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Okay so where is all the oberheim SEM love at?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Modular Synth General Discussion  
Author Okay so where is all the oberheim SEM love at?
knittingram
So I traded in some stuff at noisebug the other day and got a SEM Patch Panel and I gotta say I am LOVING IT!!!!

I don't have my pitts midi2 hooked up yet because I just sold my case and I'm now eagerly awaiting my miniFLIGHTjr from Sound modular but even without the midi>cv this thing really kicks ass! thumbs up

I played with it all night the first night and all day the next day.
I even ended up calling up Tom Oberheim and we talked for a good
half-hour about the idiosyncrasies of the unit.

And I gotta say, what a cool guy! He was happy to answer my questions and talk shop and he was super interested in how I was integrating it into my studio and so forth. He even invited me to call him back anytime to chat.

I am truly in love with this synth and already have plans to get another SEM voice. My master plan is to build up my make noise 6U system and keep adding SEM voices and eventually get the 4 voice vermona MIDI>CV.

I will say I was a little dissapointed to see that there isn't much enthusiasm for the patch panel SEM on the forum or any topics devoted to it specifically.

So tell me who's using it and what gear are you using it with?

-Blake
Rigo
If I remember correctly there is somebody hanging around here that has made his own 4 voice, combining 4 individual SEMs ... cannot find the thread.
I would like a SEM, but there is also that 2-voice coming ... should not look at those videos from the original version to avoid GAS kicking in too hard.
MechaSeb
Rigo, i have one for sale (midi vers) for a pretty long time now. PM if you're interested. Belgium -> France isn't far too. twisted twisted
Rigo
MechaSeb wrote:
Rigo, i have one for sale (midi vers) for a pretty long time now. PM if you're interested. Belgium -> France isn't far too. twisted twisted

I noticed it several times, don't worry. But it is midi only waah
transferpoint
The SEM can REALLY shine through at times, other times not so much, as with a lot of analog gear its all about finding the sweet spots. Once you add CV modulation the chances of sweetness improve exponentially.

That said, it wasn't a pivotal piece in our collection and we wound up selling it but plan to get a two voice someday.
EMwhite
I have been on the fence about getting the new TVS for what now feels like years. Twice I had the money together and twice gave up due to delay after delay.

Had a Midi SEM and sold it along the way but now have two patch panel SEMs; one that I drone or play w sequencers and another tied to my Minimoog Old School.

Like you, I will acquire another pair and play with the not yet released hexinverter poly midi kit but the absolute key is a four voice Env generator.

Applying an external LFO through a buffered mult for modulation of PW or Vibrato is trivial but filter envelopes are not. So either one of these (COTK 911p in MU format) or an Expert Sleepers setup is a must.

But yeah, my fav YouTube video of all time is Dave Spiers (GForce Software) "Oberheim 8 Voice" video. Brilliant!
ikkini
I just LOVE my SEM patch panel ! Great with my other analog synths (using the Waldorf Pulse+ as a MIDI to CV converter) and perfect with my modular (no MIDI there of course).
MechaSeb
Rigo wrote:
MechaSeb wrote:
Rigo, i have one for sale (midi vers) for a pretty long time now. PM if you're interested. Belgium -> France isn't far too. twisted twisted

I noticed it several times, don't worry. But it is midi only waah


You can transform it in either Patch or Pro panel with a bit help of Tom. I've asked him months ago as i wanted originally a Pro panel and he was really helpful. Mod don't need any soldering.

... well anyway sorry for the "car sales" argument hihi

And yes, it's a great synth !
knittingram
Yea that 8 voice youtube video is really insane!

That polyphony just sounds beyond amazing. applause

It had a lot to do with me getting one as most of the other demos
of SEMs on youtube actually suck.

I am convinced subtlety is the key to good patches on the SEM.

For instance, it sounds better with the resonance at about 3 O'clock then at
all the way.
knittingram
transferpoint wrote:
The SEM can REALLY shine through at times, other times not so much, as with a lot of analog gear its all about finding the sweet spots. Once you add CV modulation the chances of sweetness improve exponentially.

That said, it wasn't a pivotal piece in our collection and we wound up selling it but plan to get a two voice someday.


i completely agree. It would be awesome if he could release a modulation box with like s/h, noise, vclfo, adsr, ringmod, etc.

but yea its a great voice to drop into a modular environment.

It definitely excels at bass sounds. woah
jmcecil
knittingram wrote:

For instance, it sounds better with the resonance at about 3 O'clock then at
all the way.

uhmm, I would argue that that is true on every filter 98% of the time. %2 high rezo is good. Using it all the time = please stop.
sunsinger
I've got the Midi and patchpoint Pro version. It's verrry cool, and I'm looking to expand it. I'd love a 4 voice, I actually had a 4 voice in the late 70's. It was awesome for my first polyphonic.

I'm waiting for Tom to release the two voice, it looks pretty cool.
But...before I buy any more OB stuff, I really want a DSI Prophet 12.

