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
January 21, 2011 @ 12:14 am
@dano, perhaps you should try adjusting the 'Sustain' slider on the far right to control the 'reverb'. Also, there isn't any 'Pan' function. This thing was built in 1977 how can you expect midi or presets? Sounds like you're not giving this thing a fair shake.
January 19, 2011 @ 7:31 am
Some bashed ones go for around 40-50 $ in eastern europe. I think they are terrible, all the sounds have an irritating long reverb (maybe the sustain only?..anyway), can't do nothing about it. Sound is thin and boxlike. The primitive envelope(attack and decay only) is anything but beneficial just like the useless "pan". Of course no presets except for as you left it, no midi or whatsoever and no ordinary sound either. We have one in our rehearsal room and it's only a keeper because of its heavy weight and oldschool look. Otherwise a useless piece of crap. Not even a star out of 5 :D
January 17, 2011 @ 12:58 pm
The Orchestrator/Multiman-S has been used by Wall Of Voodoo, Les Rockets, Sun Ra,
Irmin Schmidt/Can, George Duke, Jerry Goldsmith & Richard Band (Laserblast OST, 1978) and Tim Krog/Synthe-Sound-Trax (The Boogeyman OST, 1980).

Klaus Schulze and Pete Solley/Procol Harum used the original Multiman (1975).
Analogue Crazy
January 16, 2011 @ 2:13 pm
Owned a 1975 Multiman a few years ago, the Brass and Strings were really outstanding. There was no built in chorus but the Strings were still very warm and the Brass was equally as impressive due to it's highly resonant filter. Great string machine, highly recommended
January 14, 2011 @ 10:15 pm
Nice to see the Orchestrator on here finally. It's a great sounding old string machine, especially with the Brass filter which has a rudimentary envelope.

The sustain pedal is actually a big button on the front of the Expression pedal. It feels completely unnatural to use. But it only works on the Piano and Harp sounds where are, frankly, pretty bad. The strings are crackly and good, with phaser and reverb they're awesome. The Bass sound isn't that bad but it doesn't have much character.

Finally, the one pictured is modded, there aren't any switches on the left side in the original.
VSE Rating


User Rating

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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