The Official Sequential/DSI Forum

Questions before buying

Questions before buying
« on: July 28, 2019, 01:59:58 AM »
Hi folks,

I have some questions regarding the OB6 before buying:

1. Sequencer:
1.a. can we record i.e. a bass line in the sequencer and play a pad over it while playing back the sequence?
1.b. Can we record a drone sequence (with VCO2 unlocked) and play over it with another sound while playing back the sequence?

2. Union: is there a polyphonic unison spreading the voices when playing in polyphonic mode (like on the Korg Kronos)?

3. Does it complement the Korg Kronos very well (not too much overlap?) ? Although I know Iím comparing digital Osc vs VCO ones.

Thanks in advance for your expert tips.

Re: Questions before buying
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2019, 09:21:59 PM »
Answers:

1.a. No. The OB6 is not multitimbral and cannot play two sounds at once.
1.b. No. For the same reason as stated above.
2. No. The Unison mode is monophonic only, although you can spread the voice (all playing the same note mind you) in the stereo field with the Pan Spread knob (although for some obscure reason you'll have to reduce the Loudness Envelope Amount to about half in order to get maximum spread).
3. Perhaps, since it's a matter of personal preferences.

Disclaimer: the above statements are subject to possible corrections by more experienced owners than me, and possibly Sequential themselves.
Minimoog D (vintage), OB6 (Desktop), Oberheim Matrix-6 (MIDI Controller), Prophet REV2-16, DeepMind 12

Re: Questions before buying
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2019, 09:27:09 PM »
Thanks for your answers AlainHubert.

Re: Questions before buying
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2019, 10:31:24 PM »
Answers:
1.a. No. The OB6 is not multitimbral and cannot play two sounds at once.
The only thing that I would add here is the clarification that you can play over the sequencer while it is going, but only with the same sound (i.e. it is not multitimbral as AH said)...the limit is still 6 voices so if you have a single voice bass line, you can play up to five more notes at any instant.
DSI OB-6, Nord Electro 3HP & 6HP, Roland SoundCanvas SC55mkii, Beatstep Pro, Minibrute 2S, MPD18 (+mpcstuff), Roland TD-4 V-drums, Fender-Rhodes Stage MK1, Reaper, plus dozens of acoustic instruments and mikes.

Re: Questions before buying
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2019, 01:15:50 PM »
Ok. Thanks.

A pity that itís not multitimbral.

Have you found this multitimbralitynlimitation blocking for playing melodies?

Re: Questions before buying
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2019, 03:25:35 AM »
Ok. Thanks.

A pity that itís not multitimbral.

Have you found this multitimbrality limitation blocking for playing melodies?

For me personally the sequencer allowing you to play a line or chords over the sequence even with the same patch is very useful. The more percussive short notes from the sequencer in the background and you can play long sustained lines of chords or melody over it and it can sound like two patches with the right programming of the patch.

I also use Assign mode on the arpeggiator a lot on my Prophet-6 but my P6 allows you to play the same not a second time (or any number of times in any order) on Assign mode and the OB-6 doesn't. The Assign arpeggator has only  32 notes though but it can be very useful. I can't vouch for later P6s units, because mine still has an early Operating System 1.4.0.  You can create a lot of spontaneous motifs on the P6 that way but it is more limiting on the OB-6 for the above reason - and with the arpeggiator, you can change the sequence of notes on the fly though on the early OS you might get a shorter gap when you change the sequence because it re-triggers when you start a new arpeggio as you press the key. I think the revised OS keeps the second lot of arp notes in time with the first, I'm not 100% sure. I also discovered that you can switch arpeggiator mode on the fly on both synths, from Assign to up/down or up only, down only or random.

Having bought a P6 a while ago and an OB6 recently, the OB6 is more seductive but IMHO less sturdy that the P6 in the way it behaves. I would advise auditioning an OB6 is person and really putting through its paces.
Prophet-6 nut. Formerly, just a Prophet-5 nut.

