New Oberheim SEM released by Tom Oberheim
The Oberheim SEM (Synthesizer Expander Module) was the first synth put out by Tom Oberheim in the 70′s. It was meant to be a second, backup synth to be connected to a sequencer for layering with other synthesizers. The SEM was simply a module with no keyboard - two analog oscillators, a 2-pole multimode filter, ADR envelopes, and an LFO.
Other synths at the time such as the Minimoog and Arps had steep, thick-sounding roll-offs on their filters (24dB/oct), and the SEM had a much thinner sounding 12dB/oct filter. Although it was thinner sounding, it was much more versatile because it offered many modes in addition to low-pass, including high-pass, band-pass and band-reject. It eventually grew to be a classic piece of gear, which is still much sought after today for its unique sound.
You can still Find Oberheim SEM’s on eBay - here is a list of ones currently available there.
Fast forward to 2009, enter the NEW Tom Oberheim SEM:
Tom Oberheim has finally decided to re-release the SEM with some updated features (I can hear the rejoicing now by the army of SEM-lovers). It was shown by Tom at the Red Bull Music Academy presentation in Boston yesterday.
Here’s an edited version of Oberheim’s introduction. Tom talks about the new SEM, pricing, and gives a demo of how it sounds:
Now that there is an updated Prophet 5, Minimoog and SEM, all we need now is an updated Arp 2600.
Watch this space – Sign up for updates to be notified when we review the new SEM.
What do you think of the new synth? Let us know!