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SSM Chips returning under SSI Brand
Old 21st April 2017
  #1
ValhallaDSP
 
seancostello's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
SSM Chips returning under SSI Brand

Home | Sound Semiconductor

Press release, courtesy of Matrixsynth (http://www.matrixsynth.com/2017/04/s...-as-ssi.html):

NEW SEMICONDUCTOR VENTURE FOCUSES ON ELECTRONIC MUSIC AND AUDIO

First Product is Voltage Controlled Filter for Analog Synthesizers

April 20, 2017 - Sound Semiconductor today announced its formation and first product for analog synthesizers.

Headed by Dan Parks, CEO of 80's chipmaker SSM and former Audio Products Director at Analog Devices and National Semiconductor, Sound Semiconductor will focus on high performance IC's for electronic musical instruments and professional audio equipment. The development team includes previous SSM IC designers; all passionate about music and audio.

Sound's first product is the SSI2144 Four Pole Voltage Controlled Filter, an improved re-issue of the SSM2044 that many believe to be the best sounding synthesizer filter chip ever produced. Developed by original SSM2044 designer Dave Rossum - known for his many electronic music contributions - the SSI2144 utilizes modern process technology for high reliability and low cost. Improvements include lower noise and control feedthrough, better performance of the resonance control circuit, and pin connections optimized for PCB layout. Preservation of the SSM2044's coveted sonic characteristics ñ a key project requirement ñ were achieved.

The SSI2144 is now available in sample quantities to interested OEM's, with production quantities in stock by late Spring. The device is offered in a 16-lead Shrink Small Outline Package (SSOP).

Pricing of the SSI2144 is $1.60 at 1000-pieces. Sound Semiconductor intends serve the hobby and enthusiast community through resellers for small volume sales and evaluation boards.

'It's exciting to see the renaissance of analog synthesis,' stated Dan Parks, President of Sound Semiconductor. 'When the idea hit to develop new ICs for this market, it was gratifying to have so much interest from my former colleagues to get involved in this effort.'

A second product is in layout design, with first samples expected by Summer. More information on that product will be forthcoming at a later time.

Sound Semiconductor is composed of musicians and technologists with the goal of developing affordable, high-performance integrated circuits for the electronic music and professional audio markets. For more information, please visit Home | Sound Semiconductor.
Old 21st April 2017
  #2
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synthguy's Avatar
This is more like it. Dave Rossum is indeed an historic figure in electronic music, founding E-MU Systems and being responsible for some fantastic synthesizers and samplers, helping Dave Smith with the development of the Prophet~5 among other matters. Coincidentally, I had written Analog Devices earlier in the month about resurrecting the SSM chip catalog for electronic instruments. I'll be looking forward to what the synth makers do with this upcoming treasure trove of quality chips.
Old 21st April 2017
  #3
Gear Maniac
 
plasmasynth's Avatar
This is the best news I've heard all year. SSM synths of all kinds are the best and I have a ton of them.
Old 21st April 2017
  #4
Lives for gear
Does this mean an SP1200 reissue?
Old 21st April 2017
  #5
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Rusty_OHara's Avatar
 

Very interesting indeed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by seancostello View Post
The SSI2144 is now available in sample quantities to interested OEM's, with production quantities in stock by late Spring. The device is offered in a 16-lead Shrink Small Outline Package (SSOP).

Pricing of the SSI2144 is $1.60 at 1000-pieces. Sound Semiconductor intends serve the hobby and enthusiast community through resellers for small volume sales and evaluation boards.
Might have to hunt some down...
Old 21st April 2017
  #6
Geariophile
 
Karloff70's Avatar
 

Old 21st April 2017
  #7
Jose Ramón Alvarado Villa
 
Don Solaris's Avatar
Mixed feelings.

SSM2040 was IMO the filter chip that should have been resurrected. I remember hearing a few P5 rev2 demos, that filter was so much more interesting than the one i had in Polysix. I dunno... maybe it's the surrounding electronics.
Old 21st April 2017
  #8
Here for the gear
 
Resident's Avatar
 

Good news, but it doesn't seem to be a drop in replacement for the SSM2044; I've checked the pin outs in the data sheets and they appear to be different.

This is sad, as I have three sick Polysixes and a DK600 that need some lovin'
Old 21st April 2017
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by earwolf View Post
Does this mean an SP1200 reissue?
I'd rather prefer if somebody would finally come up with proper sp pads replacements. The market is running out of dead dmx's and drumtraks
Old 21st April 2017
  #10
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In
Quote:
Originally Posted by Resident View Post
Good news, but it doesn't seem to be a drop in replacement for the SSM2044; I've checked the pin outs in the data sheets and they appear to be different.

This is sad, as I have three sick Polysixes and a DK600 that need some lovin'
Are those finalized? Seems hard to believe they didn't think about all those wanting to fix the chips in their gear.
Old 21st April 2017
  #11
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by earwolf View Post
Does this mean an SP1200 reissue?
maybe someone will clone the sp1200 in their spare room and kickstarter it.
Old 21st April 2017
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by in_effekt View Post
In

Are those finalized? Seems hard to believe they didn't think about all those wanting to fix the chips in their gear.
They did say they optimized the pinout to make PCB layout more efficient.