I'm using my OB SEM for another voice for my modular. It sounds very different from my DotCom/MOTM synth.
The SEM patch points make it really useable for the modular I have.
MindMachine
FYI Rewire is (or at least was) the dude with the new SEM's rigged as a four voice. I used a have a TVS and it was a bad ass little rig. We did not have it patched out, but the 2 SEM w/ MS combo was a killer. The new SEM's sound near exact/same. The Oberheim SEM is an unmatched classic in it's own way. If I was starting a Euro rig again, I would start w/ an SEM all patched out.
Dave Peck
Really love the SEM filter sound. Has anyone ever compared the sound of a SEM filter to the Oakley / Krisp1 SVF, which is supposed to be based on the SEM filter? If so, how similar are they?
skkatter
I already posted in the double post of this, but thought I'd post here. Have currently got two patch panel SEMs and am using them as a home made two voice and really like it.

The SEM is really bright and sharp compared to most of my other analogues, it really cuts through the mix, great for leads. I find I don't use it too much for really low bass, as its oscillators don't really go down to the same depths as other things I own (eg, SH101 or Pro One). Bandpass filter is great.

I posted this demo of the first one I bought to AH a few years ago and somebody else bought one after listening to it (I'm not implying my demo was that amazing or anything, just that the synth is): http://www.splitradix.com/sem_demo.mp3
jcn7
I love my 2 SEMs It's peanut butter jelly time!















This is my homebrewed 2 voice system...I know it's not quite the same, but I think it's just as good in particular when I'm using the Pheadra sequencing Ipad app with these 2 bad boys!
dogoftears
i have an original SEM with patch points. it is awesome. i would never give it up for the new version, if any thing just cus of the horribly unstable frequency knobs with built in fine adjustment.

cuts thru any mix like butter with the simplest unison voices dialed in... i never use it for any thing fancy, mostly just lush unison pads or harmonically detuned dualing osc/filter sweepy stuff.
Kazremark
JCN7, thats a great rack you have for your two SEMs. Did you build that yourself?
jcn7
Thanks! Actually, the side panels were originally made by a fellow wiggler for a 3 rack Bug Brand system I purchased from him. I later sold the BB system, but kept the sides. I was trying to figure out how I wanted to work with the 2 SEMs and remembered that I still had these side panels and it so happened that all I had to do to make it work was to drill out 2 more holes. It makes for a nice small but very effective 2 voice. I usually use my Ipad2 also with these...mainly to sequence them, but also as a "keyboard" controller for them as well.
sunsinger
Great build there.. but how do you access the patch points of the bottom SEM?
jcn7
The bottom SEM is the Midi version, so only the top (Pro) version has actual patch points. I can still access the rear of both units, so for those ins/outs it's relatively easy to access...

I've thought about upgrading the Midi version to the Pro version with the upgrade option that Tom makes available for these units, but I just don't want to spend any more at the moment.
Beermaster
I still have an original FVS with quite a bit mods and I think the SEM is one of the most unique, 'Vintage' sounding synths out there. What I'm a little surprised at reading others comments is that nobody has mentioned how fucking HUGE they sound ! ? I think SEMs have the biggest sound of any analogue ever ! So fat and the sound just screams " I Am VOLTAGE !"

Luv em'

Beer
southphillysynths
Love the sound of sems and wish I could afford one hihi but how does the doepfer filter sound? Is it close enough and will make me just want a sem after a while?
knittingram
really digging those 2 SEMs!

I'm imagining 2 more, all patch
panels in that same configuration. woah

It would be fun to join the 4 voice club..
Rigo
southphillysynths wrote:
Love the sound of sems and wish I could afford one hihi but how does the doepfer filter sound? Is it close enough and will make me just want a sem after a while?

I presume you are talking about the A-106-5 ... which is commonly regarded as a very nice sounding filter (and only 75€).
southphillysynths
Yep that's the one!
ersatzplanet
I used to own a 2-voice w/seq and a 4-voice. Loved them both. The 4-voice was great. I didn't have a programmer so turned that panel into a patchbay and brought out every molex on the SEMs there. I had a 4 channel sequencer I made from the core of the MINI Seq from the two voice (no quantizing). It was vey cool. HUGE though. Like moving around a coffin. I bought screw on table legs for both the lid and the body and never needed tables or stands at a gig.

