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
Riccardo de Asmundis
March 30, 2011 @ 3:47 pm
I'got a Multiman S2 by chance in vary bad shape and conditions. I regenerated it completely as new and for me this has been a love action for Analogue Electronics ! Really an incredible instrument ...
March 11, 2011 @ 7:50 pm
This is a very inspring instrument- The basic sound of the strings and brass is extremly massive and vibrant, somewhat raw but lushious and I prefer it over my mks70. Only one thing that totally bugs me, the attack of the strings cannot be altered. There isn't much possibilty to alter the sounds anyways, still, mixing them allows almost endless variations. To me this thing sounds more "analogue" than any of my other analogue synths and it complements almost any mix. To me it also sounds less timebound than other stringmachines from that era. Great raw material to work with.
February 24, 2011 @ 7:10 am
I think this musical Keyboard has another feature, on the left side there is a group of switches represents an (musical octave), it seems these switches can low a(1/4) note from any key in the octave.
Frank Carvalho
January 29, 2011 @ 4:37 pm
I have one of these. It is simple, it is primitive, it is cheesy, but... it actually sounds incredibly good in a mix. Run it through a phaser and it is true magic. The string and brass sounds are the best. Strings can be mixed from a 4" and 8" slider - much like an organ drawbar - and with the brightness control this actually gives a very wide range of available string sounds. The brass filter sounds to me like an 4-pole SMS2044 filter, or similar. I wish the envelope could do more, because the brass has a very good basic sound. Brass is paraphonic. This machine is great to have in a studio.
January 21, 2011 @ 8:51 am
@mark: khm, that is the sustain for the vibrato, because there is none for the filter or amp and haven't seen one with a pedal yet. By "pan" I meant that right and left hand volume of the 6 sounds which in my opinion makes no sense. I was a bit upset people calling this thing outstanding and superb and giving more than 4 stars on avg being so simple without any flexibility and features and "frankly, pretty bad"sound. Btw early 80's Vermonas (sandy, e-piano) have much better sound. Yamaha sk-s, Kawai Sx-s are hundred times better and have 3.3 avg. That's why.
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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