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The UB-Xa Synthesizer
Old 2 weeks ago
  #6151
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by kurzweil View Post
When I look at how much those synths cost then, and how much work they needed to keep them in good shape, I have nothing but respect for anyone who managed to buy one. It must have been a great time to live through. I was just watching from the sidelines as a teenager (with no money), but I got a chance to play an Xa at a pro musician's house one time and I was smitten by the sound. As I was leaving I actually had the cheek to ask him if he wouldn't mind giving the synth to me (as it was taking up space in his studio and didn't get used much..) He politely declined.
The OBX and the OBXa, along with the Prophet 5 were astounding for that period of our history. Up until then there were mono synths, organs, Wurly and Rhodes pianos.

Along comes the Prophet 5, Oberheim, Moog poly synths. WOW. Arp put out some decent synths for less money. I started with the OBX in 1979. Got a bank loan to buy it. I bought the OBXa when that was introduced and put the OBX up for sale. I refinanced my loan. Fortunately, I was playing music AND working a job, so I was paying out the nose to keep those instruments. I bought the Prophet 5 3.2 (which I still own) after most of the loan was paid down. The Loan manager was licking his chops when I walked in. I was up to my ears in hock for years. Drove a beater equipment van, low rent and band roommates. Eat cheap. Single. Some sacrifices have to be made.

Those analog synths weren't that bad to maintain, provided they were handled with care. Bang them around or ship them on an airplane and usually the Osc had to be calibrated. What usually happened to those vintage synths is they would just die and not work anymore. Transistors would go bad on boards, so buying extra voice boards was a good idea.

I have one of the last remaining analog synth technicians in the state within less than an hour's drive of me. I had him calibrate the Osc in the Prophet, replace the KB bushings on the entire keybed, and replace a few switches on the Prophet about 5 or 6 years ago, That's the only work ever done on it. I was smart enough to buy spare parts for it when they were available. It still plays just fine. It hasn't been moved out of my house since 1989.

Edit: I've been trying to upload a photo but the attachment only gives me the option of a URL, not a file. I tried to copy the file over from imgur.com but this website said it was an invalid file type. Why do we have to be computer experts to upload a picture?

Thanks for your help tteich. I finally got it to go!


Mike T.
Attached Thumbnails
The UB-Xa Synthesizer-kb-rig1-2005.jpg   The UB-Xa Synthesizer-rhodes-odyssey.jpg   The UB-Xa Synthesizer-odyssey-os-side1.jpg  

Last edited by mikt156; 1 week ago at 09:50 PM.. Reason: A thank you to tteich
Old 2 weeks ago
  #6152
Gear Nut
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikt156 View Post
...
Edit: I've been trying to upload a photo but the attachment only gives me the option of a URL, not a file. I tried to copy the file over from imgur.com but this website said it was an invalid file type. Why do we have to be computer experts to upload a picture?


Mike T.
Did you find the "Attach Files" section under Additional Options below the edit field? button "Manage Attachments" lets you upload a known image format (png, jpg)
Attached Thumbnails
The UB-Xa Synthesizer-screen-shot-2019-06-12-17.26.10.jpg  
Old 2 weeks ago
  #6153
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikt156 View Post
The OBX and the OBXa, along with the Prophet 5 were astounding for that period of our history. Up until then there were mono synths, organs, Wurly and Rhodes pianos.
The Oberheim FVS/8VS (1975) and Yamaha CS-80 (1976) came out before any of those instruments. There were also plenty of other polyphonic electronic instruments that weren't organs: the Mellotron/Chamberlin immediately springs to mind, as does the RMI keyboard computer (1974), the Orchestron (1974), Solina String Ensemble (1974), Polymoog (1975), ARP Omni (1975), Korg Polyphonic Ensemble (1976), Roland RS-202 (1976), Korg PS 3300 (1977), etc., etc., etc.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #6154
Gear Maniac
Yeah, I know. We were discussing the OBERHEIM. I grew up in that period of our history so save it.

I own other vintage synths other than what we were discussing. I was referring to the synths that I bought.



Mike T.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #6155
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by tteich View Post
Did you find the "Attach Files" section under Additional Options below the edit field? button "Manage Attachments" lets you upload a known image format (png, jpg)
Yeah, I tried it. It keeps asking for a URL. So, I coped a .jpg image and tried to upload it, and the screen You Posted did not accept the image. I copy and paste to the keyboard corner and don't have this problem. I'm not going to waste my time with this, I have other things to do.

Thanks for your assistance.


Mike T.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #6156
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikt156 View Post
The OBX and the OBXa, along with the Prophet 5 were astounding for that period of our history. Up until then there were mono synths, organs, Wurly and Rhodes pianos.