Re: Questions before buying
« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2019, 01:58:18 PM »
Thanks for the extensive answer DaveP6guy. Iíve tested the OB6 for hours several times in a store. It does sound beautiful but as I donít know this beast completely, I wanted to make sure I didnít miss something I wouldnít have noted at first sight.

Re: Questions before buying
« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2019, 02:54:51 PM »
Have you found this multitimbralitynlimitation blocking for playing melodies?
I haven't found this to be a problem...if I want this for performance, I generally build a voice with the filter tracking at <Half> or <None>. This way I can make the bass timbre quite different from the melody timbre and with the proper voice design this makes a big difference in the melody line. You can make the bass "crunchy" with a smooth melody voice (up 2-3 octaves from the bass) or vice versa.

Regarding the arpeggiator assign, I'm really hoping that DSI (or Sequential) fixes this in a future software revision as I've got to believe it is an oversight. I'm certain the OB-6 and P6 have the same basic electronics/hardware for arpeggiation.

I have a couple of Arturia sequencers that I also use for programming...the Keystep has a good arpeggiator, and the Beatstep pro has two mono sequencer channels that are quick and easy to program and you can play along on the OB-6 keyboard with a bass or rhythm synth line. That really only works in the studio (for me, because I try to haul minimal 'stuff' to gigs)
DSI OB-6, Nord Electro 3HP & 6HP, Roland SoundCanvas SC55mkii, Beatstep Pro, Minibrute 2S, MPD18 (+mpcstuff), Roland TD-4 V-drums, Fender-Rhodes Stage MK1, Reaper, plus dozens of acoustic instruments and mikes.

Re: Questions before buying
« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2019, 06:55:29 AM »
Hi folks,
I have some questions regarding the OB6 before buying:
1. Sequencer:
1.a. can we record i.e. a bass line in the sequencer and play a pad over it while playing back the sequence?
1.b. Can we record a drone sequence (with VCO2 unlocked) and play over it with another sound while playing back the sequence?
2. Union: is there a polyphonic unison spreading the voices when playing in polyphonic mode (like on the Korg Kronos)?
3. Does it complement the Korg Kronos very well (not too much overlap?) ? Although I know Iím comparing digital Osc vs VCO ones.
Thanks in advance for your expert tips.

I would think there is not much overlap between a Kronos and an OB-6. Apples and oranges.
If I had an OB6 and a Kronos, I would be a very happy bunny.
For me the OB6 seems to be a very "experimental" type vintage synth, slightly unpredictable, or more than slightly with buckets of real time control, instantly accessible. The Kronos will do a million other things the OB6 doesn't.
I would view them as a great combo. I would guess the Kronos in far more versatile and giggable, I mean replable as a giggable instrument), if you can carry it or preferably get someone else to carry it)! Then the KK has got about a squillion presets, sampling, sequencer, SSD recording, great screen, etc.
Prophet-6 nut. Formerly, just a Prophet-5 nut.

Re: Questions before buying
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2019, 07:07:51 AM »
Ok. Thanks.

A pity that itís not multitimbral.

Have you found this multitimbralitynlimitation blocking for playing melodies?

I have noted that when playing the Prophet-6 especially with the arpeggiator on Assign mode and then editing sounds on the fly (or you could also do it by recording and playing back the sequencer in the same way) it's quite east to get a sound that appears to contain more than one patch, although it doesn't. There is a remarkably full sound for only 6 voices. On the OB6 the same is true in my view, though I have more experience (18 months) doing this on the P6.
One advantage is if you are in Polyphonic mode (i.e. not unison) the release tails of the notes continue for 6 more notes until the note is stolen by a new note in the sequence. This can give you a chord type "wash" under a seuqnce of arpeggio, which I find can be most pleasing and often sounds as if a different sound is there in addition to the main sequenced notes.
In that way you could view the O6 or OB6 as you would a 12 string guitar (6 voices, 2 oscillators per voice) and then if you finger-pick a 12-string guitar (or any guitar), you get the sustain from the previous notes. I kind of like the idea of 6 voices for that reason: restrictive - but who complains that a 12-string guitar needs more strings when it can sound that rich, beautiful, vibrant and full bodied? Also, with the limited polyphony, each note is relatively important and not lost in the mush.

