Oberheim

::: David Frank interview from 1986 :::

I Stumbled upon this posted on gearsluts.  Its a great interview with David Frank from 1986! Synths of interest:

Yamaha TX-416

Yamaha DX-1

Moog Minimoog

Emu Emulator

Oberheim Matrix-12

Oscar

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01 david frank keymag1-2002 02 david frank keymag pg 46 03 david frank keymag- pg 47 04 david frank keymag- pg 50 05 david frank keymag- pg 140

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PS: I love the discography at the end.  Attitude  is in constant rotation as well as howard johnson

::: IF :::

::: To Oberheim DSX or not to Roland MSQ :::

Today i will compare two old but very useful hardware sequencers.  The Oberheim DSX and the Roland MSQ - 700.  I've posted a lot of ASCII about the DSX before so this post will focus mainly the Roland MSQ - 700. Previous Reading on the Oberheim DSX:

In or around 1983 while Oberheim was refining and updating the DSX Roland released the MSQ-700  It was the world's first MIDI-compatible sequencer!

This is not to say it's better.  The DSX kicked the MSQ - 700's bottom in the features department.  But the MSQ - 700 offered some great features in it's own right.  Here's a run down:

1, 8 tracks of full MIDI Data or DCB recording and playback. ( only one or the other sadly not both simultaneously! )

In MIDI mode Each track could have a full 16 channels of data and all associated controllers.  Very inclusive and very cool.  You could have a full multipart song sequence on each track for live performance purposes. You could also mix or merge from one track to another and quantize tracks after they are recorded non destructively via quantizing while bouncing them to an open track.

2, The MSQ - 700 can sync internally or externally via MIDI, DIN Sync, or from time code on a tape.

3, It's built like a tank, solid steel all but for the side panels which are plastic but painted silver!

Roland fails is in a few serious ways, and these are where i prefer the DSX in all it's non MIDI glory.  There is no facility on the MSQ for real time sequence manipulation so you can't play and mute tracks while a sequence is playing.  Nor can you transpose or edit on the fly like the DSX can.  This is a total bummer for those who like to let the basic structure loop and drop things in and out and transpose the whole thing for fun on the fly.  The MSQ- 700 also lacks CV Gate compatibility in lieu of Roland's proprietary DCB.  The problem with DCB, besides it only being implemented on a few Roland instruments like the Jupiter 8 and Juno 60, is that it is so limited in comparison to MIDI that it's not worth the effort to use it since Jupiter 8's and Juno's can be easily Midified to a level where you can transmit via MIDI all the front panel controls for each like the Juno 106 ( which doesn't sound nearly as good ).

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[slideshow]

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References:

Roland MSQ700   ( This is a great article about the MSQ - 700 )

MSQ - 700 FAQ 1

MSQ - 700 FAQ 2

::: IF :::

::: Oberheim DSX ( Part Deux ) :::

So i finally organized the Oberheim DSX photos i've been intending to post for a while. It's a pretty slick design for a Z80 world.  And it's a nice size as well as it matches up perfectly with all the other Oberheim kits of the era. I've already discussed it's functional attributes here:

So, it's totally RAD! on a historical note, MIDI came out just after this unit ( 1981 ) and Tom Oberheim was one of the synth designers on the american side ( along with Dave Smith of SCI ) to convince other manufacturers to adopt MIDI...

Here are some pics:

I have the DSX clocked to a Garfield Electronics Dr. Click II ( Thats the red cable connected to the clock in within the gallery! ) which is a topic for another post!

As ALWAYS, Thanks Paul!

Electrongate Products

::: IF :::

::: Oberheim OB-8 Innards :::

I've been meaning to post these for a while!  The OB 8 is the main instrument i play when making music in the cave.  It is interfaced with the DSX and they together form the basis for all my sequences.  The OB is usually pretty happy but once in a while it goes haywire and loses it's mind for a minute.  I've found that if i change the keyboard mode from whole to split to double and then retune the voice boards it comes back on line pretty swiftly.  It's definitely an electrical connection or solder joint somewhere.  I did a bunch of touching up when we took these pics and it's been much happier since.  i never did locate one ' bad spot ' but i poked and prodded until i was pretty sure it is somewhere on the top voice board in the control section to the left.  Pics mostly by J-poo!

Other Info:

The OB-8 ( much like the previous Oberheims ) was a work in progress.  Many didn't have factory midi or were retrofitted ( often midi I/O was cut into the left wooden side panel.  Later versions had a different silk screen on the front that denoted two sets of control features referred to as 'page two'.  This one has factory midi but no page two screen.  The voice two boards were configured with 4 voices each and communicated to one central CPU.  The boards were designated in an upper and lower fashion much like Roland's polys of the era. Each board could have a unique patch for sophisticated layering and more dense tonalities!

The left side wood panel had 8 pots that were used to pan each voice left to right.  This seems strange at first but can be very useful.  It allows you to have two patches at one time mapped to different outputs or lets the two cards be moderately panned or hard panned for a wide thick stereo spread with one or two patches.