I am amazed, looking at the amount of empty space on the new SEM PCB, why hasn't Tom come out with the SEM in other formats? You could fit it into 5U easily of course, but it could be made into a Eurorack module too. It would not be a small one but it could fit. I would buy a SEM based voice module in a heartbeat.
CZ Rider
I'm old enough to rember when the SEM was first introduced, as an add on to your Minimoog/ARP back in '74. Funny how the word spread back then without the internet, but having a five oscillator minimoog was all the talk. There wasn't even a dedicated Keyboard mag yet, and I think they would advertise in the back of Guitar Player mag. I was actually surprised a year latter when Oberheim offered a stand alone polyphonic synthesizer. Seemed like a strange way to do it, like it was an afterthought way of using the SEM. Always thought the two voice was a bad ass synthesizer though. The only thing the two voice was missing was a proper pitch and mod wheel. I think Moog still held a patent on the pitch roller in '75, or the pitch wheel was just thought to be a Moog thing?
Would be interested in hearing the new version. As I understand, the the filter will now self oscillate? The original does not and keyboard filter tracking was not implemented on the two or four voice. (Most of those Denis Colin filter designs did not self oscillate. But boasted Q ammounts of 512 like the ARP 1047 and Aries 327 multi mode filters.) The two voice did have some special features like noise source from the mini seq was ext #2 in on both SEM's. And the ext input #1 on the second SEM was the output of the first, so you could cascade them for a four osc SEM. Plus you had sample/hold to both filters via ext filter mod input. Really nice well thought out design.
The bass on these SEM's is just amazing. I found running other brand modular oscillators through the SEM somehow makes them seem thicker with a more pronounced bass. Like a magic white box. I still have my two voice with a few patch points, along with a stand alone SEM.

The Moog in the background is still king of vintage tone and bass! The SEM is a very close second though. thumbs up
Christopher Winkels
That photo is, as the French might say if poorly translated, le mauvais derrière.
knittingram
Google Image Findings. thumbs up








REwire
MindMachine wrote:
FYI Rewire is (or at least was) the dude with the new SEM's rigged as a four voice


Yes, I started out with 4 new SEMS in poly mode but then expanded them so much with modular that they got phased out. Big reason was that there's not enough CV controllable on them and it's no fun reaching to all four to dial in a resonance or filter mode setting. Also, the oscs were no better than modular oscs and the filters, while unique, were not worth the hassle.

On the SEM love issue, I had two original SEMS and eventually sold them because they didn't cut through my mixes. I thought of keeping one of the new SEMS as a standalone but the same thing happened. I really do love the Bubblesound SEM filter, if it had CV resonance I'd have 4 of them.

Dan
knittingram
The filter does self oscillate but only in the very high frequencies. As soon as you sweep it down, the resonance dies away.

A lot of filters are like that though. hmmm.....
deastman
I have one of the earliest (new) patch point SEMS... serial#25 I think. I don't know if its just mine, but the main output is seriously hot, as in almost too hot. Does anyone know if there is an internal trim pot to attenuate the level to something a little more reasonable?
knittingram
yea mine has an extremely hot output too.

I have to turn the volume all the way down plus engage the
pad on my preamp to get reasonable levels.

weird.

definitely stronger than line level.
Hanz
Same here...
NYMo
While we are here....my A440 is slightly flat on my newcsem midi.
I had a look inside but couldnt identify the A440 trim.
Does anyone know which trimmer it actually is ?

Cheers
wbelote
jcn7. Beautiful rig! I'm curious about the two modules at both ends of the Tip Top rack?

I so want a SEM of some sort. Two voice is very sexy, and Tom Oberheim said the SO4V is going to get patch points. I'd be happy with a single SEM. Soon!
Dave Peck
wbelote wrote:
jcn7. Beautiful rig! I'm curious about the two modules at both ends of the Tip Top rack?



Those are Universal Event Generators from Encore Electronics. I came up with the initial idea and the feature set for this module, Tony at Encore Electronics ran with it and did all the hardware design & manufacturing. He and I used to work together at an audio company in the SF bay area.
chaosium
transferpoint wrote:
The SEM can REALLY shine through at times, other times not so much, as with a lot of analog gear its all about finding the sweet spots. Once you add CV modulation the chances of sweetness improve exponentially.

That said, it wasn't a pivotal piece in our collection and we wound up selling it but plan to get a two voice someday.
What would you suggest as a few modules to expand it further with?
knittingram
maths, ulfo, quantimator.

or

rene, brains, pressure points

or

3 of a million other modules out there thumbs up
dubnspace
I ordered a Pitts Cell 2 system to use with my SEM. Seems like a pretty good match for it.
knittingram
That'll definitely do the trick!
fireclown
chaosium wrote:
transferpoint wrote:
The SEM can REALLY shine through at times, other times not so much, as with a lot of analog gear its all about finding the sweet spots. Once you add CV modulation the chances of sweetness improve exponentially.

That said, it wasn't a pivotal piece in our collection and we wound up selling it but plan to get a two voice someday.
What would you suggest as a few modules to expand it further with?


A CV mixer for the filter, ADSR's with some voltage control (to implement velocity or just some modulated variation) and attenuators for VCF and VCA. vclfo's, keyboard CV and whatever else you want to plug into that CV mixer is just about all you need.
Not that its going to make the greatest synth module EVER that much better than it already is.
the first, main thing you want is a CV mixer for the filter.
I cant believe anyone hopes to come close to the perfect combination Tom Oberheim assembled by adding some SEM type filter module to their rig when entire SEM's are being given away at their retail price today.
2 VCO's with complete range control, the best vintage type SVF and an absolute classic synth sound in an elegant package for a few hundred dollars more than a filter module alone?
this is nearly the golden age of analog, and Oberheim has done us all the ultimate favor. If you dont have an SEM in your rig, I feel sorry for you.
knittingram
NYMo wrote:
While we are here....my A440 is slightly flat on my newcsem midi.
I had a look inside but couldnt identify the A440 trim.
Does anyone know which trimmer it actually is ?


