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Good analog string synth Keyboard Synthesizers
Old 1st September 2011
  #1
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Good analog string synth

Anybody recommend one? Would like to add one to my collection Haven't much experience with them though!!

Any info would be cool
Old 1st September 2011
  #2
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Yoozer's Avatar
Any info would indeed be cool. heh

What's your budget? Are you looking for something like a Solina, or just an analog that's good at string-like pad-sounds?
Old 1st September 2011
  #3
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well the more it does the better, budget up to 1000 euro probably, i really have no experience with string synths so......open to suggestions, really just want to have the option there should i ever feel the need to use it etc .Arp solina looks nice but i imagine is pricey?

Eminent 310 maybe - pricey and rare?
Old 1st September 2011
  #4
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synthdood's Avatar
For a solina sound you'd really need something with a BBD chorus.

For your normal synth string/pads a JX10,JX8P,MKS70 will do the trick.
Old 1st September 2011
  #5
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Yoozer's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by empirix View Post
wArp solina looks nice but i imagine is pricey?
400 euros nowadays? At least around here.

Quote:
Eminent 310 maybe - pricey and rare?
Not rare at all! Just an utter pain to ship.

I picked up one for free, when they're offered they're usually around 150-200 (but that's because I live in the country they were made in heh)

If you want the string synth character without the actual machine, take a look at ELKORUS v.2

When ensemble is switched off on my Solina, it sounds incredibly bland.
Old 1st September 2011
  #6
Lives for gear
I love stringers.

I've got a Eminent Solina (Later rebadged as an Arp Solina) and a Korg Lambda.
A few of my mates have VP330's also, so I'm pretty familiar with them.

The Solina is very cool, and sits very well in a mix.. even at low levels.
The Bass section is very weird and odd sounding, but nothing sounds quiet like it. brwwwawawawawawaw!
It's physically rather heavy..
Stick a phaser on that guy and you'll be on a "War of the worlds" trip for a few hours.

The Lambda is a great all rounder. Has a lot more tricks up it's sleeve like chorus, many other instruments.. the ability to detune the strings etc etc.
I love that guy, and it's got such a big top that a bunch of pedals + MPC fit nicely on top.
Sometimes Lambda's can be had on the cheap due to their odd appearance.
I like layering the strings with a high 'celeste' type sound + the electric piano for some bass. great!
The Brass section is probably the weakest for me.

The VP330 is lovely, and quiet ethereal.. more hi-fi than the solina. The Choir is cool, but not my cup of tea.
I don't rate it's internal vocoder thaaaat much.. (I'm also a ***** for vocoders) so that may factor into your budget..

I've never used a Roland Paraphonic 505 or RS-101 / RS-202 but I'll probably be restoring a Paraphonic 101 some time in the near future.
I understand that the 505 is essentially a VP330 minus vocoder (But have no way of verifying this 100%)

Not that they are string synths, but Korg PolySix's due a pretty good 'string synth' type sound due to their 'ensemble' effect.. something to consider.

Plenty of others to consider.

Roland RS-09 (Didn't like it)
Freeman String Synth (Original string synth.. so prob rare)
Crumar performer
+ others.

Hope that helps.
Mike
Old 1st September 2011
  #7
Lives for gear
thanks a lot guys, will look into them and see what happens, they all look tasty hopefully get a good deal somewhere, cheers
Old 1st September 2011
  #8
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GeorgeHayduke's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Futureman84 View Post
..

The Lambda is a great all rounder. ..

Not that they are string synths, but Korg PolySix's due a pretty good 'string synth' type sound due to their 'ensemble' effect.. s..
I recently bought a Polysix for the strings/pads, but then I got a Lambda shortly thereafter, and now I do all my strings with the Lambda, it's just beautiful! And stereo. Not wobbly like some old stringers, very 'perfect' - but no MIDI/CV of course
Old 1st September 2011
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeHayduke View Post
I recently bought a Polysix for the strings/pads, but then I got a Lambda shortly thereafter, and now I do all my strings with the Lambda, it's just beautiful! And stereo. Not wobbly like some old stringers, very 'perfect' - but no MIDI/CV of course
Yea... Lambda is seriously underrated.

We have jams quite often, and if it's at a mates house, I'll often take the lambda + minimoog + mpc + midibox seq + a bunch of pedals.

Of course... With stringers, you NEED a decent phaser pedal.
Mutron BiPhase or mxr phase 90 or mooger fooger will suffice.
Old 1st September 2011
  #10
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Space Station's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Futureman84 View Post


I've never used a Roland Paraphonic 505 or RS-101 / RS-202 but I'll probably be restoring a Paraphonic 101 some time in the near future.
I understand that the 505 is essentially a VP330 minus vocoder (But have no way of verifying this 100%)
Hi, RS-505 is really nothing like the VP330. I have both. Totally different sound and circuit. VP330 is like a poor mans RS-505 when it comes to just strings. So if it's just strings you want RS-505 is the chief.

The VP330 is bigger than the sum of it's parts and that's it's magic. But based on it's strings alone, there are better synths.

