Oberheim OB-8

The Oberheim OB-8 is a subtractive analog synthesizer launched by Oberheim in early 1983 and discontinued in 1985. As the fourth product in the OB-series of polyphonic compact synthesizers, the OB-8 was the successor to the OB-Xa. The number of production was about 3,000 units.[1]

Oberheim OB8.jpg
The Oberheim OB-8
Dates1983 - 1985
Technical specifications
Polyphony8 voices
Oscillator2 VCOs per voice
Synthesis typeAnalog Subtractive
FilterSwitchable 12dB/oct or 24dB/oct resonant low-pass
Attenuator2 x ADSR (one for VCF & one for VCA)
Aftertouch expressionNo
Velocity expressionNo
Storage memory120 patches
12 splits
12 dual
Left-hand controlPitch
External controlCV/Gate

The OB-8 features eight-voice polyphony, two-part multi-timbrality, a 61-note processor-controlled piano keyboard, sophisticated programmable LFO and envelope modulation, two-pole and four-pole filters, arpeggiator, external cassette storage, MIDI capability and 120 memory patches, 24 bi-timbral patches, and used the Z80 CPU. The musician's interface also consists of two pages of front panel programmable controls, left panel performance controls and a set of foot pedals and switches.

Artists who have used the OB-8 include Alice Coltrane, in her ashram music, Boys Noize, Ou Est Le Swimming Pool, Prince, Spinetta Jade,[2] Queen, Van Halen, Depeche Mode, The War on Drugs, Styx, Kool & The Gang, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Clarence Jey, The Police, Siekiera,[3] Silent Running, The KLF, Future Sound of London, Barnes & Barnes and Nik Kershaw.[4]

Notable OB-8 usersEdit

Hardware re-issues and recreationsEdit

In May, 2022, the Oberheim OB-X8, a new 8-voice analog synthesizer with the voice architecture and filters of three classic Oberheim models: the OB-X, OB-Xa, and OB-8, along with functionality and features not included on the original models, was announced. The new synthesizer is manufactured by Sequential in partnership with Tom Oberheim.[9][10]


  1. ^ Colbeck, Julian (2001-05-01), "Oberheim OB-8", electronic Musician, The OB-8 was last in the line of classic Oberheim analog synthesizers that included the OB-X, OB-Xa, and OB-SX, ...", "Number produced: 3,000
  2. ^ "Spinetta Jade's 'Alma de Diamante' back cover".
  3. ^ "FESTIWAL MUZYKOW ROCKOWYCH JAROCIN 1986". Jarocin-Festiwal.com. Retrieved 2015-06-26.
  4. ^ "The Official Nik Kershaw website: Drum Talk". Archived from the original on August 21, 2009. Retrieved January 8, 2012.
  5. ^ a b c d "Oberheim OB Series". Sound On Sound. September 1998. Archived from the original on 6 June 2015.
  6. ^ Gale, Dave (2018-01-03). "Vintage Rewind: Oberheim OB-8 - The Spirit Of The 80s". MusicTech. Retrieved 2019-10-08.
  7. ^ Elaenia, Floating Points https://www.discogs.com/Floating-Points-Elaenia/release/7682421
  8. ^ "The Making of Janet Jackson's "Rhythm Nation 1814"". reverb.com. Retrieved 2019-10-08.
  9. ^ Rogerson, Ben (2022-05-10). "Superbooth 2022: Oberheim is back with the OB-X8, an analogue love letter to its '80s synths". MusicRadar. Retrieved 2022-05-18.
  10. ^ Willings, Sam (2022-05-11). "Superbooth 2022: Tom Oberheim's OB-X8 lands, carrying on the OB legacy from 1979 with help from Dave Smith". MusicTech. Retrieved 2022-05-18.