You should just call Tom. He'll know best.
His phone number is on a bright yellow piece of paper that came in the box.

Probably, on his website too.
Besides, it's really cool to be able to talk to the guy that
designed your amazing instrument.
That is so rare outside of the synth/boutique gtr market. Rockin' Banana!
chaosium
knittingram wrote:
maths, ulfo, quantimator.

or

rene, brains, pressure points

or

3 of a million other modules out there thumbs up
I know I can use pretty much anything, but good pairings for the routing options of my SEM were what I was looking for. I'll investigate those grin
knittingram
A cv mixer is crucial though as previously mentioned. It's hard to be subtle when you can't attenuate a cv source.

A sport modulator by itself or with a quantimator would kick some major ass too.
hogberto
Here's a demo of the new patchpanel SEM.

[s]http://soundcloud.com/phil-stuart-202/sem-obsequosity[/s]

Rockin' Banana!
Xmit
I have a TO SEM Pro ... Tho tbh I never really use the MIDI ....
Incredible thickness of sound, but can be wonderfully fizzy too.
It really does shine paired with Moog type synths - as was the original intention I guess. I use mine with a Macbeth Micromac with a Moog CP251 in between & it's just a riot of pure analogue warmth & butter.
Unique.
pixelmechanic
The SEM love is clearly in Vince Clarke's house... (as found in another thread)

http://www.sonicscoop.com/2013/03/24/icons-inside-vince-clarkes-synth- kingdom-in-brooklyn/

Check some of the pics at the bottom of the post...
knittingram


Check out the new addition to my SEM!!
Goin oldschool. Can't wait to get this thing hooked up.

Vince Clarke has like 12 sems or something! That's insane..
mwn
I blame this thread for reigniting my desire for an SEM. I got a new patch panel one and it's a great compliment to my euro system. Makes me glad all over again to be back in the analog synth game after 20 years away.
chaosium
knittingram wrote:


Check out the new addition to my SEM!!
Goin oldschool. Can't wait to get this thing hooked up.

Vince Clarke has like 12 sems or something! That's insane..
How well does it work?
knittingram
I haven't actually set it up yet because I need to DIY a Hex pickup to my guitar
and then wire up din connectors between the two. Still pretty excited about it
though. And I am guessing it tracks pretty well considering it analyzes each individual string. Anybody else out there have experience with the 360 slavedriver? (or as I like to call it, "the cracker honky")
CZ Rider
knittingram wrote:
Anybody else out there have experience with the 360 slavedriver? (or as I like to call it, "the cracker honky")

Have one here, but I am not a guitar player.

This is from the 70's. Did not come with any schematics, and the main pitch to CV processor is epoxy encapsulated. Has a mind of it's own, and will lock on to the harmonics above the note very easily. Does a sort of arpeggio when it does that. Don't think there are seperate trackers for each string, just an amplifier/mixer to trim and balance the six inputs for each string. They all feed into one pitch to CV tracker. No different from the tracking accuracy of an Arp Avatar or MS-20 pitch to CV. You need to adjust your playing style to make it work.
The one I have here, I just disconnected the six leads, and made one connection to a 1/4" socket on the back where the cable entered. Fun for playing around with a microphone. Never tried a hotter signal like an oscillator though.
It does have an envelope follower too, so you can get an amplitude to CV going . Had a few live features like a pedal switch input to transpose the CV by a preset ammount via the footswitch interval knob. Along with an octave transpose range rotary switch.
Those 70's guitar pitch to CV never really lived up to the promise of being very playable. Like I said, I'm not a guitarist, but have the Slavedriver, Avatar, and a Casio PG-380. The Casio works the best with the onboard synthesizer, the MIDI out is a little slower. They did make polyphonic 360 Slavedrivers that had 6 SEM's. But the blue box is monophonic with only one pitch to CV anayizer. Haven't tried, but found a few of those G-vox guitar to MIDI PC devices with a hex pickup for under 20 bucks. That might wire in OK for a replacement pick-up.
knittingram
I don't see an epoxy encapsulated circuit in mine. I just opened it up and got
a good look at how I could just wire a 1/4" jack in but there seemed to be a lot
of open space on the inside. I hope I'm not missing the main cv processor. all i
see is 2 sandwiched pcbs attached to the front panels and about 4 inches of
open space besides the power switch and hex cable. There is 2 threaded
holes on the top pcb that seems like something should be there. Does that sound right?
jtmmorrow
A SEM is probably in my future because seriously considering one got me into modular synthesis. Learning about the patch panel showed me what was possible. Now that I've had a little experience, I'd love to bring an SEM voice into my system.
CZ Rider
knittingram wrote:
I don't see an epoxy encapsulated circuit in mine.

