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 S├│nar. 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.