Oberheim Two Voice

Oberheim Two Voice Image

Oberheim's first synthesizer was a single-voice mini-module called a SEM (Synthesizer Expander Module). However, in 1975, Oberheim created their first compact, programmable and polyphonic synthesizer by coupling two SEM modules to a 37-note keyboard and a simple analog sequencer. This was what became the Two Voice. Oberheim achieved a polyphonic sound not yet seen in ARP and Moog gear at the time by hard-wiring the two monophonic SEMs into the compact keyboard design.

In 1976 Oberheim came out with another module, the Polyphonic Synthesizer Programmer (see SEM). This could memorize the control voltages of many parameters for up to eight SEM modules. When these were added to the Two Voice, Oberheim finally had one of the earliest programmable and polyphonic instruments! Released alongside the Two Voice also came the Four Voice which had four SEMs installed, and a larger 49-note keyboard. And later, in 1977, a second tier was added above the four SEMs on the Four Voice to add yet another four SEMS, making the Eight Voice.

Two voices was great in 1975, and eight voices was pretty monstrous in the later seventies. But, a major drawback to these first Oberheim synths was that polyphony was achieved by having multiple modules. This meant that each voice had to be independently programmed. This also means that each voice has its own filter, making real-time filter sweeps of all your voices more than a handful! Fortunately the sequencer comes in handy for controlling each voice/module independently.

Despite its innovative features, the Two Voice was soon blown out of the water by the popular monophonic and truly polyphonic synths like the OSCar, ARP Odyssey and SH-101. The Two Voice has been used by Vince Clarke and Vangelis.

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17 Visitor comments
scott
October 19, 2011 @ 4:56 pm
Just saw Portishead on Jimmy Fallon's late night show on 10/5/2011 playing one. If the video is still up (it is at the time of this posting) it's available at:
http://www.latenightwithjimmyfallon.com/video/portishead-chase-the-tear-10511 /1360320/
This synth definitely has a nice distinctive look. I hope with Tom Oberheim's re-releasing the SEM series which now includes the [Son of] 4-Voice that he'll think about releasing an updated 2-voice with keyboard!
Slann
October 19, 2011 @ 1:01 pm
Outside dimensions of 2 voice: 26"W, 18" D, 9.5" H
Email me if you want some pics, or more detail. I have one.
pc160@sbcglobal.net
philby
October 12, 2011 @ 6:06 pm
I first saw this synth advertised in the Warehouse Sound Co. catalog of 1975. tried to scrape the money together as I knew this synth had the sound I was looking for (synergy). I never did manage to get one but instead built a modular from PAIA and later Aries modules. I am so glad they are bringing this back especially as a VSTi (WOK & Arturia). So many synths from the seventies wound up being unmatched for weighty sounds and smoothness, though I did love FM synths...
zheta
September 19, 2011 @ 3:56 pm
Hello.

I am restoring a two voice Oberheim without furniture.
Someone has the dimensions of the box and the cover?

thanks
Marc
May 25, 2009 @ 10:47 pm
I purchased my TVS in 1988; Second owner. Low, low serial number;mint condition. Nobody knew....or cared....how it worked, if it worked, etc. then, as digital was everything. Used mine for 20 years, , and it would cut through/drown out everything else I owned, except for my Minimoog. Awesome synth. Rock soild, always worked perfectly. Sold it last year, though, so that someone else would get a chance to experience it.
 
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Rated 3.95 (204 Votes)

  • Check Price
  • The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - 2 voices
  • Oscillators - 4 VCO's (2 per voice) with sawtooth or variable-pulse waveforms
  • LFO - LFO is triangle wave only
  • Filter - (x2) Lowpass filter with cutoff and resonance. Can be modulated by the LFO, envelope or external sync
  • VCA - (x2) Attack, Decay and Sustain
  • Keyboard - 37 keys
  • Arpeg/Seq - Mini Sequencer (with 8 steps and 2 voices)
  • Control - CV / Gate
  • Date Produced - 1975-1979

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