SEM for bass?
Old 2nd September 2010
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SEM for bass?

I'm gearing up for some new purchases!...

Is the SEM good for bass duties? I have wanted one for ages for lots of other reasons other than bass but I could also do with another strong bass synth.

I have a moog source, prophet 5 and an Andromeda that I use right now. ( I use the moog source primarily for bass)

Or would I be better off going for a pro one for now and getting an SEM when Tom has some time to make them! Or wait for the possibility of a 2 voice? ( Again leaving plenty of time for Tom to make them.. Anyone would think that he is sitting in a warehouse on his own putting these things together! )
Old 2nd September 2010
  #2
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It's well priced and sounds nice with a distinct character so you can't really go wrong. It's hard to say with anyone what the perfect bass would be though for many people a Moog defines it and you have a later slightly less tweakable Moog. The unit was meant to complement rather than compete with the Arps and Moogs of the day and optionally be your sequenced synth to solo on top of with another keyboard synth.

To me the Pro One is like pushing the CEM sound in a good way, but just like the SEM has an Oberheim character the Pro One is going to have a Curtis character that you might have a maybe a bit tamer version of if you have a Rev 3 prophet.

Actually I'm not totally sure how people used the 2 voice (rather than 4 voice) in it's day. I know playing a solo voice on a poly in general lets you have a release you can hear while the next note plays and given the SEM has a fairly basic architecture, layering 2 would make a bigger mono sound. Though if definitely opens up more possibilities than the prior Arp approach (that Tom Oberheim was in on) involving just the oscillators playing different notes through a common VCF & VCA
Old 2nd September 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by itisnick View Post
It's well priced and sounds nice with a distinct character so you can't really go wrong. It's hard to say with anyone what the perfect bass would be though for many people a Moog defines it and you have a later slightly less tweakable Moog. The unit was meant to complement rather than compete with the Arps and Moogs of the day and optionally be your sequenced synth to solo on top of with another keyboard synth.

To me the Pro One is like pushing the CEM sound in a good way, but just like the SEM has an Oberheim character the Pro One is going to have a Curtis character that you might have a maybe a bit tamer version of if you have a Rev 3 prophet.

Actually I'm not totally sure how people used the 2 voice (rather than 4 voice) in it's day. I know playing a solo voice on a poly in general lets you have a release you can hear while the next note plays and given the SEM has a fairly basic architecture, layering 2 would make a bigger mono sound. Though if definitely opens up more possibilities than the prior Arp approach (that Tom Oberheim was in on) involving just the oscillators playing different notes through a common VCF & VCA
Are there different versions of the Pro one like the p5? And are they wildly different in charachter?
Old 2nd September 2010
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Any one else want to chip in?
Old 2nd September 2010
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SEM makes really great bass parts, its not like a moog bass though.
Old 2nd September 2010
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I don't particularly rate the SEM for bass. I had an original 4 voice. It can do it but..the Source is miles better imho.

Great as they are I find the SEM a bit soft on bass duties, that's why it wouldn't be my first choice.

Since you already have a Source, If you want something different I'd recommend the Roland Promars. Ultra snappy and punchy like the Source but the tone is totally vintage Roland and a bit more interesting than the normal SH fodder.

I have both..they go together really well.
Old 2nd September 2010
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The beauty of the vintage sounds is that they sound great yet from brand to brand quite distinctively different in character.

In other words, there's not necessarily a better. You've already got some great sounds. Comes down to a matter of taste-just think of them as different brands of coffee or weed.

You have to hear each one for yourself, in order to judge whether it suits your taste and is worth adding to the array. Opinions here and elsewhere will be all over the place.

Bottom line you have to get out there and hear them. Youtube clips when they're available can be a good starting point until then, I find.

I would characterize the SEM sound as warm and tight-not as fat as the other boards you have but very organic and well suited to today's styles but with much more character and punch.
Old 2nd September 2010
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i love old SEM doing bass. other options outside the moog-ish camp:

ARP Axxe and Oddysey (mkII and mkIII respecitvely), with 4075 filter - thick fuzzy bass, different from moog but equally great.

SH-09/SH-2 thick n powerful with typcial Roland filter and suboscillator.



as AnalogBass mentioned, there are several that can work/sound great, but each have their own unique sonic stamp. it's hard to put this in words - so, you'll just have to try yourself.


i think any of the above will complement your P5/A6/Source nicely.
Old 2nd September 2010
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Originally Posted by Space Station View Post
I don't particularly rate the SEM for bass. I had an original 4 voice. It can do it but..the Source is miles better imho.

