opinions on SEM and Dark Enegery II as first desktop synth?

Anything modular synth related that is not format specific.

Moderators: Joe., lisa, luketeaford, Kent

Post Reply
User avatar
borgbeliever
Learning to Wiggle
Posts: 41
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2014 1:33 pm
Location: Los Angeles

opinions on SEM and Dark Enegery II as first desktop synth?

Post by borgbeliever » Sat Nov 08, 2014 9:01 pm

wanted your opinions on which you all think would be a better first desktop semi-modular synth between the Tom Oberheim SEM (Patch Panel) and Doepfer Dark Energy II...

User avatar
NYMo
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 1566
Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2012 7:15 pm
Location: Australia

Post by NYMo » Sun Nov 09, 2014 12:12 am

I've had the Obie..,very thick sound in my opinion...has a vintage vibe.
Have no experience with the Doepfer ..sorry !

Cheers
Vintage Knobhead !

New synth history album Vol 5 avail for free download !

Albums here
http://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=120834

Not too old to rock'n roll..not too young to die !

User avatar
ignatius
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 15446
Joined: Tue Dec 23, 2008 4:03 pm
Location: oregon
Contact:

Post by ignatius » Sun Nov 09, 2014 3:36 am

oberheim SEM is one of my favorite things. there is one in the shop next a minimoog, modded sh-101 and they're all great but the SEM is just the thing i think i'd take home. it's so damn amazing. the filter is amazing and though it's such a simple architecture it can be so versatile.

User avatar
doombient.music
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 1139
Joined: Mon May 02, 2011 5:23 pm
Location: the city that doesn't exist, germany
Contact:

Post by doombient.music » Sun Nov 09, 2014 5:58 am

The SEM sounds lovely, not terribly flexible but *very* organic -- the patch panel version is nice to have although you'll sometimes find yourself wishing it had input attenuators here and there.

Gorgeous sound.

Stephen

User avatar
amnesia
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 7126
Joined: Mon Sep 29, 2008 4:33 am
Location: 37 47 S 144 58 E

Post by amnesia » Sun Nov 09, 2014 6:21 am

Obie SEM vs Studio Electronics SEM?

User avatar
Liddlepud
Awfully Common Wiggler
Posts: 1465
Joined: Sat Apr 17, 2010 12:28 pm
Location: Up me own arse

Post by Liddlepud » Sun Nov 09, 2014 5:58 pm

The Studio Electronics SEM is far more flexible than the Tom Oberheim Sem but it does sound different to me. I have and love the Oberheim SEM but if i was getting my first desktop synth I'd probably go for the Studio Electronics version. Is there any way you can audition the 2 side by side?

User avatar
doombient.music
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 1139
Joined: Mon May 02, 2011 5:23 pm
Location: the city that doesn't exist, germany
Contact:

Post by doombient.music » Sun Nov 09, 2014 6:44 pm

Liddlepud wrote:The Studio Electronics SEM is far more flexible than the Tom Oberheim Sem but it does sound different to me. I have and love the Oberheim SEM but if i was getting my first desktop synth I'd probably go for the Studio Electronics version. Is there any way you can audition the 2 side by side?
Are you talking about the Boomstar SEM or the two racked SEMs side by side?

Image

Stephen

User avatar
amnesia
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 7126
Joined: Mon Sep 29, 2008 4:33 am
Location: 37 47 S 144 58 E

Post by amnesia » Mon Nov 10, 2014 1:05 am

SE SEM vs OBI SEM

User avatar
Christopher Winkels
Lord of Tweed Manor
Posts: 4452
Joined: Sun May 03, 2009 6:53 pm
Location: Burlington, Ontario, Canada, Earth, Solar System, Milky Way, Virgo Supercluster

Post by Christopher Winkels » Mon Nov 10, 2014 6:25 am

I've not had any experience with the other options but I do love the Tom Oberheim SEM Pro.

Xmit
Veteran Wiggler
Posts: 686
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2012 2:40 pm

Post by Xmit » Mon Nov 10, 2014 8:47 am

I can personally vouch that a TO SEM Pro coupled with a Moog CP-251 makes for a quick & easy but very capable little desktop semi-modular set-up...

