Be relieved, budget-constrained synth addicts. Now, instead of coveting the OB-6 six-voice analog synthesizer in keyboard form and working out what you’d need to sell to get it, you can … covet the OB-6 six-voice analog synthesizer in desktop form and work out what you’d need to sell to get it.

Or, alternatively, if you have extra money lying around, you can get twelve-voice polyphony by chaining two OB-6 together — like, for instance, a desktop unit and a keyboard unit. I say if you can’t presently afford that, you should fire your booking agent. (“But I have two kids!” “Don’t care. Some blog told me I don’t have enough gear.”)

But – hey, wait a minute. That single six-voice synth is now starting to look like a pretty good buy. US$2,299 is the projected minimum advertised price for the USA. That’s not exactly cheap, but at that price you get a deep, versatile synth with six voices you could use for more or less everything – at a price that starts to compete with some two-voice analog models.


And it is something special – enough so to talk about it again. It’s got a beautifully designed front panel, worthy of the “knob-per-function” advertisement. And it has a sound engine inspired by one of the more unique synths in history, the Oberheim SEM. And that’s worth saying,because it sounds really, really good. It’s also I think an eminently playable design. And it’s great that in 2016, synth news involves a collaboration between Dave Smith and Tom Oberheim.

It also marks the beginning of what I hope will be a trend.

Desktop versions.

Especially as people start to assemble hardware studios again, having to buy the keyboard manual all over again is a bit bonkers.

Plus, the OB-6 in desktop form is really portable – a hair under 6 kg (13 lb).

So… wait. Maybe I do need to work out how to buy one. It’s coming early fall.

The price may change – I suppose the UK could secede from the EU, California could leave the US, Trump could detach the US from Earth and rocket it into space – you know, probably in any of those scenarios, you’ll really want an OB-6 to unwind, so I’m not going to worry about a slight change in MAP. Looking forward to the fall.



Speaking of Dave Smith, Dave and friends, not to detract from the OB-6, but I heard a newer model Prophet (was it actually the Prophet ’08?) at the James Blake concert at Sónar. And it sounded utterly beautiful. It’s wonderful when an electronic instrument can sound as sweet as a talented singer.

Dave did a great interview where he talked about his favorite music and his take on synths and history.

We live in wonderful times with some wonderful inventors around.