Along comes the Prophet 5, Oberheim, Moog poly synths. WOW. Arp put out some decent synths for less money. I started with the OBX in 1979. Got a bank loan to buy it. I bought the OBXa when that was introduced and put the OBX up for sale. I refinanced my loan. Fortunately, I was playing music AND working a job, so I was paying out the nose to keep those instruments. I bought the Prophet 5 3.2 (which I still own) after most of the loan was paid down. The Loan manager was licking his chops when I walked in. I was up to my ears in hock for years. Drove a beater equipment van, low rent and band roommates. Eat cheap. Single. Some sacrifices have to be made.

Those analog synths weren't that bad to maintain, provided they were handled with care. Bang them around or ship them on an airplane and usually the Osc had to be calibrated. What usually happened to those vintage synths is they would just die and not work anymore. Transistors would go bad on boards, so buying extra voice boards was a good idea.

I have one of the last remaining analog synth technicians in the state within less than an hour's drive of me. I had him calibrate the Osc in the Prophet, replace the KB bushings on the entire keybed, and replace a few switches on the Prophet about 5 or 6 years ago, That's the only work ever done on it. I was smart enough to buy spare parts for it when they were available. It still plays just fine. It hasn't been moved out of my house since 1989.

Edit: I've been trying to upload a photo but the attachment only gives me the option of a URL, not a file. I tried to copy the file over from imgur.com but this website said it was an invalid file type. Why do we have to be computer experts to upload a picture?


Mike T.
I'm assuming that buying an OBX on your own back then was equivalent to buying a car?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #6157
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mallery7 View Post
I'm assuming that buying an OBX on your own back then was equivalent to buying a car?
More like making the down payment on a house.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #6158
Old 2 weeks ago
  #6159
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kramdown View Post
More like making the down payment on a house.
Yeah sometimes for fun I like to just think of what a person who wasn't in a major label band could afford to buy at the time. I assume either older used stuff, or synths like a polysix or Juno 60.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #6160
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Weedlekin View Post
The Oberheim FVS/8VS (1975) and Yamaha CS-80 (1976) came out before any of those instruments. There were also plenty of other polyphonic electronic instruments that weren't organs: the Mellotron/Chamberlin immediately springs to mind, as does the RMI keyboard computer (1974), the Orchestron (1974), Solina String Ensemble (1974), Polymoog (1975), ARP Omni (1975), Korg Polyphonic Ensemble (1976), Roland RS-202 (1976), Korg PS 3300 (1977), etc., etc., etc.
Yes but each of those is some combination of either horribly impractical, prohibitively expensive, or not particularly versatile.

The game-changer was analog synth voices under full microprocessor control, introduced in 1978 on the Prophet-5, then a year later on the OB and Jupiter series.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #6161
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mallery7 View Post
I'm assuming that buying an OBX on your own back then was equivalent to buying a car?
I had to sell my Prophet 5 (first poly) and empty my bank account to buy my OB-8/DSX/DMX system, even with the employee discount.

Before the polys, I remember a review of my old band, said we weren't a real prog rock band because no Mellotron. That really hurt—was I supposed to be a rich kid or something? (I made do with a used Elka Rhapsody for strings.)
Old 2 weeks ago
  #6162
Lives for gear
 
ZT Scheer's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikt156 View Post
Yeah, I know. We were discussing the OBERHEIM. I grew up in that period of our history so save it.

I own other vintage synths other than what we were discussing. I was referring to the synths that I bought. ...
OK, Mike ... we'll all be certain to limit discussion only to the context of your life history, and the specified time-periods within it which you find interesting or important.

Please let us know any other ways we can tailor the environment narrowly to your comfort zone.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #6163
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikt156 View Post
Yeah, I know. We were discussing the OBERHEIM. I grew up in that period of our history so save it.
So did I (born 1960), and the part I quoted and responded was clearly a general and wrong point that had nothing to with what you'd bought, and furthermore mentioned the Prophet 5, which was not made by Oberheim. But I will bow to your attempt at post-hoc goal-post moving in case you are rude to me again.
Old 1 week ago
  #6164
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by mallery7 View Post
I'm assuming that buying an OBX on your own back then was equivalent to buying a car?
Yes it was. I paid $4200.00 for it in 1979 money. I was working a day job, playing on weekends at ski resorts, and could show more than enough income to get a loan. I had saved my money for a few years and was looking for a higher end synth. My living expenses were low, had room mates, a used equipment van, and the credit history I had was paid on time.

It was a big leap, but was worth it. What a great sound.

Previously I had Mini Moog's and mono synth's were OK for solo but I wanted a poly.

