MATRIXSYNTH: Hohner String Performer

Sunday, May 05, 2024

Hohner String Performer

video upload by ohm_studi_ohm

"The Hohner String Performer was one of the very last effort to release a string synth, in the early 80s I think. This was the only one genuinely manufactured by Hohner. The early ones like the String Melody, StringVox or String Orchestra were italian rebadged ones.
The Performer features 3 strings presets, 1 piano, 1 harpsichord, 1 bass (only on the left part of the keyboard) and a monophonic 'solo' section on the right part of the keyboard only. Just like other 'orchestral' synths like the Crumar Orchestrator/Multiman or the Elka Rhapsody 610 you have individual volume faders for each sound on each side as well as a mute switch per section.
The 'bass' preset overides everything on the left part of the keyboard when selected.
Overall this is one of the most refined string sound you can get, very polished, maybe too polished for some. I like it a lot, I find it very cinematographic.
The solo section is not very interesting in its own but when layered with the strings it adds a very nice lead touch.
The instrument features 3x seperate outputs in top of the general output, and jack input for piano/harpsichord sustain pedal and a volume pedal.
There were 2 revisions made to this instrument, and the only difference is the power supply. The most common you will find is this one and it uses an external power supply (18v DC but you can use anything between 15 and 24 since this supply gets regulated inside the synth). The second one has a built in 230v power supply and you can easily recognized it because it has a red translucent on/off switch.
The builtin power supply probably lowers the tendency to hum and magnetic interference you get with the first one, which can be quite picky on the power adapter you use. But I never had a second version at hand to compare to the first one so i can't be sure.

This is the 5th String Performer I serviced and though they had all different issues one common issue it that they ALL had cracks on one or more PCB, leadind in cut traces.
The design of the instrument is clever but not sturdy enough. The case is very well built and solid and it's very hard to seriously damage it.
But all the 12 oscillators and filter PCBs are socketed to the motherboard which is underneath the keys, and are screwed to a hinge that tends to get bent when the instrument is subject to violent transport, so the pcbs bend too and crack.
This result usually in some mute notes on all poly section (just like if a divider has died) or on some section only, and very often the solo is also dead because of a cracked pcb.
This is one of the synth I would advice not to have shipped, the chances to receive a 100% working instrument is closed to null."

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