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String Synthesizers

Published on Jun 21, 2019 by Synth Talk

The unique sound of string machines puts them in a class of their own. I’ve just recently discovered these sounds and the part they played in songs from New Order, Jean Michel Jarre, Tangerine Dream, The Cure, Pink Floyd, Massive Attack, the band Air and more. Here’s a brief overview from my research. I hope you enjoy it.

Arp Quadra

ARP Quadra -

The Quadra is a four-section synthesizer consisting of a Bass synth, Poly synth, Lead synth, and String synth. The string section is based on the Omni II String synth.


string synth

A Brief History of String Synths -

From Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” to the cheesy, sleazy smooth funk of many an adult-film soundtrack, string synthesizers were responsible for one of the defining sounds of the late ’70s and early ‘80s.

arp solina

ARP Solina String Ensemble -

The ARP String Ensemble, also known as the Solina String Ensemble, is a fully polyphonic multi-orchestral synthesizer with a 49-key keyboard, produced by Eminent BV (known with Solina brand), distributed by ARP Instruments, Inc. from 1974 to 1981. The sounds it incorporates are violin, viola, tru…

Creating the sound

Roland RS-202

How do I re-create the sound of those old string synths? -

I am trying to re-create the sound of old string synths like the ARP Solina or Elka Rhapsody on my Novation K-Station but I just can’t do it. I have tried all the tricks to create a fat, chorus/ensemble sound — detuning oscillators and so on — but it always sounds like a polysynth, not that string synth…

Audio Waveform

Synthesizing Strings: String Machines -

Analogue synths can’t synthesize every sound, but the attempts made to replicate the sound of orchestral strings were so successful that so-called string machines became much-loved instruments in their own right. We begin a voyage into the world of synthesized strings…

Modern Versions

Waldorf Streichfett

Streichfett Overview -

Streichfett combines the best of the now extinct species of String Synthesizers of the 70s and early 80s. Its dual sound engine features a fully polyphonic strings section.

Arturia Solina V

Arturia Solina V -

We began by modeling the original Solina MK1 from Eminent making sure that the Violin, viola, cello, horn and trumpet sounds were as rich and warm as the original. The renowned ENSEMBLE effect was carefully modeled and is a thing of beauty that cannot be found in any of the sample-based string machines.

Virtual String Machine

Vintage String Machine -

The VSM is an intuitive but highly powerful Virtual String Machine which captures many of the sounds from this genre of instrument, containing a wealth of sounds from a small mountain of classic and rare string machines.

There are also some rare triple chorus effects that come close to emulating the ensemble on string synths, the DIY JH Triple Chorus and the Oakley SRE330 are examples.

If you have suggestions or topics you want covered please contact me. 🙂

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