Oberheim Electronics is an American company, founded in 1969 by Tom Oberheim (a former designer and contract manufacturer for Maestro), which manufactures audio synthesizers and a variety of other electronic musical instruments.

Originally a manufacturer of electronic effects devices (most notably the Maestro phase shifter), and briefly an ARP Instruments dealer, Oberheim went on to create several ground-breaking products in the early days of synthesizers and electronic music including the DS-2 (one of the first digital music sequencers) and the Synthesizer Expansion Module (SEM).

Oberheim went bankrupt and was acquired in 1985 by a group of lawyers who changed the name to Oberheim ECC. Tom was creatively still at the helm, although he left the company within a couple of years to start a new venture called Marion Systems. After a second bankruptcy in the early 1988, Gibson Guitar Corporation, a larger musical instrument manufacturer (who, incidentally, also owned the Maestro brand), acquired Oberheim, and in collaboration with Don Buchla produced the OB-Mx, the Echoplex Digital Pro in collaboration with Aurisis Research, and the Strummer with Viscount International.
Ironically, Gibson had split away from its parent company, Norlin, in 1986. Norlin handled distribution for Oberheim's major competitor, Moog Music.

The trademark was later licensed to Viscount International, an Italian digital-organ producer. Viscount developed in a few years various instruments that were very innovative for the time and are still in demand: the digital synth Oberheim OB*12, the guitar DSP GM-1000 with lot of effects, the MC series of master keyboards, and the OB32, a portable and inexpensive imitation of the popular Hammond series of organs.



Login or Register to post a comment