The Return of an Analog Synth Classic Branson MO

In contrast to most second comings of great analog synth names, the SEM is almost identical to the original. In fact, the external cosmetics are changed far more than the innards.

Piano Craft Inc
(417) 881-3035
2908 S Glenstone Ave
Springfield, MO
Types of Instruments Sold
Acoustic Piano, Digital Piano, Electronic Keyboard, Organs, Print Music

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Heritage Piano & Organ
(417) 781-4444
Po Box 69
Saginaw, MO
Types of Instruments Sold
Acoustic Piano, Digital Piano, Electronic Keyboard, Organs

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Music Connection The
(636) 933-7300
2093 Us Highway 67
Festus, MO
Types of Instruments Sold
Digital Piano, Electronic Keyboard, Organs, Band & Orchestral, Drums & Percussion, Sound Reinforcement, Guitars & Fretted Instruments, Print Music

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Big Dons Music City
(417) 782-8505
1501 S Main St
Joplin, MO
Types of Instruments Sold
Digital Piano, Electronic Keyboard, Organs, Band & Orchestral, Drums & Percussion, Sound Reinforcement, Guitars & Fretted Instruments, Print Music

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Mozingo Music
(636) 380-9553
100 Clarkson Rd
Ellisville, MO
Types of Instruments Sold
Digital Piano, Electronic Keyboard, Band & Orchestral, Drums & Percussion, Sound Reinforcement, Recording Equipment, Guitars & Fretted Instruments, Print Music

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Springfield Music
(417) 881-1373
3100 S Fremont Ave
Springfield, MO
Types of Instruments Sold
Digital Piano, Electronic Keyboard, Band & Orchestral, Drums & Percussion, Sound Reinforcement, Recording Equipment, Guitars & Fretted Instruments, Print Music
Store Information
Instrument Rental: Yes
Website Sales: Yes
Lesson Information
Lessons: Yes
Clinics: Yes
Instrument Repair Information
Springfield Music is home to the Ozarks' most trusted repair shop. Our shop has well-over seventy-five years of combined experience, and each member of our repair team has their own interests and specialties. We offer brass, woodwind, and stringed instrument repair, at fair rates, great turnaround times and with free estimates. Come in and see for yourself
why we are the Ozark's favorite shop!
Hours
Monday - Friday
10AM-8PM
Saturday
10AM-6PM
Sunday
1PM-5PM

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Caraway Music & Electronic
(660) 665-7510
113 N Cottage Grove Ave
Kirksville, MO
Types of Instruments Sold
Electronic Keyboard, Band & Orchestral, Drums & Percussion, Sound Reinforcement, Recording Equipment, Guitars & Fretted Instruments, Print Music, DJ Equipment

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Brillhart Music & Craft
(816) 850-4227
404 W 2Nd St
Holden, MO
Types of Instruments Sold
Electronic Keyboard, Drums & Percussion, Sound Reinforcement, Guitars & Fretted Instruments, Print Music, DJ Equipment

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Haug Music
(573) 221-4319
615 Broadway
Hannibal, MO
Types of Instruments Sold
Acoustic Piano, Digital Piano, Electronic Keyboard, Guitars & Fretted Instruments, Print Music

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Big Dudes Music City
(816) 931-4638
3817 Broadway St
Kansas City, MO
Types of Instruments Sold
Digital Piano, Electronic Keyboard, Drums & Percussion, Sound Reinforcement, Recording Equipment, Guitars & Fretted Instruments, DJ Equipment

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The Return of an Analog Synth Classic

0310 Tom Oberheim SEM

In 1974, Tom Oberheim released the first Synthesizer Expander Module, or SEM. Players loved this easy-to-use, ballsysounding synth, and its unique multimode filter gave it a distinctive sound. The SEM went on to become the basis for some of the world’s first polyphonic synths, such as the Oberheim Two-, Four-, and Eight-Voice, which were essentially multiple SEMs in the same cabinet as a keyboard. Beginning in the late ’70s, these gave way to more compact analog polysynths (the Oberheim OB-Xa behind Paul Shaffer on page 28 among them) but analog tone nuts still hunt for original SEMs. Much to their delight, Tom has now reissued it.

HANDS-ON

  1. You get 33 patch points on 1/8" mini jacks. The SEM is compatible with all one-volt-per-octave analog synths, transforming the SEM into a powerful synth expander module, hence the name!
  2. Large coarse tuning knobs for each oscillator offer a five-octave range; small pots above fine-tune over a range of about a major third.
  3. Unique multimode filter operates in lowpass and highpass modes and is continuously variable between modes with a knob — at 12 o’clock it’s a notch filter. Slide switch activates bandpass mode.
  4. These knobs combine the oscillator waveform and mixer functions found in separate sections on other synths: Center is off, left makes the sawtooth louder, right does the same for the pulse wave.
  5. Slide switch bypasses the VCA. Translation: infinite sustain. This also lets users run external audio inputs through the filter without triggering the envelopes — handy.

THE SIMILARITY STARTS HERE

In contrast to most second comings of great analog synth names, the SEM is almost identical to the original. In fact, the external cosmetics are changed far more than the innards. Tom tells us that just one component was changed from the original design due to lack of availability, and it doesn’t affect the sound. He kept the wedge-shaped beige case, and even the knobs are the same parts as on the originals. Some details have changed: two separate tuning knobs work better than the original’s touchy concentric arrangement. The biggest difference is the 33-jack patch panel. Since “bringing out” patch points is a common mod on originals, Oberheim took it one more step — a large step — providing fantastic flexibility for interfacing with other analog gear. Modular and Moogerfooger maniacs rejoice!

0.0000midipanel MIDI AND THE SEM The SEM’s extensive control voltage I/O is a boon for serious fans of analog, but what if you want to just wail on it from your MIDI keyboard? Tom Oberheim will soon release the SEM MIDI edition. This replaces the SEM’s left-side patch panel with a nicely outfitted MIDI-to-CV converter, and adds rear-panel MIDI jacks. Along with standard note on/off reception, there’s an auxiliary CV that you can control with your choice of velocity, mod wheel, or other continuous controllers. The aux CV destinations include oscillator frequen...

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