If I could figure out how to get a jpg photo to Post on this website, I do have some pictures. I tried to Post a photo of my music room with the last photo I have, but couldn't get it to take a jpg file. Computers.
Old 1 week ago
  #6165
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZT Scheer View Post
OK, Mike ... we'll all be certain to limit discussion only to the context of your life history, and the specified time-periods within it which you find interesting or important.

Please let us know any other ways we can tailor the environment narrowly to your comfort zone.
When you put your 2 cents into an on-going conversation I was having with ONE person, you can expect my response. I grew up in the period of time, bought lots of equipment, some of which I still own. I know a lot of the history of what instruments were available in the sixties and seventies, but of course I didn't pay attention to brands that weren't all that great, at least in my opinion.

You can choose to ignore me if you wish. I was conversing with Kurzweil.

Oh, and have a nice day!



Mike T.
Old 1 week ago
  #6166
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Weedlekin View Post
So did I (born 1960), and the part I quoted and responded was clearly a general and wrong point that had nothing to with what you'd bought, and furthermore mentioned the Prophet 5, which was not made by Oberheim. But I will bow to your attempt at post-hoc goal-post moving in case you are rude to me again.
Thank you for enlightening me. Oberheim was made by Tom Oberheim and the Prophet 5 was made by Sequential Circuits, Dave Smith. I still have my Prophet 5, the Oberheim's are gone. SOLD.


Mike T.
Old 1 week ago
  #6167
Lives for gear
 
ZT Scheer's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikt156 View Post
You can choose to ignore me if you wish. I was conversing with Kurzweil. ...
Nahh, I don't put people on ignore much.
BTW: There's this thing here called a private message, if you want to have a private conversation with only one person.

Well wishes to you also.
Old 1 week ago
  #6168
Gear Maniac
My apologizes for getting testy with you! I have found that some people butt into conversations at times, and are not being constructive. I like to read what other people's experiences are and try to enjoy myself in my senior years.


Cheers!



Mike T.
Attached Thumbnails
The UB-Xa Synthesizer-christmasparty058bright.jpg  
Old 1 week ago
  #6169
Gear Nut
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikt156 View Post
...
Thanks for your help tteich. I finally got it to go!


Mike T.
Old 1 week ago
  #6170
Lives for gear
 
ZT Scheer's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikt156 View Post
My apologizes for getting testy with you! I have found that some people butt into conversations at times, and are not being constructive. I like to read what other people's experiences are and try to enjoy myself in my senior years. ...
You're a "top contributor" in my estimation, so there isn't much beyond direct insults that I'd find offensive, lol.
Old 1 week ago
  #6171
Lives for gear
 
kurzweil's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikt156 View Post
Yes it was. I paid $4200.00 for it in 1979 money. I was working a day job, playing on weekends at ski resorts, and could show more than enough income to get a loan. I had saved my money for a few years and was looking for a higher end synth. My living expenses were low, had room mates, a used equipment van, and the credit history I had was paid on time.

It was a big leap, but was worth it. What a great sound.

Previously I had Mini Moog's and mono synth's were OK for solo but I wanted a poly.

If I could figure out how to get a jpg photo to Post on this website, I do have some pictures. I tried to Post a photo of my music room with the last photo I have, but couldn't get it to take a jpg file. Computers.
$4,200 in 1979 is about $14,815 today, so that's quite an investment.
Amazing that we might get this synth now as a clone for about $1000..
Old 1 week ago
  #6172
Gear Maniac
There was a time when I was making money, working a day job, playing the ski resorts with a guitar player as a duo. We played most of 4 ski seasons and made a pile of money. I still needed a loan in addition to all the money we made because I bought other equipment too.

I have some pictures of when I started doing a solo act using my updated KB rig, and have been digging to find where I put them. Some of those photos go back to the seventies. Stay tuned.

I hope that Behringer can come up with a decent OBX or OBXa Clone.


Mike T.
Old 1 week ago
  #6173
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZT Scheer View Post
You're a "top contributor" in my estimation, so there isn't much beyond direct insults that I'd find offensive, lol.
Thanks! I'm a fossil compared to some of other folks, the only thing older than me is DIRT.

I have to locate the photos I have with my KB set with my Oberheim and other KB's playing a gig with everything setup on stage. I'll find it and Post it.

Cheers!


Mike T.
Old 1 week ago
  #6174
Lives for gear
 
ZT Scheer's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikt156 View Post
There was a time when I was making money, working a day job, playing the ski resorts with a guitar player as a duo. We played most of 4 ski seasons and made a pile of money. I still needed a loan in addition to all the money we made because I bought other equipment too. ...
It could be seen as a "get off my lawn comment', but I think few realize how much being an electronic musician used to be synonymous with crippling debt.

