Sequential OB-6 | 150 custom sounds
(patches compatible with desktop / rack & keyboard)


FAQ / read before you buy

Via Instant Buy & Download:
Click your preferred currency: $26.90 (USD) / €25.90 (EUR) / £23.90 (GBP) – This platform works with credit & debit cards and / or PayPal. You will receive a download link to your e-mail after the purchase (check your spam folder too).

Via PayPal or Bank Card manually:
Please write to me [wcologarb at gmail.com] and let me know that you would like to get the OB-6 soundset. I will create a payment request and manually send the files to you (step-by-step explanation).

How many patches?:
You will receive all the sounds from my Youtube & Soundcloud demos plus extra sounds (136 original patches + their variations = 150 presets in total).

What format / import method?:
My soundbank will come to you in two formats: sysex format and OB-6 Sound Tower editor format. You will have the choice to put my pack into banks 0&1 (000-199) or 2&3 (200-399).

What genre / style?:
There is no one style, because it is you who decides what style these patches will be played in. It’s a wide variety of sounds that are meant to inspire, make you look at the synth in a different light and give you a great choice of directions. Some patches are bread & butter, some offbeat; they’re the result of me trying to find the limits of the instrument. The patches are ready-to-use in music or can serve as starting points; you can find the textures or the dynamics that you like and tweak them to suit your exact taste or purpose. I tried not to include patches that would overlap with any other soundsets out there, so 90% of my patches should be original-sounding to you.

Any external stuff?:
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, unflexible setup
low end: fantastic, but not as dense as the champions (like Rev-2)
timbre 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


LOVE IT OR SELL IT

The OB-6 is an interesting example in the synth world. If I say that I’ve seen a lot of people instantaneously falling in love with it since day one, I won’t be saying anything original. You probably know this and you probably know some of those people yourself. But what’s more interesting is that I’ve also heard about quite a number of people – more than in any other synth case – who were very disappointed with it.

Here’s the thing: anybody who’s expecting to hear a 1970’s VCO sound from the OB-6 will be disappointed. I made that mistake too. Back in the day I used to believe that Sequential had returned with a mission to revive the “real analogs” and that their new products would be “the vintage analogs born again”. But when I actually had the chance to play these “modern vintage analogs” (OB-6, Prophet-6), all I got was the familiar impression that I had heard that “pro” sound before and I knew it all too well – from my time with the Nord Leads or Novation Nova synths in the past, or from stock music database sites of today.

Now that I’ve explored the Prophet-6 and the OB-6 and many more modern models, I can confidently say that my definition of “real vinatge analogs born again” is met not by Sequential synths, but by synths like Korg Prologue or Arturia Matrixbrute. If you want that extra piece of dirt, that genuine gritty-ness and instability, in my opinion Korg and Arturia are unsurpassable. The OB-6 and the Prophet-6 do have a couple of engine features to spice up the sound, but it’s always a “hi-fi” dirt & drift, if you know what I mean. In this respect these polite & stable synths are somewhat underwhelming.

THE OBERHEIM SOUND

But is it really a reason to sell the synth? Is it that bad? Let’s be serious;)

When I borrowed the OB-6, I asked the owner why this synth sits on the bestseller list while it costs so much. I mean, there are 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”. Very soon I started to “get” this sound (literally and figuratively), and some of my patch creations managed to enter the league of “the unbeatables”  (LP/BP filter morphs, x-moded basses, synthetic brass-like tones, etc). The envelopes on the OB-6 are so snappy and punchy that I would swear the sounds are running thru a compressor / limiter if I hadn’t made them myself (truth needs to be told that I am intentionally driving up the sound by setting the gains higher). Whatever the outcome of our comparisons, I think it will be agreed on by the majority of people that OB-6 is one of the most original and characterful timbres in the contemporary synth crowd. It sounds definitely more characterful & nuanced than the Prophet-6. It has that special, paradoxical quality: it’s very dominant & “in your face” without being invasive or overwhelming.

