Watch the late Dave Smith discussing the OB-X8 with Tom Oberheim, Marcus Ryle and Tony Karavidas

Since its announcement and subsequent release, Oberheim’s OB-X8 synth has been lavished with praise, but the launch was overshadowed by the sad passing of Sequential’s Dave Smith - the instrument’s co-designer - at the end of May.

Prior to Smith’s death, he’d been part of a filmed roundtable discussion that focused on how the OB-X8 came to be. This also featured Tom Oberheim (Founder, Oberheim Electronics), Marcus Ryle (OB-X8 Co-Designer, Oberheim Engineer 1980-85), and Tony Karavidas (Lead Hardware Engineer, Sequential/Oberheim).

The intention was to release the video of the conversation at the time of the OB-X8’s launch, but in light of Smith’s death, Oberheim felt it best to hold it back. Now, though, in honour of Smith’s work, we get the chance to see it.

The 15-minute clip sees the four men talking through “the trade-offs, design philosophies, and the overall approach” to creating the OB-X8. You’ll discover what gave each of the original OBs its distinctive sound, how the designers and engineers managed to match this sound in the OB-X8, and how this new synth differs from the instruments that inspired it.

Finally, there’s also some discussion regarding what Oberheim might create in the future, with Smith - as enthusiastic as ever - seeming particularly excited about how the company could look beyond its illustrious synth archive.

There’s a certain sadness for us now as he signs off by saying: “We’re just starting. This is gonna be great,” but Smith's legacy is secure.

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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