Since you already have a Source, If you want something different I'd recommend the Roland Promars. Ultra snappy and punchy like the Source but the tone is totally vintage Roland..

I have both..they go together really well.
I'm picking up a Jupiter 8 next month... would this not cover the roland bass territory?

It looks like a good mono.. Would you go for taht over one of the SH models?
Old 2nd September 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Odey View Post
I'm picking up a Jupiter 8 next month... would this not cover the roland bass territory?

It looks like a good mono.. Would you go for taht over one of the SH models?
Well the Promars is like a Jupiter 4 with a second VCO(or an SPV-355)..so it doesn't sound like a Jupiter 8. But personally yes I would take one over the SH stuff, you get the ultra fast(or slow) LFO and some patch memory amongst other things. Also the JP4 Io kit works in it. It's a very cool and versatile mono.
Old 2nd September 2010
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Originally Posted by Space Station View Post
Well the Promars is like a Jupiter 4 with a second VCO(or an SPV-355)..so it doesn't sound like a Jupiter 8. But personally yes I would take one over the SH stuff, you get the ultra fast(or slow) LFO and some patch memory amongst other things. Also the JP4 Io kit works in it. It's a very cool and versatile mono.
It looks good but pricey.. it costs more than the JP4!

The SH5 looks pretty awesome in terms of features.. how does everyone find the sound...

SO what I'm looking at now for a versatile bass synth is:

Promars
SH5
Pro one
SEM
Minimoog?
Old 2nd September 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Odey View Post
It looks good but pricey.. it costs more than the JP4!
Yeh I noticed there's a couple of super expensive ones on ebay right now...you can find them for half of what they are asking if you keep an eye out.
Old 3rd September 2010
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Originally Posted by Space Station View Post
Yeh I noticed there's a couple of super expensive ones on ebay right now...you can find them for half of what they are asking if you keep an eye out.
I'm sure I saw one a few months back for about £500....!
Old 3rd September 2010
  #14
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I've got a couple tracks I'm finishing up that have a Telemark handling the bass (I know, it's not a SEM, but as it's a SEM clone...) and they seem to work well enough in the right context.
Old 3rd September 2010
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Old 3rd September 2010
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SEMs - have the biggest sound of any analogue synth. Bass is no problem for them. Loads of snap and a full bodied sound. Huge choice in filter settings makes it even better.

Using a Jp8 for Bass duties is a total waste of a great synth.

Sh5 - wonderful synth with such and expressive character and tones of modulation routings... again wouldn't be my first stop for bass but it certainly can if you need it.

Beer.
Old 3rd September 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Odey View Post
I'm picking up a Jupiter 8 next month... would this not cover the roland bass territory?
Jupiter 8 has a very nice bass but its unique, very different sound from classic SH1/2/9. less brute/dry, but warmer. fuzzier. here's one short example of its triangle and sine waves together:

triangle+sine bass


i had Promars for a shortwhile, indeed it sounds like two VCO Jupiter4. very fast attack, liquid filter. to complicate issue further, Promars/JP4 also sound their own thing when doin bass, not like the SH1/2/9 series.

here's SH-2 doing bass and misc stuff:

lead-to-thickbass bass discrete_bass
pwbassfilter power
Old 3rd September 2010
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Originally Posted by Derp View Post
I've got a couple tracks I'm finishing up that have a Telemark handling the bass (I know, it's not a SEM, but as it's a SEM clone...) and they seem to work well enough in the right context.
Banned again!!
Old 3rd September 2010
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Thanks for the demoes guys.. all very helpful..

I really think i'm gonna like the SEM.. So for now i'm thinking i'll pick up a Jupiter 8 and an SEM.. for now.. and let's see where the year takes me!

Anyone know if there is a waiting list for the SEM?
Old 3rd September 2010
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Seems to me like you've developed a healthy synth addiction.

I've also got the JP8 and Source and I've considered getting the SEM or Telemark mainly for the semimodular craziness but bass too. But the JP8 is one fantastic bass synth! This does not get mentioned often enough IMO probably since it's fantastic in a thousand other ways too.

While I love the Source for bass (how couldn't I!) the JP8's bass is smoother, bouncier and even punchier. Equally beefy I'd say. JP8 also sounds slightly warmer and more organic to me. It's also much more versatile with the awesome dual mode (=2 patches layered) and unison. JP8's envelopes are the best I've heard in a synth. Just perfect. Musical like snapping a guitar string.