More on the web:

Oberheim OB-8

Electrongate Products

I'll do pics of the DSX in the next post...

::: IF :::

::: Happy Jam of the Week :::

Well, we spent a few days cleaning out the cave and finishing up some repairs ( i almost got a JP6 done this week to post pics of but it's being petulant so that will have to wait until it is 100 % happy functional ) so we figured we'd heat up the troops and make some celebratory saturday music. TGIS!

This one consists of the usual compliment of suspects: DSX, OB-8, Mirage, SDS-V, Linndrum, OB-DX Stretch,

but the bonus is a JP-8 that we've been fixing up! ( it's doing the little chorus line and the sliding fast arpeggio at the end... )

sweet.....

[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/34821284" iframe="true" /]

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::: IF :::

::: It's Passion :::

XBS loves getting new Vinyl.  Especially if its really old and was never played!  We just scored an original Mirage Records copy of It's Passion by The System  for one dollar and it RULES!  This reminded me that there have been no XBS posts on The System yet.  It's a travesty!!  XBS will do more we promise!  XBS will post that performance from MIAMI VICE at some point as well...

XBS owes a lot of art time inspiration to this band.  More than making some fun jams back in the day, they also inspired our love of Oberheim and the pre midi sequencing capabilities of  'The System'.

So, The DSX is the sequencer and it can control a DX or DMX drum machine and one Oberheim poly at the same time.  It can do 10 tracks of polyphonic ( 16 voices ) to an OB X, Xa, SX, or 8  via 'computer interface' and 8 CV / Gates on the back panel for mono synths simultaneously ( US scaling and polarity ( invertible! )).  It could record up to 6000 notes, record patch and controller type changes on a dedicated data track, and do real time transposition and track track muting!

So much fun!

Our OB-8 has midi so the DSX can actually control anything in the studio!  We upgraded the brains with some help from, you guessed it, Paul at Electron Gate!

http://www.electrongate.com/dmxfiles/products.html

::: [[START]] NERDY DANCING ZONE :::

::: [[END]] NERDY DANCING ZONE :::

We've been saving that dry hump macintosh gif for ever, now it has a raison d'etre...

Here's an awesome jam from the first System record. Note they have a PPG in the video for no reason i can guess other than they are dancing in space!!!:

http://youtu.be/FqeQ_PfKMAo

David Frank  is a Special and Visionary dude.  Thanks dude!

::: IF :::

::: May the Voice Cards Be With You :::

Oberheim DMX Voice Cards and Original Packaging! I've been meaning to do this for a while: The DMX is different than the DX ( and every other drum machine design of the period ) in that it contains individual daughter boards for each drum sound.  Much like the poly synths Oberheim was making at the time the boards were easily removed for servicing and or replacement.  The DMX voice cards came in three varieties.  One basic drum card for drum and percussion sounds and two different cymbal variants.

The two spare cards i received with my DMX came with all the original packaging and Oberheim literature from the original dealer!

One is for "Electric Snare" which is shown.  The other is  "Electric Toms" which is currently installed in the DMX so i included a picture of the "DX Tom" card it replaced...

Side note: The DMX has TWO tom 'sets' as opposed to normal machines of the period.

Side note 2: The DX Stretch from the previous posts demo featured the 'timbale/conga' sounds on the Stretch portion of the machine.  I didn't usethe 'breaking glass, record scratch, and electric snare' sounds for that demo.

WIKKD!

I.F...

::: Oberheim DX Stretch Demo :::

So, the Oberheim DX Stretch is working and i figured i'd do an update to the repair post from earlier.  The Clap button is still non functional but the part is in the mail and will be fixed soon. i figured i could put the machine through some testing to see if the upgrades and other bits are working ok. This file is based on one longer pattern.  The DX was synced to a Simmons SDS-V to add some fun layering and make sure the Memory, Sync I/O, and CPU  are working solidly.  The SDS-V is triggered by a sequence programmed into an internally mounted MFB SEQ-01 ( that's another post all together ). Also, i added one crash cymbal ( there is NONE natively in the DX )

This is not my SDS-V but has a similar mod for example:

http://youtu.be/236L7YftYp0

They were both clocked to a Roland SBX80. RADD!

Chekkit:

Full Track:

[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/29240402"]

 

Simmons mix only ( for reference )

[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/29239767"]

I.F...

::: Oberheim - DX Upgrade :::

Hello! Today is the day.  I finally have the parts to upgrade the DX Stretch to have MIDI, MRAM Static Ram ( no more battery ), and the newest OS and Sync functionality.

This required removing the battery, old ram chips, and Z80 chip, installing the new CPU board above the tape sync board, and reconnecting all the ribbon cables in their new destination sockets.  Lastly i drilled out the side panel to fit the MIDI I/O jacks on the right side and placed the new function decals on the face plate.

The parts were supplied by Paul at Electron Gate of course!

Here we go:

[slideshow]

SWEET!

( Pics Via J-Poo )