It sure is something to realize how much power is in your iPad, especially if you’re a musician pining for classic analog synthesizers — heavy, expensive, temperamental instruments that are increasingly hard to find, and even harder to maintain. Arturia, creator of the Minimoog simulation app, iMini, has done it again, delivering an exquisite simulation of the venerable Oberheim SEM (Synthesizer Expander Module), that company’s very first synth. In many ways, iSEM is an improvement upon the hardware it models, starting with the fact that it’s polyphonic.
Arturia was the very first company to get Moog’s permission to recreate the classic analog synthesizers for the desktop almost a decade ago, and its first iPad app is a slick, thick-sounding marvel that's true to the original hardware, including being easily programmable, very playable, and sonically lush. One of the coolest things about the original MiniMoog synthesizer was that it combined extreme ease-of-use with a uniquely rich, signature tone that persists as magic aural mojo to this very day, and the iMini does a stellar job of bringing that goodness to the iPad for a reasonable price.
So let’s say you love the sound of rich, thick analog synthesizers, but dread the notion of having to master the patch panels of a Mini Moog or Arp 2600, much less something as arcane and unique as the massive Yamaha CS80