The New Tom Oberheim SEM Thread

Discussions about anything analog, digital, MIDI, synth technology, techniques, theories and more.
User avatar
RobotHeroes
Synth Explorer
Synth Explorer
Posts: 2207
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2007 2:57 am
Gear: a toothed wheel that engages another toothed mechanism in order to change the speed or direction of transmitted motion
Location: California/OT

Re: The New Tom Oberheim SEM Thread

Post by RobotHeroes » Sat Oct 03, 2009 2:19 am

Cool demo. I can hear a difference but meh. I look forward to some SEM only demos.
"*Automatic Gainsay, you ignorant slut." - Primal Drive

"thanks guys. RobotHeroes, your avatar is the single most important thing on this website. ever. it reminds me that the world actually can be a good place." - rjd2

:happy3:

User avatar
Stab Frenzy
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 9723
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2006 5:41 pm
Gear: Eurorack, RYTM, Ultranova, many FX
Location: monster island*
Contact:

Re: The New Tom Oberheim SEM Thread

Post by Stab Frenzy » Sat Oct 03, 2009 3:11 am

Joey wrote:oh and the other issue: they both sound f**k great, so who f**k cares if there is a difference?
this.

User avatar
stikygum
Active Member
Active Member
Posts: 681
Joined: Thu Feb 15, 2007 10:21 pm
Location: SOS - Substance over Style

Re: The New Tom Oberheim SEM Thread

Post by stikygum » Sat Oct 03, 2009 5:25 am

Not matter what, it has that sweet tone. Sounds pretty close if not identical. I think I do hear a slight difference, but maybe not (could be my memory, haven't played an original or heard one for a while among other factors). It sounds basically like an original SEM. It sounds freaking sweet and I can see everyone agrees on that. So I think that you would have to try really hard to hear any significant difference. These might have well been manufactured from the 70s as far as I'm concerned.

This is about as close to IDENTICAL as any remake of a synth I've ever heard. Tom did an awesome job it sounds like.
=D> =D> =D>
"MTV's gaudy overexuberance contributed to the trivialization of the one thing it had been initiated to support, music" - Rik Millhouse

User avatar
nadafarms
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
Posts: 1067
Joined: Thu Jun 01, 2006 7:33 am
Location: NorCal

Re: The New Tom Oberheim SEM Thread

Post by nadafarms » Sat Oct 03, 2009 5:28 am

Seriously though, and thank you WDW but TOM OB and everyone else who has one of these for the love of god how bout make some serious demos.

Like am I the only one who just can't take it anymore I mean months of waiting and now it's released and still not even a snippet of an mp3 COME ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

[-o<
for sale/trade: EML-101

nvbrkr
Senior Member
Senior Member
Posts: 812
Joined: Fri May 09, 2008 8:14 pm
Gear: An electric piano and analog synths.
Location: Helsinki, Finland

Re: The New Tom Oberheim SEM Thread

Post by nvbrkr » Sat Oct 03, 2009 8:01 am

Joey wrote:you people must be brainwashed to hear a difference, I can barely hear anything and i monitored in both my adam a7s and beyerdynamic dt770s
Eh, there's a clear difference. Listen to the filtered part for starters. The other has the characteristics of a vintage synth as it has a more irregular-sounding sweep and a slight amount of distortion - most people who have owned a 70s synth should be able to recognize it. Also the cancellation of the frequencies is different, which is why the older would still seem to take the cake for me. Of course setting the two units to sound identical would be an impossibility, but the new one has a drier quality with less artefacts in the high and low end (a 70s preamp could be probably used to compensate for this if needed). That seems to be the case with most, if not all, of the newer analogs.

It was a really well done demo and of course we'd like to hear more.
oh and the other issue: they both sound f**k great, so who f**k cares if there is a difference?
Well, for some potential buyers - such as myself - It's not about seeking a yet another nice sounding new analog. This was an interesting case because it's the first time one of the original designers set out to faithfully recreate a classic synth from the 70s, so we're quite hungry also for some proof of what it is exactly that makes the vintage synths sound different (discrete design? component aging? difference in materials? etc.). The difference is in the character of the sound, which is what you in the end will be paying for if you already own several synths of the same kind. So if you already own a Voyager, Doepfer modular, an Analog Solutions unit or whatever, this wouldn't necessarily bring anything that special to the party - although I am saying that only on the basis of that one single clip. But if you don't already have one, the new SEM could be the way to go for many basic sounds.