Could be that is a newer unit, and just like ARP, later ones were not encapsulated. So at least the non-encapsulated ones can be worked on. Those standoffs seem to be stops on this one, where the epoxy block rests. There are two of those moulded blocks.
A pic of the inside, (yep, lots of space in there) where you can see the 1/4" socket I put in there. I would not recommend pluging in anything other than a pickup or microphone though without padding the input.
Bob Borries


I love my brand new SEM Pro it sounds just like the original,
except there's only one thing missing, this groovy logo!

knittingram
CZ Rider wrote:

Could be that is a newer unit


Yea that's what I'm thinking. Looks like mine has all the parts
but the top layer is just a plain old pcb.
What color wires did you hook the 1/4" jack to?
Seems like something I could do in 5 mins..

Thanks for the info btw CZ Rider.
CZ Rider
knittingram wrote:

What color wires did you hook the 1/4" jack to?
Seems like something I could do in 5 mins..


I didn't take notice to the original color code, but I used a brown wire for the ground (sleeve), and an orange one for the hot (tip). Looking from the bottom at the 9 pin Molex connector the ground was on the top left. Use an ohm meter if you are not sure. There were 6 hot inputs, one for each string, just pick one. I don't think it matters what one you choose. It was a quick hack and seemed to work well enough with a microphone or any transducer/pickup instrument.
Pic of the simple 1/4" hack here:

For a better job, I found a hex pickup that could be wired in properly for about 7 bucks. Should work as intended if you take the time to test and wire in something like that. Still have the original 360 pickup, but two of the six sections did not work. So the single 1/4" was a quick hack to see if it worked. The idea behind 6 individual inputs was to get an even triggering/tracking level for all the strings. Those six trimmers were to set up and adjust each output for each string. But it still was only a monophonic pitch to CV. Advanced for 1977?
beyourdog
With all my respect, I understand Tom Oberheim is a charming and dedicated man, but I regret he’s not proposing a simple 2-4-8 voices as basic as it was in the old days...
It is a bit of an ingenieer thing sometimes to try to make things better and up to date, but in these days of cheap external sequencers, I do not really see the point to have a full on sequencer on the 2 voices... I’d rather have no sequencer and 2-4 voices with no programming at all and just a simple command on the left hand that would control the 4/8 VCO at the same time, another one to command the Filters frequencies, the filters resonance and that’s it. Thank you, simple, cheaper...
I would prefer to have this lush sounds and use external modulations...Though it can be arguable it would make the 2 voices a great performance orientated synth in its full form,..
I really liked the SEM, I miss it sometimes, especially the Band Pass filter with this wonderful lush, would be sounding great with several voices...the only problem with having a patch panel SEM is that you want another one and another one...it is a wonderful synth that would complement any rig anytime...I agree there is no real huge rave on these, this is the quiet man synth maybe .
knittingram
CZ Rider wrote:

Looking from the bottom at the 9 pin Molex connector the ground was on the top left. Use an ohm meter if you are not sure. There were 6 hot inputs, one for each string, just pick one.



This is is my 360 cracker-honky on the inside. It looks dirtier and older to me than yours does. Who knows.. Different trimmer pots, too.


Close up of the molex before surgery.


Shot of the open space from the bottom view.



A very good view of what color wire goes in what terminal.


2 Good shots Identifying which terminals go to what volume trimmer.




CZ Rider, indeed you are right. The black wire on the top left is the ground, which I will hook up to the sleeve of the 1/4" jack. I will have my pick of any other color to hook the tip to.

Just to be thorough, Let me idenitify which colors correllate with which trimmer pot:

Blue goes to the 1st pot, closest to the molex.
Green goes to the next/2nd.
yellow to the 3rd.
orange to the 4th.
red to the 5th.
brown to the last/6th. (Top of the case.)

It would be fun to wire each color to six different 1/4"
jacks on the back for multiple tracking sources so they could have dedicated inputs without wearing out the jack. Our I could implement a hex pickup with a breakout box, like the link below, a lot easier.

Ubertar

For now, I think I will make it simple and just wire one jack into the existing hole and try my luck. At least for now, I know which channel to turn up and which ones to turn off. thumbs up

Thanks for the info and reassurance CZ RIDER! applause
CZ Rider
knittingram wrote:
Thanks for the info and reassurance CZ RIDER! applause

Glad to help. Hope it works for you.
Here is a crappy but readable scan of the 360SD manual. Shows some interesting changes suggested for the SEM.
Zipped file of 360 systems Slavedriver operation manual

knittingram
Awesome! Thanks a million!
knittingram
So, I figured out from that manual that I needed to adjust the trimmer under the led and now I got the full on SEM/360 cracker-honker madness happening. I was worried at first before I read it because I was getting some wacky, inaccurate results. I read through it again and lo and behold PITCH to CV and some much more! The B and high E strings don't track as well but I still have some experimenting to do. I'm very surprised this 30
year old box still works.

CV RIDER thanks for saving me time and money!
I didn't have to buy the hex pickup and I didn't
need to have a tech adjust it.

