Oberheim Xpander and modern analogue synths

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Nelson Baboon
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Re: Oberheim Xpander and modern analogue synths

Post by Nelson Baboon » Mon Nov 16, 2020 12:31 pm

i think that generally, people want xpanders because they have this belief that older instruments are better, and are willing to spend huge amounts of money for them. they take the fact that all of these instruments are unique to some extent, and transmute that into this notion that they are better, or have truly unique capabilities, etc.

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Re: Oberheim Xpander and modern analogue synths

Post by MisterJ » Mon Nov 16, 2020 12:51 pm

That may be true now but in the early 90s when I started looking for one, it was all about what it was capable of. Analog was out of fashion and the rompler era was in full force. There was no nostalgia yet for old analog gear. These days, the vintage gear market is not always that rational in pricing. The classics are always going to have value, ie the Prophets, PPGs, Moogs, Oberheims etc. They weren't cheap in 90s but nowhere near what they go for now. It's not surprising that they've appreciated in value. Some gear, like the Akai S612, has surprised me in what people are willing to pay for it. True, it's only $600-800 but I paid $100 for one and never used it after I got a better sampler. I foresaw analog coming back into fashion but not 12 bit sampling.

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Re: Oberheim Xpander and modern analogue synths

Post by Blairio » Mon Nov 16, 2020 1:30 pm

Nelson Baboon wrote:
Sun Nov 15, 2020 8:10 pm
MisterJ wrote:
Sun Nov 15, 2020 8:02 pm
,,, If you can't get what you want out of it, you aren't putting enough thought and imagination into what you're doing. ,,,
I have my curmudgeon credentials, and i must say....
at this point in my life, as soon as I read the above, I stop reading.
...but not writing😷

AFAIK there is no such thing as the 'universal synth'. Necessity being the mother of invention, most folks will make the best fist of what is in front of them, and that's as it should be. We have all been there.

I have used Matrix 12's and OBX's on records. I reckon you would have to be practically deaf not to distinguish between them. I would struggle to say one was better because they are so different. Do all fender guitars sound the same? Or all Gibson guitars?

I love the Matrix 12. Even if I could find a good one, these days I probably couldn't afford it. I am not blind to its faults, but on the right project it will sound amazing.

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Re: Oberheim Xpander and modern analogue synths

Post by Analog Prophet » Sun Nov 22, 2020 5:38 am

MisterJ wrote:
Mon Nov 16, 2020 12:18 pm
If you want an Xpander, you are getting it because you know something about sound design and synthesizer programing and have some sort of love of analog. Your not going to buy one for the cool presets it comes with.
True, it isn’t a toy for preset cowboys but a deep well of pleasure for a long analog discovery journey. I had my Xpander since mid 90s and it grows for every year the more I spend time with it. I’m not aware of that many synths that still surprise me with new things after 25 years of use.
The best beat of any music
is the beat of your own heart


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Re: Oberheim Xpander and modern analogue synths

Post by MisterJ » Sun Nov 22, 2020 6:32 pm

Analog Prophet wrote:
Sun Nov 22, 2020 5:38 am
MisterJ wrote:
Mon Nov 16, 2020 12:18 pm
If you want an Xpander, you are getting it because you know something about sound design and synthesizer programing and have some sort of love of analog. Your not going to buy one for the cool presets it comes with.
True, it isn’t a toy for preset cowboys but a deep well of pleasure for a long analog discovery journey. I had my Xpander since mid 90s and it grows for every year the more I spend time with it. I’m not aware of that many synths that still surprise me with new things after 25 years of use.
That is the hallmark of a great synth and great gear in general. On that list, I would put the Sequential Prophet VS and Studio 440 which have been my main Midi controllers for quite some time. I am still finding new things with both of them. There is so much complexity inside of these instruments that it takes a lifetime to explore all the possibilities. When I play with newer gear, it makes me appreciate all the more what my 80s synths and drum machines can do. The designers of these instruments all lived through the 1960s and I find there is a spirit of exploration and experimentation in them along with a touch of pyschedelia.

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Re: Oberheim Xpander and modern analogue synths

Post by Sir Ruff » Sun Nov 22, 2020 8:17 pm

Also, the Xpander/M-12 presents have to be some of the worst ever made.

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Re: Oberheim Xpander and modern analogue synths

Post by ThisDudeAbides » Mon Nov 23, 2020 4:31 pm

Sir Ruff wrote:
Sun Nov 22, 2020 8:17 pm
Also, the Xpander/M-12 presents have to be some of the worst ever made.
Worst ever made? I don't know about that.

