Oberheim DSX

::: Synth Pron of the Day :::

In Line with the David Frank interview i posted last week.  Here's Steve Roach's setup from 1987...

OBERHEIM SYSTEM!!!! ( LOL 2 Xpanders!!!! )

and an E-Max...

and an SQ80...

...Steve Roach Setup

 

borrowed from this flicker stream...

 

::: 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 :::

::: Welcome to the Summer-Dome :::

XBS has been busy... jammin... fixin... jammin' n fixin'... Still totally obsessed with some of the Midnight Starr, Deele, etc etc...

::: Thanks Don :::

So, this is what came out this week when we fired up the synth army.  The original idea was to get some David Frank style bleep bloops a la Beat Street going:

http://youtu.be/9pMzUcB-QoU

...But it ended up being slower and more groovy which is still fun by me.  It's more summery and less on the John Carpenter tip we've been on too.  Usual suspects include Oberheim DSX Sequencer, Arp 2600, SCI Pro One, Mirage sampler ( OB-DPX-1), Linndrum LM2, Oberheim DX Stretch, Simmons SDSV, Roland JP-8...

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[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/51223006" iframe="true" /]

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One of these days i'm going to just get a talk box and become Roger Troutman and drop some really beautifully vapid loves jams all over the ground. Zapp is great in the summer time.  I love running to some Roger jams.

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PS, D.F. has content on his site now:

David Frank | music production

COOL!

::: IF :::

::: Nature Never Knew Colors Like This :::

I like this one a lot.  It may just be the cowbell in the chorus.  Moar Cowbell!!!!!  Usual suspects: Arp 2600, Oberheim OB - 8, DSX sequencer, Linn LM2 ( Thanks 4 tha Cowbell ), Oberheim DMX, Roland JP-8, SCI Multitrak... [soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/49073000" iframe="true" /]

I made a video for this one as well ( imovie is really limited so i didn't do much editing ), using some borrowed footage from the old sci fi movie Hardware (1990 movie):

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fp1mfvDmRms&w=420&h=315]

Not only may it be the poor mans terminator!  It has possibly the best movie description i've ever seen, " Inspired by a short story in 2000 AD, the movie depicts the rampage of a self-repairing cyborg in a post-apocalyptic slum. "  The bonus being cameos by LemmyIggy Pop, and Carl McCoy, famed weirdo and singer of Fields of the Nephilim.  Such a weird sleeper of a band.  The awesome thing about Carl's cameo is that he is playing a mysterious post apocalyptic scavenger in this crazy desert / spaghetti western outfit and that's how he actually dresses!

Wikkid!

PS: the post title is one of Iggy Pops lines from the film.  he's a radio DJ overheard in the cab driven by Lemme.  Desrcibing the weather no less!

PPS: I couldn't leave ou without a gif!

::: 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 :::

::: Cold Wave Cold Gaze :::

We've been listening to a lot of old Talk Talk records lately.  The earlier stuff is straight british new wave while the later stuff is so outside and minimal yet super complex and evolving.  It can take years to parce the development of a band and or artist, especially Mark Hollis' descent into an erie drug induced madness and isolation on the later Talk Talk and then his one solo record. The reversed synth lines in this track remind me of the strange soundscapes that Mark Hollis would use on his more experimental records.  Tucked into an A Ha-esque British synth pop shell.  It's uplifting somehow, Like the Simple Minds and Tears for Fears stuff of that era always is...

somehow...

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[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/35143601" iframe="true" /]

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The usual suspects too! Oberheim DSX, Oberheim DMX, Simmons SDS V, Linn LM2, Roland - JP 8, Arp...

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This one is dedicated to Mr. Knapp...

Can i call u that?

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::: IF :::

::: Løøkn frra Raynbow :::

It's particularly rainy here for January!  In lieu of snow XBS is stuck inside staying dry, which is fine by ME! We are still lovin' synth-funk-electro-crossover longtime and we can take this opportunity to post another 'XBS of the week'...

This week brought to you by : Atlantic Star, Midnight Star, Calloway, and all the other post Zap purveyors of robo awesomeness

Let's call it a miami disco tribute to Midnight Star and their song Midas Touch!

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[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/34750316" iframe="true" /]

 

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All the usual suspects!  (( Jupiter 8 ( still in the shop ) Simmons SDSV, Oberheim DX Stretch, OB-8, Mirage Sampler ( love the mirage sampler )))

I borrowed the a capella for Midas Touch by Midnight Star and threw it on for fun.  I just used the first few verses and chorus...

The vocal version is here:

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[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/34748010" iframe="true" /]

 

:::

Happy Friday...

::: I.F. :::

::: 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" /]

:::

::: IF :::

::: Future :: NOW NOW NOW!!! :::

Happy Nu Year! XBS figured we could end on a nice up note with the universally known center of awesomeness, Carl Sagan...

...yummmmmmmy BRAINS!!!

Love the Quincy Jones, Love the Chaka Kahn!!

[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/32067358"]

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This one is DSX/OB-8, Mirage, Roland Jupiter 6, Arp-2600, Simmons SDS-V and Linndrum...

Oh yeah, Vocoder by Korg VC-10. A prelude to more fun!

Thanks and C U Next Year!

::: IF :::

::: For the Love of the Halloweenadays :::

Hello! Well, it's almost time to start the last year evah, 2012!!!!

In celebration XBS plan to make lots of Carpenter-esque synth jams.  Here's what we made yesterday :::

[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/31903174"]

Newly fixed Oberheim DMX being minimal with a Simmons SDSV and polysynth layering from OB-8, Mirage (DPX) and SCI Multitrack ( great sleeper synth )

Accompanied by some ANIGIFS as always!

...I.F.