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Oberheim 4-voice vintage ad

Submitted by on November 6, 2009 – 1:09 pm One Comment

The Oberheim 4 voice was the first proper poly synth, and also the first synthesizer to us a digitally scanned keyboard. Each of it’s voices is a complete Oberheim SEM module, each functioning as an independent monosynth. Because each SEM had it’s own controls for each parameter, you could get some hugely fat pads and strings with an endless amount of character.

This advertisement if for Oberheim’s Four Voice Synthesizer (click on it for a larger version), appearing on page 2 of Contemporary Keyboard magazines’s May/June issue from 1976.  Oberheim has just started shipping synths in November of the previous year.

Here’s a copy of the ad text:

What do you say to a synthesizer player who’s fed up with playing only one note at a time?

You tell him that you’re got a four-voice synthesizer that’s truly polyphonic and that it’s expandable to eight voices; and that the basic elements of the instrument are called Synthesizer Expander Modules (SEM) that are actually mini-synthesizers in themselves.

You also might want to mention that the unit is built to travel as well as to produce the cleanest, most versatile effects in the studio; and that Stevie Wonder, Herbie Hancock, Joe Zawinul and Tomita, among others, have already got the message.

Oberheim’s logo was definitely one of the coolest in the business. We actually sell a recreation of the logo done up as a fridge magnet. Check out this and other vintage synth fridge magnets here.

Luckily, Tom Oberheim has just recently resurrected the SEM. You can find out more about the Oberheim 4-voice here, and you can find out more about the reissue here.

Photo courtesy of RetroSynthAds.

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