After an eternity of searching for the right synth to buy as my first ever analog synthesizer, I decided upon the Tom Oberheim SEM Pro.
There were a number of reasons for this decision.
The first was that it’s a limited edition device and it’s not a Moog, two reasons why it’s guaranteed to be a little bit unique.
Not that I have anything against Moog ( well especially since I own and love Moog gear…. ) it’s just that I know that the SEM is a closer recreation to the old discrete designs, in comparison to say the difference between a Moog Voyager and a Minimoog Model D. The fat, raw and juicy old sound of the SEM is precisely what I am after.
Then there is the filter. The difference a 12dB filter gives you ( opposed to say a 24dB one as is common on other synths ) is rawness. The SEM is an extremely dry and raw sounding synth, but when you push the filter resonance it can also become all bubbly and liquid. It’s got SUCH a range….
I’ve already ordered the Moog MF-101 Low Pass filter, so I wanted something unique, which the SEM filter definitely is. When the MF-101 arrives I’ll be able to control it with the SEM, so I’ll get the best of both worlds that way, with the choice of a 24dB LPF with the Moog, or a 12dB LPF with the SEM, along with the HPF, BPF and Notch options on the SEM ( and the continuous filter morphing also ).
Here is a picture of it settling in to the etheory studio:
You can find more photos of it on my facebook artist page:
You can also listen to it here:
The first day of owning it hasn’t been without it’s trials and tribulations. The MIDI cable I bought to connect it to my sound card has a connector that is too big to fit into the rear panel cutout. So for tonight, at least, I’ll be relegated to one note from this thing, and no envelopes…. Frustrating is an understatement, but, tomorrow, it’s crazy noise time…. Stay tuned.
3 thoughts on “Just took delivery today of an Oberheim SEM Pro”
Hey, I just got an SEM Pro as well. Loving it so far. You made an excellent choice for your first analog synth. Also, I’d really like to hear it through the MF-101 filter if you have a demo.
Yeah, I spent an eternity ensuring I was getting the right synth for the job. How are you finding yours? I think it’s great for harder genres of electronic music like Electro, Progressive House, Trance and Drum and Bass. It’s got a really tearing sound.
I really wanted a 24dB filter ( or should I say thought I did…. ), but knew that the SEM had the edge over the modern Moogs for sheer raw sound and it’s oscillators to me seemed phatter, so I got the MF-101 later so I could pick and choose between filters.
I’ll definitely put up some stuff of the combo soon ( it’s a REALLY killer combo…. ).
Thanks for your comment!
I have some MF-102 stuff up on Soundcloud in the meantime if you are interested in the ring-mod: http://soundcloud.com/evolutionarytheory
I’m currently working on some DIY cables to connect the SEM patch points to the MF-101 and MF-102 to properly control them. I’ll post up something about that experience too.
Hi again Jason,
Here is a link to the combination of the SEM Pro, MF-102 RingMod and MF-101 24dB Filter all passing through each other.