Dave Smith Instruments OB-6

Breathing new life into an old friend
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In the mid-’70s, Tom Oberheim unveiled his first synthesizers, establishing a sound that helped define an era. As American synth makers faced fierce headwinds a decade later, the company Tom built was sold and vanished a couple years after that. Nonetheless, the Oberheim sound lived on and attained legendary status.

One of Tom’s competitors in those days was Dave Smith, founder of Sequential Circuits and inventor of the Prophet-5. Distilling the best of what made Oberheim synths so desirable, Tom and Dave collaborated on designing a 21stcentury Oberheim and unveiled it at NAMM 2016. The result is the OB-6, a 6-voice analog polysynth with welcome features like a polyphonic step sequencer, dual multi-effects, X-mod, and USB connectivity. Most important, though, it has that Oberheim sound. It’s a dream come true for old-school electronic musicians, and it takes the prize as one of the most exciting new analog synths we’ve seen in quite a while.