Boomstar Sensei System Now Shipping


Studio Electronics is now shipping the Boomstar Modstar Sensei modular synthesizer system.

The Sensei is a complete Eurorack modular system, featuring modules evolved from SE’s Boomstar synthesizer line.

Sensei Specifications:

Top Row:

  • OSCILLATION (x3) 48hp,
  • MULTIPLE 2hp,
  • SEM 12hp,
  • 4075 12hp,
  • 5089 12hp,
  • SE88 20hp;

• OSCILLATION: Class-A, discrete, DC coupled, output buffered,
exponential current source, vintage-designed analog oscillator
• SEM: Obi-flavored, 12 Db voltage controlled state variable filter and
“Pendulum Chaos Generator”—damping/stabilzing overide feature
• 4075: Arp-flavored Discrete, voltage controlled, 24/db/oct cascaded transconductance low-pass filter—six pairs of hand-matched transistors—Really a 4-pole
ARP 4072 (better: more parts and trims)
• 5089: Mini-flavored voltage controlled, discrete analog, 24 db/oct transistor ladder, low-pass filter (hand-matched transistors)
• SE88: Dual mode: High Pass/Band Reject, Low Pass/BandPass dual resonant, 12Db CS80 filter with stereo “Pendulum Chaos Generation”
• MIDI 3: Third generation full-featured MIDI to CV converter

• LEVELS: Versatile, low-noise six channel summing mixer/attenuator for audio and CV—pots are wired with logarithmic volume curves
• SHAPERS: Dual four stage envelope generator with independently adjustable ATTACK, DECAY, SUSTAIN, and RELEASE stages
• AMP: 2 stage Class A discrete design, using 3 pairs of hand-matched transistors; Drive—‘70s era distortion and Drone control
• LFO2: Potent all analog dual LFO module—two different low-frequency oscillator circuits provide a variety of modulation options
• SCI FI: Ring Mod, White and Pink Noise, Sample and Hold “Classic Synth Toolbox,” with LFO and slewing control of S&H
• OUTS: Dual independent output module featuring a stereo 1/4″ headphone amplifier output and dual mono 1/4″ line level outputs

Bottom Row:

  • BRAND PLATE 6hp,
  • MIDI 3 6hp,
  • MULT 2hp,
  • LEVELS 10hp,
  • SHAPERS 12hp,
  • AMP 8hp,
  • LFO2 6hp,
  • MULT 2hp,
  • SCI FI 10hp,
  • MULT 2hp,
  • LEVELS 10hp,
  • SHAPERS 12hp,
  • AMP 8hp,
  • LFO2 6hp,
  • OUTS 6hp.

Technical Details:

Dimensions: 2 rows / 104hp each
Internal depth 4.5 inches (except area over PSU which is 2 7/8)
External Dimensions with lid attached (H x W x D): 11.5 x 22.5 x 8
Unit stands vertical or lays on its back
Stackable if you detach the handle (4 pan head screws)

Power:3.5a on the +/-12v rails
500ma of +5v per row installed
15 Doepfer compatible power connections per row (shrouded and keyed)
5 Analogue Solutions power connections per row
120v and 240v Power Supply Unit

Hardware: “Sliding Nuts” mounting system

The Studio Electronics Boomstar Sensei is available for US $4995.

25 thoughts on “Boomstar Sensei System Now Shipping

  1. Wow modular gear can be expensive. Beautiful looking gear though. Demos seem kind of basic to really get a thorough idea of the sound.

  2. I understand that modular is expensive, but seeing exactly how much a basic system really costs is eye opening. In a shocking sort of way. Is it that expensive because it’s such a small, hand made industry? Or does the modular market suffer from hipster ‘cool factor’ inflation? I’m genuinely curious.

    1. Whenever somebody dismisses something as ‘hipster’, I throw up in my mouth a little bit.

      You’re dismissing the passion and love of both synthesists and synth designers as ‘hipster’, without taking the time to understand why someone might want to pay $200 or $400 or more on a synth module.

      Or why someone would spend weeks or months designing an original module, when they know it will probably only be bought by a couple hundred people, at best.

      Modules cost what they do because they are custom electronics devices, made in really tiny quantities, by people that deserve to make a living at it – not because somebody’s got skinny jeans, or a beard or whatever pissant thing people want to hate on this week.

      1. I think he meant hipster as in the, real life world we live in where things that become “hip” become expensive for no other reason than its “cool” or “popular” or whatever…

        Not because he hates your beard fetish

    2. I think it’s expensive because the research, development, and other manufacturing overhead can’t be split across massive numbers of units. When ya look at how much it costs to just keep a company of 4-5 people running and provide them basic benefits, it’s almost a miracle any of this stuff makes it to market. I think that the modular market is growing because of a combination of it being trendy and more accessible, one feeding into the other. You could argue that it’s hipsterie or hipsterish, but I don’t think it’s esoteric for the sake of, and people using them (like myself) enjoy it because of curiosity.

      Thankfully, I don’t think there are too many modular synth people acting like hipsters in the same way that I see people walking around with Holga cameras not realizing where they came from or what’s neat about them.

      Another part of the appeal is that you can get a completely new synth by just adding a filter. In the long run it feels like a good investment even though it’s expensive.

      5k seems like a pretty heavy price tag for that though. Especially when a makenoise shared system rolls in at about $3500. You can make a pretty versatile setup for 3k.

      1. I think you are right on about the cost comparison with the MakeNoise shared system. Plus – the Shared System has a bit more inherent diversity. For the money, it’s a better deal. Add a filter and it sounds amazing.