User avatar
nadafarms
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
Posts: 1067
Joined: Thu Jun 01, 2006 7:33 am
Location: NorCal

Re: The New Tom Oberheim SEM Thread

Post by nadafarms » Sat Oct 03, 2009 8:54 am

That demo is hardly scientific people, and considering it's the first one can people hold off judgment until there are some real demos of it being played by itself with no backing drums etc. ??? I mean having one synth panned left and the other panned right with a beat playing is hardly grounds for anyone to jump to any conclusions I think. [-X

I feel like I am able to hear a couple crappy youtube demos of a synth and judge it's vintage fatness levels accurately as the same for a lot of people here, but we really need someone to dig in deep on some mp3s asap here! [-o<

I do agree it is very exciting that this really is the first reproduction of a synth, and especially one that is known for being so huge sounding it has a lot to live up to!

I mean it's pretty well understood that the new moog and especially the dsi stuff while great, sounds not nearly as vintage and raw as the old moog and sequential stuff. I suspect that the new SEM will be really close and WAY fatter and more raw than all the other SEM clones, will be as raw or more than the moog voyager or dsi, but will just be a little bit cleaner sounding than the original SEM, and I can live with that.

Seriously contemplating buying four of these, just wish there were new cases... because it's expensive to buy 4 modular or midied SEMs, much cheaper to buy 4 drop in SEMs... but nowhere to drop them into :( :( :(
for sale/trade: EML-101

nvbrkr
Senior Member
Senior Member
Posts: 812
Joined: Fri May 09, 2008 8:14 pm
Gear: An electric piano and analog synths.
Location: Helsinki, Finland

Re: The New Tom Oberheim SEM Thread

Post by nvbrkr » Sat Oct 03, 2009 9:55 am

I wouldn't expect scientific studies to offer any real insight why we find the character of one synthesizer's sonic character more pleasant than another one's anytime too soon. :wink:

You certainly can't make any definitive conclusions based on one single clip, but the sound of the filter is a good enough indication for me to form an initial impression. That is, despite any notions of mp3 -sound quality (no, I'm not in the camp of claiming that mp3 would be an optimal format). You can hear the difference between many guitar distortion pedals / analog selays / etc. and their reissues based on similar short clips, so it's no different in that regard. Time will tell, but I'd once again reserve a decent amount of skepticism in this case as well.

Mind you, I originally had the left / right channels mixed up as I set them on my mixer on mono channels. So I just had to initially wonder why - what I thougt would have been - the new one, sounded so much more like a vintage unit. Don't get me wrong, I definitely would have wanted it to have 100% of the character of an older synth, even despite any obvious notions of the aging components obviously playing part in there too. But even after hearing just that clip, I won't be jumping into trying to get one for myself as quickly as possible though. It would be too much money put on something that wouldn't most likely deliver what I am personally looking for.

The problem now is, I want an original SEM. :P

MarcinP78
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 25
Joined: Sun Sep 20, 2009 10:17 pm

Re: The New Tom Oberheim SEM Thread

Post by MarcinP78 » Sat Oct 03, 2009 11:23 am

Off Topic
The problem now is, I want an original SEM. :P
While I don't condemn this, I strongly disagree with such a mindset. In my view, synthesizers like other instruments evolve through time. It is pointless to be overly particular about certain sound character of an old unit because this unit will become unobtainable in the future and its sound will be forgotten. 18th century accoustic instruments probably sounded differently to their modern counterparts and still great music is being made.

If someone is after special distortion in the filter that only the original SEM does and they think no other synth can copy it, their music will only last as long as the instrument they used. Of course, not everyone cares. I think, the music I make needs to defy changes in technology and buying a synth because of a very special sound character would restrict me right at the composition stage.

I'm very happy to see the new OB synth coming to the light as it is one of the few modern analogue mono expanders (non rack mount) with a sensible portamento knob. I find portamento a fundamental feature of a monosynth, just like the sustain pedal is fundamental to the piano sound. Doepfer Dark Energy has none and DSI products have separate portamento for each DCO without a global knob ](*,) .

maindeglorie
Active Member
Active Member
Posts: 614
Joined: Mon Nov 27, 2006 3:17 am
Gear: Voyager Select,Little Phatty,ARP Solus,Omni II,Yamaha CS-40M,Prophet 5,Prophet 08,OB-Xa,MaxiKorg,Nord Lead 3,Nord Wave,Eurorack modular, etc.
Location: Pennsylvania (NEPA)

Re: The New Tom Oberheim SEM Thread

Post by maindeglorie » Sat Oct 03, 2009 1:14 pm

This thing sounds PERFECT. It is right there. The sound is spot on, it's a SEM.
It's wide sounding, like a SEM. It's fuzzy, like a SEM. And that filter is unmistakable, like a SEM.

