The Return of an Analog Synth Classic Burnsville MN

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.

Schmitt Music Center
(952) 435-2454
14150 Nicollet Ave
Burnsville, MN
Types of Instruments Sold
Acoustic Piano, Digital Piano, Electronic Keyboard, Organs, Band & Orchestral, Drums & Percussion, Sound Reinforcement, Recording Equipment, Guitars & Fretted Instruments, Print Music

Data Provided by:
Groth Music Co
(612) 884-4772
8056 Nicollet Ave S
Bloomington, MN
Types of Instruments Sold
Digital Piano, Electronic Keyboard, Band & Orchestral, Drums & Percussion, Sound Reinforcement, Recording Equipment, Guitars & Fretted Instruments, Print Music, DJ Equipment

Data Provided by:
Gc Pro Div Guitar Ctr
(952) 297-5984
3650 Hazelton Rd
Edina, MN
Types of Instruments Sold
Digital Piano, Electronic Keyboard, Band & Orchestral, Drums & Percussion, Sound Reinforcement, Recording Equipment, Guitars & Fretted Instruments, Print Music, DJ Equipment

Data Provided by:
Mahler Music Center
(651) 224-6943
907 Randolph Avenue
St. Paul, MN
Types of Instruments Sold
Acoustic Piano, Digital Piano, Electronic Keyboard, Organs, Print Music
Store Information
Instrument Rental: Yes
Website Sales: Yes
Lesson Information
Lessons: Yes
Instrument Repair Information
Repairs for accordion and concertinas including bellow working, keyboard leveling, fixing switch mechanisms, replacing leathers, reed waxing and tuning and electronic repairs.
Hours
10-4 M-F, 10-2 Sat

Data Provided by:
Aabaca Inc
(952) 933-7307
5750 Shady Oak Rd S
Minnetonka, MN
Types of Instruments Sold
Digital Piano, Electronic Keyboard, Sound Reinforcement, Recording Equipment

Data Provided by:
Schmitt Music Company
(612) 695-0671
14592 Alabama Ave S
Savage, MN
Types of Instruments Sold
Acoustic Piano, Digital Piano, Electronic Keyboard, Organs, Band & Orchestral, Drums & Percussion, Sound Reinforcement, Recording Equipment, Guitars & Fretted Instruments, Print Music

Data Provided by:
Bodines Inc
(612) 866-2025
9361 Penn Ave S
Minneapolis, MN
Types of Instruments Sold
Acoustic Piano, Digital Piano, Electronic Keyboard, Organs

Data Provided by:
Twin Town Guitars
(612) 822-3334
3400 Lyndale Ave S
Minneapolis, MN
Types of Instruments Sold
Electronic Keyboard, Drums & Percussion, Sound Reinforcement, Recording Equipment, Guitars & Fretted Instruments
Store Information
Instrument Rental: Yes
Website Sales: Yes
Lesson Information
Lessons: Yes
Instrument Repair Information
Home of the $25 Set Up!
We fix breaks and electronics in addition to basic set ups. Re-frets, fret-dresses and heat presses, too. We do solid state and tube amp repairs, and fix pedals and other electronics.
Warranty repair for many folks including Fender, VOX, Marshall, Orange.
Hours
Monday-Friday 10AM-8PM, SAturday 10AM-6PM, Sunday Noon-5PM

Data Provided by:
Torps Music Center
(952) 929-3412
2571 Xenwood Ave S
Minneapolis, MN
Types of Instruments Sold
Electronic Keyboard, Drums & Percussion, Sound Reinforcement, Recording Equipment, Guitars & Fretted Instruments

Data Provided by:
Kovacs Piano Co
(651) 646-2633
1544 Selby Ave
Saint Paul, MN
Types of Instruments Sold
Digital Piano, Electronic Keyboard, Organs, Band & Orchestral, Drums & Percussion, Sound Reinforcement, Guitars & Fretted Instruments

Data Provided by:
Data Provided by:

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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