New documentary explores the life and legacy of synth pioneer Tom Oberheim


The world of electronic music owes a lot of Tom Oberheim, the pioneer behind the Synthesizer Expander Module (SEM); Oberheim DSX sequencer; OB-X, DMX drum machine and other iconic pieces of kit.

The Kansas native, who has been working with electronic sounds since the 1960s, was also one of the leading instigators of the MIDI standard, alongside Roland and Sequential Circuits.

Now 85, Oberheim is still working, having regained the Oberheim Electronics name and intellectual property from guitar maker Gibson in 2019. “After over thirty years of being without it, I am thrilled to once again be able to use the Oberheim trademark for my products,” he said at the time.

Last year, he released a special edition of the TVS Pro synthesiser, the first new product to bear the Oberheim badge since 1985.

He’s the subject of a new documentary, Bright Sparks – Tom Oberheim, which is described as “a fascinating journey through the life and career of one of the most revered synthesiser pioneers”.

Produced by GForce Software, it’s a fascinating insight into the man himself and where he gets his inspiration, even well into his ninth decade.

You can watch it below.

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