This colorful stripe is a pure analog synthesizer.
Its discrete signal path lives at the pinnacle of the analog age, and its tightly coupled digital mod system lives at the cutting edge of the microprocessor era. It can surround you with an infinite layer of ethereal warmth. Or it can stun you with a violent flash of distortion and chaos. It’s a gateway to dreams, except dreams don’t sound this good. If you embrace it, you will make the world sound better. It’s a discrete analog synthesizer, and it’s slightly better than perfect.
The only thing that sounds better than one of these… is two.
And by the way, the Relic gives you 8 of these.
VCOs --- 2 SEM-topology voltage-controlled oscillators.
Everybody says they can do a SEM-topology oscillator with surface-mount components. But when we say it, we're absolutely serious.
There’s a reason the Shear Electronics Relic-6 prototype achieved legendary status within a week of its original announcement at NAMM 2017. It shattered the popular beliefs about “through-hole components” and “obsolete materials.” It vanquished the idea that discrete analog polyphonic synthesizers were a “lost art” of a long-forgotten era. And it showed the world that the sound is in the schematic.
Everything starts with the oscillator.
If you have an oscillator, you have a synthesizer. And if you have one of the original SEM oscillators from 1973, you have a really, really good synthesizer. So if you’re going to use a clone of the SEM oscillator, it needs to be a really, really good one.
The Relic-6 prototype was the first polyphonic synthesizer to implement a really authentic SEM-topology oscillator using surface-mount components.
[Tom Oberheim's rumoured "Son of 4 Voice" project may have built a prototype, but it was never publicly shown.]
Surface-mount technology (SMT) is a big deal, because it means that a classic design (like the SEM oscillator) can be seamlessly integrated into a modern production line and assembled by robots. We spent several months of intense research to develop authentic SEM-topology oscillators for the original Relic-6 prototype. And our latest SEM-topology oscillator took several additional months of development, just to make sure the final result is 100% authentic. Fortunately, our latest oscillator is also extremely reliable, so you will never need to worry about “VCO unstarts” and thermal overloads.
It certainly wasn’t easy.
From an engineering standpoint, voltage-controlled oscillators are brutal.
Point blank: every little detail has to be perfect. But within 10 seconds of hearing the results, we instantly knew that all the effort was worth it.
VCF — Supervariable voltage-controlled filter.
Forget about “state variable.” This filter changes everything.
Our Supervariable filter is an authentic state-variable filter, plus an extra dipole with additional gain cells for gradient-sweep voltage-controlled profile.
VCAs — 7 discrete VCAs with classic transconductance amplifiers and auto-calibration for subthreshold gain control.