Early MK1(no chorus switch) Solinas are great, super rich sounding with no note cut off. It's a totally classic sound used on a ton of records.

Arp Omni II is great(if you find a re-capped one), very similar in sound to a Solina but with more features and better bass.

They are my favourites..apart from the Arp Quadra..but then you are talking big $$
Old 1st September 2011
  #11
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I love the tone of VP330 strings. However, to me this is more like a synth pad sound than a synth string sound, if you know what I mean. But I do love it, it's stereo (whoohoo!) and extremely lush in its own way - very different to Solinas of this world.

When I had the VP330 in my place, I grew a beard, a bigger belly, put on a Greek accent and then I run on a blade Vangelis-stylee. It inspires me that much. :D
Old 1st September 2011
  #12
dont forget the arp omni
Old 1st September 2011
  #13
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kragg's Avatar
 

Yes, Arp OMni is nice (and Arp Omni II looks damn good with the leather panels !), the synth section is quite worthy too (simple, straight-forward, polyphonic).

The Crumar Multiman has nice brass sounds (Moog filter, asaik) and is a valuable alternative for classic string sound but not Solina-alike.

I like the Korg Delta a lot, too. The synth section is higly underrated, the BP filter is amazing, and the string section is clever (with some nice balance controls).

But you have to know that when it needs repair, it is very time and money consuming, due to the paraphonic design, so be assured to buy one which doesn't need any servicing, and try to avoid shipping.
Old 1st September 2011
  #14
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I like the strings in my Korg Trident.

And layering it with the synth section can give such a nice result, as you can just use the synth section for a nice percussive plucking sound, and use the string section for the sustained sound.
Old 1st September 2011
  #15
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silent5's Avatar
 

The Yamaha SK-20 is a pretty versatile and reliable string/combo machine that can be had for cheap. Layering the paraphonic synth and the string section sounds quite lovely.
Old 1st September 2011
  #16
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Elka Rhapsody 610 is a nice string machine, add some reverb and a dash of delay and you have a lush string sound.

Logan string melody II is another or the Farfisa Syntorchestra.
Old 1st September 2011
  #17
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Crumar Performer. Great strings - so nasal and cheesy but beautiful, especially when a phaser is added. They can be had for around $500.
Old 1st September 2011
  #18
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Rob The Viking's Avatar
I have an Elka rhapsody, it's old and missing some knobs, doesnt look pretty and goes out of tune easily, but it sounds sweet. I plug it into a phaser and a space echo and it does the trick.
Old 1st September 2011
  #19
ValhallaDSP
 
seancostello's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by himalaya View Post
I love the tone of VP330 strings. However, to me this is more like a synth pad sound than a synth string sound, if you know what I mean. But I do love it, it's stereo (whoohoo!) and extremely lush in its own way - very different to Solinas of this world.
Interesting point. I have been modeling various string ensemble choruses for my upcoming plugin, and the VP330 model does have a different characteristic than the 3-phase choruses of the Solina/Performer/Polysix/Opus3/etc. The VP330 sounds more like detuned oscillators, with less motion than the 3-phase ensembles.

I haven't modeled the ARP Omni/Omni 2 ensembles for the new plugin, but I have done so in the past. These are somewhat different than the classic Solina topology, in that there are 3 delay lines, but each one has its own LFO running at a different rate, as opposed to combining the 0/120/240 degree outputs from 2 different LFOs. The Omni sounds fairly close to the Solina to me, but with a bit less of an obvious pattern to the modulation.

And I wouldn't recommend buying an ARP Omni, for the above mentioned tantalum cap issue. I have an Omni sitting in parts in a closet. I tried to repair it, but it just wasn't worth the massive effort. I may integrate the chorus module into a modular synth someday, but it might be busted as well - it was a pretty messed up Omni.

The Korg Polysix is nice, in that it has the classic ensemble chorus available as an option, as well as other chorus/flanging modes. Plus, it is a full fledged synth, as opposed to a paraphonic organ thing. The battery acid issue isn't a rumor, though, as my schizophrenic Polysix can sadly attest to.
Old 1st September 2011
  #20
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Yoozer's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by seancostello View Post
I have been modeling various string ensemble choruses for my upcoming plugin
Aw man. Why'd you have to say that. I'm already through my allotted budget.
Old 1st September 2011
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seancostello View Post
Interesting point. I have been modeling various string ensemble choruses for my upcoming plugin, and the VP330 model does have a different characteristic than the 3-phase choruses of the Solina/Performer/Polysix/Opus3/etc. The VP330 sounds more like detuned oscillators, with less motion than the 3-phase ensembles.
Modeling various string ensembles? My radar is set on you now! heh
Good description there with the VP sound. Less motion, but still so lush.

I had the VP330 (which I don't own) sitting here with my Solina and RS-202 and it was a great experience being able to hear all three at once as the difference in sound is huge, and yet each one sounds gorgeous.