That's the positive spin I would put on the idea of a synth like the P6 or OB-6.

Also sometimes, I find that playing a certain sound on my P6 that I had edited, the bass notes sounded quite like an upright bass when I didn't expect them to. So I had a sort of square-ish wave melody in the treble but the bass notes in the sequence sounded like a different instrument - ad then there was the background "wash" that I could bring in too, giving an illusion of 3 instruments perhaps, all with that bare 6 voices.
Prophet-6 nut. Formerly, just a Prophet-5 nut.

Re: Questions before buying
« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2019, 08:57:32 AM »
A pity that itís not multitimbral.

Have you found that this is a limitation for playing melodies?

In my case, no. Simply because I produce my music using multitrack recording, on part at a time. I do have many other synths that are also not multitimbral but sound really great, like the OB6.

I agree, however, that for playing a melody live over a sequenced part from the same synth it is not possible, hence a severe limitation. 

But considering the fact that the OB6 is only 6 voice polyphonic to begin with, even if it was multitimbral it would result in rather limited polyphony on each part. That's probably one of the reasons why Dave Smith Instruments (now Sequential) opted not to make it multitimbral to begin with.

If you're looking for a compromise, you could get a Prophet REV2 which is 2 parts multitimbral (keyboard spilt or stack modes) to play a melody line over a bass line (sequenced or not) played live. It night not sound quite as nice as the OB6 (depending on personal taste) but it's a potent polyphonic synth nonetheless with much more versatility.

 
Minimoog D (vintage), OB6 (Desktop), Oberheim Matrix-6 (MIDI Controller), Prophet REV2-16, DeepMind 12

Re: Questions before buying
« Reply #11 on: August 02, 2019, 03:57:34 AM »
Ok. Thanks.

A pity that itís not multitimbral.

Have you found this multitimbralitynlimitation blocking for playing melodies?

The Prophet 5 and OB-X were not multitimbral either so it makes sense for the P6 and OB6 not to be since they are directly inspired by those. Same with the fact they have no menu. Itís about being creative around limitations and letting your ears guide you instead of menus.

 So far the only analog synth Iím aware thatís multitimbral is the Moog One. Most others are bitimbral (REV2 And Prologue)
Prophet 6, Prophet X, Moog Sub 37, Tempest Drum Computer, Roland V Piano, Fender American Stratocaster, Roger Linn Adrenalinn iii, Origin Effects Cali76 and SlideRig compressor, ASUS Zenbook Pro Computer, Soundcraft MTK 22 Mixer, Mark Of The Unicorn Digital Performer 10 Software.

Re: Questions before buying
« Reply #12 on: August 02, 2019, 09:49:47 AM »
Currently there's also the Elektron Analog Four, but considering the amount of voices it's limited. In the past there was the Alesis Andromeda and Oberheim Matrix 12/Xpander. There are probably others, but yes, it is quite rare.   

Re: Questions before buying
« Reply #13 on: August 03, 2019, 10:17:48 AM »
Wow! Very qualitative answers over here.

Iíve finally ordered the OB-6.

Sure it will complement the Kronos and Tempest pretty well for fat analog VCO as well as experimental sounds.

Thank you all for your time to have answered my questions.

All the best,
Chris

Re: Questions before buying
« Reply #14 on: August 03, 2019, 04:45:36 PM »
You're welcome Chris.

I have no doubt that you'll enjoy your OB6 as much as us, if not more.

Be sure to let us know !

Alain.
Minimoog D (vintage), OB6 (Desktop), Oberheim Matrix-6 (MIDI Controller), Prophet REV2-16, DeepMind 12

Re: Questions before buying
« Reply #15 on: August 09, 2019, 11:34:49 PM »
OB6 arrived recently.

Although I find the Kronos great as a digital synth, the OB6 is my best synth buy.

A wonderful instrument inspiring a lot of creativity.