ARP Solina String Ensemble

ARP Solina String Ensemble Image

The Solina String Ensemble is often thought of as the String Machine of the late 1970's disco era. It's a multi-orchestral machine with Violin, Viola, Trumpet, Horn, Cello and Contra-Bass sounds. These sounds can be engaged via individual on/off switches, allowing for a variety of ensemble configurations. The Cello and Contra-Bass sounds are monophonic and available only on the lower 20 keys of the keyboard. The remaining four sounds are polyphonic and can be played across the entire length of the keyboard. On their own, the sounds are quite unrealistic and not particularly useable. But when combined as an ensemble, and especially with the Chorus effect engaged, the resulting string sound becomes especially lush and shimmery.

The Solina String Ensemble uses divide-down technology, common in organs of the era, to achieve full polyphony. The Chorus/Ensemble effect is achieved by passing the sound through three modulated delay lines that cause a phase-shifting effect to make it sound thicker and more animated. There are also on-board Crescendo (attack) and Sustain Length (decay) sliders, volume sliders and a global tuning knob. It also has Gate and Trigger outputs from the polyphonic keyboard and is completely cased in wood (or wood-like) panels with a clean and discrete layout.

The Solina String Ensemble, like a few other ARP products, is not actually an ARP invention. The Solina was created by the Dutch company Eminent in 1974. It was derived from the string section of Eminent's 310U Organ, and sold commercially as the Eminent Solina String Ensemble. ARP bought the rights to re-brand the Solina for the US market as the ARP String Ensemble. There were also four versions: SE-I was monoaural with a permanent chorus effect, SE-II added an on/off switch for the chorus effect, SE-III added stereo sound, and SE-IV added LEDs.

The String Ensemble has been used by Air, The Eagles, Elton John, Pink Floyd, The Cure, Joy Division, OMD, Josh Wink, STYX, Tangerine Dream, Keane, Japan, and New Order.

Lookup ARP Solina String Ensemble Prices

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50 Visitor comments
Simon Holland
January 6, 2013 @ 4:04 am
There's a really cool Solina String Ensemble on this track recorded in France 1985: http://bedroomcassettemasters.bandcamp.com/track/equatorial-vi

Taken from this free to download thirty track compilation of vintage electronica recorded in bedrooms around the world between 1980-89: http://bedroomcassettemasters.bandcamp.com/album/bedroom-cassette-masters-1980-8 9-volume-one
Monotron_nl
September 19, 2012 @ 9:11 am
@ Nestor: No way dude, thats way overpriced.
Here in the Netherlands they are for sale between 50 and 250 euros. There quite a lot of them on the dutch 2nd hand market.
I know someone who's selling a String Ensemble MK2 for a lot less than 800 quid (i thought 650 euros). Find my name in google and send me a message if you're interested.
Nestor
September 8, 2012 @ 11:31 am
Hey, please, Do someone know if 800 pounds is a fair price for a Eminent 310U ? I know a guy that is selling one for that money. Thanks in advance
AutonomY
September 3, 2012 @ 5:59 am
I still love this synth and still use it.
www.autonomy-music.com
Lukas
June 20, 2012 @ 6:09 am
Seems like they got the owners manual or some kind of manual at least in pdf here http://www.retrosound.de/Solina.html though my adobe reader is broken atm so can't check for myself. They also got other useful info :D I might be buying one of these so I'm reading up on it, love the sound from it on albums such as "Wish You Were Here" and "Animals". Probably the strings synth most suitable for progressive rock if you ask me.
 
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Rated 3.97 (389 Votes)

  • Check Price
  • The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - Full
  • Oscillators - Viola, Violin, Cello, Contra-Bass, Horn, Trumpet
  • LFO - n/a
  • Filter - n/a
  • VCA - Crescendo (attack) / Sustain (decay)
  • Keyboard - 49 keys
  • Arpeg/Seq - None
  • Control - CV/GATE
  • Date Produced - 1974 - 1981
  • Resources & Credits
  • Images from

    Review updated August, 2012.

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