The SoundForce SFC-08 could be the most affordable route to owning a ‘hardware’ Oberheim OB-X, though you’ll need to bring your own synth plugin

SoundForce SFC-08
(Image credit: SoundForce)

If the Oberheim OB-X8 is a bit rich for your blood and you’re not keen on the Behringer UB-Xa, how do you go about recreating that classic hands-on ‘80s polysynth experience? The answer, it seems, could be SoundForce’s SFC-08, a new bespoke MIDI controller that enables you to make your favourite OB-style plugin feel like hardware.

SoundForce has been doing this kind of thing for years, of course, but the SFC-08 looks like a particularly fine example of the ‘software made real’ genre. Looking every inch like a classic Oberheim synth, it offers 37 rotary pots, 41 switches and 45 LEDs, all of which are clearly labelled, plus a couple of additional user controls that can be assigned to parameters of your choosing.

SoundForce SFC-08

(Image credit: SoundForce)

The SFC-08 comes pre-configured for a selection of some of the most popular OB-style plugins - you simply need to select the correct mode to ensure that every parameter is mapped as suitably as possible. If that doesn’t work for you, rest assured that SFC-08 can be used with any software that can receive MIDI; a web-based control panel app enables you to adjust the CC message number for each control, change the MIDI channel and load the different plugin modes.

If you own Arturia’s OB-Xa V, the SFC-08 looks particularly enticing, as 2-way integration is supported. This means that the controller interface is capable of updating when presets are changed in the plugin, when you switch between plugin instances or at any other time of your choosing, giving you a super-tight workflow. There are also 1-way modes for the GForce OB-X, SonicProjects OP-X PRO-II, DiscoDSP OB-Xd and Synapse Obsession.

At around €399, the SFC-08 certainly isn’t a cheap MIDI controller, but it’s worth noting that it has a sheet metal enclosure, a powder-coated and screen-printed front aluminium front panel and walnut side panels. As such, it should give you the look and feel of a vintage synth. The quality of the sound, of course, is all down to your software.

Find out more on the SoundForce website.

Ben Rogerson
Deputy Editor

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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