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::: 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 :::

::: Thanks Don :::

I know we've mentioned Don Cornelius before:

He was a visionary dude who brought a lot of great music to a higher place.  From the dance moves and 70's soul of James Brown and Marvin Gaye to the amazing crossover into elecro and funk that was S.O.L.A.R. records.  Don Cornelius and Soul Train did MTV first.

SOLAR Records

Soul Train maker 'kills himself'

We've been meaning to do more so lets have one more awesome track from our fave time period :::

:::

http://youtu.be/P0M0OzVs8-g

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http://youtu.be/gomCkCbKHA4

:::

C U In Outta Space DON !!!!

::: I.F.:::

::: 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" /]

 

:::

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" /]

 

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Happy Friday...

::: I.F. :::

::: TR **DR** [[ 909 ]] :::

XBS has been making an effort to do more tech related stuff this month.  In for repair today is a Roland TR-909 in messed up shape.  Someone had tried to refurbish it and made most of it's age and design  related problems worse! 1, The main drum switches were replaced which is nice but they were installed sloppily and so out of true that the buttons don't fit in properly.  On further investigation the problem was often the fact that too much silicone was used to glue in the drum switch LED's so that the switch didn't fit flush to the switch board PCB.

2, The ribbon cables were re-soldered and rendered non functional because the ribbon cable ends were not trimmed evenly prior to soldering ( anyone familiar with multiconductor cable work knows that the trimmed end lengths of all parts must be exactly correct or else they break off immediately due to imbalanced strain distribution ).

3,  One of the new drum switches was actually bad so it was replaced with one of the original ones that was removed.

On another note, the previous owner did manage to get the Roland TR-909 OS v4.0 chip in and it works which is a huge relief as that would be hard for me to troubleshoot.  Also, the pots and small switches were done well when they were replaced and all seem to be working. =D

So, I have to say that this is one of the most annoying designs ever conceived by man from a standpoint of repair and maintenance.  The boards barely fit in on top of each other inside the case with some long shaft pots going through the switch board from the voice board.  Everything needs to be taken apart to get to the switch board and that's the one that gets the most abuse!  The switch board is also where the CPU and OS live, right next to the buttons all the 'house music' dudes are banging on.  The ribbon cables are soldered to the PCB on one end and have connectors on the other.  I wish they were connectors on both ends so you could replace a cable or work on a board without having an octopus of cables to be mindful of.  They also barely fit in the case around the boards that are barely in there to begin with.  The drum switch caps are so flimsy i don't know how they were ever on there solidly in the first place.  And the OS is pretty clunky and unintuitive to make music with.  Nothing like the OB or Linn ideas in language or execution.  It does sound Great though.  I just wonder how this was designed when all the Roland synths of that era that i've been inside are immaculately designed and completely modular for maintenance purposes!  Who knows!

::: IF :::

::: Primary Color Thangz :::

XBS Loves this record. Its one of those one-dollar-freebee-practically-brand-new-vinyl delights that only the old record store can offer. The Deele : Material Thangz . Album : Material Thangz . 1985 Produced By Antonio " L.A." Reid . Associate Producer : Kenneth " Babyface " Edmonds

On another note this was originally issued on SOLAR records, that's Sound of Los Angeles Records. SOLAR was founded by Soul Train's Dick Griffey and Don Cornelius and was responsible for acts like: DynastyLakesideMidnight StarKlymaxxCallowayThe Deele, and Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.

http://youtu.be/idwTjCXWhLo

XBS is so infatuated with the 80's urban territory sometimes that we even get worried!  It's finding great electronic sounds in a catchy, fun, and well put together package that we love.  The records from back then come off of the turntable like an explosion.  Love the Simmons, Love the Bar Kays style breaks and Love the outfits.  So Crayola, so Future Shock, and SO Androgynous!

Also sprinkled with those great funky Prince-isms evident in all electro funk of the 1980-1985 time period.

::: 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 :::

::: DSX :::

Well, XBS was thinking about it and realized that we have our first ever sequence made on the DSX.  This was done right after we did the Electron Gate upgrade.  This replaces the old volatile RAM system witha a Static MRAM system to negate the need for a battery... I later figured out how to calibrate the DAC system for the CV Gate outs on the back.  They have a polarity switch for +/- gates and a simple trim that adjusts the scale for all 8 CVs simultaneously.  pretty simple actually provided no components are bad.  There is supposedly an Oberheim calibration cassette that you can load into the DSX memory that has programs instead of sequences to test the functionality of the unit.  I haven't found a copy yet but it must exist somewhere!

