Cherry Audio Synthesizer Expander Module, free Oberheim SEM Synthesizer emulation for Christmas

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Cherry Audio Synthesizer Expander Module is a new plugin that emulates the legendary Oberheim SEM synth; it’s free for Christmas.

The Christmas season officially began on the first day of December. A time when you not only receive gifts from your family but also from many companies. Especially in the software area. 

Also, this year, from Cherry Audio. They are giving away the new SEM (Synthesizer Expander Module) Synthesizer plugin throughout December 2023.  It will be available for free forever

Cherry Audio Synthesizer Expander Module 

Cherry Audio Synthesizer Expander Module (SEM)

The SEM is a free emulation of the legendary Oberheim Synthesizer Expander module. A synth used by many legendary artists like Toto’s Steve Porcaro, Styx, Jan Hammer, and more.

Like the original, Cherry Audio’s take on this iconic synth is a mono synth. The polyphonic version, the Eight Voice, is available as a separate purchase.

According to the developer, it’s an authentic software replica of it with the same features. It’s another collaboration with synth designer Mark Barton. 

It features two accurate oscillators with a 4-32 range and saw & pulse waveforms. You can work with PWM, sync, and FM on each oscillator. For super-rich sounds, it also offers a unison mode. There is also an adjustable noise level. 

Then, the signal goes through a multi-mode 12dB/octave state-variable filter emulation (LP, Notch, HP) with cutoff and resonance controls. 

You get two ADS envelopes and a single LFO on the modulation side. They primarily modulate the VCA and VCF but can also be used to modulate the frequency, PWM, and more.

To refine your sounds, Cherry Audio added two effects to its SEM emulation. One is a unique phasor that emulates the vintage Oberheim stop box. The other is a studio-quality effect processor with tempo sync. It has controls over time, feedback, and a dry/wet mix control. 

Further, it fully supports MIDI and DAW automation, including easy-to-use MIDI learning and mapping. The UI is also fully resizable and offers a focus-zoom feature.

Lastly, it hosts a preset browser with 100 presets for basses, leads, and percussion. 

First Impression

An excellent Christmas gift from Cherry Audio. It’s a bit of a shame that it’s only mono. But it is understandable because there is a Eight Voice version of it.

Cherry Audio SEM is now available as a free download forever. It runs as a VST, VST3, AU, AAX plugin, and standalone formats on macOS (native Apple Silicon + Intel) and Windows. 

More information here: Cherry Audio

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  1. Sounds the same to me as the Eight Voice and also the SEM module that you can buy for Voltage Modular. Makes sense that they would re-use the code from those products for a free synth offering.

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