Here is my review of the Behringer Solina String Ensemble. A replica of the Eminent Solina String Ensemble released in 1974. In the US it was rebadged as ARP String Ensemble.

Link to the video!

The Jarre Signature Sound

And here is some first hand knowledge about the real Jarre-String sound:
On his legendary albums Oxygène and Equinoxe he never used a Solina string ensemble.

And this takes us to the history of this instrument:

in the 70ies they were famous for those as bulky as heavy home organs. And the Eminent of this time had a kind of lovely gothic steampunk look!

Eminent Grand Theatre 2000 owned by Jörg Schaaf
Eminent Grand Theatre 2000 owned by Jörg Schaaf

And this is what you hear on Jean-Michels albums. Completed with the classic Electro-Harmonix Phaser.

The Solina String ensemble was a stripped down offshoot to make this hotly requested sound portable for the average musician of the time. And if you are watching this video you will probably know the rest of the legend!

And here comes a little anecdote from my early career in the synth industry:

My first task when I started at Quasimidi was the following:
Hey, you know French! Here's a phone number in Paris. Call there and make an appointment. We want Jean-Michel Jarre to endorse us!

Two hours later, I had found the number of Patrick, the great master's assistant.
And a week later I sat in his studio and spent two days explaining the Raven, which he loved to use on his Oxygene follow up album and tour.

Im Backstage der Frankfurter Festhalle auf der Oxygène 7-13 Tour 1997. Gerade haben wir Jean-Michel eine 309 zur Entspannung nach dem Konzert in die Hand gedrückt! Ich durfte sogar die Laser-Harfe zupfen!Vlr: Christophe Piper, Andy Wessels, Jean-Michel Jarre, Friedhelm Haar, Dirk Voss.
In the backstage of the 'Frankfurter Festhalle' Oxygène 7-13 Tour 1997. We just gave JMJ a 309 to relax after his concert! He even encouraged me to try the Laser Harp!
Left to right: Christophe Piper, Andy Wessels, Jean-Michel Jarre, Friedhelm Haar, Dirk Voss.

And there I had the unique opportunity to play the original Eminent-Solina sound in person. There were several Eminents connected and ready to play at any time with this one sound. Some of the controls were even locked or glued down. Madness!

I'm not a mega-fan, but Jean-Michel Jarre is someone I admire for his creative curiosity. And for the fact that, unlike other musicians of his age, he doesn't rest on dried-up laurels and still likes to explore uncharted musical territory!

But back to the Behringer!

But back to the Behringer!

Every time I play the Behringer Solina, I find a ridiculous little grin on my face.

This thing is so rudimentary and simple that it's almost scary how much fun you can have with this pure and unwashed sound.

Of course, you can get strings of this sort with any other polyphonic synthesiser in a somewhat similar way. But due to their technical principle, string ensembles still remain something special, which strongly affects the sound.

The polyphony is generated here by a single high-frequency oscillator. This frequency is then divided down through various circuits until the range of 4 octaves is covered. Accordingly, contouring parameters, such as crescendo and sustain here, are always triggered with the first note played or released. If you want to reproduce this sound characteristic with a synthesizer, it becomes difficult.

That's why I find this replica just as excellent as the Behinger Vocoder, which is based on the same principle.

In this video I show you how to make cool grooves with a vocoder and a drum machine!


And since there is absolutely nothing comparable for the price and in this format that sounds so authentic and is so much fun, the Solina gets 19 out of 20 points on the Wine&Synths score from me without further ado! Well done Behringer!

As an alternative in the software sector, however, I would like to mention the Solina-V von Arturia which also sounds great. Just give it a try!

And if I've fired up your GAS so much that you want to buy a Solina or another nice synthesizer, you'll find the corresponding affiliate links in the description! I appreciate your support!

And if my content appeals to you, leave a Like and tell me in the comments whether you would also buy such a one-trick pony, or if you prefer to go for all-in-one synths that can do everything?

Well then! See you in the next video!
Peace and goodbye!

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