A lot of them aren't my style, but you can spring-board off of old standbys like St. Genevieve or 2001. I think they're much more representative of what's possible than what you find on modern Sequential/DSI stuff. Or even modern Roland.

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Re: Oberheim Xpander and modern analogue synths

Post by Sir Ruff » Mon Nov 23, 2020 7:33 pm

ThisDudeAbides wrote:
Mon Nov 23, 2020 4:31 pm
Sir Ruff wrote:
Sun Nov 22, 2020 8:17 pm
Also, the Xpander/M-12 presents have to be some of the worst ever made.
Worst ever made? I don't know about that.

A lot of them aren't my style, but you can spring-board off of old standbys like St. Genevieve or 2001. I think they're much more representative of what's possible than what you find on modern Sequential/DSI stuff. Or even modern Roland.
hmmm, don't recall seeing either of those. Just remember some really garbage generic 80s horns/strings/organs, etc. Not to mention "cowbell" :lol: Literally nothing that I would say showcased its potential. I also sought out whatever patch banks were out there, found several from some well known producers. I think I found a few self-playing patches that were nice, everything else was useless.

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Re: Oberheim Xpander and modern analogue synths

Post by clusterchord » Fri Nov 27, 2020 10:31 pm

one should wipe the xpander presets immediately upon arrival.

they are rather horrific, from the era when it tried to be a "dx7" and an "ob8" and the same time.

it will give you entirely skewed picture of what its really capable of.
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Re: Oberheim Xpander and modern analogue synths

Post by ThisDudeAbides » Sat Nov 28, 2020 12:58 am

yeah, it seems odd that a studio would drop the equivalent of $10,000 in today's dollars to listen to chimes, bells, calliope and weird electric piano/hi-passed strings combos. It seems like you see this weird concept in a lot of these mid 80s synths - even something like the Roland JX-10 and Alpha Juno are the same way - lots of obsession with steel drums and spanish guitar emulations.

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Re: Oberheim Xpander and modern analogue synths

Post by Sir Ruff » Sat Nov 28, 2020 1:17 am

Speaking of non-sucky patches, I have decided to pass along my collection of patches from 13 years of Xpander/M-12 programming: ~90/100 are mine, have held these close to my chest but now that the M-12 is leaving I'm happy to share. Names are (mostly) meaningless. Many are velocity sensitive (indicated often, but not always, with a "V" at end of name), a few use AT. Feel free to use as you wish of course, but if one really resonates with you in a track, I wouldn't mind hearing about it.

Sir Ruff_Oberheim Matrix-12 patches.zip
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Last edited by Sir Ruff on Sat Nov 28, 2020 3:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Oberheim Xpander and modern analogue synths

Post by tIB » Sat Nov 28, 2020 4:39 am

Sir Ruff wrote:
Sat Nov 28, 2020 1:17 am
Speaking of non-sucky patches, I have decided to pass along my collection of patches from 13 years of Xpander/M-12 programming: ~90/100 are mine, have held these close to my chest but now that the M-12 is leaving I'm happy to share. Names are (mostly) meaningless. Many are velocity sensitive, a few use AT. Feel free to use as you wish of course, but if one really resonates with you in a track, I wouldn't mind hearing about it.


Sir Ruff_Oberheim Matrix-12 patches.zip
I'll be sure to have a sniff on those, possibly even later today - thanks for the share!

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Re: Oberheim Xpander and modern analogue synths

Post by Sir Ruff » Sat Nov 28, 2020 8:15 am

tIB wrote:
Sat Nov 28, 2020 4:39 am
Sir Ruff wrote:
Sat Nov 28, 2020 1:17 am
Speaking of non-sucky patches, I have decided to pass along my collection of patches from 13 years of Xpander/M-12 programming: ~90/100 are mine, have held these close to my chest but now that the M-12 is leaving I'm happy to share. Names are (mostly) meaningless. Many are velocity sensitive, a few use AT. Feel free to use as you wish of course, but if one really resonates with you in a track, I wouldn't mind hearing about it.


Sir Ruff_Oberheim Matrix-12 patches.zip
I'll be sure to have a sniff on those, possibly even later today - thanks for the share!
Nice one!

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Re: Oberheim Xpander and modern analogue synths

Post by soundsubs » Sat Nov 28, 2020 10:53 am

phew, thank you. i had been holding my breath for what seems like days!
will check these out immediately!

