soundforce SFC-OB, new dedicated MIDI controller for Oberheim synth plugins

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Soundforce SFC-OB is a new dedicated Boutique MIDI controller designed to give Oberheim Synthesizer plugins hands-on control.

With the V Collection X, Arturia has updated its popular plugin bundle with many new additions. A disadvantage of these and all other plugins is the operation. Unlike hardware synths, you must use the mouse or a MIDI controller. Both are somewhat suboptimal.

Mouse operation is unsexy, and without MIDI mappings, MIDI controllers are often useless. There are also specific MIDI controllers that have smart mapping, like the Kontrol keyboards from Native Instruments. Soundforce, on the other side, takes an entirely different approach with its boutique MIDI controllers. 

soundforce SFC-OB

Away with the generic look, towards MIDI controllers that look like hardware synths. Soundforce has various MIDI controllers in its portfolio that are specifically designed for vintage-inspired synth plugins. One for the Juno, Jupiter-8, Minimoog… And now there is also one for Oberheim-style synthesizers

soundforce SFC-OB

The SFC-OB is the latest addition to the Soundforce MIDI controller family. This is designed for Oberheim synthesizer plugins and is intended to provide hardware-like hands-on operation. It’s a class-compliant USB MIDI controller that sends out MIDI CC messages. Thus, it also works with other plugins as well. Yes, also with your Moogs, Junos, etc.

It offers an impressive set of hardware parameters: 37 rotary pots, 41 switches, and 45 LEDs. The arrangement of the pots and switches is adapted to most synthesizer plugins with Oberheim inspiration.  Soundforce promises that you can finally control your virtual instrument in an instinctive and fun way. 

Besides the obvious controls, Nicolas of soundforce has added three additional controls with two banks, allowing you to assign additional parameters freely—for example, the reverb size, delay time, and more. This is a good addition since every Oberheim plugin always has some extra like a vintage knob. 

soundforce SFC-OB

MIDI Implementation

The SFC-OB ships with a web-based control panel app made for changing MIDI CC messages, the MIDI channel, or the modes on the fly. Yes, it hosts various modes, one dedicated to OB plugins. 

According to soundforce, the SFC-OB harmonizes with all common and current OB plugins. Particularly good with the Arturia OP-Xa V because with this, it operates in 2-way integration. In detail:

This means that the controller interface can be updated when presets are changed in the plugin, when plugin instances are switched or even manually on demand.

The controller even accounts for discrepancies between a plugin pot-position and a controller pot-position, and implements pick-up or smoothing modes to avoid juming values. This allows for an improved and tighthly integrated workflow.

All other OB-style plugins like the Sonicprojects OP-X PRO-II/3, discoDSP Xd, and GForce OB-X… work in a traditional more limited 1-way. 

Technically, the system runs on an STM32 Cortex-M microcontroller platform. It’s the same CPU as in the previous soundforce SFC controllers. The enclosure is made of 100% sheet metal and is manufactured by Grawart in Poland.

The case is made of bent steel and powder-coated in black with an aluminum front panel. And for the final touch, it has Walnut wood side panels of 8mm thickness. This is definitely not your traditional budget MIDI controller. 


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A post shared by Nicolas SoundForce Toussaint (@soundforce_nicolas)


First Impression

A lovely new MIDI controller. It’s nice that Nicolas aka soundforce continued the idea on Oberheim synths. €399 is not cheap for a MIDI controller. But it is a special interest boutique controller manufactured by a 1-man company from the Netherlands. In small quantities and with parts from Asia and Europe. 

The SFC-OB is super tempting if you want hardware-like control over your favorite Oberheim synth plugins.

soundforce SFC-OB is available now for 399€ with VAT (329€ outside of the EU). 

More information here: soundforce 

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  1. This is the nicest looking Soundforce controller yet and the bi-directional integration with V Collection is brilliant.

    Yes, it’s pricey, but that’s because a controller includes some of the most expensive parts in real instrument – the case and panel controls.

  2. So there is someone doing this! I’ve been campaigning for this for years, but as full mock-up replicas with keybeds and all. I get why it’s a niche market, but for classic sought-after vintage synths, I think more than a niche market would shell out a couple hundred for a close-enough VST and an exact replica of the original synth. Seems like a no brainer to me.

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