ARP String Ensemble

The ARP Solina String Ensemble is a string keyboard, which was introduced in 1974. It was capable of producing polyphonic string sounds for the first time.


Strictly speaking, the Solina String Ensemble is not a synthesizer. The electronic structure of the instrument is more of a hybrid between an electron organ and synthesizer. A obtained by a frequency divider circuit sawtooth oscillation is passed through three parallel analog delays, which are modulated by two LFOs. The mixture of these three vibrato leads to a rich sound with a high recognition value. The per frequency divider circuit coupled phase-locked sound signals of individual buttons in conjunction with the chorus effect result in a highly complex, but always synchronous sound modulation at chording. In deep layers of strong rasping, silky floating at high altitudes, this particular chorus effect has been copied and varied by many other instrument manufacturers. He came in a variety of keyboards Strings (String Machines ), but primarily in electronic organs used.


The Solina String Ensemble was an independent brand from the Eminent plant in Bodegraven, Netherlands. Research Solina AG was also the name of a Swiss company that produced in cooperation with Eminent. The name Solina was hallmark of the cheaper organ series of Eminent manufacturer. In 1972, the organ " Eminent 310 unique" was presented, which decreed the first time this sound. The String Ensemble was only the string stops in this organ in mono version basically. It was fitted with ARP stickers, also distributed by the American company ARP. There were 1974 different series of string ensemble. The last series, recognizable by LEDs in the switches and a stereo output, dates from the first half of the 1980s. It has an almost completely altered, highly miniaturized circuitry, and a direct comparison clearly more central sound. Missing steel frame inside and considerably lighter designed keyboard here make for a comparatively low weight.

In the second half of the 1970s repressed polyphonic synthesizer Oberheim and SCI - about the Prophet 5 - the Solina String Ensemble gradually. But even individual Solina competitors were (eg Moog Opus3 to 1983 ) produced to the era of the digital synthesizer into it. The sound was so influential and characteristic, that even the first generation of digital synthesizers often possessed presets with a Solina sound, such as the Yamaha DX 7 Even today, most synthesizers have a " Solina Preset". Some sample based synthesizer contain samples of Solina, including the Yamaha Motif, Korg Triton and Alesis Fusion. The Solina String Ensemble is also included in the list of samples in the GForce String Machine, in this case, each key of the original instrument was sampled.

Sample -based reproductions are suitable for play single notes, but blur the rasping sound when playing chords on principle, because the crucial sound features here (synchronous modulation of all tones) only by the phase-locked coupling of single tones by the frequency divider principle and the common run of all sounds through the modulation unit are achievable. Digital reproductions of a frequency divider circuit such as the VST plugin Cromina represent recent attempts to get close to the original sound.