Aly James Lab OB-Xtreme 2.0, the mother of all OB-X and OB-Xa emulations?

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Aly James Lab has released OB-Xtreme 2.0, a major free update for its OB-X and OB-Xa Synthesizer emulation with more accuracy, features, and more.

Plugin makers love to emulate vintage devices like synthesizers, drum machines, effects, or even mastering units. One of the most emulated synth brands is definitely Oberheim. Only recently, we saw a Tom Oberheim endorsed emulation of the Oberheim SEM.

Now the next emulation is just around the corner. Not by Gforce, but Aly James Lab has updated its beloved OB-Xtreme to version 2.0 

Aly James OB-Xtreme 2.0

Aly James Lab OB-Xtreme 2.0

Good news: OB-Xtreme 2.0 is now available as a free update for all users of version 1.0. As of today (July 19, 2022), it is still a pre-release version that is not quite finished. They are missing some features, and the factory presets. Like its predecessor, OB-Xtreme 2.0 attempts to be an accurate emulation of the Oberheim OB-X and OB-Xa.

To achieve this even better, Aly James has rewritten and refined the sound engine of the plugin. It now offers up to x32 oversampling and has 8 voices that can be played in polyphonic or monophonic unison with per voice pan control and global stereo widening control. You can also turn it into a real one-voice mono or as a polyphonic unison synth with 8×8.

Version 2 also brings most of the Oberheim OB-X and OB-Xa hardware functions to the synth, including oscillator shapes, X-MOD, filter envelope, sync, etc., on top of the new modulation routing options. Aly James also enhanced the oscillators spectrum and filter modes (2Pole/4Pole LowPass and 2Pole BandPass). They are based on the OB 2pole state-variable filter and CEM 3320 24dB. There is also an optional volume compensation for the 4pole filter.

OB-Xtreme 2.0 also has more accurate saw + pulse oscillator mixing and a post and pre OTA variable distortion called Xtreme factor with bypass option for extra juice. The original hardware used the CA3080 chip in the VCA, filter, and output stage. There are also new legacy modes for the filter modulation and EG/VCA shape to match the snappier sounds of version 1.

Aly James OB-Xtreme 2.0

Fine The Virtual Circuits

Aly James offers all users a special highlight under the UI. Here you can set each voice card exactly how it should behave. You can modify the engine here to get these beloved imperfections from the vintage hardware units. Perfect for achieving a more “vintage” sound. There are voice cards voltage offsets and deviations that can be controlled with five macro controls. Additionally, you can work with optional random propagation and real-time deviation (per note).

There are also numerous innovations in the modulators that make the synth more flexible. Starting with a vibrato LFO, an “original LFO” and an additional second LFO. Then, they also offer a phase reverse option for the LFO on card 1,3,5,7, so you get phase reversed modulations. Plus, you get inverted key tracking. You also benefit from gate re-trigger option on the LFOs and multiple waveforms.  LFO2 can also be BPM synced.

The developer also added an internal preset browser with main categories and gave the UI a major refresh. You can now choose between an OB-X (light mode) or OB-Xa (dark mode) skin.

Yes, it is another emulation of a classic. However, not a completely new one but a further development of a popular plugin from a one-man developer company. I am happy to see that the plugin is getting version 2. The possibility of intervening in the emulated circuits is undoubtedly very exciting. I

From the first demos and audio examples on Soundcloud, it sounds awesome. However, one must see if it is the best emulation of OB-X and OB-Xa or not. And a big like for the fair pricing.

Alj James Lab OB-Xtreme 2.0 is available now for 45€ and runs as a VST3 and AU plugin on macOS and Windows. The pre-release version is fully functional minus the v2 factory presets the LFO2, and some other extras. The official release will be in September. Existing customers of OB-Xtreme version 1 can upgrade for free.

More information here: Alj James Lab

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