[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/31929260"]

The Poly parts are the Oberheim OB-8 ( of course ) and the JP 6 via midi...

The bass is ARP 2600 and the mono synth lines are on a SCI P-1 I believe ( it was a while ago ).

Its got a LinnDrum and the Simmons SDS-V chasing it!

I was surprised when i got the DSX going and it actually worked!  I figured i'd make a song right away before something went wrong!  The scaling on the CV outs was a little out of cal so i didn't do ant real leads or move too far out of 'in tune' range!

::: IF :::

::: Peace be a Computer :::

Well, XBS can't wash the Doris Norton out of our brain.  It started with  Artificial Intelligence,  That Meth Tetris love child of a Casio SK-1 and an Apple II. It's just litered with dog bark samples, Roland J-106 arpeggios, time code leaks, and Sysex tape dumps.  Doris Norton is what XBS describes as a great Litmus Test artist.  People either love it or hate it.  And both for all the right reasons!  ;-D This track has been a fave of mine this fall and it seems to not be leaving rotation any time soon!

http://youtu.be/7TirKpk7V3o

::: Love the vocoder. Love the crazy future NOW! :::

::: Survivin' In The ( Insert Decade Here )'s :::

Well, another secret obsession of late has been Andre Cymone.  Original member of the Prince clan and electro solo artist.

I love how all the Prince protege people have that certain "je ne sais quoi" that sounds like Prince just lived at the studio and made everyones record better with magical pancake dust or some shizzz...

::: LOVE IT :::

http://youtu.be/Cdk-DubCMtY

Submitted for reference XBS also includes a little background info:

An Andre Cymone interview:

http://youtu.be/Xf0Vg2bi7xA

Pancake Dust:

http://youtu.be/OjLG92qXfSg

DIRTY DIRTY BAD NAUGHTY PANCAKE DUST!!!

::: IF :::

::: Operation P-5 Style :::

XBS lovz this jam!  It's so good at being a crossover between the robot funk and well, ROBOT FUNK!!! I kid though, the 4 Sequential Circuits Pro 5 synths lined up in a row just BLOWS THE MINDPIECE!!!

http://youtu.be/Lz7nSkFhBP0

Love it and then LOVE IT AGAIN as an ANIGIF!!!

Also a screen grab of the P-5 party in mid jam:

NEW YEARS PARTY JAMMIN'

I.F.

::: 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.

Dude's :: got :a: drum::: machine.::

http://youtu.be/boh92DrYEWs LITERALLY:

We saw this in an ebay post and it had us ROFLing for what seemed like helicopters.  The 'appease the wife' angle is worthy of a reddit meme and then thewhole 'craigslist lowball' complaint is great too!

Quoted:

"Honestly, I really do not want to sell the unit......... I do not need the money either. But having this listed on Ebay gets the wife off my ass a bit. I have hung onto alot of my old gear. All this gear takes up a tons of space. But... I made a very good living with all this old stuff. I keep getting tons of emails about this unit. People telling me whats it worth and that it is a old junk unit. And I should take there low ball offer. After awhile it bugs me and I really do not care what you think honestly...... So please do not waste my time and yours."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6u3GtqfdVts

And the video is a very poor representation of what this machine can do...

Not a good sales demo!!!!   =D

PS :  here's a nice example of what this box can do ( not ours ) :

http://youtu.be/Sswj0cGGITI

I.F.

::: It'sGOINGtobeaROLANDtypeofWEEKEND :::

XBS of the day... This one features the wonderful sound of ROLAND.  lots of Juno 60 tracks arpeggiated together over a Simmons type of rhythm track and a korg MS-10 bass...

This was before the data sliders were fixed!

[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/29574028"]

:::

:::

Happy Weekend!

I.F.

::: 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...

::: Black Devil Disco :::

I always come back to this record.  It has just the right amount of organized and free-for-all which can be a hard line to ride. It's truly a set it and forget it on repeat all day kind of record.  I like that about it too.

http://youtu.be/eEl7kNzt8is