The filter sounds the same.

So instead of people arguing about which SEM sounds like which SEM, they should just buy the one they truly want. For a LOT of people hear, it doesn't matter how many A/B tests are done, they will never be satisfied with the new one; it will never sound like the old one to them, even if Tom Oberheim himself couldn't tell the difference.

You would think we'd all be happy with new analog synths being produced. New technologies, new innovations, reliability, NEW SOUND!

nvbrkr
Senior Member
Senior Member
Posts: 812
Joined: Fri May 09, 2008 8:14 pm
Gear: An electric piano and analog synths.
Location: Helsinki, Finland

Re: The New Tom Oberheim SEM Thread

Post by nvbrkr » Sat Oct 03, 2009 1:48 pm

MarcinP78 wrote:
Off Topic
The problem now is, I want an original SEM. :P
While I don't condemn this, I strongly disagree with such a mindset. In my view, synthesizers like other instruments evolve through time. It is pointless to be overly particular about certain sound character of an old unit because this unit will become unobtainable in the future and its sound will be forgotten. 18th century accoustic instruments probably sounded differently to their modern counterparts and still great music is being made.

If someone is after special distortion in the filter that only the original SEM does and they think no other synth can copy it, their music will only last as long as the instrument they used. Of course, not everyone cares. I think, the music I make needs to defy changes in technology and buying a synth because of a very special sound character would restrict me right at the composition stage.
This probably reflects more of a new poster's willingness to participate in a discussion - and you're perfectly free to express your view from your own personal viewpoint as well - but how is any of this relevant? If you'd actually read what I'd posted above before commenting on my mindset, you'd had noticed that I already myself have the new analog sound covered well enough. Personally, I don't even necessarily need analog synths for the type of stuff what my most active band project does, but yes, I think the older synthesizer designs tend to have a specific sound that I'd favour on some situations. That's what I am personally willing to pay for at the moment given what I already own.

However, comparing electronic music to classical music is just plain silly because they operate on completely different grounds - classical music is traditionally transmitted via notation, electronic music is often more based on the texture of sounds and is quite effectively preserved in the recorded format. In my chosen genre of music, records don't usually sell over 500 copies, so I'm not that terribly concerned about its cultural impact lasting for centuries. Your own ambitions may differ. Furthermore, how is being concerned about the sound character of a particular unit "pointless"? It was the entire point of the clip that was posted.

maindeglorie wrote: The sound is spot on
maindeglorie wrote: The filter sounds the same.
?

Especially after repeated listenings, I really don't know how anyone can seriously say what's presented on the left and right channels of that clip would sound the same. Does it sound good? Yes. Is the sound "spot on"? No.

MarcinP78
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 25
Joined: Sun Sep 20, 2009 10:17 pm

Re: The New Tom Oberheim SEM Thread

Post by MarcinP78 » Sat Oct 03, 2009 3:44 pm

This probably reflects more of a new poster's willingness to participate in a discussion - and you're perfectly free to express your view from your own personal viewpoint as well - but how is any of this relevant?
I guess it's more relevant to the discussion than my post count.
If you'd actually read what I'd posted above before commenting on my mindset, you'd had noticed that I already myself have the new analog sound covered well enough.
I had noticed that. The thing is, if I had a Voyager, a modular and another random analogue synth, I just woudn't be thinking about gettig a SEM at all, because I'd have the analogue sound already covered. The differences in distortion or cancelation of frequencies, as you've said, are negligible factors in my electronic music. Vintage distortion or modern distortion - who cares as long as they convey what I want to express musically.
I think the older synthesizer designs tend to have a specific sound that I'd favour on some situations.


I think the older synth designs have specific user interface solutions that I'd favour in most of the situations :-) The new SEM looks very good in this respect. The sound? There's plenty of different timbres, textures and flavours in modern synths so I don't need to cling to any particular one, especially if the synth it's less practical to have.
However, comparing electronic music to classical music is just plain silly because they operate on completely different grounds - classical music is traditionally transmitted via notation, electronic music is often more based on the texture of sounds and is quite effectively preserved in the recorded format.
True, it's been like that for at least the last 30 years. Maybe it's time to move on? For me, music based mostly or solely on sound texture and preserved only in recordings doesn't have as much impact as music that takes from both of the worlds. I'm not inventing anything new, live electronic music was there in the 1960's but had got lost somewhere before electronic instruments became available to everyone.
Furthermore, how is being concerned about the sound character of a particular unit "pointless"? It was the entire point of the clip that was posted.
The sound character is there with some slight differences that aren't big enough to change that character, based on the clip.

nvbrkr
Senior Member
Senior Member
Posts: 812
Joined: Fri May 09, 2008 8:14 pm
Gear: An electric piano and analog synths.
Location: Helsinki, Finland

Re: The New Tom Oberheim SEM Thread

Post by nvbrkr » Sat Oct 03, 2009 4:02 pm

Good responses!

