French company Arturia will release a software recreation of the Oberheim SEM on October 25th. The original SEM’s trick was a 2-pole multimode filter which along with low-pass had high-pass, band-pass and band-reject settings. This gave the unit some wicked sharp sounds. For a while the SEM sound could only be had if you hit eBay. Then Tom Oberheim followed in Bob Moog and Dave Smith’s footsteps and got things going again. I have to mention my favorite SEM sounding synth the Analogue Solutions Telemark which I had a chance to play with recently. It adds a few tricks to the mix including in my opinion a very important feature: noise. It’s good to see Arturia back in the game emulating classic synths because I think it’s what they do best. It’s going to be tough for them to get the sharp filters right on the SEM. That said, the plug-ins are a good stepping stone to get people into hardware or for when you need SEM on an airplane, beach, hotel room, etc… They sure look very pretty too!
“After years without any addition to their Synthesizer Anthology series, Arturia has announced that it will soon bring back to life in software format one of the world’s most sough-after synthesizers. The Oberheim SEM V accurately emulates the famous sound and interface of the original Synthesizer Expander Module introduced by Oberheim Electronics in 1974. Faithfully reproducing the tone, waveshapes, multi-mode 12dB/octave filter and other detailed characteristics, the Oberheim SEM V also brings the benefits of polyphony, MIDI control, arpeggiation and some innovative functionalities such as the 8-voice programmer, or the advanced keyboard follow.” –kvraudio.com