Perhaps down the road they'll offer more of a SSM2044 clone with the same pinout in a PDIP package for repairs of vintage synths. Or, since it's in a smaller SMT package anyway, the chip could be mounted on a small adapter board that converts it to the 2044 pinout that simply plugs into the original socket.
Old 21st April 2017
  #13
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daviddever's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by kpatz View Post
They did say they optimized the pinout to make PCB layout more efficient.

Perhaps down the road they'll offer more of a SSM2044 clone with the same pinout in a PDIP package for repairs of vintage synths. Or, since it's in a smaller SMT package anyway, the chip could be mounted on a small adapter board that converts it to the 2044 pinout that simply plugs into the original socket.
That's much more likely (and sensible), a la the SP1200 filter board.
Old 21st April 2017
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Resident View Post
Good news, but it doesn't seem to be a drop in replacement for the SSM2044; I've checked the pin outs in the data sheets and they appear to be different.

This is sad, as I have three sick Polysixes and a DK600 that need some lovin'
Maybe a simple adapter board to get the best of both worlds?
Old 21st April 2017
  #15
Not pin compatible? Are they stupid or smart? If they are smart they'll offer adapters and make more money.
Old 21st April 2017
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Solaris View Post
Mixed feelings.

SSM2040 was IMO the filter chip that should have been resurrected. I remember hearing a few P5 rev2 demos, that filter was so much more interesting than the one i had in Polysix. I dunno... maybe it's the surrounding electronics.
on one hand i agree ast he quote they used "ohe best sounding synthesizer filter chip ever produced" is usually atributed to 2040. fwiw definitely one of if not absolute best i have used. but maybe they do it later?

otoh, 2044 sounds phenomenal too, very characteristic silk in top end and liquid in medium resonance settings. regardless how big or sml polysix sounds, it shines in several humongous sounding machines, like ppg 2.3, voyetra8, trident, emulator ii, sp12&1200, mutronics mutator etc. (eii and mutronics have 2045 - same with additional vca).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Solaris View Post
dunno... maybe it's the surrounding electronics.
different designs. 2040 is cascaded ota, same type of circuit like ir3109 or cem3320 etc. 2044 was an attempt at transistor ladder on a chip.


in any case, this news is effing humongous - i dreamed of this for so many years, ssm reissues but with the original designer involved. must have posted about it half a dozen times on this board ever since onchip re-released 3320G.


Quote:
Originally Posted by synthguy View Post
This is more like it. Dave Rossum is indeed an historic figure in electronic music, founding E-MU Systems and being responsible for some fantastic synthesizers and samplers, helping Dave Smith with the development of the Prophet~5 among other matters. Coincidentally, I had written Analog Devices earlier in the month about resurrecting the SSM chip catalog for electronic instruments. I'll be looking forward to what the synth makers do with this upcoming treasure trove of quality chips.
glad you mentioned this. very few people know that Dave Rossum has not only designed all the SSM chips crucial for the release of the Prophet5, but he was also the designated designer of analog circuitry in it. when you add the fact that digital scanning keyboard used was also emu's patent, you realize that this legendary polyphonic is as much his baby as it is Dave Smith's.

when you add all the inventions in early modular range, ssm20xx analog chips line, digital scanning keyboards and finally the incredible custom dsp chips he did for samplers, from early emulators up to EOS serie, he is definitely among the top five synth designers of all time.

alas his contribution is criminially underrated and underscored. barely mentioned next to likes of Bob Moog, Tom Oberheim and Dave Smith. somewhat similar situation like with Roland's Ikutaro Kakehashi. im so glad he returned doing fresh things (in eurorack) and now this.
Old 21st April 2017
  #17
Gear Nut
 

About Prophet 5 : don't forget John Bowen in the mix :-)
Old 21st April 2017
  #18
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Synthbuilder's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by clusterchord View Post
2044 sounds phenomenal too, very characteristic silk in top end and liquid in medium resonance settings. regardless how big or sml polysix sounds, it shines in several humongous sounding machines, like ppg 2.3, voyetra8, trident, emulator ii, sp12&1200, mutronics mutator etc. (eii and mutronics have 2045 - same with additional vca).
I think the 2045 is two state variable filters in series although the resonance is configured across the pair. The 2044 is a standard cascaded 'ladder style' topology but the actual design is rather unique.

Both brilliant sounding filters for sure.

Tony
Old 21st April 2017
  #19
Gear Nut
 
tomheck's Avatar
 

This one have SSM2044 inside

Old 21st April 2017
  #20
Lives for gear
 
jazzcabbage's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Resident View Post
Good news, but it doesn't seem to be a drop in replacement for the SSM2044; I've checked the pin outs in the data sheets and they appear to be different.

This is sad, as I have three sick Polysixes and a DK600 that need some lovin'
That is a bit daft no? As others mentioned at least you can transplant a daughter board in. It seems obvious it was produced to fill an order that requires a different pin-out but would retain the characteristics of the original?

