Sequential Circuits Fugue

Sequential Fugue Image

The Fugue is a very rare synthesizer built for Sequential Circuits by Italian Organ maker Siel. In Europe it was known as the Siel Cruise. It was built when Sequential was still a relatively small company and while they wanted to add a compact mono+poly synth to their product-line, they didn't have the resources yet to build one on their own. It is actually two discrete synths in one—a "Poly" String section and a "Mono" analog synth section. There are even two individual outputs for each section on the back. In all actuality, the Fugue is the Siel Mono and Siel Orchestra synthesizers combined into one powerful instrument!

The Poly section has full polyphony, like most of the polyphonic string synths of the era. It is purely a Preset based String/Orchestra machine, with Piano, Strings, Brass and Organ presets. All presets can be combined together for a richer sound with the four push buttons (polyphony is not reduced when combined either). There is also a "Poly Effect" section with a Chorus and VCF (filter) section.

Then there is the Solo/Mono section. It is an independent Mono Synth with a waveform section that includes 10 preset waveforms and 10 variable waveforms. You can edit all 20 of the waveforms/presets to your liking. The sliders provide fast and easy hands-on access to tweaking sounds while performing. The Solo/Mono mode also has its own filter that can self-oscillate, with full VCF Envelope ADSR, Frequency and Resonance sliders. There is a Vibrato slider control for use in the Solo mode. There is also a Priority Left/Right control for the direction of note priority.

The Fugue has many red and green lights for easy operation within the sections...and it looks cool in the dark too. A nice joystick is used for Pitch changes in the Mono synth section. But the true power behind this synthesizer is the split keyboard function which gives you the ability to play chords with your left hand while soloing with your right hand (or vice/versa with a nice sounding bass-line). By layering both sections you can create an interesting sound for solos or for chords with the Mono synth taking priorities for Right or Left notes. And you use a level slider control to split or layer the sections. It's a fun synth that can easily create that classic disco-70's sound.

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5 Visitor comments
November 16, 2012 @ 12:56 pm
I was given one of these dissasembled from someone who assumed it didn't. It only neede dthe components to put in place & plugged in to get it going. Once I got it working I fell in love with it. The split/mono/poly is cool. The ability to solo synth or bass & play chords at the same time is nice.The mono synth section holds it's own with any analogue mono synth. The organ is great especially running it through a Fender leslie More people have offered to buy this off me but I don't think these is anything else I could replace it with that I'd like as much. Only wish it was touch sensitive.
December 22, 2010 @ 11:54 am
It does not sound bad at all and certainly not like crap. Sure, cheesy is the keyword when it comes down to the polysection but wasn't that wat 80's Italo-dance was all about? We used to put the Cruise true a Boss ME5 guitarprocessor and the sound became mindblowing. And that for a piece of gear that wasn't even worth a real review on this site. It is build like a tank too. I agree on the fact that the keyboard is el cheepo and my cruise has non of the F keys working over the full range of the keyboard for no obvious reason (checked the circuit, nothing dead there). I have some other more "classic" (read over-rated and over priced) analog gear. that! It's a was an original aproach of what an analog should look like. You have to give Siel (Sequential Circuits) credit for that.
November 27, 2010 @ 6:09 am
It's a shame the keyboard is so flat, static and inexpressive to play, because some of the sounds are great, really good. If Siel hadn't skimped on the keyboard and produced an instrument that responded normally, it could have been a classic synth.
November 22, 2010 @ 5:50 am
This and the Siel Cruise ( the same thing ) are great synths. Its not just a preset synth, and it has great filter and presence. Really underrated and worth a look.
November 28, 2008 @ 9:26 am
As an owner of the Siel Cruise, and having the pleasure of also owning Arp's, an Oberheim and several old Rolands and Korgs for comparison, this thing holds up to its own. It is actually a really decent string synth (several sounds), capable of mimicking a Solina. It has got some nice brass pad sounds with variable filter and attack to kick in. And the solo section can with some delay/reverb be a very expressive lead instrument. (I often get a Flaming Lips vibe when tinkering with the portamento and vibrato effect).
Mine is still working flawlessly, and if you get the chance to buy one - good for you (and hopefully your music as well).
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  • 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 - Poly: 49 voices; Mono: 1 voice
  • Oscillators - 1 DCO
  • LFO - Vibrato (sine wave based with rate, depth controls); Animator (speed)
  • Filter - Mono: VCF with cutoff, resonance.
    Poly: Brass cutoff, resonance
  • Effects - Portamento
  • Keyboard - 49 keys, can be split in the middle
  • Memory - Presets: Piano 1, Clavi, Piano 2, Cello, Violin, Percussion, Brass1, Brass2, Resonance, Swell, Organ 1, Organ 2, and Pipe Organ
  • Control - Volume and Expression pedal inputs. No CV/Gate.
  • Date Produced - 1981 - 1985

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