reSEMble, a DIY module that fuses the best parts of the Oberheim SEM Synthesizer with many new sound modifiers into a new synth voice.
This news was already circulating in the media in August last year, but it flew past my radar. That happens to me sometimes, but thanks to a new video I can cover it now. reSEMble is a DIY synth voice for Eurorack that is inspired by the legendary Oberheim SEM Synthesizer. It’s not a clone but a new synth voice that pays tribute to Tom Oberheim’s design. There are 12 sub-modules that comprise the complete voice architecture.
The 3 VCOs, VCF, and two envelope generators are based on vintage Synthesizer concepts, precisely on the ideas of the Oberheim SEM. The developers not only adopted ideas from the past but also added new features so that it is not a clone: expanded LFO, noise generator, sample & hold, wavefolder, and more modulation & routing options.
- three VCOs using saw core VCOs (pulse, sine & sawtooth waveforms), variable linear & exponential FM, PW, PWM CV input & hard sync
- mod section with dual-range LFO with three switchable waveforms, sample & hold and noise
- waveshaper is a combination of a wavefolder & ring modulator with inputs for the folder (Z) and X and Y for the ring modulator. A mixer provides the ability to fold an input sine wave, the output of the ring modulator or a combination of the two.
- VCF mix lets you mix VCO 1, VCO 2, VCO 3, noise generator and external in.
- VCF is a state variable filter (vintage design from the 1970s/1980s) with two-pole and 12dB per octave roll-off for high pass and low pass and a -12 dB wide (-6dB either side) bandpass output. CV for cutoff (F), resonance (Q). The response of the filter can be switched in or out of bandpass mode. When bandpass mode is off the filter can be continuously swept between Low Pass, Notch and High Pass responses.
- vintage envelope generators based on discrete components can be switched between ADSR and ADSD mode. In ADSD mode the delay pot controls the delay and the release parts of the envelope just like some popular synths of the 1970s and 1980s. This envelope outputs an exponential curve and has a re-triggerable gate.
- Output Mix controls the level of the ring mod, wavefolder, main output and offers a VCA controlled by an envelope generator or LFO.
I’m writing about sub-modules because this DIY project is not soldered in one piece, but per module. So you can build and test each module individually but in the end, they come together behind the reSEMble panel with the help of ribbon cables that runs from the back of each module to a single bus board.
But don’t worry, the modules work together. The developers have built-in numerous patching options without using patch cables.
Conceived by musician Randy Piscione, this is a set of PCBs and a Eurorack panel to build a single-panel, single-voice Eurorack all-in-one synth module that’s inspired by the Oberheim SEM.
These are not clones. Randy asked Tom Oberheim about doing an SEM clone for Eurorack, and he referred him to a friend of his who has been helping him since the 1970s. They had a long phone conversation and his take is that Tom would rather see us develop something new, even if it is based on his work. So, that was our goal.
reSEMble is a DIY project and available now for $99 USD + shipping. This includes sixteen PCBs and one panel. You need to purchase your own components for it. The developer described it as an advanced DIY build due to the number of PCBs involved. But if you’re good at soldering, this shouldn’t be a problem and so you get an Oberheim SEM style synth for less than 1/5th the price of an actual SEM.
More information here: PM Foundations