A little over $200 and I got pitch>cv, envelope follower, comparator
and instrument/guitar preamp with octave selector and transpose, all
designed to work perfectly with my SEM.

I couldn't be happier about it.
ws9848
337is
Quite an asSEMblage in Oberheim cream. Oh my! Wow!
Mr. Pete
Doesn't it just prove the point we are all too busy PLAYING our Patchpoint SEMs to post about them!?! hyper

I have a draft of a letter I started writing to Tom Oberheim and had planned to call him and say thanks and register, too ~ however as soon as I patched in the SEM and started using it I have not found a moment to follow through
...
So far, I plug it into/out of Eurorack, Moog Voyagers, Phattys, Tauri,Minibrute, Oberkorn, DarkTime, Revolution, Foogers — have not done a whole lot of audio in other than a few different instruments (MS-10?) but may get to that this afternoon... Love processing audio through envelope generators and synths applause

knittingram wrote:
So I traded in some stuff at noisebug the other day and got a SEM Patch Panel and I gotta say I am LOVING IT!!!!
...
I will say I was a little dissapointed to see that there isn't much enthusiasm for the patch panel SEM on the forum or any topics devoted to it specifically.
So tell me who's using it and what gear are you using it with?-Blake
The Real MC
360 Systems polyphonic guitar synthesizer - those are Oberheim SEMs with different paint scheme. The front panels do not appear to have HP/BP/Notch modes.

chaosium
Does anyone have any info on the Slavedriver pickup/interface? I'm interested in picking one up using my guitar/bass, but I have no clue what I'd need to buy and fit on the instrument for this to be optimal and the eBay auctions never seem to include the guitar/bass end of the device.
D_Bowman
I need to start getting some desktop analogue synths again since my space has been reduced to.. well.. my desktop! I always come back to these SEMS. I'd love to get one someday. I guess what holds me back is the relatively minimal modulation functions with just the unit itself. Do the SEM users here feel like the quality of sound and build justifies the price for the SEM Pro?
Ebotronix
a sem guitar synth? nice ....
use the new sem...
southphillysynths


we're not worthy
EMwhite
D_Bowman wrote:
I need to start getting some desktop analogue synths again since my space has been reduced to.. well.. my desktop! I always come back to these SEMS. I'd love to get one someday. I guess what holds me back is the relatively minimal modulation functions with just the unit itself. Do the SEM users here feel like the quality of sound and build justifies the price for the SEM Pro?


If you are a readymade midi kind of chap (you just want to plug and play) then the Pro is the way to go; you can always explore CV and patch points later on.

If you have a bunch of CV gear and maybe even modular, go pick yourself up a used patch panel version for $700-$800 that I've seen them going for. In my opinion, it's not worth the additional $300-$400 of a new 'Pro'. But I cannot take anything away from the SEM module itself, I have two of them and a dedicated sequencer so in a way, I've got a two voice 'modular'.

WITH the patch points, you'll be able to feed in any sort of modulation you wish to affect most anything. Very useful.
D_Bowman
I love exploring CV and patch points. Midi I care for in the barest sense. However, I recently went through a course correction/purge. Got rid of my modules, some synths, and my Dark Energy. But I think I went too far cause if I'd held onto my Dark Energy then I could just get the Patch Panel version and patch away and be happy as well as control it from a midi controller if I wish. I'd love to have that kind of "two voice" style setup that you have!
Christopher Winkels
I got mine on Wednesday. I love how it's a distilled-down essence of all that is good about the melodic side of '70s synths. The frippery is stripped away and you're left with a raw, funky directness.

EMwhite
How did you get your chat to wear that awesome chapeau? Is that a funk daddy chappy from the 70's or maybe something that Thurston Howell the III wore during season 3?

Either way, I like your style... 8_)
D_Bowman
Awesome! Feel free to post any sound clips if you have any! 8_)
Bob Borries

Christopher Winkels
EMwhite wrote:
How did you get your chat to wear that awesome chapeau? Is that a funk daddy chappy from the 70's or maybe something that Thurston Howell the III wore during season 3?

Either way, I like your style... 8_)


Sadly that's not my cat. Both our moggies fail to appreciate tweedy goodness.
337is
Thanks for the large Oberheim logo Bob Borries ... I just made it my FB profile picture!
Christopher Winkels
D_Bowman
Thanks for the video! Man, I love those tones.
disp
MechaSeb wrote:
Rigo wrote:
MechaSeb wrote:
Rigo, i have one for sale (midi vers) for a pretty long time now. PM if you're interested. Belgium -> France isn't far too. twisted twisted

I noticed it several times, don't worry. But it is midi only waah


You can transform it in either Patch or Pro panel with a bit help of Tom. I've asked him months ago as i wanted originally a Pro panel and he was really helpful. Mod don't need any soldering.

... well anyway sorry for the "car sales" argument hihi

And yes, it's a great synth !