I disagree ultimately on the latter part though. Although like mentioned in one of my previous posts you can probably compensate for the sound a bit by just using older preamps (or effects). I must have listened through that clip 20+ times and with each successive play the differences in character have become more and more obvious. I am not feeling victorious over having proven a point or something though, disappointed basically as I was looking forward to get one myself as well. We'll need more samples nevertheless.
Last edited by nvbrkr on Sat Oct 03, 2009 5:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
jcn7
Junior Member
Junior Member
Posts: 164
Joined: Fri Apr 10, 2009 5:27 pm
Gear: K2500, Vsynth, Karp, Prophecy, Volcas, Monotribes, Oasys PCI, Oberheim Matrix, SEMs, Nord Drums, Microbrute, Yamaha EX5R, + multiple Euro modulars.

Re: The New Tom Oberheim SEM Thread

Post by jcn7 » Sat Oct 03, 2009 5:04 pm

Hello, at the moment I'm re-arranging my studio to be more efficient...so while I can not post any examples yet, I can give you all my impressions of the new Sem. I received mine a few days ago, (serial #28).
While I have never owned or even played an original Sem, many years ago for a brief while I did own an OBXa. Currently, I own the following mono analog synthesizers: Korg Monopoly, Moog Little Phatty, Future Retro XS, Chimera bc16, DCI Mopho/Tetra, and now the new Oberheim Sem. in my own VERY few words here is how I would describe these:

1) Korg Monopoly: Totally early 80's.

2) Moog Litty Phattie: Big and Smooth!

3) Future Retro XS: Funky. (Almost a modern cross between an SH, MS, CS series blend...Love it (huge range of tonality))

4) Chimera bc16: Thinner quirky sound, but very cool!

5) DCI Mopho/Tetra: Sounds more modern, not vintage but better than VSTi.

6) NEW Oberheim Sem: RAW with shear POWER.

IMOHO, I've always thought that Oberheim has produced synthesizers with a huge, powerful raw sound, that has never been copied by other manufactures. In particular when I listen to say any Styx songs, the OB series that Dennis DeYoung played exemplifies that raw power I'm referring to. I think Tom has captured that same rawness with the power of the Oberheim products that I remember. Thanks Tom!
Again this is not scientific, but just my (few word) impressions of my current monophonic line up. I like each one, because they each give me a different tonality with distinct personality. I'm actually considering buying another one of these (this time the midi version) to have kind of a possible two voice setup. I also like the fact that since most of my set up are new electronics, I shouldn't have to worry about repairs on old hard to replace items. These all may not sound "old" enough for some, but for me they each give me inspiration, great sound and lots of enjoyment. Thanks all for reading my 2 cents! Jaime

maindeglorie
Active Member
Active Member
Posts: 614
Joined: Mon Nov 27, 2006 3:17 am
Gear: Voyager Select,Little Phatty,ARP Solus,Omni II,Yamaha CS-40M,Prophet 5,Prophet 08,OB-Xa,MaxiKorg,Nord Lead 3,Nord Wave,Eurorack modular, etc.
Location: Pennsylvania (NEPA)

Re: The New Tom Oberheim SEM Thread

Post by maindeglorie » Sat Oct 03, 2009 5:41 pm

Anybody have any info yet in regard to the VCA patch point being a CV input or gate?

Mooger5
Expert Member
Expert Member
Posts: 1459
Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 5:11 pm
Location: Lisbon

Re: The New Tom Oberheim SEM Thread

Post by Mooger5 » Sat Oct 03, 2009 8:30 pm

It´s a CV input. Edit - Gates and triggers are usually used to start/stop the envelope generators which then output variable control voltages that usually go into the VCAs for variable volume levels or the oscillators for variable pitch. The CV sources can be anything such as EG, LFO, KBD, whatever... Gate/trig can also be regarded as fixed Control Voltages of course, so if you feed a VCA with them, the output will be either silence/full volume or just a short click. In the SEM it´s just labelled VCA Contr and so you can control it with just about anything provided the signal it´s strong enough for the VCA to detect it. To avoid confusion, I just call it CV. OK, not very accurate, but well I hope it answers your question :)
Last edited by Mooger5 on Sun Oct 04, 2009 4:33 am, edited 2 times in total.
Herrare umanum est.

Post Reply