Xpander 6-Voice Analog Synthesizer
Xpander 6-Voice Analog Synthesizer
Oberheim Xpander 6-voice analog synthesizer. Excellent Condition. There are plenty of scratches on the bottom, however the front and back look excellent. We did some touch up work on some of the scuffs.
This Xpander was pro-serviced and tuned by an old Oberheim technician who worked at Oberheim in the 1980's. It works great and sounds amazing!
The Xpander is a six-voice desktop version of the Matrix 12 with which it shares an identical voice architecture. In many ways they are the most flexible non-modular analog synths ever built. Each voice has five LFOs, each with about five different wave shapes, plus the ability to sample most other modulators; five envelopes that can repeat themselves, sync to an LFO, and so on; a lag processor (like portamento, but more general); three tracking generators (that apply a series of linear functions to a value over its range); some ramp generators (the attack portion of an envelope); a 15-mode filter and a user interface to make all of this accessible.
Another very useful feature is its CV/gate to MIDI conversion capabilities for communication with older synths. There are six CV and Gate inputs which use standard 1V/8va CV and positive gating. So you can connect up to 6 external sources delivering CV/Gate and convert that into MIDI. Ample output options offer stereo and mono outputs as well as six additional individual audio outputs (1 for each voice) allowing you to use the Xpander as a stereo polyphonic 6-voice synth, as six individual monosynths or any combination in between. There's even a 3rd party Mod (Oddernmart mod) that allows for an external audio input that can be routed through the filter. And like The Matrix synths, the Xpander sounds wonderful, capable of thick analog basses, pads and textures.
Each of the six voices of the Xpander is completely independent. That is to say, each could be configured to create a different timbre - this is accomplished via the multi-patch mode which will be described below.
Starting at waveform generation, each voice has two voltage controlled oscillators (VCOs). Each of which is capable of generating sawtooth, triangle, pulse, or noise waveforms. Furthermore, the pulse width can be modulated as well. Although perhaps better known for subtractive synthesis, the Xpander is also capable of frequency modulation (FM) synthesis by modulating VCO #1 with VCO #2.
Moving on from the VCOs, the signal then passes through a multi-mode voltage controlled filter (VCF). The available modes on the filter are:
- one-, two-, three- and four-pole low pass
- one-, two and three-pole high pass
- two- and four-pole band pass
- two-pole notch
- three-pole phase shift
- two- and three-pole high pass plus one-pole low pass
- two-pole notch plus one-pole low pass
- three-pole phase shift plus one-pole low pass
From the filter, there are two sequential voltage controlled amplifiers (VCAs) through which the signal must pass. And finally the audio is delivered to a variety of outputs: mono, stereo and six independent outputs (corresponding to the six voices).
Of those analog audio components (VCOs, VCF and VCAs), each can be modulated by several different digital controls.
- ADSR Envelopes - each voice can have up to five envelope generators. Each envelope is of the standard Attack-Decay-Sustain-Release model (ADSR), with the addition of an initial Delay phase, thus making them DADSR envelopes, to be exact.
- Low Frequency Oscillators (LFOs) - each voice can have up to five LFOs applied. Each LFO can have a different waveform: triangle, square, up-saw, down-saw, random or noise. Additionally, a sampling mode is provided, whereby an independent source (e.g. a different LFO) is sampled at a set frequency.
- Lag Generator - the lag function is similar to portamento on traditional synthesizers. However, the lag modulation in the Xpander can be applied to any control or audio signal.
- Ramp Generators - each voice can have up to four ramp generators. Similar to the attack portion of an ADSR envelope, the ramp generates a linear signal from zero to the user-defined ramp height.
- Tracking Generators - there are three tracking generators available for each voice. The tracking generator provides a mapping from a control source (e.g. key range on the keyboard, or volume pedal, or mod wheel) to a modified output, based on the user-defined settings of the generator.
Famous users and example uses
- Vince Clarke - On everything by Erasure until 2005. You can hear it very clearly on the 12" mix of "Sexuality", for example, at the start, and mid and low end parts (filter sweeps, etc.). He actually has two of them, and used them for the chorus tour in 1991 - 1992, which was mostly old analog synths. On early tours the Xpander was introduced as a member of the band as can be heard on live versions of Oh L'amour.
- Sasha - Whose track "Xpander" was written in homage to the instrument. That supersaw style sound, originated using the Xpander's filtering and multi/unison and stacking capabilities.
- Nitzer Ebb - Extensive use for basslines on Belief.
- Depeche Mode - Have two of them, and can clearly be heard on everything from "It's Called a Heart" and Black Celebration onwards
- Steve Roach - Everything from Empetus (1986) on.
- Daniel Miller - Has one in the Mute worldwide programming studio
- Human League - All over the mid 80's period & onward albums
- Juicy Audio Productions(Shekhar Raj Dhain) - Stars of Oryeon Album . Also film & T.V. work.
- Hans Zimmer - Sprinkled on various scores for films.
- Orbital - Everything from the first self-titled album onward
- Tangerine Dream - Everything from Le Parc onward.
- The Chemical Brothers - Can be heard in a lot of their music post-1995
- Meat Beat Manifesto - In a lot of their remixes
- Todd Tamanend Clark - From 1985 to the present.
- Nine Inch Nails - Including an Xpander modified for use with external inputs
- Clarence Jey
- Die Krupps
- MNDR - Feed Me Diamonds album
- Ceephax Acid Crew- Used on multiple tracks.
- Sota Fujimori - Used one in his college years, as well for many musical productions.
- Ray Lynch
- Jam & Spoon - Used on the track Stella
- Michael Brecker - Used on many recordings as the sound module for his EWI (Electronic Wind Instrument)