Anyone got any more info on this mod?
I have the Midi version of the SEM. Would be amazing if I could easily mod it into a Pro.
Grimulkan
disp wrote:
Anyone got any more info on this mod?
I have the Midi version of the SEM. Would be amazing if I could easily mod it into a Pro.

It's not actually that hard. If you open the SEM up, you'll see Tom has already labelled all the important patch points which are available as pin headers. So the conversion is mainly connecting wires from the headers to 3.5mm panel mount female jacks, then drilling holes on the chassis and mounting the jacks. If you find the room to add all the patch points, you can even make a super-SEM pro, with all the patch points of PP version + MIDI.

If you want non-traditional patch points, the SEM schematics have been around for a while. I've added (opto-coupled) CV control to resonance and waveform mix this way.
disp
thanks!
I don't really think I'm capable of doing this though confused
is there any place in Europe offering to do this mod?
Grimulkan
Don't know about Europe. I know Tom was doing the mod some time ago, but no idea if he is doing it (or anything else) right now.

If you don't want to drill many holes into the chassis, maybe you can drill just one hole somewhere and bring all the CV wires out of them with male audio jacks at the end? You could even find male audio jacks with screw type connectors and avoid all soldering. Not pretty, but it should work.

I forget the exact part number for the housing that snap fits onto the CV header on the board. But you can get wires in project/DIY stores that have female housings on one end which will fit with no soldering. I can take some pics of the relevant headers on the board if you like.

If you have a MIDI-SEM, you actually already have the hardware for a Pro or PP, because internally the SEM is still totally analog. You just have to bring the patch points out externally so you can access it. The MIDI is just a MIDI-to-CV circuit that is (literally) tacked on.
Futuresound
I have a patchpanel. I love it. I love that it has no LCD on it. BUT, some of the features of the Pro version would be nice - transpose for example.

If anyone's had both, I'd love to hear your thoughts on which one you prefer.
disp
I have two more questions regarding the SEM Midi to CV I recently bought.
Hopefully you can offer some advice.

I bought the SEM used, and I think I might have been effed over by the seller.

The audio ins don't seem to be working.

Hi guys,
didn't want to start a new threat, so I'm just using this one

I recently bought a used Oberheim SEM Midi to CV, and I think the audio inputs aren't working.

Here's what I did:
first I plugged an electric guitar into audio input #1 , turned up the audio in volume knob, set all respective sliders to EXT, and played the guitar.
No external audio was audible. So I turned the filter, osc, and modulation dials, which didn't produce any external sound either.
I checked the cable from the guitar to the Oberheim, and it worked.

Then I plugged my iPhone into the second audio in. No sound either.

Is there anything else I could try?


The other very very weird thing:

When I sequence the synthesizer via my Arturia Beatstep pro, it plays well.

When I connect a midi keyboard though, it mostly doesn't play. I tried several keyboards, and of course I match the midi channels.
It seems to be hit mor miss. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.
But why does the Beatstep work every time?

Huuuh?
337is
disp wrote:
...first I plugged an electric guitar into audio input #1 , turned up the audio in volume knob, set all respective sliders to EXT, and played the guitar...


Is your guitar signal already pre-amped in some way before plugging it into the SEM in the chain you describe? hmmm.....
disp
337is wrote:
disp wrote:
...first I plugged an electric guitar into audio input #1 , turned up the audio in volume knob, set all respective sliders to EXT, and played the guitar...


Is your guitar signal already pre-amped in some way before plugging it into the SEM in the chain you describe? hmmm.....


no, it's guitar -> SEM.
according to the manual, audio in #1 has a preamp to boost Instrument levels.

but as I said, I also tried sending audio from my iPhone.
Grimulkan
Futuresound wrote:
If anyone's had both, I'd love to hear your thoughts on which one you prefer.

I've converted between MIDI and pro, and often disconnected the MIDI section too, so I guess I've worked with each of the "modes" individually (though not at the same time). The MIDI/Pro features are nice if you don't have a separate MIDI-CV unit. I just usually do and prefer that instead.

But, the "mod-matrix" section on the MIDI/Pro is nice, and I love that portamento! Note that the mod-matrix is a single-destination, which may not be obvious. The pre-amp for external input #1 is essential if you want to mix non-eurorack level oscillators with the internal one at full amplitude. The internal one is pretty hot (I think ~16v peak-to-peak).

disp wrote:
no, it's guitar -> SEM.
according to the manual, audio in #1 has a preamp to boost Instrument levels.

but as I said, I also tried sending audio from my iPhone.

Yeah, if you have the pre-amp there is plenty of gain in it though the SEM internal oscillators are also pretty hot and can overwhelm the external. But if you can't hear anything even with the internal oscillators nulled out, that's not the issue.

The external input pot is set to #1 (as well as your input signal) + full volume on the pre-amp, right? Do you hear the default A-440 tuning sound when you turn the external pot to #2? Also, is the filter wide open & in LPF mode? You already confirmed all your mod routing switches are set to "ext", as they should be for this.
disp
Grimulkan wrote:
Futuresound wrote:
If anyone's had both, I'd love to hear your thoughts on which one you prefer.

