Superbooth 2022: Oberheim is back with the OB-X8, an analogue love letter to its ‘80s synths

SUPERBOOTH 22: It’s official: Oberheim is back and it’s releasing a new version of the OB-X synth for the 21st century. The OB-X8 takes the best bits of the OB-X, OB-Xa and OB-8 - manufactured between 1979 and 1985 - and packs them into a new eight-voice analogue synth.

You also get all the presets from those OB classics but - as company founder Tom Oberheim explains - the OB-X8 is more than just the sum of these excellent parts.

“I wanted to come back strong with a new design that brings together the sounds of the greatest instruments from across the OB range, together with the distinctive sound and styling of those synths,” he says. “But we took it even further. You can now combine the various OB voice architectures in ways that produce unique and interesting new sounds and capabilities.”

The OB-X8 - and future Oberheim products that we’re told are on the cards - will be released in partnership with Focusrite. The British company also owns Sequential, the brand founded by Tom Oberheim’s friendly rival Dave Smith. And, wouldn’t you know it, Smith had a hand in creating the OB-X8, and will also be involved in future projects.

“We’ve already developed other interesting design ideas with Tom for follow-up products that will allow us to take Oberheim into the future as a synth brand,” commented Smith. “It’s a very exciting time to be a musician.”

Another key player in the Oberheim revival is Marcus Ryle, an Oberheim veteran from the ‘80s. Having gone on to help create the ADAT and Alesis Quadrasynth - not to mention found Line 6 - he’s now back in the fold.

“Synths were my first love and the reason I entered this industry,” comments Ryle. “Tom hired me when I was 19, and I feel lucky to have been a part of the Oberheim design team during its glory days. Now, a whole new chapter in the story of analogue synthesizer-based music is about to get written.”

The OB-X8 has already been shown to a handful of A-list artists, including Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor. 

“When I was shown the new OB-X8, I was immediately impressed with the forensic level of detail that went into its design and the respect for its lineage,” he says. “I will be making room in my studio for one and I’m excited more people will be able to experience this classic instrument.”

We’ll have more on the OB-X8 soon. It’ll be available at the end of June priced at $4,999. Further details are available on the Oberheim website.

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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