Full VSM Instrument List
- ARP Omni
- ARP Quartet
- Crumar Multiman
- Elka Rhapsody
- Eminent 310
- Freeman String Symphonizer
- Junost 21
- Korg PE-2000
- Logan String Melody
- Oberheim OB-8
- Oberheim Xpander
- Moog Opus 3
- Roland RS202
- Yamaha SK-15
- Yamaha SS-30
Freeman String Symphonizer
The forerunner to an entire instrument genre and invented by British musician and engineer Ken Freeman. One of the most lovely instruments we’ve heard.
Moog Opus 3
A bit of a me-too string synth but nonetheless a very decent instrument with string sounds that definitely contain a bit of Moog-appeal.
Made by Dutch manufacturers, Eminent, the Solina is one of the all-tie classic String Ensembles. Be careful though, it’s both expensive and very heavy.
Okay, we admit that it’s not really a String Machine but it does use divide-down technology ad it did have an exceptionally cool String preset on it.
A beautiful instrument from way back in 1976 the PE2000 sounds great, looks great and was the forerunner to the highly sought-after Lambda.
Logan String Melody
Quite an iconic string ensemble in many ways and much for its lush and warm tones. These are still very sought-after instruments to this day.
In many ways quite an iconic Italian string ensemble which contained what we thought until very recently was a spelling error on the front panel - ‘Violon/Cello’ anyone?
ARP Omni 2
Any String Machine collection would be incomplete without this little masterpiece. Used by countless artists including Kraftwerk.
A teaser of something that should appear in a VSM add-on pack. This instrument is a true rarity and something that we were truly privileged to play, let alone record.
VSM Development & the Original String Machines
To say that we went overboard during our research and development of the VSM would be putting it mildly.
The initial idea of a virtual string machine stemmed from being asked to find a good condition Solina for UK band Kasabian, because when we finally sourced a good one we realised (a) how bloody heavy the damn things are and (b) how they are increasingly difficult to find for a realistic price.
Armed with this, and having had conversations with several other musicians who were also after some of these old-skool sounds we set about researching the whole String Ensemble genre and found to our surprise that it originated from a British musician and part-time boffin, Ken Freeman.
Of course, as is often the way, the inventor isn’t necessarily the one who is able to capitalise on the first commercial product and this was certainly the way for Ken. However, anyone who heard his initial invention knows that we all owe considerably more than just a nod to the man himself for what was to follow.
There were literally hundreds of String Ensemble Instruments released in the 70s and 80s and after a lengthy chat with UK technical journalist Gordon Reid, who had been researching this genre himself, we decided that it would be a great idea to find, record and preserve as many of these sounds as possible - after all, they all had their quirks, anomalies and, more importantly, defining timbres.
Of course, the concern was that after all our work we'd take a subjective look after the event and think "one trick pony." But to us the entire journey was a truly fascinating one and just listening to the differences in tone between the various instruments slowly revealed that this wouldn't be the case.
Furthermore, while we love the simplicity of a hardware String Machine such as a RS202 or Omni, in this day and age people are more au-fait with synthesis than they were in those early days which is why we decided to add a multi-band filter as well as an amplitude and filter envelope. This allows also the end-user to use some of the classic tones as a spring-board to other new tones and textures while still retaining the vibe and flavour of the original instruments.
For the VSM we've recorded more instruments than was good for our health and these are included in the initial instrument release. However, we still haven't stopped and also have some additional recordings on the way that include some very special and rare instruments.
That’s later though so in the meanwhile have a look at some of the classic instruments we were fortunate to capture, plus we’ll give you a sneak preview something yet to come.