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Re: Oberheim Xpander and modern analogue synths

Post by m0rb1d » Sat Nov 28, 2020 2:14 pm

Sir Ruff wrote:
Sat Nov 28, 2020 1:17 am
Speaking of non-sucky patches, I have decided to pass along my collection of patches from 13 years of Xpander/M-12 programming: ~90/100 are mine, have held these close to my chest but now that the M-12 is leaving I'm happy to share. Names are (mostly) meaningless. Many are velocity sensitive, a few use AT. Feel free to use as you wish of course, but if one really resonates with you in a track, I wouldn't mind hearing about it.


Sir Ruff_Oberheim Matrix-12 patches.zip
THESE ARE WONDERFUL! Many thanks. 🙌

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Re: Oberheim Xpander and modern analogue synths

Post by nuromantix » Sat Nov 28, 2020 2:31 pm

Thanks for sharing patches.

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Re: Oberheim Xpander and modern analogue synths

Post by Analog Prophet » Sat Nov 28, 2020 3:51 pm

Sir Ruff wrote:
Sun Nov 22, 2020 8:17 pm
Also, the Xpander/M-12 presents have to be some of the worst ever made.
The Xpander is not for preset cowboys
The best beat of any music
is the beat of your own heart


http://www.analogprophet.com

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Re: Oberheim Xpander and modern analogue synths

Post by ThisDudeAbides » Sat Nov 28, 2020 5:25 pm

Nice patches, sir ruff. I like a lot of the keys/strings in there. Very interesting naming conventions, haha.

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Re: Oberheim Xpander and modern analogue synths

Post by MisterJ » Sat Nov 28, 2020 7:59 pm

The original patches on my Xpander are long gone. So are at least half of the ones I made for it. I lost them when the memory battery got shorted when it was being serviced and I hadn't done as thorough a backup as I thought I had. This was around 2010 and everything from the early 2000s was wiped and the one backup I found was from the 90s and had only about the first 35 or so that I made and the rest were the built in basic patch so I must of just wiped all the factory patches as soon as I got it. Since then, I've been slowly making new patches that are mostly designed to fit in with what I'm sequencing, not to be played live. I can't remember at all how bad the factory patches were but almost all the great synths from that era have pretty weak and tame factory patches that don't show the potential of the instrument at all. Out of 100 factory patches in my Prophet VS, I've kept just one. I have a rom cartridge of the factory patches and I can compare these and there are some that are Ok for what they are but almost all of them just add tremolo to the pitch with a triangle wave LFO when the mod wheel is turned and I absolutely detest that sound. Modulating the filter and switching waveforms is so much more interesting and there are much better ways to do it than with just a triangle LFO. With the Xpander, the modulation possibilities are even greater so a weak factory patch is going to sound that much worse but I don't think much of the factory patches of any of the Sequential Prophets, Yamaha DX7, or any other poly synth from that era. I think the vast majority of the customer base for these instruments were fairly conventional musicians who played in a conventional style and the factory patches were made for them. The sound designers and experimental musicians who bought them for their sonic possibilities were the minority.

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Re: Oberheim Xpander and modern analogue synths

Post by Sir Ruff » Sun Nov 29, 2020 12:23 pm

m0rb1d wrote:
Sat Nov 28, 2020 2:14 pm
THESE ARE WONDERFUL! Many thanks. 🙌
nuromantix wrote:
Sat Nov 28, 2020 2:31 pm
Thanks for sharing patches.
You're welcome! Glad you are enjoying them.
ThisDudeAbides wrote:
Sat Nov 28, 2020 5:25 pm
Nice patches, sir ruff. I like a lot of the keys/strings in there. Very interesting naming conventions, haha.
Great! and yeah, ha, this is what you get with some weird LED characters and a dual detented knob name entry (Ensoniq SQ-80 is similar). I love it. I don't understand why people make these extremely convoluted naming schemes, especially with sensitive knobs (e.g., Waldorf XT) where you have to labor over every letter. Likewise, giving a real "name" to some totally abstract sound seemed pointless when there was no way to search in the machine anyway (Quantum and Moog One at least let you designates different categories). Saying that, I did go for some semi-obvious names for patches that were created following an already "known" known sound.

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Re: Oberheim Xpander and modern analogue synths

Post by BenJBX » Sun Jan 10, 2021 6:38 pm

I've enjoyed reading this thread, some great info here. I bought an xpander a few years ago having wanted one forever, it's the only vintage synth I've ever paid serious dollar for (the rest have been lucky barn finds). And I absolutely love it, love programming on it, love the way it sounds.

