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Oberheim SEM Pro vs Patch Panel
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> General Gear  
Author Oberheim SEM Pro vs Patch Panel
stikygum
So the Pro version has only 21 patch points, but has the midi implementation added, whereas the patch panel version has 33 patch points and no midi. Are those extra 12 patch points enough of a reason to buy the SEM patch panel? It's nice the Pro has portamento on the front. I know you could achieve the same thing and more with a SEM patch panel + Kenton Pro Solo, but I don't see a list on the Oberheim site as to which patch points are left off the Pro version, so I'm unsure what to go for.
stikygum
Does anyone know what the extra patch points? Are any of those implemented into the midi section of the Pro model?
skkatter
Here's a picture of the patch panel: http://www.sweetwater.com/images/items/750/SEMPP-large.jpg

Here's a picture of the patch panel pro:
http://www.gsfagency.com/images/gsf_sem_pro_lg_3.jpg
EMwhite
It may or may not matter to you but the Midi SEM (and therefore, the Pro) has a few other features that are very nice:

- key follow/filter track, which adjusts Filter slope depending on where on the keyboard you play; this results in having a brighter filter for higher notes

- lfo reset upon key press, which I believe you can do with Kenton also but you'll need to be able to patch that LFO into the appropriate patch point

- a modulation matrix for source/dest. It's primitive but I've found the Velocity to Filter very useful. Very good for pluck type sounds so that you can play with expression, relying on the amp envelop. Also, using Sync, binding mod wheel (Midi #1) to VCO2 is very nice.

What I don't know, having never owned a 'pro' is if there is any CV mixing or summing on, say, Envelope + Midi input. Maybe somebody else knows this.

If you are only buying one SEM, go for the Pro for the greatest flexibility; a Kenton will also be useful unless you have a way to generate another LFO from other synth gear. I've got 6 SEMs, four of them are Midi an two are patch panel though I have a 5th Midi module that I switch back and forth. I drive a sequencer into one of the SEMs and play the other 5 as a massive Poly. Yes, I spent waaaaaay too much money on this but there is nothing like it.
stikygum
That is awesome! Would love to hear that. I've heard a lot of people say that the Kenton Pro Solo II plus the patch panel version of the SEM is more flexible than the Pro model. I like that the Pro model has a portamento knob on it. That seems like a nice plus. How do you use VCO sync on the Pro/Midi version since there are no Ins/Outs?

Thanks Skkatter, that's clear now. Just in case someone else is interested, it looks like the SEM Pro is missing the following 11 CV patch points:

VCO 1 Sync In, VCO 1 Sync Out, VCO 2 Sync In, VCO 2 Sync Out

VCF CV 2 In, VCF Notch Out

Audio 1 In, Audio 2 In, VCA Out

Env 1 Trigger, Env 2 Trigger

As a note, VCF LP and HP Out are a single jack.
EMwhite
The SOURCE->DESTINATION section lets you map either Velocity, a user defined Midi CC, or channel pressure (aka aftertouch) to one or more destination including:

VCO 1 freq.
VCO 2 freq.
Both VCO 1 and VCO 2 frequencies
VCF freq.
VCA (amplitude level)

In the upper section of the Midi portion of the module, you press the CONT NO. button and use up or down arrows to select "1" which is the Mid CC for mod wheel, then enable the SYNC switch and with Mod wheel routed to VCO2, you'll be adjusting the frequency of VCO 2 only.

One other thing worth mentioning is that you can use the Midi module as a Midi CC to control voltage function (either on the Midi or Pro version) through the CV Out #2. This is actually a Midi representation of ANY of the SOURCEs (velocity, etc). I haven't checked but this is most likely quantized as 7-bit Midi across 5 volts.
suckerformimi
The SEM Pro has Audio 1 In, Audio 2 In on the back panel.

So the missing patch points on the SEM Pro are:

VCO 1 sync in
VCO 1 sync out
VCO 2 sync in
VCO 2 sync out
Env 1 trigger
Env 2 trigger
VCA Out
LP/BP/HP are a single output

Extra patch points on the SEM Pro are:

Gate out
CV1 out
CV2 out
quadrupole
stikygum wrote:
How do you use VCO sync on the Pro/Midi version since there are no Ins/Outs?


Also, just to clarify, you can Sync the oscs using a switch on the front of all the SEMs like a normal synth. You just wouldn’t be able to sync one of the Oscs on a SEM Pro with an external osc. I have the SEM pro and some eurorack, and they really complement each other. The time I have spent lamenting the fewer patch points on the Pro is exactly zero Rockin' Banana!

And I like midi. So for me the Pro was a clear choice. The SEM is beautiful synth, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with any of them.
Futuresound
suckerformimi wrote:

Extra patch points on the SEM Pro are:

Gate out
CV1 out
CV2 out


EMwhite wrote:


One other thing worth mentioning is that you can use the Midi module as a Midi CC to control voltage function (either on the Midi or Pro version) through the CV Out #2. This is actually a Midi representation of ANY of the SOURCEs (velocity, etc). I haven't checked but this is most likely quantized as 7-bit Midi across 5 volts.


I didn't realize the SEM Pro had those extra outs on the back!

Regarding the MIDI-CV functionality

- Gate Out carries converted Note-on/Note-off from incoming MIDI?
- CV1 Out is assigned to Note number from incoming MIDI notes?
- How do you assign a MIDI source to CV2 Out?

Thanks!
Cablebasher
Guys

Does anyone know if these are still being made?

Sweetwater says “no longer available” and they are no longer on the Tom Oberheim webpage.

The only thing on there now is the OB6 by DSI.
chvad
I read somewhere on maybe Gearslutz that someone had heard from Tom and suggested he had something new out next year but I'd take that with a grain of salt. Replacement times on SEM's had been getting pretty long in stores so I had a feeling we might be seeing the end of them. Super happy I got one when I did.
Panason
Someone posted a photo of a prototype SEMimodular at one of the modular subforums here but I can't find it.

That would be super cool but would probably cost more than the OB6, just because it can.

I'd prefer a SEM with full MIDI control of all parameters, and patch memory.
rowsbywoof
You can still find new ones around, but I think it's pretty safe to say if Sweetwater is saying no longer available, and Tom's taken it off his website, it's no longer in production.

Though, oddly enough, if you click on the large print OB-6 under the slide show it takes you to a page on the SEM (http://tomoberheim.businesscatalyst.com/sem.html) smile
chvad
Panason wrote:
Someone posted a photo of a prototype SEMimodular at one of the modular subforums here but I can't find it.

That would be super cool but would probably cost more than the OB6, just because it can.

I'd prefer a SEM with full MIDI control of all parameters, and patch memory.


that was years ago now though. itd be neat if it finally got released but it seems like a long shot.
Panason
Tom must be getting ready to retire by now. Hopefully he will pass the wisdom on.
GavRL
Having bought a Two Voice Pro about one week before production ceased on that, I’m sad to see Tom ending all of his exclusive production, but yes, inevitable really given his age, and the size and structure of the company. I’d i initially bought a SEM Pro, and was so enamoured with it that I had to return it and find the additional funds by any means to get the Two Voice. If I had the spare cash now I’d still be tempted to buy two more of the remaining SEM Pro stock and fashion myself a four voice. Quite simply my favourite sounding synth there is.
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