Chances are you'll love the JP8 for bass too. I personally wouldn't get anything else before your JP arrives. Maybe after some months of digging deep into the Jupiter I'd consider the SEM or Odyssey.
Old 3rd September 2010
  #21
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Regarding the Pro One, no there was no redesign in terms of sound, they are all Curtis chips. They do sound different from the Prophet 5 but in my opinion CEM filters do have an identifiable character, just like a lot of other classic filters. The Arp Odyssey would be a monosynth with some very different sounding filters in the same model. On the Pro One earlier ones have more reliable keyboards, the later ones use membrane technology known to fail.

Oh and it's worth noting that while some of the Roland SH series are more related than others, like the Jupiters, they really don't sound that similar (I'd say the SH-101, by far the most common is the least similar for better or worse)
Old 4th September 2010
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Old 10th September 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Odey View Post
I'm gearing up for some new purchases!...

Is the SEM good for bass duties?..
Yea At least for certain types of bass.

Here's my SEM playing Minimoog! I couldn't resist
Attached Files
File Type: mp3 OBSEM_Thriller_georgehayduke.mp3 (1.84 MB, 356 views)
Old 10th September 2010
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I'll post a clip later of the sh-5 bass possibilities, if I have the time
Old 10th September 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by murphythecat87 View Post
I'll post a clip later of the sh-5 bass possibilities, if I have the time
yeah,, go on:] make some acid out of it. i love roland acid lines - dont care how deep/phat the bass is if the tone squelches



i guess you didnt sell yours then
Old 11th September 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rasseru View Post
yeah,, go on:] make some acid out of it. i love roland acid lines - dont care how deep/phat the bass is if the tone squelches



i guess you didnt sell yours then
no, I'm keeping it. I didnt have the time today, I'll try to keep it in mind and will do tommorrow (if I have the time!).
Old 1st January 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Space Station View Post
Well the Promars is like a Jupiter 4 with a second VCO(or an SPV-355)..so it doesn't sound like a Jupiter 8. But personally yes I would take one over the SH stuff, you get the ultra fast(or slow) LFO and some patch memory amongst other things. Also the JP4 Io kit works in it ...
Does it? Based on my correspondence with the designer it's not compatible. Did you install one in your Promars? Would be very interested to know.

As for using a SEM for bass, I've been giving this some thought as well as I'm currently going through a similar quest for a dedicated bass synth for an upcoming project. I recently picked up an old Novation Bass Station Rack - primarily for the CV/GATE to use with my Promars, with the idea that it could make for a handy bass synth - and I was thoroughly disappointed. The oscillators are surprisingly weak to my ears. My MKS-50, a DCO synth like the Bass Station, sounds significantly better!!!

The Promars makes for a fabulous bass synth. Punchy as all hell. Problem is, I need it for lead!

My first choice would be a Pro One... but I'm really not in the mood to go hunt one down and pay too much money for it... so I'm considering buying my first DSI instrument, a Mopho. If anyone wants to try and talk me out of it, please do so now ;-)
Old 1st January 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maisonvague View Post
Does it? Based on my correspondence with the designer it's not compatible. Did you install one in your Promars? Would be very interested to know.

As for using a SEM for bass, I've been giving this some thought as well as I'm currently going through a similar quest for a dedicated bass synth for an upcoming project. I recently picked up an old Novation Bass Station Rack - primarily for the CV/GATE to use with my Promars, with the idea that it could make for a handy bass synth - and I was thoroughly disappointed. The oscillators are surprisingly weak to my ears. My MKS-50, a DCO synth like the Bass Station, sounds significantly better!!!

The Promars makes for a fabulous bass synth. Punchy as all hell. Problem is, I need it for lead!

My first choice would be a Pro One... but I'm really not in the mood to go hunt one down and pay too much money for it... so I'm considering buying my first DSI instrument, a Mopho. If anyone wants to try and talk me out of it, please do so now ;-)

Hi, Well it was the designer who told me it was compatible, they use identical CPU's etc...but you wouldnt get every feature. Maybe he's changed his mind.
Old 1st January 2011
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Yeah, it could be. I need to contact him about something else anyway, so I'll bring it up and then post whatever info I get back here. The last I heard though was that he had some doubts about it working properly and had put off working on it to do other stuff (like an Io Kit for the Juno-60).
Old 1st January 2011
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OK Space, just got it straight from the horse's mouth. The patch programming portion of the Jupiter-4 Io interface is indeed compatible with the Promars, just not the MIDI portion. I may just have to get one now. The extra patch memory plus the ability to tweak the saved patches in real time could really open up a lot of possibilities for the Promars as a performance synth.

Apologies to the board for continuing OT.
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