Sequential OB-6 | 150 custom sounds
(patches compatible with desktop / rack & keyboard)
Please send $26.00 (USD) or €24.00 (EUR) or £22.00 (GBP) to this paypal address: [wcologarb at gmail.com] writing „ob6 patches” + your email in the title / note. Choose the correct currency in the „Recipient Gets” currency menu if you see it (please do not use PLN currency:) I will send the soundpack after I get notified about your payment (max 24 hours).
Via Debit / Credit Card:
Send me an e-mail letting me know you’d like to have your card charged – I will send you a payment request and it will be processed by my Paypal and your bank (you don’t have to own a Paypal account, your card is enough, it’s 100% safe – here’s full 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 genre / style?:
There is no one style. It’s a wide variety of sounds that are meant to inspire and make you look at the synth in a different light. 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.
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 your OB-6 into banks 0&1 (000-199) or 2&3 (200-399). Any individual patch relocation from one slot to another is only possible manually on the synth itself after full import procedure of a bank file.
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
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 only way to go. There is not one thing in the OB-6 that seems likely to break or at least malfunction (provided, of course, that you protect it from dust). Perfect resistance of knobs, nice keyboard, not too heavy, not too light.
USER INTERFACE – NO MENUS COME AT A PRICE
It’s pretty obvious for everyone who can look and see, but it needs to be mentioned: 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, etc. But let’s be honest. If you can afford this kind of synth, you probably are so successful that you have no time to play it, let alone dive deep into the sequences or come up with fancy patch names. So why care about these quirks? You don’t experience them anyway. Joke.
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 – and 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 menu-diving if we want better versatility. So yeah, the OB-6 could 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;)
THE SOUND / WHAT IS „PLASTICITY”?
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”. I thought „okay, let’s check out this Oberheim sound”. I started playing the synth and… I asked myself „where is this wonderful sound that everybody’s talking about?” Maybe it was the factory patches that were to blame, because at the beginning the OB-6 sounded thin & glossy & metallic. I went to Youtube but all the videos only confirmed my first impressions: it costs $3000 and sounds like crap! Holy cow! Call the police! But very soon I managed to „get” this sound (or my sound), and some patches managed to enter the league of „the unbeatable” (LP/BP filter morphs, x-moded basses, synthetic brass-like tones, etc). Also, the envelopes are so snappy and punchy that I would swear the sounds are running thru a compressor if I hadn’t made them myself. It is definitely one of the most original and characterful timbres in the contemporary synth crowd.
Let’s get back for a short moment to the fact that the modulation possibilities of the synth are in some aspects severely limited. Even though it’s true, this is only a piece of the picture. Let me throw in the Prophet REV-2 for comparison. The REV-2 has much more modulation options, but the core sound is „stiffer” or „tighter”. That’s why in the opinion of many people (myself included) it needs all those modulations to make it sound „right”. But even if you do modulate it, the effects of such modulations may fall short of your imagined or anticipated results. OB-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’s the „softest” sounding Sequential / DSI synth. Still, the scope of timbres (or „plasticity”) of the OB-6 is below average. It’s quite a common thing; synths that have a very original sound suffer from limited plasticity of this sound. It’s a real joy to be able to hear this specific, dirty-ish, sometimes-creamy, sometimes-metallic sound of the OB-6, but it’s quite hard to escape it. 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.
On a side note: I always feel silly & uneasy discussing the theme of timbre plasticity for two reasons. First is that it’s the most tricky and difficult quality to understand & judge, but at the same time it’s very important to me. The Second issue is that there never seems to be enough plasticity in any given synth. We will always find a nuance or a quality of the „innate timbre” that is „hard to escape”. Even with the most „plastic” synths out there, like the Hydrasynth, people still struggle to kill or move around a certain quality of the sound.
So when you finish having your usual fun with your OB-6 (like tweaking the hell out of the variable filter), don’t forget to tamper with the Detune knob, the Pan Sprad knob to give the sound that extra space / spaciousness, and most importantly the X-Mod VCO2 knob, which will introduce some unpredictability / instability. Just remember that the OB-6 is a little bit unstable in itself, so if you add bonus detuning to that, the X-Mod section will create a challenge. Because if the VCO2 pitch slightly changes each time you hit a note, the modulations generated by this VCO will vary, so sometimes it’s impossible to have consistency (for example when you mod a pitch destination and pitch stability is needed).
Also, don’t 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 them at the same time (any 2 of the above + 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. PS. 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😉
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.
I don’t know why that is, but the only DSI / Sequential synth that seemed „100% right” to me was the Evolver. I played the Prophet X, the REV-2 and I asked about the Prophet 12. Those synths are unable to launch the LFO and fill its phase independently of key strikes (note on/off). That’s because in Sequential’s design the LFO is on the voice, not the sequencer portion of the chips on the board. Here, the OB-6 cannot properly latch the Arpeggiator (I don’t think there even is a button for that). So in the aforementioned synths it’s impossible to keep consistent LFO modulation across the sequence; it sounds different with each key strike (or restarts in an ugly way with each key strike). And since I am a human and not a robot with quantized movements, in OB-6 the lack of Arp Latch option makes the Arpeggiator pretty useless for me, and it’s better if I program an arpeggio pattern into the sequencer, but of course that has its drawbacks (I’m a slave to the rhythm, to quote an old song).
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, sound clarity, UI) 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. It’s 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. OB-6 has the most appealing sound out of the DSI / Sequential bunch, but it’s a noticeably different flavor than the unruly Korg.
The last thing: money. I’m not a nerd with an oscilloscope and I don’t spend 4 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 (and which make it sound much better than the aforementioned Nord Leads). Still, I think the OB-6 sounds too sterile / hi-fi compared to „real” analogs (or Korg Prologue). 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” feeling to 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 dirty-sounding vintage analog and worry that it dies too soon. Well, there’s also the OB-X8 at $5000…
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