No one's mentioned the tracking generators, for me they are the real joker in the pack. Lots of my patches have release times that extend further up the keyboard or oscillator tunings that diverge progressively. If you want it non-linear so it only kicks in properly in the top two octaves or something, it's easy to do. I also use the tracking generators to waveshape slow LFOs and get wierder shapes. Superb stuff. It's inspired me to use much more of the keyboard when playing and writing parts, and once it's combined with velocity the results can be mind blowing.

I'm super lucky mine is in excellent condition and stays in tune for several hours even though it's sat next to a radiator. I would not fancy taking on maintenance for one that was in rough shape. Also, numeric values can be punched in using the second keypad (the horizontal one in the centre) ... worth getting into the habit of doing this rather than using the encoders. Good luck finding spares if you break an encoder in 2021.

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Re: Oberheim Xpander and modern analogue synths

Post by Portabella » Mon Jan 11, 2021 5:37 am

Sir Ruff wrote:
Sat Nov 28, 2020 1:17 am
Sir Ruff_Oberheim Matrix-12 patches.zip

Thanks for sharing these!
Can anyone here explain me how to save patches from my Xpander?
Mine has a ton of very decent and good patches from the previous owner and wouldn't want to lose them.
But still I'd also love to try out what Sir Ruff has come up with.

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Re: Oberheim Xpander and modern analogue synths

Post by Sir Ruff » Mon Jan 11, 2021 9:40 am

Portabella wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 5:37 am
Sir Ruff wrote:
Sat Nov 28, 2020 1:17 am
Sir Ruff_Oberheim Matrix-12 patches.zip

Thanks for sharing these!
Can anyone here explain me how to save patches from my Xpander?
Mine has a ton of very decent and good patches from the previous owner and wouldn't want to lose them.
But still I'd also love to try out what Sir Ruff has come up with.
I use MidiOX--load up the sysex window and just hit send all (or however it's phrased) on the xpander and it will pick it up automatically. Then just save that as a sysex file. Likewise, using that same window, you can load a sysex file and send to xpander when it is set to receive a patch dump. Bear in mind, for the latter, it will wipe all of your existing patches so save before you load new ones.

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Re: Oberheim Xpander and modern analogue synths

Post by BenJBX » Mon Jan 11, 2021 11:10 am

Sir Ruff wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 9:40 am
Portabella wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 5:37 am
Sir Ruff wrote:
Sat Nov 28, 2020 1:17 am
Sir Ruff_Oberheim Matrix-12 patches.zip

Thanks for sharing these!
Can anyone here explain me how to save patches from my Xpander?
Mine has a ton of very decent and good patches from the previous owner and wouldn't want to lose them.
But still I'd also love to try out what Sir Ruff has come up with.
I use MidiOX--load up the sysex window and just hit send all (or however it's phrased) on the xpander and it will pick it up automatically. Then just save that as a sysex file. Likewise, using that same window, you can load a sysex file and send to xpander when it is set to receive a patch dump. Bear in mind, for the latter, it will wipe all of your existing patches so save before you load new ones.
I also intend to try out your patch bank this week ... Very much looking forward to it!

You will probably need to fiddle with the buffer settings to get the synth to read sysex successfully. Modern computers can forcefeed serial data faster than 80s/90s synths can digest it. I haven't set midi-ox up for the xpander yet but my AN1x likes a 512 byte buffer with a 200ms timeout between transmissions. You can set it up in the configuration window in the midi-ox sysex window.

Good YT tutorial here


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Re: Oberheim Xpander and modern analogue synths

Post by MisterJ » Mon Jan 11, 2021 1:17 pm

BenJBX wrote:
Sun Jan 10, 2021 6:38 pm

No one's mentioned the tracking generators, for me they are the real joker in the pack. Lots of my patches have release times that extend further up the keyboard or oscillator tunings that diverge progressively. If you want it non-linear so it only kicks in properly in the top two octaves or something, it's easy to do. I also use the tracking generators to waveshape slow LFOs and get wierder shapes. Superb stuff. It's inspired me to use much more of the keyboard when playing and writing parts, and once it's combined with velocity the results can be mind blowing.

I'm going to have to try messing around with the tracking generators. They're actually the only thing in the Xpander, I haven't used at some time or another. I back up my Xpander patches to an Atari ST which has been doing the job since I got it. I've tried different PC programs but none of them ever was as easy to use or as reliable as the ST.

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