Show Summary Details

Page of

Printed from Grove Music Online. Grove is a registered trademark. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy).

date: 19 August 2019

Oberheim, Thomas Elroy locked

  • Hugh Davies
  • , revised by Kyle Devine


(b Manhattan, KS, July 7, 1936). American designer of electronic instruments. His name is primarily associated with the range of synthesizers designed by him and manufactured since 1974 by Oberheim Electronics in California. While working as an electronics engineer for a small computer company in the late 1960s, Oberheim was asked to construct a ring modulator, and the success of the original device (on the soundtrack of 1970s Beneath the Planet of the Apes and among jazz keyboardists) led to requests for others. In 1971 Maestro marketed both Oberheim’s ring modulator and his phase shifter; Oberheim Electronics was set up in connection with their production.

In 1973, when he was an agent for ARP synthesizers, Oberheim devised a digital sequencer (DS-2), and the following year his company developed the Synthesizer Expander Module (SEM), a small monophonic synthesizer with two oscillators. The SEM had no keyboard control and was designed not as a standalone unit but, rather, as a tone generator that could work alongside the DS-2 or existing synthesizers like the ARP 2600 and Minimoog....

Access to the complete content on Grove Music Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.

High Fidelity/Musical America Edition