Brainworx have made a name for themselves creating top-notch effects plugins, and they’ve taken everything they’ve learned and poured it into bx_oberhausen, a wonderful emulation of the 1974 Oberheim SEM. Standing for Synthesizer Expander Module, the SEM was a two-oscillator monophonic and keyboardless box meant to supplement other monophonic synths, such as the Minimoog. Oberhaim later expanded the, um, expander into Two Voice, Four Voice, and Eight Voice synthesizer configurations. Brainworx has here taken the SEM and added multi-voice polyphony (up to 32), giving us a sort of super SEM.
Oberheim is known for its brass sounds, and in this the bx_oberhausen excels. It’s also right at home with bass and other monophonic (and unison) sounds, but thanks to the added polyphony it’s capable or almost anything. Key to its smooth character is the unique state variable filter, which is sweepable from low to high. It also has a static bandpass mode. Brainworx have thankfully included some of their famous effects, including the Maag Air Band, which makes everything that much more heavenly sounding. Lastly, engage the TMT (or Tolerance Modeling Technology) switch to introduce analogue instability to each unique voice.
All this analogue loveliness comes at a high price—not only the purchasing price (it’s not cheap), but in terms of CPU (it’s admittedly brutal). Even with our 2018 Mac Mini with 3.2 GHz i7 processor and 8GB of RAM, the CPU load indicator on Logic lit up like a Christmas tree. However, if both your wallet and computer can afford it, bx_oberhausen is well worth owning