I had the original Dark Energy at one time... it's a nice little box ( loved the envelopes & LFOs ) but sonically not remotely in the same league as the SEM.

Horace
Learning to Wiggle
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Oct 12, 2014 11:47 am

Post by Horace » Tue Nov 11, 2014 12:45 am

Dark Energy may ultimately gravitate you to Eurorack. DE has a sweet and flexible sound. It may dismiss the myth for you that 1 oscillator is not enough.

User avatar
davydka
Common Wiggler
Posts: 124
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2011 5:59 pm
Location: Portland

Post by davydka » Wed Nov 12, 2014 5:51 pm

I actually started with an SEM and the Dark Energy version 1. It's a great way to start! I really liked the SEM more. It felt very musical and all the knobs were really setup with good range for getting great sounds. The DE took a lot more fiddling, much easier to get no sound at all, and the sweet spot for some of the sounds I wanted was damn hard to find (from what I remember).

User avatar
EMwhite
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 1877
Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2012 7:48 am
Location: NY Metro area

Post by EMwhite » Thu Nov 13, 2014 11:06 am

I have zero Doepfer and only 84hp of Euro (mostly for modulation and utility for my MU modular) but have always wanted to play with a Dark Energy ever since Nick from SonicState reviewed the first version of it.

I have 4 Tom Oberheim SEMs; two of them are patch panel and in a road case with a built in sequencer and two Midi versions which I play all the time.

You can't go wrong with either but I think the Dark Engergy is more 'fun' to tweak since it has 2 x LFOs and therefore better PWM options; the SEM is a better classic/traditional synth due to the two OSCs and the filter is going to be hard to beat despite what appears to be comparable modes. They cost about the same these days ...

You can look at it 20 different ways I guess; ask yourself what you are asking of it and what you might do next (the Euro gateway angle is a good one to consider).

Regardless of which you choose, Either one will be great.
Beware of programmers with screwdrivers...

User avatar
mwn
Common Wiggler
Posts: 160
Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2012 1:59 pm
Location: Öregon

Post by mwn » Thu Nov 13, 2014 11:37 am

I started with a Dark Energy (mk i), and over time added euro and a patch panel SEM. The DE is a good self-contained starting point, and does sound good, but eventually I found it to be very limited and not very patchable so I'm always considering selling it. The SEM on the other hand sounds incredible, is very flexible, and I'll never part with it.

User avatar
commodorejohn
Ultra Wiggler
Posts: 909
Joined: Fri May 03, 2013 4:19 pm
Location: Placerville, CA

Re: opinions on SEM and Dark Enegery II as first desktop synth?

Post by commodorejohn » Fri Mar 20, 2020 8:48 pm

I've been kicking myself for getting rid of my SEM ever since I did it, so there's that. That said, it is a bit limited, and the patch-panel edition, while neat, really needs to be part of a more comprehensive modular setup if you want to do anything with it besides what you can do with the vanilla SEM. It's not like the MS-20 where you have enough components and controls to really make for a viable semi-modular with just one piece of gear.
Computers: Amiga 1200, DEC VAXStation 4000/60, DEC MicroPDP-11/73
Synthesizers: Roland JX-10/SH-09/MT-32/D-50, Yamaha DX7/V50/TX7/TG33/FB-01, Korg MS-20 Mini/ARP Odyssey/DW-8000, Ensoniq SQ-80

"'Legacy code' often differs from its suggested alternative by actually working and scaling." - Bjarne Stroustrup

User avatar
doombient.music
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 1139
Joined: Mon May 02, 2011 5:23 pm
Location: the city that doesn't exist, germany
Contact:

Re: opinions on SEM and Dark Enegery II as first desktop synth?

Post by doombient.music » Sat Mar 21, 2020 4:43 am

commodorejohn wrote:
Fri Mar 20, 2020 8:48 pm
[…] it is a bit limited, and the patch-panel edition, while neat, really needs to be part of a more comprehensive modular setup […]
What is really lacking is input and output mixers, amplifiers, and attenuators (plus some multiples) to make it fully usable -- but the sound as such is lovely. I see I am repeating myself here...

I am happy to have bought two when a friend of mine abandoned his Four Voice project -- I wouldn't be able to afford one now.

Stephen

Post Reply

Return to “Modular Synth General Discussion”