprad knob to give the sound that extra space / spaciousness, and most importantly the X-Mod VCO2 knob, which will introduce some unpredictability / instability. Just remember that the OB-6 is a little bit unstable in itself, so if you add bonus detuning to that, the X-Mod section will create a challenge. Because if the VCO2 pitch changes each time you hit a note, the modulations generated by this VCO will vary, so sometimes it's impossible to have consistency (for example when you mod a pitch destination and pitch stability is needed).

Also, don't underestimate the FX section. On paper it looks pretty standard: delay, reverb, chorus, flanger, phaser. But bear in mind that you can combine 3 of them at the same time (any 2 of the above + hidden distortion). So if there is any trick that you can employ to widen the sonic palette of the OB-6, the FX is the place to go. The effects sound good and they can go to solid extremes and mangle the timbre noticeably. This transforms the FX unit into another sound sculpting module, which can't be said about the FX design of other synths, say, Korg Minilogue XD, whose FX section is rather a decorative element.

I can't for the love of Christ understand this "advice" I'm seeing for almost every synth out there which says "DO NOT USE THE INTERNAL FX BECAUSE IT KILLS THE BEAUTIFUL ANALOG SOUND". Geez. Am I deaf, or should I devote more of my limited time on this Earth to think about such nuances and then enlightenment would come? I wish all effects on synths were that bad. If the OB-6 effects are bad, then the REV-2 effects must be called nothing else but an abomination.

One more thing: pay attention to the ring modulator too: in its non-usual mode, it tracks the pitch of the lowest note that you play on the keyboard. Combine it with the seqeuncer and you can go pretty mental.

THE END

I don't know why that is, but the only DSI / Sequential synth that seemed "100% right" to me was the Evolver. I played the Prophet X, the REV-2 and I asked about the Prophet 12. Those synths are unable to launch the LFO and fill its phase independently of key strikes (note on/off). Here, the OB-6 cannot properly latch the Arpeggiator (I don't think there even is a button for that). So in the aforementioned synths it's impossible to keep consistent LFO modulation across the sequence; it sounds different with each key strike (or restarts in an ugly way with each key strike). And since I am a human and not a robot with quantized movements, in OB-6 the lack of Arp Latch option makes the Arpeggiator pretty useless for me, and it's better if I program an arpeggio pattern into the sequencer, but of course that has its drawbacks (I'm a slave to the rhythm, to quote a classic).

Generally speaking, the OB-6 reminds me heavily of the Nord Leads. One: it sounds as if it was already mastered in a studio. Two: the sound is kind of "thin" but lucid, so that's the good kind of thin (it never gets muddy). Three: the interface is hands-on, you get what you see, no menu diving, etc. Four: the build quality is top of the tops (actually much better / more sturdy than Nord Leads). Five: made in the country of design (USA for OB-6, Sweden for NL). Of course in the end the OB-6 is much more than the Nord Lead thanks to its FX, filter morphing and modulation routings. But the first three characteristics alone ("pro" sound, sound clarity, UI) are a recipe for success among the synth crowd that rarely fails.

I'm not a nerd with an oscilloscope and I don't spend 4 hours each day splitting hairs on a forum, so I'm not sure, but probably the OB-6 uses some analog components that have their significant cost (and which make it sound much better than the aforementioned Nord Leads). Still, I think the OB-6 sounds too sterile / hi-fi compared to "real" analogs. Don't get me wrong - it is one of the best synths if you want to achieve the "vintage" sound by using modern hardware. Also, many of the patches are winners & keepers. But if we compare it to "real" (old) analogs, to my ears there's too much "sheet metal" feeling to th OB-6, and quite often it's painful not being able to add this or that modulation. So I'm in two minds about it. I would have to think hard whether I want to shell out the 3000 on the hi-fi OB-6 and have my peace of mind, or buy a dirty-sounding vintage analog and worry that it dies too soon. Again, money complicates the picture.

 

Support this page when you buy gear:
[full story]

 

 

[ band / music ][ synths demos & patches ][ gallery ]