December 15, 2013

Insert Pun On The Name SEM...

by Chris Randall

A few months back, I was at my family reunion in Oregon, and I borrowed a barely-working original SEM from my good friend Jeremy. I trundled it back to SandLand in my carry-on, and a while later dropped it off at Five Star Engineering in Mesa for a thorough going-over and fixemup. It had a ton wrong with it, including some very old, very poorly-implemented mods. I had Five Star remove all the mods, re-cap it, and bring it back to its former glory.

And then I set it on my shelf, because I was busy remodelling a house.

Fast-forward to today, I was thinking "man, I bet Jeremy wants his SEM back one of these days." So I sat down to sample the living shit out of it, and this is the result. (90mb .zip file.)

I just sampled it directly with AutoSampler (looped back in to Live so it could control Silent Way Voice Control.) It is sampled at 48K, every 5th note, for 13 different patches. These are all Kontakt 2 .nki files, with no programming/looping/layering/anything, so they should load directly to virtually every sample playback device made.

Obviously, these would benefit from some programming and production; dry, this synth is fairly unimpressive. But there should be enough here for you to work with to make them your own. Enjoy, and Happy Holidays! If you want to spring for some bandwidth, as always, I'll never turn down a little drop in the Paypal bucket. But it is in no way necessary. I would be sorely disappointed if I found these for sale somewhere, but the worst I'll do is call you names in public to my thousands of Twitter followers and readers. Otherwise, they are unencumbered.


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Dec.15.2013 @ 2:40 PM
Merry Chris-SEM-as to you as well.

Dec.16.2013 @ 12:17 AM
Thank you! Off topic, but what autosampler are you/people using. Any good ones after Redmatica beeing discontinued?

Dec.16.2013 @ 5:37 AM
Chris Randall
I'm using the Redmatica one. It didn't stop working. Although, OS X being what it is, I assume that's only a matter of time.

Since the SEM is (obviously) CV/Gate, and can only stay in tune for about 4 octaves with a normal MIDI->CV interface, I wanted to use Silent Way Voice Control to get a full six octaves out of it. This was puzzling for a while, as the AutoSampler soft MIDI through (which is a CoreMidi node) doesn't work in Mavericks. So, on a MIDI channel in Live, I instanced Silent Way in the usual way. Then in AutoSampler, I turned off the MIDI Through feature, and just selected the hardware output of the MOTU Ultralite.

Then I just stuck a MIDI cable directly from the Ultralite's out back in to its in.

I actually dicked with several different things before figuring out that AutoSampler's soft through is broken, going so far as to build an entire Silent Way fiesta in Max. I haven't had to use a hard MIDI loopback in _years_, so it just didn't occur to me.

Anyhow, if there's a current autosampler that is still being supported (and works on Windows, for christsake) be sure to let me know. I am not a fan of the Redmatika one.

One other thing I did was do a 6-octave set of every note, looped, with the raw waveforms (saw, and pulse 10% / 50% / 90%). I made it in case I want to eventually clone a SEM in either Kontakt or some other fashion. These four programs are not included in the above package, but if you want them for some reason, don't hesitate to drop me a line.


Dec.16.2013 @ 6:16 AM
thanks Chris, and Merry Christmas.

Dec.16.2013 @ 7:56 AM
Hi Chris,
As far as autosamplers go there is this: link []
It is both OSX and Windows, but I've never used it and
can't vouch for how well it works.
Thanks for the very nice ChrisSEMas present as well.

Dec.16.2013 @ 11:18 AM
Thank you, Mr. Randall. Happy holidays.

Dec.16.2013 @ 4:21 PM
beauty pill
So excellent. Thanks for your work!

Merry Christmas!

- c

Dec.16.2013 @ 7:33 PM
I don't know whether to blame Chris, or Ableton, or some anonymous third party, but importing the NKI patches into Ableton Live, it asks you to find the samples for it. Which isn't as big a pain in the ass as figuring out how to pass midi around on OS X, along with control voltage output and live sampling etc.

At any rate I did the semi-heavy lifting and you can grab it here.

link []

Dec.16.2013 @ 7:34 PM
And I must say, the SEM sounds pretty grand. Just playing with silly little MIDI loops in Live these samples sound really good.

Dec.18.2013 @ 2:59 AM
Oh nice. Thanks CR and chaircrusher- great excuse to stay inside in the 37C day forecast here for tomorrow.

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