I know you can relate to this ... but I bought my Prophet5 for $3300 in 1978 ... which was a steal at the time. That's almost $13,000 in 2019 dollars. But I also needed a Wurlitzer EP200a, and a MiniMoog before that, and then ...
Old 1 week ago
  #6175
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikt156 View Post
There was a time when I was making money, working a day job, playing the ski resorts with a guitar player as a duo. We played most of 4 ski seasons and made a pile of money. I still needed a loan in addition to all the money we made because I bought other equipment too.

I have some pictures of when I started doing a solo act using my updated KB rig, and have been digging to find where I put them. Some of those photos go back to the seventies. Stay tuned.

I hope that Behringer can come up with a decent OBX or OBXa Clone.


Mike T.
I for one appreciate the historical perspective, so I'd like to say thank you for your enlivening posts and please don't get pissed off by the acerbic posts on here which can drag things down sometimes
Old 1 week ago
  #6176
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZT Scheer View Post
It could be seen as a "get off my lawn comment', but I think few realize how much being an electronic musician used to be synonymous with crippling debt.

I know you can relate to this ... but I bought my Prophet5 for $3300 in 1978 ... which was a steal at the time. That's almost $13,000 in 2019 dollars. But I also needed a Wurlitzer EP200a, and a MiniMoog before that, and then ...
Yeah, I can relate to that!

I paid $3200 for my Prophet 5 in 1981. Its a Rev 3.2. You must have been the Rev 2. There were only 1000 of that Rev ever made. if you have it now, its worth BIG BUCKS. Even more if it works!

I held off on the Prophet 5 because I was told the earlier models were not reliable. My music dealer told me to hold off. The Rev 2 sounded awesome! I still had debt when that was the current model and had to wait. My Prophet 5 still works!
Old 1 week ago
  #6177
Lives for gear
 
ZT Scheer's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikt156 View Post
... I held off on the Prophet 5 because I was told the earlier models were not reliable. ...
They weren't. I first saw a P5 prototype in the warehouse of (famous then) Don Weir's Music City in San Francisco ... circa 1977. I was picking up a Polymoog at the time.

The P5 prototype controls were labeled with Dymo tape!! I remember asking my sales guy "what's that?". He said "oh some thing a guy is trying to get us to sell". He went on to explain how it stored 56 Patches (!) in memory, sounded "pretty good", but "won't stay in tune for more than one song". That's where the tuning button came in to play, lol.
Old 1 week ago
  #6178
Lives for gear
 
Somebodyperson's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZT Scheer View Post
They weren't. I first saw a P5 prototype in the warehouse of (famous then) Don Weir's Music City in San Francisco ... circa 1977. I was picking up a Polymoog at the time.

The P5 prototype controls were labeled with Dymo tape!! I remember asking my sales guy "what's that?". He said "oh some thing a guy is trying to get us to sell". He went on to explain how it stored 56 Patches (!) in memory, sounded "pretty good", but "won't stay in tune for more than one song". That's where the tuning button came in to play, lol.
How foolish he must have felt in due time.

Would have been exciting to have lived back then, but I feel I was born at the right time.
Old 1 week ago
  #6179
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZT Scheer View Post
They weren't. I first saw a P5 prototype in the warehouse of (famous then) Don Weir's Music City in San Francisco ... circa 1977. I was picking up a Polymoog at the time.

The P5 prototype controls were labeled with Dymo tape!! I remember asking my sales guy "what's that?". He said "oh some thing a guy is trying to get us to sell". He went on to explain how it stored 56 Patches (!) in memory, sounded "pretty good", but "won't stay in tune for more than one song". That's where the tuning button came in to play, lol.
My, you WERE the early bird. I didn't see a Prophet until one showed up in a music store where I bought some KB's. I took a look at it and thought it was the nicest synth design I ever saw. It sort of reminded me of the Mini Moog, in a way, of course the Mini had 3 Osc, instead of two on the Prophet. I only played it for a few minutes and I thought it sounded great. I believe it was a Rev 2 by then. That music dealer didn't stock them until Sequential came out with the Rev 3. That Rev 3 sounded a little thinner than the Rev 2, but I found it replicated individual instruments better than the Oberheim, which was better for pads. I had them stacked on top of my Piano and it was a great combination.

My Prophet stored 40 patches. I did buy the memory upgrade for 120 Patches when it was available but I never had it installed. I thought I might have to sell it at some point and if someone wanted "an all original" Prophet, that came with 40 Patches. I still have the memory upgrade and some spare parts stashed in a box in my music room. I have my original manual too.

So which Rev did you buy?


Mike T.
Old 1 week ago
  #6180
Lives for gear
 
donato's Avatar
1. Where is the Solina?

2. Nobody has room for all these keyboards. Get the memo already. We need desktops/rack modules whatever. You're doing good on remakes, but you could be doing a lot better.
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