THE LIMITATIONS

The modulation possibilities of the OB-6 are severely limited in some aspects – but this is only a piece of the picture. Let me throw in the TAKE-5 or Prophet REV-2 for comparison. The TAKE-5 / REV-2 has much more modulation options, but the core sound is “stiffer” or “tighter”. That’s why in the opinion of many folks (myself included) those synths need all those modulations to make them sound “right”. But even if you apply the modulations, the effects of such modulations may fall short of your imagined or anticipated results.

The OB-6 (or the Prophet-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. It does not need a mod matrix, it’s the softest sounding Sequential / DSI synth. Still, the scope of timbres (or “plasticity”) of the OB-6 is below average in a world of Hydras and Modwaves. It’s quite a common thing; synths that have a very original & “wow” sound suffer from limited plasticity of this sound. Thank god it has the state-variable filter which saves the score and at the end of the day gives the synth a new life and makes it a more interesting & shape-shifting instrument than the previously-mentioned Prophet-6.

KILL THE EFFECTS?

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. Is there a best hearing ability contest out there?. If the OB-6 effects are bad, then the REV-2 effects must be called nothing else but an abomination.

Do not 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 the effects at the same time (any 2 of the ones mentioned above + the 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.

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.

USER INTERFACE – NO MENUS COME AT A PRICE

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, no automation by touching knobs, etc. But you wanted the old school and now the old school is back;)

On a more serious note: it’s natural to praise synths which have every feature laid out on the front panel and bemoan the ones which have some menu-diving. But we have to remember that many times the “easy” synths have everything on the panel because their engines are limited. That’s why there is enough room on the panel for all the controls. On the other hand, the synth that requires some menu-diving does so because it has much more potential. If manufacturers tried to fit all those knobs for all those features, the synth would end up being as big as a cow barn. It’s true that such synths do exist (or rather did exist: Yamaha CS-80, ARP 2500, etc), and when a picture of one pops up somewhere on the Internet it’s causing synth nerds to drool, but those times are over… We live in a time of compromise. There must be some menu-diving if we want better versatility. So yeah, the OB-6 should win an award for its “what-you-see-is-what-you-get” user interface, but at the same time it should get a spanking for the obvious and irritating limitations of the engine. We can’t have everything. Read my Prophet-6 write-up where I describe in detail the “shared amount knob” feature – both synths suffer from this architecture limitation.

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 correct way to go. There is not one thing in the OB-6 that seems likely to break or malfunction (provided, of course, that you protect it from dust). Perfect resistance of knobs, nice keyboard – not too heavy, not too light.

OUTRO / WHAT TO DO?

If you want me to compare the OB-6 to other synths, let me start by comparing it to a classic: 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 / brassy / woody like in the case of REV-2 or Matrixbrute). 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, timbre clarity, immediate user interface) are a recipe for success among the synth crowd that rarely fails.

If you want to compare it to something from the same time period, I’d say the Korg Prologue is a synth made in a similar vein. Its modulation options are very limited, but it has a nice UI and it has that special, vintage (organic) sound. I’d even say I prefer the Prologue sound, because it’s more dirty and unpredictable, but that’s just my taste. If you push a button and activate my “nerd mode”, I will explain to you that you actually need both the OB-6 and the Prologue to be fully covered;)

If you want me to compare it to the Prophet-6, just read my Prophet-6 write-up. Here I will just offer a one-sentence comparison: OB-6 is the frothy / organic-sounding synth with a stronger sonic signature, while the polished / bright-sounding Prophet-6 has less dominant character and for this reason can be perceived as more versatile / usable in a mix.

The last thing: money. I don’t have a gray beard and an oscilloscope, and I don’t spend 5 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 (not to mention the fact that the architecture is “discrete” = components built & installed separately as opposed to being merged in one chip). Still, I think the OB-6 sounds too sterile / hi-fi compared to “real” analogs (or other VCO synths). Don’t get me wrong – it is one of the best synths if you want to achieve the “vintage” or “oberheim” 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 “politeness” in the 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 $3500 on the hi-fi OB-6 and have my peace of mind, or buy a vintage analog like an Xpander and deal with all the consequences. Well, there’s also the OB-X8 at $5000… too much choice!;)

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