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  • Barry Warne KJX

Oberheim 8-Voice

This previously belonged to the Steve Miller Band and was for sale locally in the early 1980s. It was a 16-oscillator, stereo output beast with a limited programmer (patch recall). The sound could go from delicate and intimate to Saturn Booster powerful. Each of the 8 S.E.M. units had two oscillators, an LFO, LP-HP-BP-Notch filter and envelope. Meaning you could have 8 individual sounds to play in Unison or in Polyphony. The audio output was stereo and you could pan each SEM voice individually for nice panning effects. In reality, it was cumbersome and certainly not practical for live work on stage. It was something like have a beautiful 12-string guitar that you would have to set up for each song. You would dial up one sound across the 8 SEMs and play ... only to have to change each SEM for the next song. In the studio on recordings it could cut through the mix without even breaking a sweat. The Programmer was limited and only saved a handful of global settings. That was early digital control of analog circuitry, circa 1976-1977. It presented a good education on where and how polyphonic synths came from, on how digital control and analog oscillators could be combined.

Oberheim 8-Voice Polyphonic Synthesizer

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