MATRIXSYNTH: 1975 Oberheim TVS-1 2-Voice Vintage Analog Synthesizer

Tuesday, July 07, 2020

1975 Oberheim TVS-1 2-Voice Vintage Analog Synthesizer

via this auction

"Mid-70's Oberheim 2-Voice TVS-1 vintage analog synth in pristine condition. It is one of the cleanest TVS-1's on the planet and the cleanest one I've had the privilege of owning over the past 25 years of collecting synths. Many years of painstaking work and detail have gone into this synth to get it into the condition you see here.

The TVS-1 (or 2-voice) was the first Oberheim polyphonic synthesizer. Oberheim put two standalone S.E.M.'s (synthesizer expander module) into a case with a keyboard and an integrated 8-track sequencer. Really revolutionary for the time. The sequencer could control either S.E.M. and you could play along with the other S.E.M. triggered by the keyboard. Or you could play 2-voice sounds. Or you could sequence both S.E.M.'s externally. The possibilities are endless (almost). What does it sound like? In my opinion, the best album this synth is showcased on is called DROKK by Geoff Barrow and Ben Salisbury. This entirely instrumental album is an homage to John Carpenter's Escape from New York soundtrack, and they used no less than three 2-voice's on the album. People often ask Tom Oberheim: "What was your favorite synthesizer that Oberheim put out?" And his answer is always: "The Two Voice"! He has since reissued it, but to be honest, it sounds nothing like the original 2-voice. I know, I've compared them side-by-side. The asking price of this pristine example reflects the rarity of such a synth, which is very rare to find on the used market in this condition, fully functioning.

No double-triggering of switches. Everything works as it should. No crackly pots. All knobs/pots/switches/LED's function as they should. There are some anomalies when using the sequencer to trigger the S.E.M's, particularly when setting the octave switch lower or higher and playing the keyboard. This is detailed in the original owner's manual, page one (included), and is standard for all 2-voice synths. I learned to work within the limitations of what Tom designed.

I removed every key and replaced and lubed every single bushing on the synth. I also dialed in the j-wires so the keys all trigger identically. Every tine on the keybed was meticulously adjusted so that the keys are level and consistent front to back and across the keybed. It now plays very smooth—like butter. Nobody takes this kind of care with older synths, but I do!

The synth was recently overhauled and electronically serviced by my tech and no expense was spared to get it to the state where it will continue to function well for many years to come."

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