Arturia played a guessing game for its latest release, but it seems the internet was just too quick on this one!
Touted as a brand new product, the tweet’s jump reference was a fairly obvious clue to one of the most-requested synthesizers from the ’80s, the Oberheim OB-X series. It’s perhaps best-known for the striking synth-brass chord in Van Halen’s… yep, you guessed it, “Jump”.
Arturia already emulates an Oberheim analogue synth in SEM V, but the buzz around the 1979-1984 OB-X/a has been growing with the announcement of a Behringer UB-Xa hardware clone, and the Oberheim name being returned to Tom Oberheim by Gibson soon after new Oberheim synths joined the market via DSi.
In short, the demand for the punchy analogue polysynth has never really gone away, but that demand has been met in software – and arguably, in virtual analogue, several times over.
V Collection 7 and OB-Xa V
A few other comments on Arturia’s FB page and social media support the assumption that today’s announcement will be for a virtual Oberheim OB-X.
Confirmed: Arturia OB-Xa V is in the Arturia store now, with a launch price of €149 rather than the €199 regular price. Before announcement, it appeared to be €49/€149 – screencap below; the price of €49 applies if you already own V Collection 7.
As is often the case with Arturia, what price you see depends on what existing software you have. So far I’ve seen reports of:
- Add OB-Xa V to V Collection 7 – €49
- Upgrade from V Collection 6 to 7 with OB-Xa – €149
- Buy OB-Xa normally, no existing software – €149 (€199 regular price)
- Buy V-Collection 7 with OB-Xa – €299 (€649 regular price)
The upgrade price for V Collection 6 owners is exceptional value; the price to add it to V Collection 7 is also very competitive against rival plugins, particularly when some of those are just sample libraries.
People without V Collection may want to hold off for deals (though €299 is pretty hard to resist for what you get) or to see if V Collection 8 is around the corner. If you only browse and play presets, Analog Lab’s the better path, and it will undoubtedly be updated in due course.
At VERY first glance, Arturia OB-Xa V is much faster to get to grips with, and sounds as warm, or as brutal, as you want. I recommend watching their livestream for a proper demo and to see if anything else comes up!
It isn’t a 100% OB-Xa emulation, as it expands on the capabilities of the original while retaining some OB-X touches as well.
- 16-voice polyphony, 4 waveform types
- OB-X and OB-Xa behaviour – oscillator cross-mod
- Stereo-spread effects per oscillator, voice panning
- Four function generators, oscillator mix and modulation matrix
- Three effects busses, with a choice of 9 effects
- 64-bit plugin with VST/AU/AAX support, plus app
It’ll be a very welcome addition to Analog Lab‘s suite of preset-playing modeled synths and keyboards, thoroughly expanding the trendy ’80s-revival and synthwave libraries. It retains Arturia’s usual attention to detail and detailed documentation, so it’s a great stand-alone synth too.
It suggests that V Collection 8 can’t be far away – 7 has been on sale for a while, and usually the collection gets an update when new plugins have been developed.
It looks like the OB-Xa announcement may have been delayed, as the store page for V Collection 7 included a graphic for V Collection 7 plus OB-Xa at €299, with that promotional offer ending 9th May…
Now it’s released, that offer applies until 9th June.
Is that all they have to announce?
Of course, it could be that they’re cramming 8 MicroFreaks/MiniBrutes into one big analogue polysynth, like an immense MatrixBrute…. but somehow, the OB-X feels more likely (and accessible).
Arturia’s Oberheim OB-X/a plugin costs €149 as a standalone instrument, €199 with preset-only capability in Analog Lab, and if it’s included, it’ll be €499 as part of the revised V Collection (which includes a diverse set of instruments from Moog to Synclavier).
Two existing OB-X options
discoDSP and Zynthian
As well as the hardware coming from Behringer, there are two notable OB-X plugins; the first is the open-source, free OB-Xd distributed and maintained (with an optional $49 cost on desktop to support ongoing development – ‘shareware’ is alive and well!), and low price on iOS) by discoDSP – I think it’s one of the best free VST synths you can get, and though it lacks some polish (the nightly builds show how much work is going into this, and if you can you should pay) it was originally designed to overcome some perceived shortcomings of existing software OB-X clones.
It’s also part of Zynthian, though I am not sure how much of discoDSP’s work goes back into the bundled version. Current V2.0 betas include parameter automation and HiDPI support for retina displays, suggesting that when it is complete it’s going to be a very polished OB-Xa plugin – though they’re still a way from being release-ready. It could be argued that if more people pay the $49, the more focus there will be on OB-Xd V2.0…
The in-depth modeled OP-X Pro II from Sonicprojects takes the approach of emulating individual analogue voice cards – recreated flaws-and-all – and the control systems separately, giving as much control over the virtual OB-X as a synth technician would have had with a real one.
At the time of writing, OP-X Pro II is very competitively priced at €85, though it’s normally €179, and hasn’t been updated since February 2018.