Crumar Multiman-S / Orchestrator

Crumar Orchestrator Image

In 1977, Crumar introduced the Orchestrator (called the Multiman-S in Europe), a fully polyphonic orchestral string machine. It has five basic sounds: Brass, Piano, Clavichord, Cello and Violin. The keyboard is split in the middle allowing you to play one combination of instruments with the left hand, and another combination with the right.

All five sounds are available at all times, you simply adjust how much volume you want of each sound. Feature just a single instrument, or create your own orchestral ensemble—you are the Orchestrator! With the keyboard being split, there are five separate instrument volume sliders for the left hand (lower split) and another five for the right hand (upper split).

There is also a sixth sound: Bass. The Bass sound has its own volume slider as well, but it is assigned to only the bottom 27 notes of the keyboard. It is also not the greatest of Bass sounds either, and can sometimes muddy the sound.

There is a filter section but only for the Brass. It uses some pretty old-fashioned terminology: 'Emphasis' for resonance and 'Contour' for cutoff. There are also Attack and Decay controls for the filter. There is another filter for the Cello and Violin string sounds called 'Timbre' which can adjust between a 'Mellow' to 'Bright' sound—basically it's a highpass filter. There is a 'Vibrato' effect section, basically the LFO, with 'Speed' and 'Depth' controls. The only global envelope control is a 'Sustain' length slider.

The Orchestrator's best sounds are its Brass (probably because it is the sound with the voltage controlled filter) and the Strings. In fact the Strings sound very similar to the famous ARP Solina. Unfortunately there are no built-in Ensemble effects to really sweeten them up...but that's what outboard gear is for!

Like most synthesizers of its time, the Orchestrator was built with the performing musician in mind. It is its own flight-case! Its casing is very tough and durable, it has a handle and a cover/lid to keep it protected during transport. And if it looks heavy, it is! Additional options for the Orchestrator included an organ-like 13-note (G-G) Foot Pedal Board, Sustain Pedal, and a Foot Expression Pedal controller for the filter cutoff. There are no CV/Gate options, just connectors for the external pedal controllers.

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31 Visitor comments
November 30, 2013 @ 2:34 am
Picked up one of these today after going through some frol-de-rol with the seller for a couple weeks. It's a very different character from my Hohner String Performer - the strings are much crisper where the Hohner is more soft and the chorus is a less lush (still nice, though.) The piano is more delicate and the clavichord is thinner, but annoyingly these use a very long release unless the sustain/swell pedal is hooked up (I have one, but it needs work.) The brass, while paraphonic, is very nice - can't complain about a Moog filter with tweakable controls! Limited, but great within its sphere.
eric korenman
June 11, 2013 @ 11:00 am
Just picked up a Crumar orchestrator. love the brass sound but can not get right hand brass to function (left works)
any trick I am missing? or perhaps broken?

June 11, 2013 @ 12:22 am
@lk - how did you figure that out? Please share here, I am highly interested! I love my Crumar Orchestrator, even its gigantic volume pedal/"s" sustain button.

If you can add a chorus to the strings, this thing will shatter my heart into a million pieces.
June 9, 2013 @ 6:27 pm
The OP needs to correct his review, the Orchestrator does have a 3 line chorus ensemble
Built in, though you can,t alter it unless you open up the synth.
April 23, 2013 @ 4:54 pm
I grabbed one of these off craigslist earlier this year and love it! The string and brass are analog heaven.

My band Milktooth just released a music video that prominently features my Orchestrator (the song is our synthy arrangement of a Mumford & Sons track). You can check it out at:

The video track also features one of my bandmates on a Moog Little Phatty, which pairs with the Orchestrator's strings quite well. See what you think!
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Rated 3.38 (154 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 - 49 notes
  • Multitimbral - 6 Sounds: Brass, Piano, Clavichord, Cello, Violin and Bass
  • LFO - Vibrato with Speed and Depth
  • Filter - Brass Filter with Attack, Decay, Cutoff, Resonance. Highpass String Filter.
  • Envelope - Sustain length
  • Effects - None
  • Arpeg/Seq - None
  • Keyboard - 49 keys
  • Memory - None
  • Control - Expression Pedal for the filter. Accepts Crumar's 13-note Foot Pedal keyboard.
  • Date Produced - 1977

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