Now who could that be that customer that had the order placed and what do they intend to produce with that chip?
Old 21st April 2017
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Synthbuilder View Post
I think the 2045 is two state variable filters in series although the resonance is configured across the pair. The 2044 is a standard cascaded 'ladder style' topology but the actual design is rather unique.

Both brilliant sounding filters for sure.

Tony
that's an interesting revelation. i've read ages ago they are related and never questioned it. so you're saying that 2045 is basically a 2x2=4 lowpass cascaded ota ? is 2047 (emax) similar too?


at the time i had both 2044 and 2045 machines, it was trident (now gone) and mutator, and their general tone was similar, but not identical. mutator was more syrupy with fuller low mids and lows, trident that characteristic silky top. both have pure "wet" selfoscillation.

anyway, always thought the slight variation was due to gradual change of newer iteration (like happened with cem filters over the years), or a different vca etc. now i have emax too, and its filter sounds beautifully warm and silky, again related to earlier ssms.

can you shed some light on this, i always find analog chips in vintage equipment a fascinating topic ?

thanks
Old 21st April 2017
  #22
Gear Maniac
 

Now can someone please do an 8-voice poly with a pair of CEM3340 re-issues into an SSI2144, with modern modulation options and a properly knobby interface (and a 5-octave good quality keyboard)?
Old 21st April 2017
  #23
Lives for gear
 

DSI should have some fun with new chips for sure....
Old 22nd April 2017
  #24
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abruzzi's Avatar
 

I don't think this was intended as a repair part for existing devices. The press release states it is a very similar design but with "improved" characteristics like the resonance control. Even if you put this on an adapter board and stuck it in an old 2044 synth, it might not behave the same, and might significantly change the performance. I also suspect the market for repair parts is much smaller than the market for even a boutique synth maker putting them into a new design. (1000 @ $1.60 each is only 125 eight voice poly synths.)
Old 22nd April 2017
  #25
ValhallaDSP
 
seancostello's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
I do wonder what other chips will be resurrected / updated from the SSM line. As others have noted, the SSM 2040 would be all kinds of awesome. I'd love to hear this used in a circuit that is similar to the SH101 (i.e. with back-to-back diodes going to ground in the feedback loop).

Another chip that would be interesting to reissue: SSM2164. The documentation for the SSI2144 talks about using the SSM2164 for a VCA. Right now, the only readily available version of the 2164 is the V2164 from Coolaudio. Having a second source of this workhorse would be great, especially if it comes from a company that employs the original designers!

I don't have much experience with the SSM VCOs. I know that the SSM2030 was used in the Rev 2 Prophet 5, and the SSM2033 was used in the Polysix. Apparently a few Siel synths used SSM VCOs. That's about it. The SSM filters and VCAs were far more commonly used, and were often mixed & matched with CEM VCOs. However, it sounds like SSI will be updating their chip designs (the SSI2144 has some improvements to the SSM2044), so we may see updated VCO designs in the future.

The price point of the SSI2144 is shockingly low. $1.60 per unit for the SSI2144, at the 1000 piece price point. This is definitely competitive with the Coolaudio prices.

This is exciting news!
Old 22nd April 2017
  #26
ValhallaDSP
 
seancostello's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Also want to toss in here: The SSM2040 was used in some GREAT phase shifters. Dave Rossum's patent for the 2040 showed how to set up the individual filter stages as allpass filters, for phase shifters.
Old 22nd April 2017
  #27
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Synthbuilder's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by clusterchord View Post
so you're saying that 2045 is basically a 2x2=4 lowpass cascaded ota ? is 2047 (emax) similar too?
Unfortunately, I can't confirm it for sure - one could check by looking at the waveform on the first and third capacitors which would show a band pass response - but from the datasheet the circuit topology is not your usual cascaded OTA type filter. It certainly looks like two SVF in series but with a single OTA controlling the resonance.

If this is true it makes the 2045 similar to the IR3R05 chips Roland did for the JX and Juno Alphas, which in turn was derived from the way they used the IR3109 on the JP-6. The Roland chips sound hugely different though with the 2045 being better sounding to my ears.

Tony

Last edited by Synthbuilder; 22nd April 2017 at 10:30 AM..
Old 22nd April 2017
  #28
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Tony what does this news mean for the future of synths?
Old 22nd April 2017
  #29
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Synthbuilder's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by earwolf View Post
Tony what does this news mean for the future of synths?
Alas I cannot predict the future but surely the more chips out there the better. It wasn't so long ago we designers were fearing that all the good analogue chips were disappearing fast. The loss of the CA3280 was particularly annoying as it is one of the best OTAs out there.

That said with surface mount you can squeeze even the most classic designs into a small space - witness the new Behringer Minimoog. But chips make it easy to do polyphony as the size of the chips is smaller still.

What I'd like to see is a new CEM3310 or, even better, an envelope chip in the style of the 3310 but with voltage controlled delay, hold and amplitude.

Tony
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