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Oberheim Matrix synthesizers

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Oberheim Matrix-12 (1985–1988)

Oberheim Matrix synthesizers were a product line of subtractive analog synthesizers from Oberheim featuring a system of modulation which Oberheim called "Matrix Modulation" as a method of selecting and routing elements that dynamically shape various aspects of the sounds it produces. Matrix synthesizers continue to be popular due to their characteristic late-1980s analog sound and leading patching and filter capabilities.

These five products fall into two groups. The Xpander is a six-voice rack-mount synthesizer with voltage-controlled oscillators and very flexible voltage-controlled filters. The Matrix-12 is in effect two Xpanders plus a keyboard. The second group consists of the Matrix-6 synthesizer, with DCOs, and much more standard filter capability. It had two rack-mount variants, the Matrix-6R (Matrix-6 without keyboard) and the Matrix-1000 (low cost preset version with extended memory).


Xpander[1] Matrix-12[2] Matrix-6[3] Matrix-6R[4] Matrix-1000[5][6][7]
Image(s) Oberheim Matrix-12 synthesizer top view with background erased.
Polyphony 6 voices 12 voices 6 voices
Oscillators 12 VCOs (2 per voice) featuring CEM3374 24 VCOs (2 per voice) featuring CEM3374 12 DCOs (2 per voice) featuring CEM3396
Filter Multimode, 15 variations of
low / high / band / notch / phase shift resonant filter
based on CEM 3372 w/ external switch circuitry
low-pass filter using CEM3396's LPF same as 6R but different capacitors
LFO 5 (per voice)
(plus 1 global for vibrato effect)
2 (per voice)
(plus 1 global for vibrato effect)
Envelopes 5 (per voice) 3 (per voice)
Layers 6-part multitimbral
with up to 6 zones
12-part multitimbral
with up to 6 zones
2-part multitimbral
with up to 2 zones
Memory 100 patches, 100 multi 100 patches, 50 multi 1000 patches (800 preset, 200 user)
Form Factor Desktop 61-key (velocity & channel aftertouch) Rackmount
Production 1984–1988 1985–1988 1985–1988 1986–1988 1988–1994
Price US$3995 US$6399 US$1695 US$999 US$599


  1. ^ Oberheim Xpander page at Vintage Synth Explorer
  2. ^ Oberheim Matrix 12 page at Vintage Synth Explorer
  3. ^ Oberheim Matrix 6 page at Vintage Synth Explorer
  4. ^ Oberheim Matrix 6 page at Vintage Synth Explorer
  5. ^ Oberheim Matrix 1000 page at Vintage Synth Explorer
  6. ^ Oberheim Matrix 1000 manual at Vintage Synth Explorer
  7. ^ "Oberheim Matrix 1000". Sound On Sound. June 1994. Archived from the original on 7 June 2015.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

  • VintageSynth.com has specifications and photos
  • OB6000.de The Editor for the Matrix 1000
  • Xplorer A free, realtime editor for the Oberheim Matrix-12 and Xpander synthesizers