More of the SEM? GForce Software’s officially-endorsed Oberheim synth plugin goes beyond the original

Having already released two versions of OB-E, its plugin recreation of the Oberheim 8-Voice, GForce Software has now unveiled an officially-endorsed emulation of the Oberheim SEM. 

Given that the 8-Voice (and, therefore, the OB-E) is frequently described as ‘eight SEMs in one’, we’re guessing that a lot of the development groundwork had already been done here, but, conceptually, this is a very different beast, being a simple monophonic synth that enables you to design sounds fast.

What’s more, GForce’s version has been recreated with the blessing and help of both Tom Oberheim and Marcus Ryle, an Oberheim engineer during the ‘80s, so authenticity should be a given.

In fact, GForce says that it’s gone so far as to model the “analogue inaccuracies” of the original SEM - which was released back in 1974 - giving you a convincing blend of analogue character and digital precision.

There are new features, too: a third VCO, which doubles as an audio rate LFO for additional modulation and FM possibilities; tempo-syncable LFOs; and velocity and aftertouch modulation. 

You also get an arpeggiator and sequencer, a stereo delay and a reverb, and more than 400 presets.

“The beauty of the SEM lies in its combination of great sound and simple to use architecture,” say Dave Spiers & Chris Macleod, co-founders of GForce Software. “That’s why, since its release in 1974, the SEM has remained highly coveted and musically relevant. 

“Over four decades later, we’re beyond thrilled to release our software version with Tom Oberheim’s full blessing, collaboration and endorsement.” 

Speaking of which, Tom Oberheim - who celebrates his birthday today - also has a comment: “It’s so good to hear something that’s dear to my heart done properly in software.” 

It sounds like the SEM plugin is a product of mutual respect, then; it’s available now at the introductory price of £30 plus VAT (regular price will be £50 plus VAT) and runs in VST/AU/AAX formats on PC and Mac.

Find out more on the GForce Software website.

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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