vintage Oberheim SEM

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8bit9bot
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vintage Oberheim SEM

Post by 8bit9bot » Mon Jan 06, 2014 11:27 pm

The bug has bitten. I am interested in the SEM now... and of course I prefer the vintage unit over the re-issue. If they were exactly the same, I would probably be fine with the new one. Anyhow... I see a few SEM modules on eBay... but they're just the front panel without any housing or PSU. Are there any simple / cost effective options for converting a SEM panel into a stand-alone unit? Sorry if this has already been discussed, but the search didn't like the word "SEM" for some reason.

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Re: vintage Oberheim SEM

Post by Sir Ruff » Wed Jan 08, 2014 8:23 pm

Have you been able to compare them side by side? I acknowledge that there is a difference, but it's pretty subtle. I can't see going through the effort of trying to fit an old one into a case (unless you got it for a great price) when you can get fully CV-ed, midi'd new ones for <$800.
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Re: vintage Oberheim SEM

Post by phesago » Wed Jan 08, 2014 9:28 pm

Ive had the pleasure of using both and i would take a new one all day long.

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Re: vintage Oberheim SEM

Post by 8bit9bot » Thu Jan 09, 2014 1:25 am

that's a good point - i have been going on word of mouth that the old one has some edge over the new one sonically

i dont care much about the patch points... nor MIDI to CV conversion because i already have a converter - if i do buy the new SEM i may still rehouse it so it's rackable instead of a tabletop module... so... to simply add a PSU and output jacks is not a huge difficult project... i was hoping maybe someone sold a kit... doesnt seem like it - but your point is valid that buying the new one would be very simple and instant gratification

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Re: vintage Oberheim SEM

Post by phesago » Thu Jan 09, 2014 3:36 pm

You can buy a new one for rack/module purposes direct from tomoberheim.com. Its a little but cheaper too :3

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Re: vintage Oberheim SEM

Post by 8bit9bot » Fri Jan 10, 2014 2:57 am

phesago wrote:You can buy a new one for rack/module purposes direct from tomoberheim.com. Its a little but cheaper too :3
nifty - but i dont see it on the site or anywhere else for that matter - what's the price?

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Re: vintage Oberheim SEM

Post by Sir Ruff » Fri Jan 10, 2014 3:40 am

8bit9bot wrote:that's a good point - i have been going on word of mouth that the old one has some edge over the new one sonically
Arguably, it does, but even the vintage slut side of me can't convince me that the new one is not a better all-round buy for multiple reasons. And it's not like we're talking minimoog vs. voyager differences--the new SEM is like 90% there (the last 5-10% being subtle differences in phasing, tone, and the semi-self-oscillating filter on the new one), and if you've never played the original, then this shouldn't even matter. It's easily the most "authentic" new analog synth out there, clone or otherwise.

Also, I'm pretty sure TO never sold the new SEM panels by themselves. They were only offered briefly in the very beginning, and he never actually sold any.
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Re: vintage Oberheim SEM

Post by phesago » Sun Jan 12, 2014 5:38 pm

So, I guess he doesn't sell them as kits anymore. It used to be on his website. Im sure if you email him and ask he will prolly pack one up for you.

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Re: vintage Oberheim SEM

Post by celebutante » Wed Jan 15, 2014 7:47 am

I don't believe Tom ended up selling any of the "panel only" versions as he was concerned that people might hook up power incorrectly and blow them up (I tried to convince him otherwise though!). That said, if you buy the entire module, it's relatively easy to liberate the panel from the rest of the case.

As for any opinions expressed up here regarding whether the new ones sounds as "good" as the originals... audio path-wise, it's identical except for one component that was no longer available (CA3080, I believe, can't remember). Not to fan the flames, but anyone claiming it doesn't sound as good as an original is talking out of their a*s. An original may sound a little different, but that's because the caps are forty years old and the resistor tolerances weren't as tight then but that's generally not a desirable thing. This isn't my opinion- it's Tom's.
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