Positif Synth School

Positif Synth School – Simian Mobile Disco “Are You In The Picture” on an Oberheim SEM

If you have heard Simian Mobile Disco’s track “Are you in the picture” from the “Extra Temporary EP” you might have noticed some synthetic liquid drops at the end of the track (5:40 or so).

I recently got myself a new TomOberheim SEM, and this sound seemed like a good candidate to push the limits of the synth.

To get this liquid drop sound you have to:

  • Send CV to VCO1 and gate to ENV2 GATE
  • Hard sync VCO2 to VCO1.
  • Tune VCO2 to it’s lowest possible pitch and VCO1 to it’s highest pitch.
  • Modulate VCO2’s pulse wave (PWM set to 90%) with ENV2 (settings : Fastest attack & decay. Mid sustain). (ENV2 should also affect VCA, so make sure vca switch i NOT on “EXT” -aka:open- setting)
  • Send VCO2’s pwmed wave to the filter (vco1 should be muted)
  • Set filter to BANDPASS. Frequency at max and cutoff close to max.
  • Send ENV1 out (Fastest attack. Medium decay & sustain) to filter modulation EXT MOD IN. Set filter mod to EXT and set it on inverted (aka minus/negative) setting.

ENJOY! Now you can play with filter freq, env1’s decay and the filter modulation controls to create variations on the sound. Also a little reverb can do wonders (I used ableton’s stock plug, nothing fancy).