MATRIXSYNTH: SSM Chip Production to Return as SSI Chips under Sound Semiconductor

Thursday, April 20, 2017

SSM Chip Production to Return as SSI Chips under Sound Semiconductor

We have some huge news in. Most of you might be experiencing a slight state of adrenalin induced shock right about now; I admit, much like myself when I read the press release that follows further below. If you have been following synths over the years, and are familiar with CEM vs. SSM chips like me, you know how big this is. For those of you not familiar with SSM, to say they made chips responsible for the sonic character of some of the most revered classic vintage synths out there, would be an understatement. SSM and CEM were the two top manufacturers for chips used in many of the classic vintage synthesizers you have come to love. CEM stood for Curtis Electromusic Specialties and is now Curtis Electromusic, run by the family of the late Doug Curtis. SSM stood for Solid State Music under Solid State Micro Technology for Music founded by Dan Parks. Dan Parks is back, under the helm of Sound Semiconductor, and they will be reproducing new chips. For a full list of what chips were used in various vintage synths, see this Wikipedia article, but I'll just mention a few that used SSM: the Sequential Circuits Prophet-5 Rev 1 & 2 (which some say sound warmer than the CEM based Rev 3s), the Fairlight CMI II and IIx, the PPG Wave 2.2 and 2.3, the Octave Voyetra 8 and Cat SRM, the KORG Mono/Poly and Polysix, E-Mu's Drumulator, SP-12, SP-1200, Emulator 1 & II, and Emax, the Buchla 296 Programmable Spectral Processor, the Aeries System 300 modular, and more.

The following is the official press release from Sound Semiconductor:
[note the Dave Rossum mentioned below is, of course, Dave Rossum formally of e-Mu, and now of Rossum Electro-Music]


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 - a key project requirement - 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"

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