MATRIXSYNTH: NAMM 2017: Shear Electronics Relic-6 - New Six Voice Discrete OB-X Based Analog Desktop Synthesizer

Sunday, January 22, 2017

NAMM 2017: Shear Electronics Relic-6 - New Six Voice Discrete OB-X Based Analog Desktop Synthesizer

Published on Jan 22, 2017 sonicstate

Another sleeper surprise from NAMM. Note this is the first Shear Electronics post on the site. Jacob Brashears started working on the synth at the age of 15. The Relic-6 is based on the circuitry of the 1979 Oberheim OB-X. It has touch sensitive knobs with interactive display queues. Note the active light strip that runs through the middle of it as well as the lit colored labels. It has an all analog signal path with digital control voltage modulation (digital emulation of the Curtis 3310 envelop). You can actually adjust the spread between envelopes. Two VCOs feature a Saw and Pulse wave with various width, with sync. It has the original Oberheim 12db 2-pole lowpass filter with the ability to layer two sounds. It consists of 3000 transistors, an all glass front panel, hand crafted wood sides, and aluminum metal case. Retro future Star Trek look. They are targeting $3499 and hoping to ship this Summer. Currently they are planning to make five prototypes to get out there for testing and use.

Update: one more demo from Synth Anatomy:

NAMM 2017: Shear Electronics Relic-6 Analog Poly Synthesizer

Published on Jan 22, 2017 Synth Anatomy

Some additional info via

"Discrete analog extravagance.

Our voice card isn’t really dipped in solid gold. Aside from that, no expense was spared.

In our search for unparalleled sonic character, we looked to one of the most revered synthesizers ever made: The Oberheim OB-X.

We dusted off archived schematics of this 1979 behemoth and painstakingly recreated the entire signal path. Every single component of it.

Voltage-Controlled Oscillators.

Forget about DCOs, NCOs & PCM. There’s only one type of circuit that resonates with the freedom of a guitar string and the power of a live brass section.

Still, some VCOs are better than others. We’re using:
36 Resistors
12 Transistors
4 Capacitors
1 Diode
In each oscillator.

Excessive? Absolutely. But this old-school complexity creates a sonic depth that’s impossible to describe. Once you hear it, you'll never want to give it up.

Legendary State-Variable Filter.

First appearing in Oberheim’s groundbreaking SEM synth module, this voltage-controlled lowpass filter is arguably the greatest polysynth filter of all time.

The gentler 12dB/octave curve kept all the biting resonance of the 24dB Minimoog filter, but added more air and sizzle.

We built it the old-fashioned way, right down to a faithful Texas Instruments clone of the notoriously gritty RCA 3080 chip.

Back in 1974, the famous SEM filter required ultra-precise silver-mica capacitors to produce its signature resonance. Today, silver-mica capacitors have become ultra-rare. Of course, we used them anyway.

Scorching in Stereo. Old-school VCAs weren't always perfect, but they were never boring.

In the days before crystal-clear amplifier chips, subtle distortion used to color your sound whether you liked it or not.

On top of that, the earliest polysynths had knobs to manually pan individual voices for a striking three-dimensional effect.

After all the scorching texture of the oscillators and filter, our voice card’s output stage delivers the finishing blow.

And with two discrete VCAs for each voice, the stereo field is flexible, powerful, and programmable.

Envelopes with Curtis Curves.

The Curtis Electromusic CEM3310 Envelope Generator shaped control voltages for the Prophet-5, Memorymoog, and the entire Oberheim OB-series.

The original chip was discontinued in 1985, but we’ve examined authentic datasheets and recreated its distinctive curves with a 40 kHz output rate at 14-bit resolution.

The unique attack stage rose to 6.5 volts, but was truncated at 5 volts — not quite exponential, not quite linear.

Our emulation matches it perfectly.

Often, rise & fall times were glaringly inconsistent from one voice to the next.

Our ‘fatness’ parameter lets you dial up the vintage looseness when you want it, or stick with timing accuracy when you need it."

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