Oliver Chesler (The Horrorist)
 
Throughout the early 70’s, Tom Oberheim quickly gained a reputation as a talented effects manufacturer. His company Oberheim Electronics notably engineered the Maestro Ring Modulator and Phase Shifter which had a huge success in the US market.

After gaining experience as an official dealer for ARP Synthesizers in Los Angeles, he showed the Synthesizer Expander Module (SEM), that he designed with the help of Dave Rossum of E-mu Systems, in May 1974 at the Audio Engineering Society Convention in L.A.


The SEM was one of the world’s first self-contained synthesizer modules. It was primarily developed as a convenient solution for musicians who wanted to set up sequences without tying up their main synths. The SEM also worked very well as an expander to fatten up the tone of other synthesizers like the Minimoog™ or the ARP Odyssey. Soon the SEM gained a popularity of its own, thanks to the unique sounds generated by its innovative multimode Filter.

Upon this success, Tom expanded its concept by creating polyphonic synthesizers that were in effect combinations of the SEM with a digital keyboard in one carry-case. These 4 voice and 8 voice monsters were not only rare and expensive but had some of the best sound ever.

In 1985, Oberheim Electronics closed, however. Its brand is continued by the Gibson Guitar Corporation. But to the joy of synth enthusiasts, Tom recently restarted producing hand-made, updated SEMs and has announced the release of a successor to his original 4-voice.
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A Classic Re-imagined

iSEM tips its hat to the familiar interface of the classic 1974 Oberheim SEM, but there's more than meets the eye. We've added a few new features and some of the extra functionality that people have come to expect from Arturia products.

Taking a cue from the flexibility of modular synthesizers, we give you a handy way to create your own custom signal flow in the Modulation Matrix. Send 8 source signals to 25 destinations with bipolar control of each signal.
Inspired by the multi-timbrality of the Oberheim 2, 4 and 8 voice, the 8 Voice Programmer is a powerful module on which you can edit no less than 7 additional virtual SEM voices. The Voice Programmer makes programming a breeze thanks to its ergonomic interface. Whether you want to play spectral pads or complex sequences, this module will allow you to reach amazing sonic results in no time.

Effects mode brings a wide ranging, high quality chorus, analog delay and overdrive to further sculpt your sound.

The Performance mode gives you access to a multifunction arpeggiator and four assignable sliders, giving you real-time control over your sound. Our 8 Voice Programmer allows you to create per-voice parameter variations to create subtle analog anomalies to wild frequency freak-outs.

A rotating keyboard control panel allows you to set octaves, choose scales and other parameters. Set your key and choose from 26 scales, including Major, Minor, Pentatonic, Lydian and more. Use Zoom mode to customize the width of each key to fit your fingers and playing style. We've also included a Hold function for long ambient patches and dialing in your sound over an arpeggio.

iSEM is based on our award winning TAE® analog modeling technology; the same exact technology found in the parent software SEM V. It is not sample based and it is not based on the simple algorithms that others use to simulate analog sounds. It uses the same technology that drives all the Arturia software products to achieve strikingly realistic sound. It's this attention to detail that gives you a more true to life and natural analog synthesizer sound.
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Think and Work Outside the Box

iSEM comes with over 500 sounds, created by some of the world’s best sound designers; sounds that are directly imported from our SEM V software.

We also include Audiobus technology which allows iSEM to be integrate to any other Audiobus equipped app. You can send the output to apps like Garageband, Beatmaker and Cubasis for external recording.


iSEM also supports Apple’s CORE MIDI so that you can control it via standard MIDI controllers or via other Core MIDI compliant apps. Using the Apple Camera Connection kit, you can use it with our MiniLab keyboard controller. It offers full MIDI mapping of the main panel controls, and supports WIST sync with other iOS devices.

iSEM also supports Apple’s new Inter-App audio system, as of iOS 7, which allows you direct audio patching of apps and remote transport controls.
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MAIN

The main mode is the screen Oberheim fans recognize instantly; it is the classic front panel of the SEM.

It includes the three oscillators, arpeggiator, LFOs, a recreation of the classic Oberheim multi-mode filter as well as the ADS envelopes. We have added our own touches and included the level controls for the chorus and delay as well as a poly switch to allow for polyphonic sounds.

Pressing the gear icon on the panel above the keyboard will reveal the keyboard controls.Set your key and choose from 26 scales, including Major, Minor, Pentatonic, Lydian and more. Use Zoom mode to customize the width of each key to fit your fingers and playing style. We've also included a Hold function for long ambient patches and dialing in your sound over an arpeggio.

You can load any of the hundreds of presets available by simply pressing Load and choosing the sound designer or category that you want to select from. Or, start with a basic patch to build upon and save your own creations to the My Presets folder. If you're an SEM V user you can share your patches between the desktop and iPad version of the SEM software via iTunes. You can even email your friends your latest preset from your iPad.
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MOD MATRIX

Create your own custom signal flow in the Modulation Matrix. With the Modulation Matrix you can send up to 8 source signals to 25 destinations with bipolar control of each signal. Use it to assign 8 different parameters to the Mod Wheel for some interstellar patch morphing. With even just its slightest use, the Mod Matrix will breathe new life into any patch.
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VOICE PROGRAMMER

Inspired by the multitimbrality of the Oberheim two, four and eight Voice, the 8 Voice Programmer is a powerful module which lets you edit the parameters of 7 additional voices. Voice Programmer makes programming a breeze thanks to its visual layout. Select one of six directions for voice selection with modes including FWD, BWD, FWD-BWD and RANDOM. Whether you want to play spectral pads or complex sequences, this module will allow you to reach amazing sonic results.
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FX

iSEM comes with the same wide ranging chorus, accurate analog delay and warm overdrive models that come in the SEM V software. The Chorus allows for subtle thickening sounds to wildly modulated effects. The stereo analog delay can sync to external tempo via WIST or CoreMIDI.
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PERFORMANCE

The Performance page gives you access to the arpeggiator and four assignable sliders. Use the sliders and arpeggiator together to create wildly evolving patterns and morphing sounds while manipulating the FX amounts in realtime.
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CONNECT

Using Audiobus (app sold separately) you can interface iSEM with a number of other iOS apps. You can use other virtual MIDI controllers to send note information to iSEM or record the output into your favorite DAW like Garageband or Cubasis.

iSEM will work with CoreMIDI interfaces and CoreMIDI devices via the camera connection kit or WiFi. Arturia's Analog Player 25, Analog Factory 32 and MiniLab keyboards make a perfect companion controller for iSEM.

All the knobs and switches in each page can be assigned to the MIDI CC of your choice allowing iSEM to be automated by any external MIDI source. For owners of our MiniLab or Analog Player 25 keyboards, the default MIDI map will work with your keyboard right off the start.


iSEM can also import and export presets to be used with our SEMi V software on the Mac and PC. This unique ability allows you the freedom to work how you want, anywhere you want.

You can also import your own presets via iTunes file sharing. To use iTunes file sharing :
  • Connect your iPad to your computer and open iTunes.
  • Select your iPad under the DEVICES header in the left navigation column.
  • Click on the “Apps” tab above the main window.
  • Scroll down to the “File Sharing” section.
  • Select iSEM from the list of Apps.
  • Under “iSEM Documents” click the “Add” button; this opens a dialog box to select the location of the presets on your computer.