Keep us updated with your stringa-syntha-fingy.
Old 1st September 2011
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Real MC View Post
I modeled the Solina chorus ensemble effect on my Korg SDD-3300

String ensemble effect mp3
Very nice!
I think the D16 chorus is also able to get at the Solina creaminess (judging by some audio demos).
I bought it in a group buy but still haven't had time to test it.
Old 1st September 2011
  #23
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polysix
Old 1st September 2011
  #24
Gear Head
 

If you can find one, TOM, russian counterpart of Solina, is really cool
Old 1st September 2011
  #25
ValhallaDSP
 
seancostello's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoozer View Post
Aw man. Why'd you have to say that. I'm already through my allotted budget.
Well, it'll be 50 bucks. And once it is up for sale, it will stay there, so no rush.
Old 1st September 2011
  #26
Gear Maniac
 
Gav G's Avatar
 

Logan String Melody II is a very cool sounding string box.

What I like is it has dedicated attack sliders that you can jam while playing. Saw one recenlty come up for ±£300. Definitely worth having but one needs a lot of space to keep acquiring lots of characterful one trick pony keyboards.
Old 1st September 2011
  #27
ValhallaDSP
 
seancostello's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by himalaya View Post
Modeling various string ensembles? My radar is set on you now! heh
Good description there with the VP sound. Less motion, but still so lush.
I think this is the big attraction of the Roland Dimension-style chorusing: you get a lush detuning, but without an obvious sense of motion. The VP330 is like 2 Dimension D choruses in parallel, with string ensemble vibrato added to each unit. I'm following a similar approach with some of my chorus modes, but I'm working in code as opposed to hardware. So extending things to 8 or 16 parallel Dimension Ds, each with their own additional vibrato generator, is no big deal.

Quote:
I had the VP330 (which I don't own) sitting here with my Solina and RS-202 and it was a great experience being able to hear all three at once as the difference in sound is huge, and yet each one sounds gorgeous.
I owned the RS-202 a long time ago. It was quite nice sounding. I prefer the Opus 3 and Polysix chorus sounds, but I think they all use the same topology. Having different modulation rates for the slow LFO makes a big difference in the sounds of the ensembles, as does the modulation depth. The Solina uses pretty short BBD lines, and sounds more "flangy" than some of the later string ensembles.

Quote:
Keep us updated with your stringa-syntha-fingy.
I will. In the meantime, here's a sound clip from my string ensemble simulation that I created in Csound back in 1999. I've been doing this research for awhile. heh

Old 1st September 2011
  #28
Lives for gear
Back in 1999? Your plugin will be like a great vintage wine then! heh
That clip sounds fab, btw.


Quote:
I owned the RS-202 a long time ago. It was quite nice sounding. I prefer the Opus 3 and Polysix chorus sounds
Yeah, the RS-202 can appear rather raw sounding if heard next to a Solina (or any of the more creamy machines). But this rawness has a certain charm I like.
Old 2nd September 2011
  #29
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Space Station's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by seancostello View Post

I owned the RS-202 a long time ago. It was quite nice sounding. I prefer the Opus 3 and Polysix chorus sounds, but I think they all use the same topology. Having different modulation rates for the slow LFO makes a big difference in the sounds of the ensembles, as does the modulation depth. The Solina uses pretty short BBD lines, and sounds more "flangy" than some of the later string ensembles.
The opus 3 is my least favourite string synth i think..i thought it was pretty nasty sounding..well at least the one i had anyway.

Also there are three different revisions of solinas i've seen, each with a different ensemble circuit ..the last version is vastly different and stereo.
Old 2nd September 2011
  #30
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acreil's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by seancostello View Post
I owned the RS-202 a long time ago. It was quite nice sounding. I prefer the Opus 3 and Polysix chorus sounds, but I think they all use the same topology. Having different modulation rates for the slow LFO makes a big difference in the sounds of the ensembles, as does the modulation depth. The Solina uses pretty short BBD lines, and sounds more "flangy" than some of the later string ensembles.
The RS-202 has an important difference, IIRC (I did my analysis of chorus circuits a few months ago): the LFOs are fully independent (6 LFOs total), rather than two LFOs with 0/120/240 degree shifted outputs. The speeds aren't spread apart as much as in the ARP Omni. The result is more vibrato, but in a sort of random fashion. This may have been considered less desirable at the time since it suggests a sort of instability, but if anything I prefer this version.

I think Roland's ideal was to have detuning and stereo widening without noticeable vibrato (of course their string choruses were more intense). Patent 4205579 shows a further extension of this (apparently not used in a product): essentially the equivalent of mild detuning with a stereo pitch shifter. 4208940 is another interesting variant, with more complicated modulation.

Yamaha patent 3866505 and Thomas Organ patent 4080861 have some oddball designs that may be worth a look, and Wersi used some weird implementations: basically the usual topology but extended with more modulation options, feedback, etc.. Most other patents and circuits are either simplistic or derivative of the original Eminent design. But I was surprised to see some fancy chorus circuits in unexpected places (Casio CZ-5000, Kawai SX-240...).
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