The Oberheim TVS-1 Analog Synthesizer

The Oberheim TVS-1 Two Voice synthesizer has a 37 Note keyboard, 2 Voice polyphony, 4 oscillators and a mini sequencer w/sample & hold. It was made from 1976 to 1980.

Above, Richard Termini gives a tutorial about the Oberheim Analog Synthesizer. The TVS-1 machine uses the SEM concept that Oberheim was offering at the time.

If you’ve used the Oberheim TVS-1 analog synthesizer, leave a comment and let us know what you think!


The Oberheim Two Voice Polyphonic Synthesizer contains two Synthesizer Expander Modules, each of which is electronically a complete synthesizer, an eight position, two voice Quantized Mini-Sequencer with Sample & Hold, and a true two voice polyphonic, 37 note digital keyboard.

This combination of electronic music modules allows the synthesizer user to control two completely independent synthesizer voices. For instance, the upper and lower voices from the keyboard can separately be directed to the two Expander Modules for playing two separate musical lines from the keyboard. Or, the Sequencer program can drive one Expander Module while the user plays the second Expander Module From the keyboard. Or, the Sample & Hold can drive one Expander Module while the Sequencer drives the second.

The secret to the Synthesizer’s Flexibility is the Synthesizer Expander Module. Despite its small size (7 1/2″ by 9″ panel size) the Expander Module is a complete basic synthesizer.

The two voice digital keyboard can be operated in either the polyphonic or monophonic mode.

  • When – operated polyphonically, two separate and independent sets of control signals are available to drive the Expander Modules.
  • In the monophonic mode, both sets of signals operate when a single key is pressed. This one key depression can then drive four oscillators, two filters and four envelope generators, thereby making monophonic synthesizer sounds previously available only to users of large studio synthesizer.

Two Voice Keyboard Electronics include a three position switch which enables you to select left voice first. right voice first or unison. Also included is Portamento for the left and right voice, a two octave Transpose switch and a Pitch Bend Pot with center detent which covers a two octave range.

The Mini-Sequencer adds greatly to the Two Voice Synthesizer’s capability. Basically, it consists of a dual output, eight position quantized analog sequencer, combined with a sample & hold circuit and voltage controlled clock. The two separate control voltage outputs from the Sequencer can be used to generate two separate melodic lines through two Expander Modules. or one control voltage output can produce the melodic line while the second drives the voltage controlled clock to produce the desired rhythm.

The Sample & Hold circuit is an integral part of the Mini-Sequencer. This circuit samples an internal noise generator (the output of which is available as an audio input to the Expander Modules) and includes controls for Range and Lag. An Output Module is included which contains a two input mixer with master gain control for mixing together the outputs of the two Expander Modules, and a headphone amplifier and 600 ohm line driver circuit .

Internally. the Synthesizer is of rigid, all-metal construction. The various modules are mounted on sloping panels which, along with the keyboard, mount on a robust. aluminum plate. The entire assembly is then packaged in a portable, vinyl covered case. Outside case dimensions are 26″ wide, 10″ high. 19″ deep. Weight is 45 lbs.


2 thoughts on “The Oberheim TVS-1 Analog Synthesizer

  1. I love the way the TVS-1 sounds. Many possibilities with this synth that you can not get with any other synth. I’m just trying to figure out how to sync the sequencer and calibrate the two SEM modules to sound good together. When I get a chance to record with it I’ll leave another comment. I traded my prophet 08 for it and do not regret it!

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