I've converted between MIDI and pro, and often disconnected the MIDI section too, so I guess I've worked with each of the "modes" individually (though not at the same time). The MIDI/Pro features are nice if you don't have a separate MIDI-CV unit. I just usually do and prefer that instead.

But, the "mod-matrix" section on the MIDI/Pro is nice, and I love that portamento! Note that the mod-matrix is a single-destination, which may not be obvious. The pre-amp for external input #1 is essential if you want to mix non-eurorack level oscillators with the internal one at full amplitude. The internal one is pretty hot (I think ~16v peak-to-peak).

disp wrote:
no, it's guitar -> SEM.
according to the manual, audio in #1 has a preamp to boost Instrument levels.

but as I said, I also tried sending audio from my iPhone.

Yeah, if you have the pre-amp there is plenty of gain in it though the SEM internal oscillators are also pretty hot and can overwhelm the external. But if you can't hear anything even with the internal oscillators nulled out, that's not the issue.

The external input pot is set to #1 (as well as your input signal) + full volume on the pre-amp, right? Do you hear the default A-440 tuning sound when you turn the external pot to #2? Also, is the filter wide open & in LPF mode? You already confirmed all your mod routing switches are set to "ext", as they should be for this.


Ugh. I did all this and it didn't work.
Turned the SEM off for a while, turned it on again, now it's working!
Still pissed, because something's clearly not right.

As for the midi issue:
any idea what this could be?
another thing that's weird about it is, that IF the SEM responds to keyboard input, it doesn't do it very well. skips notes etc.
(Seuqencing via Beatstep still working flawlessly though)
Grimulkan
Yeah, that doesn't sound right. Something related to heating maybe?

For the MIDI: when you say you're using the beatstep, I assume you mean the MIDI output & not CV. Yeah, no idea why that would work and not the MIDI keyboard.
skylab001
Grimulkan wrote:
disp wrote:
Anyone got any more info on this mod?
I have the Midi version of the SEM. Would be amazing if I could easily mod it into a Pro.

It's not actually that hard. If you open the SEM up, you'll see Tom has already labelled all the important patch points which are available as pin headers. So the conversion is mainly connecting wires from the headers to 3.5mm panel mount female jacks, then drilling holes on the chassis and mounting the jacks. If you find the room to add all the patch points, you can even make a super-SEM pro, with all the patch points of PP version + MIDI.

If you want non-traditional patch points, the SEM schematics have been around for a while. I've added (opto-coupled) CV control to resonance and waveform mix this way.


I've been thinking about producing a mod for the Midi version that would use a cable to route all the CV to a external box or patch panel. At one point Tom had told me he offered an upgrade from midi to pro, but when I finally got around to getting it done, his distributor said No and that he had never heard of it. very frustrating Admittedly I think I'd prefer all the patch points to be brought out anyway.
Grimulkan
skylab001 wrote:
I've been thinking about producing a mod for the Midi version that would use a cable to route all the CV to a external box or patch panel. At one point Tom had told me he offered an upgrade from midi to pro, but when I finally got around to getting it done, his distributor said No and that he had never heard of it. very frustrating Admittedly I think I'd prefer all the patch points to be brought out anyway.

I think Tom used to do the mod himself and not the distributor. I recall him adding a handwritten "X" to the end of the serial number to indicate an upgraded unit. I could be wrong though.

Bringing out a CV snake from the SEM to a separate patch box is a good idea. I ran out of room to put CV jacks on my SEM, so I pulled some cables out to one of those plastic project/junction boxes with the female 3.5mm jacks mounted on them. You probably won't have room to fit all the PP patch points on a MIDI SEM chassis anyway.

If someone remembers the part number for those female housings that snap fit onto the SEM CV headers, do tell.
NewNewRon
Add me to the love list. I recently bought a new SEM and I love it, it also compliments so many other, generally darker, sounds. I'm buying an OB-6 next. I know it won't be quite the same, but I want chords, too and I don't have limitless budget.
Xmit
and me. Had my SEM Pro for about 4 years now. Prise it from my cold, dead hands. It's perfect. Impossible to make it sound not good & stuff like the 440Hz tone & external plus patch points & MIDI make this a dream instrument to play with all my other gear.
WaveRider
bought a SEM patch panel when they were just out.

It is a great synth with a distinctive sound.

I mostly use it with my modular. But it really shines in a midi/synth setup, doing a line, it is just perfect.

With the modular, I do not see any advantage compared to using modular voices.
Dave Peck
The Real MC wrote:
360 Systems polyphonic guitar synthesizer - those are Oberheim SEMs with different paint scheme. The front panels do not appear to have HP/BP/Notch modes.




Yup, those are modified SEMs, and I'm pretty sure this is a picture of the custom guitar synth system designed for Timo Laine of the band Symphonic Slam, a 1970s progressive rock band. I had their first album and I saw them live at the Starwood in Hollywood in the late 70s. Pretty advanced sound for the time. Info is here: http://timolainemusic.com/home.html
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