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  #1  
Old August 20, 2014, 11:21:05 AM
Seiji J. Konokama's Avatar
Seiji J. Konokama Seiji J. Konokama is offline
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Default Seiji's Awesome Synths and Drum Machines



Seiji Konokama coming at you with another awesome thread... This time, I'll be reviewing my most favorite modern and legacy software synthesizers and software drum machines, on Android, iOS, Mac OS, and Windows. All questions, comments, concerns, requests and the like are welcome.

Synth Review - OBXD by Datsounds


Link: http://www.kvraudio.com/product/obxd...sounds/details

OBXD is a free, GPL-licensed synthesizer that is very imitative of the Oberheim OB-X, OB-Xa, and OB-8 synthesizers, in both visual interface and sound. While not copying the original synthesizer, some of OBXD's features were taken to a better point, for example, continuous blendable multimode filter (low pass, notch/band pass, and high pass in both 12 dB mode and 4-1 pole in 24 dB mode), and the VAM button toggles last played note allocation mode, a mode that cuts off the first played note and replaces it with the most recently played note. Additional enhancements include voice variation and panning, cross-modulation, envelope re-triggering, and MIDI learning, just to name a few. OBXD is available for Windows and Mac OS X, in both 32-bit and 64-bit architectures. Alternate skins for the Windows version are available on KVR Audio's website.

And now, a little bit of history about the inspiration behind OBXD.

Manufactured between 1979 and 1981, the Oberheim OB-X is a digitally-controlled analog synthesizer that supports 4, 6, or 8 voices, or notes, in polyphony, each voice controlled by an independent board appropriately known as a "voice card." The OB-X is monotimbral (meaning only one sound can be played across the entire keyboard), has two oscillators, and can store up to 32 presets internally via battery-backed RAM. At the heart of the OB-X is the Zilog Z80 microprocessor, the same CPU that found in devices like the Texas Instruments TI-81, Sega Master System, Nintendo Game Boy, and the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive (the Z80 was used as an audio controller and general coprocessor in the Genesis).

The OB-X had a unique paddle-style left-hand control section (pitch bend and modulation controls), which was Oberheim's answer to the standard wheel-based left-hand controls found on synthesizers released by other manufacturers at the time. The OB-X was discontinued in 1981 to make room for its first overhaul, the OB-Xa. Manufactured from 1980 to 1982, the OB-Xa featured keyboard splitting and layering, two low-frequency oscillators (LFO's), storage for up to 120 presets (organized in banks), and up to 8 voices like its predecessor. The OB-Xa was later replaced in 1983 by the OB-8, which can be thought of as an OB-Xa with factory-installed MIDI and an arpeggiator function.

With all that being said, let's have a listen to some sound clips I've made using the OBXD.

OBXD Demo Track.mp3

Demo #1 - Basic Piano Emulation: The first half of this clip is supposed to sound like a regular piano, while the second half imitates a ragtime-type piano.

Demo #2 - Dramatic Filter Sweep: Reminiscent of the title track of Van Halen's 1984 album and Tom Sawyer by Rush.

Demo #3 - The Angry Young Man: In the form of an excerpt from a classic Styx song, this clip showcases the full-sounding unison mode of OBXD.

Demo #4 - Synth String Ensemble: The Togu Audio Line Chorus-LX plugin in this example gives this patch a little extra depth.

Demo #5 - Synth Brass Lead: This is my best attempt at Europe's The Final Countdown without using the Roland JX-8P, which was used on the original track. I also added a little bit of delay for some more depth.

Demo #6 - Vox Humana: Imitative of the Polymoog polyphonic synthesizer used in Gary Numan's Cars.

Demo #7 - Rhythm Test: Yes, the OBXD can be used as a simple drum synthesizer. I made this example using six instances of OBXD, each respective section programmed to emulate a kick drum, side stick, snare drum, tom drums, hi-hats, and crash cymbal. The drum pattern was composed on an iOS app called FunkBox Drum Machine, which I will review at a later date.

Demo #8 - Synthesized Tornado Siren: In this example, I've created a tornado siren sound effect controlled solely by my keyboard.

Demo #9 - Laser Harp: I've attempted to replicate the Elka Synthex "laser harp" patch made famous by Jean Michel Jarre on his 1986 album, Rendez-Vous.

If you have installed OBXD and would like to obtain the presets used in the above examples, you may do so here: OBXD Example Presets.zip

Last edited by Seiji J. Konokama; June 10, 2015 at 03:29:41 PM. Reason: Added example presets .ZIP format, consolidated demo tracks into a single 6-minute MP3 with my voice
  #2  
Old August 20, 2014, 12:31:22 PM
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Cat333Pokémon Cat333Pokémon is offline
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I have quite a soft spot for old and retro synthesizers, and that thing, simply put, sounds like a lot of fun to mess around with.
  #3  
Old August 20, 2014, 01:00:57 PM
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Seiji J. Konokama Seiji J. Konokama is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cat333Pokémon View Post
I have quite a soft spot for old and retro synthesizers, and that thing, simply put, sounds like a lot of fun to mess around with.
Being the next best thing to a real analog synthesizer, OBXD is a lot of fun to work with. In fact, it has the honor of being one of my most frequently used plugins in my remixes for Fur Affinity.

Another question: am I allowed to attach .ZIP files containing my self-made presets for this and future synth reviews?
  #4  
Old August 20, 2014, 01:42:52 PM
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Sure, that's fine.
  #5  
Old August 20, 2014, 08:28:20 PM
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PokeRemixStudio PokeRemixStudio is offline
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Dang, I bought the Sonicprojects OP-X which is a commercial emulator of the OB-X. Ah well, I'll still OBXD this since it has a bit of a different sound to it.
  #6  
Old August 20, 2014, 10:09:38 PM
Seiji J. Konokama's Avatar
Seiji J. Konokama Seiji J. Konokama is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PokeRemixStudio View Post
Dang, I bought the Sonicprojects OP-X which is a commercial emulator of the OB-X. Ah well, I'll still OBXD this since it has a bit of a different sound to it.
I tried the demo version of OP-X and I liked the way it sounded, but the price tag drove me away because I can't afford it at the moment. Maybe when I have a better-paying job, I'll give SonicProjects another chance, but for now, I can get by on OBXD.

I would also like to get my hands on a Syncrosoft USB dongle and Arturia's Jupiter-8V to further complete my 1980's synth and drum machine collection.
 
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