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US synth pioneers Oberheim make a comeback after 35 years

"A new chapter is about to begin"

Oberheim OB-Xa

Pioneering US synth makers Oberheim Electronics are set to make a comeback this year after ceasing operations 35 years ago.

Toasting their return over a bottle of tequila in a new video featuring Tom Oberheim and former company engineers, Oberheim said, "I’ve been working on something new, but I can’t tell you all about it yet". Sign up for updates via their new site.

Founded by Oberheim in 1969, Oberheim Electronics went on to become one of the leading manufacturers of synths and other electronic musical instruments and devices, including digital sequencers, effects pedals, and the Synthesizer Expander Module (SEM), a unique synthesizer module originally designed to accompany ARPs and Moogs.

Oberheim Electronics are perhaps best known for OB-series of polyphonic synths, in particular the OB-X, which was was used by Madonna for her self-titled debut album, as well as Prince, and Jean-Michel Jarre. New Order are known for using the OB-Xa synth, which was released in December 1980. In 2020, Arturia rolled out a clone of the OB-Xa, the Oberheim OBX-a.

Oberheim's DMX drum machine was a mainstay a staple of early hip-hop, and inspired the namesake of electro maverick DMX Krew. New Order also used the Oberheim DMX in 'Blue Monday'.

In 1985, Oberheim Electronics went bankrupt and were acquired by a group of lawyers who changed the name to Oberheim ECC. 

Earlier this year, a new documentary exploring the life and legacy of Tom Oberheim was released. Produced by GForce Software, the 37-minute film 'Bright Sparks: Tom Oberheim' delves into the groundbreaking career of the American audio and electronics engineer. Watch it in full via YouTube below.