    3. It’s so tiresome that the first thing that people have to say about most new synths is that they are ‘expensive’.

      Do you want to have great instruments or not?

      Do you know what a Jupiter-8 cost originally? $5,000. That’d be like $10-12,000 in today’s dollars.

      Prophet 5’s were about $4,000 when they were introduced. That’s be like $9,000 in today’s dollars.

      Even DX7’s – with no ******* knobs was $2k when it was new, or about $5k in today’s dollars.

      If good instruments are too expensive for you, you’re not as serious about synths or making music as people in the 70s or the 80s were.

      That cheap attitude is why we don’t get more synths like the Modals or a new PolyMoog. Yes, people – the latest $300 Roland microsynth isn’t an analog monster.

      1. Your atitude is classist and elitist and frankly incorrect. There are a lot of people who despite their passion, interest or willingness to devote thousands of dollars on a high end synth do not and cannot get the resources together to obtain it. The music industry in the 70’s and 80s was vastly different than it is today and a lot of prophets, jupiter-8s, oberheim obxs, etc were purchased on label support and advances that are next to unheard of these days for upcoming artists. You have to be extremely lucky, well-connected, independently wealthy, or have the opportunity and educational access to hold an in demand high paying job – and even then you’re probably working more than you’re playing with your expensive toys. Thankfully manufacturers started producing affordable synths in the late 70’s early 80’s like the EDP Wasp, Roland’s original SH series, Realistic Concertmate and so on. The EMS VCS3 was originally £300 and was the entry level synth for an obscure and non-serious musician by your standards named Brian Eno. The Roland TR-303 was originally only $300 and it’s inexpensive price and availability to everyone basically created an entire genre of music. The Univox 700s minikorg was half the sound of The Cars, Human League and very early Vangelis and often went for under £200 pounds in the early to mid 70s. Those slouches weren’t serious about synths or making music either, I guess.

        1. You are mixing your metaphors.

          The 303s were $400 new, which would probably be about $1000 or so now, and the techno guys didn’t get them new, they got them at pawn shops for cheap because they tanked commercially.

          And Vangelis main synth was the CS80. There’s nothing like it made now, but the Schmidt is probably the closest.

          I don’t buy that the average musician had it easier in the 70s or 80s. You listen to their stories and they had to work hard for a ling time to get that Minimoog or Prophet or Riland synth.

          People nowadays are so into instant gratification that they don’t even know the difference between a cheap synth and something like this or a DSI or Modal keyboard.

    4. Making a hundred of something by hand in North America is always going to cost a lot more more than making thousands on an automated line in China.

      Circuit boards are so much more expensive to populate by hand, but it isn’t cost-effective to automate production of less than a few hundred boards. And a hundred Eurorack panels machined and screen printed basically costs the same as a thousand!

  3. I know, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Matters of visual design are subjective. Plus I love SE stuff and own some (including an old ATC-1 with all filters!)

    Preamble done: that thing is ugly as shit! Such great sounds but holy crap, hire another designer. It looks like a takeout pizza menu in a by-the-hour hotel in Hamburg’s red-light district. Pray for Grayscale to make faceplates (I don’t even like those, but anything is better than this.) If you doubt me, peep SE’s Web site. Must be the same designer. I love you Greg St. Regis but for the sake of all that is holy, hire someone new to do your faceplates! 😉

  4. Confused, I love you too, man. But tell me, how do you really feel? Don’t hold back this time.

    #sorrynotsorry #loveitorleaveit #maybenexttimebro #howmanydoyouwant #iloveyourstuffbut #dominoesdeliverssodowe #pepperoni #howmuch #putabagoverit #yomamma #imfired

  5. They say “Class-A” in the marketing materials the way the annoying subspecies of foodie says “artisanal”: I’m presuming that and all the “hand-matched” “discrete” faffery is about half of what that $5k is paying for…

    What’s truly hilarious about the whole “YO IT HAS 70s-STYLE CIRCUITRY SO IT’S AMAZING” affectation is that most of the manufacturers in the 70s were using the cheapest circuits they could find that weren’t already patented by competitors. For certain, they were some musical people – but the decisions were often-as-not about costs.

    1. I agree and find it curious that the first filters (Moog, ARP, Oberheim, Korg) tend to be the most sought-after and copied designs. I found it refreshing when Arturia’s *brute synths used a newer, less popular design that really has a character of its own. There have been great VA filters as well (I love my MS2000 and Supernova).

      As nice as the Moog ladder is, it doesn’t need to be the holy grail of synthesis.. Synthesizers can sound great without sounding like 30+ year old instruments.

  6. “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars and don’t see “takeout pizza.”

    —Oskar Wilder, Edgur Wintergear’s Band

    (This is really Marc St. Regis)

    p.s. Faffery in the above context is a malaprop. And while we’re at it Matt: Class A/discrete/through-hole/hand-matched transistors/Made in the U. S. A. = Cred, Blood and Tears. Oh yeah, and it’s costs more to design, produce, and insure quality and repeat performances. ‘Affectation’ (an effort to appear to have a quality not really or fully possessed—def. for emphasis, yo) ) is a mainly nauseating pursuit, yes, but it can get one’s but out of a sling—fitted around our creations by the serious observer/user/reviewer of our 2014/2015 (nothing 30+ years old on our shelf) Modstar Systems? #Nah.

    This bit: “manufacturers in the 70s were using the cheapest circuits they could find” is too fluffy to fold…

    Still not swayed, Matt? Next time you’re in town, why not swing by the shop to see how it all comes together? Teddy the dog, only nips at strangers—kidding; he’s a mini brute sweetheart, and the offer is genuine.


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