MATRIXSYNTH: VAI 18 :Solina String Synthesizer

Saturday, May 29, 2021

VAI 18 :Solina String Synthesizer

video by Vintage Audio Institute Italia

"One take just playing some chords on the Solina String Synthesizer - no over dubs.
Binson Echorec 2 is the effect source.

It looks like an inflated Solina String Ensemble.
Story goes that American ARP sent a bunch of keyboard-less monophonic ARP Explorers to Eminent in Holland in the mid 70's.
Eminent incorporated most of these synths in to a huge double manual living room-furniture organ that also included the Solina String Ensemble.
A small batch of ARP Explorers were left over and Eminent decided to make a limited, "lightweight" edition : A Solina String Ensemble combined with the ARP Explorer synthesizer.
Both fairly limited instruments on their own, the combination of a mono-synth and string machine make them become more than the sum of their parts.

Here in Italy there were many similar combos and the earliest one, The Farfisa Syntorchestra was released the same year, 1975.
Which one came first? We don't know, please use the comment section if you know the answer.

The possibility of routing the String Ensemble section into the ARP Explorer filter section is a great tool, the filter of the Explorer is great, adding the mono section vibrato to the string section as well.

There are some bewildering flaws with the Solina String Synthesizer, which makes us think that the production schedule was rather tight when these were made:
The ARP Explorer Section seems to emit a ticking noise in certain filter modes (we've confirmed this with other owners of this instrument)
There are no separate outputs for the String and Mono section (WHY?!)
The mono synth always engages the highest note when you play a chord, whereas on many of the Italian counterparts you can 'prioritise': choose if the Mono section will engage the highest or the lowest note in a chord."

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