The OB-8 Versus the MKS-80

The Oberheim OB-8 and Roland MKS-80 are two massive vintage polys, each sporting dual oscillator, eight note polyphony provided by sixteen VCOs. There’s a lot of similar functionality between these machines. The switchable two or four pole filter and modulation routing is a little more flexible on the OB-8 but the MKS-80 makes up for it with cross modulation, velocity sensitivity, and after-touch. The technology used in the MKS-80 seems much more advanced even though it was made only one year later than the OB-8. The MKS-80 is a compact rack-mountable device, while the OB-8 is a massive behemoth that currently dominates my studio space. Ultimately comparing these two machines is not really a productive thing to do. They both sound fantastic. The MKS-80 is better for me because my musical style generally requires the expression possible through velocity and after-touch, but the OB-8 is easy and fast to program with lots of luxurious feeling knobs.

I recorded a little freeform jam session with Unearthed Music‘s graphic designer, Ben Montag, experimenting on the OB-8 while I twisted knobs on the Bitstream 3X driving the MKS-80. See if you can identify which sound is coming from which synth.

OB-8 Versus MKS-80

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