In advance of the 32nd annual NAMM TEC Awards, being held Saturday, January 21 in Anaheim, OB-6 is nominated for Outstanding Technical Achievement in the MUSICAL INSTRUMENT HARDWARE category.

As Answered from Dave Smith – Dave Smith Instruments.

How did the Tom Oberheim and Dave Smith collaboration come to be in terms of this particular OB-6 project?

As you may know, Tom Oberheim and I have been friends since the 1970’s and have always had mutual respect for each other’s work. When we decided to revisit my original Prophet-5 design and create the new Prophet-6 with all of its modern improvements, all it took was a quick conversation with Tom to bring back his classic sound, as well. Working together was easy and productive. And now we’ve got two very classic, very individual-sounding instruments for musicians.


The OB-6 advances the original Oberheim line of vintage synths into the 21st century similar to how the Prophet 6 did for Sequential. What sort of concerns were there, if any, about maintaining the Oberheim sound character in the new build?

Being faithful to the classic, SEM-based Oberheim sound was our number one priority with the OB-6, so we worked closely with Tom to adapt his original oscillator, filter, and VCA designs. We also had one of his SEM synths in house during the entire development process for one-to-one sound comparisons. In the end, Tom was satisfied with the results, and so were we. And so were a lot of musicians, judging from how well it’s been received.

What advancements were made in terms of new feature set and why these particular features?

We wanted to give the OB-6 the same modern improvements that we gave the Prophet-6. So, we added full MIDI support, velocity and pressure-sensitivity, a 64-step polyphonic sequencer, an arpeggiator, dual effects, alternative tunings, and X-mod — which really opens up the range of sounds that are possible with it compared to Tom’s original SEM synths. It’s an Oberheim for the 21st century. We’re particularly happy that we were able to include faithful emulations of Tom’s phase shifter and ring modulator effects, which are how he originally got started in the business back in the 70’s.


What does the future hold for Oberheim and Dave Smith collaborations?

At DSI we try to continually move forward on our products. We have no set of rules when we select our next project, so our customers can always expect the unexpected. We also never comment on our future development projects, but in the meanwhile we will continue to support the OB-6. It will be around for a very long time!

More about OB-6 head over to Dave Smith Instrument’s website.


About NAMM TEC Awards

Presented annually by the NAMM Foundation at The NAMM Show, the NAMM TEC Awards recognizes the individuals, companies and technical innovations behind the sound of recordings, live performances, films, television, video games and other media. Award categories span 25 Technical Achievement Categories and 8 Creative Achievement Categories. Two new categories were added this year, Audio Education Technology, and DJ Production Technology.

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