ARP Solina String Ensemble
From the Michael Lehmann Boddicker Collection
The Solina String Ensemble was the sound of the late 1970's disco era. The Solina is a multi-orchestral machine with Violin, Viola, Trumpet, Horn, Cello and Contra-Bass sounds and these sounds could be played individually or layer together via individual on/off switches for each sound. This provided you with a wider variety of ensemble configurations. The Cello and Contra-Bass sounds are both monophonic and were played only on the lower 20 keys of the keyboard. The other four sounds were polyphonic, and they can be played across the entire length of the keyboard. My themselves, the sounds are quite unrealistic and not particularly useable. but when combined as an ensemble, and especially with the Chorus effect engaged, the resulting string sound was lush and shimmery.
The Solina String Ensemble uses divide-down technology, which is common in organs of this era, to achieve full polyphony. The Chorus/ Ensemble effect is achieved by passing the sound through three modulated delay lines that cause a phase-shifting effect which makes it sound thicker. There is also Crescendo (attack) and Sustain Length (decay) sliders, volume sliders and a global tuning knob. The Solina String Ensemble also features Gate & Trigger outputs from the keyboard. The Solina String Ensemble, like a few other ARP products, was not actually an ARP invention. The Solina was created by the Dutch company Eminent in 1974. It was derived from the string section of Eminent's 310U Organ and sold commercially as the Eminent Solina String Ensemble. ARP bought the rights to re-brand the Solina for the US market as the ARP String Ensemble. There were also four versions: SE-I was monoaural with a permanent chorus effect, SE-II added an on/off switch for the chorus effect, SE-III added stereo sound, and SE-IV added LEDs.
The ARP Solina String Ensemble has been used by Air, The Eagles, Elton John, Pink Floyd, The Cure, Joy Division, OMD, Josh Wink, STYX, Tangerine Dream, Keane, Japan, New Order and many others.