String Synth Battle Royale: Yamaha SK vs Roland RS vs ???

A forum for comparing two or more synths against each other. Also known as "versus" threads.
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String Synth Battle Royale: Yamaha SK vs Roland RS vs ???

Post by LucB » Tue Apr 07, 2009 3:14 pm

Hello to all of you,

While most of you electro-nerds discuss the magnificence of moogs and next gen Korg workstations and such, so of us hunt (or scavenge) in the jungle of garage sales (some do both!) to find elusive, old and sometimes shotty one-trick ponys that remind us of cheezy tunes from times where brown and orange were mandatory in home decoration (it's totally coming back btw).

A 'recent' thread was trying to compare David with Goliath : Yamaha SK vs Yamaha CS. Obviously this wasn't much of a good show (while it provided us all with a good amount of info on both series, thanks to all who shared) and so i wanted to launch this thread about string machines: which one is the best in your mind?

First and foremost, I'd like to rule out versatility OUTSIDE of string sounds because some synths will lead an unfair fight with features and sounds that aren't related to what were trying to compare here.

Also try to compare apples with apples, and keep peaches out of the deal, or compare them to other peaches: romplers with romplers.

So let the games begin!

I say Korg Trident/Delta wins it, i haven't heard all that much, but it seemed to me like it's the richest sound.

I hate Roland RS-09 on most settings, the sound is ridiculous and thin.

Yamaha SK sits between this two as a fair compromise between gritty and grand. Ensemble effect = instant flashback madness.

Don't get me started on Solina.

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Re: String Synth Battle Royale: Yamaha SK vs Roland RS vs ???

Post by aeon » Tue Apr 07, 2009 3:28 pm

The Korg Trident does sound wonderful to my ear, but if I had to pick one string machine above all others (and I did just that in terms of purchase) it would be the Roland RS-505 Paraphonic.

The basic string sound is very balanced and sweet - it drops into a mix nicely - and then there is the lush, 4-BBD stereo ensemble - absolutely gorgeous. These strings are wide and grand, but not over-the-top - they bring depth to a track, but do not dominate it. I also appreciate that there are separate registers for the strings, so one can do all of one or the other range, or mix as needed.

So that's my pick.

Others I rate highly are the Solina and Yamaha SS30.

Not really on topic, but the Clavia Nord Modular can do some fantastic string machine emulations. I don't mean "synth strings," but true-sounding stringer tone.


cheers,
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Re: String Synth Battle Royale: Yamaha SK vs Roland RS vs ???

Post by nathanscribe » Tue Apr 07, 2009 4:22 pm

aeon wrote:the Clavia Nord Modular can do some fantastic string machine emulations. I don't mean "synth strings," but true-sounding stringer tone.
So that's where they came from. :D


I like my RS-101, but I've not much to compare it to, except a few minutes with a Crumar Multiman. That sounded good too. The only thing about the 101 that is a slight irritation is the lack of control over the chorus. Hence the 202, I suppose.

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Re: String Synth Battle Royale: Yamaha SK vs Roland RS vs ???

Post by aeon » Tue Apr 07, 2009 5:11 pm

nathanscribe wrote:
aeon wrote:the Clavia Nord Modular can do some fantastic string machine emulations. I don't mean "synth strings," but true-sounding stringer tone.
So that's where they came from. :D
:lol:

Not even close, mate! :D

That said, I am going to sample my fave NM stringer patch and release it like the other sampleset.



cheers,
Ian

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Re: String Synth Battle Royale: Yamaha SK vs Roland RS vs ???

Post by LucB » Tue Apr 07, 2009 6:49 pm

aeon wrote:The Korg Trident does sound wonderful to my ear, but if I had to pick one string machine above all others (and I did just that in terms of purchase) it would be the Roland RS-505 Paraphonic.

DAMN YOU!!! I guess the RS-505 is the best of all the RS series, and also a very good contender for King of String Machines. It's portable (definitely a crucial criteria for live rigs, mostly when compared with synths like the Trident), has some great features to it but most importantly : the sound is awesome .

But to find an affordable RS-505, or someone willing to trade it is very hard for someone in the cold cold north of Canada.

Always found the Arp Solina to be a one-trick pony, kinda thin in sound, but it did a decent job at emulation.

As for the SS30, we i don't know, just feels kinda pointless compared to the SK series, it's less of the same. Also it sounds to much like the gritty sound of a RS-09 when pushed a little.

To sum up: The RS-505 is definitely it the top 5 of string machines.

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Re: String Synth Battle Royale: Yamaha SK vs Roland RS vs ???

Post by tom Cadillac » Sun Apr 12, 2009 7:33 am

I like the RS101 - the divide down is good for a fuller sound - i usually have the brass and deep string settings on the bass keys with short attack, and then slow attack strings on the higher section. But I have to confess i'm playing mine through an alesis bitrman at the moment - just to give depth and grit to the sounds.

The only other string machine I'v got is the delta and I use the string section at quite low volume but with a long envelope to thicken out the synth section. Again I'v mostly used this through guitar distortion pedals recently.

I think these wierd old keyboards are rather wonderful - its good to play to their strengths and enjoy their uniqueness and not bemoan the lack of multinotch paralel filters or whatever.
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Re: String Synth Battle Royale: Yamaha SK vs Roland RS vs ???

Post by Jack Spider » Sun Apr 12, 2009 8:01 am

I've owned only two stringers - the Roland RS-09 and the Crumar Performer, and have spent a fair bit of time on a friend's Moog Opus 3, which he had about 8 years ago.

The RS-09 sounded nice enough (the chorus was lovely on it!), but I didn't like that the release of the previous chords were cut by the attack of the new one, something which wasn't a problem on the Performer. I know quite a few don't like the strings on the Performer, as they are quite buzzy on low octaves, but this is one of the things I liked about it.

I do intend to pick up another stringer at some point and the one I'd most like to own has already been mentioned a couple of times - the Roland RS-505. Here's a great demo of it.

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Re: String Synth Battle Royale: Yamaha SK vs Roland RS vs ???

Post by BoxPhenom » Sun Apr 12, 2009 2:41 pm

My first and one of my favorite was the Elka Rhapsody 610, I've had two of these, both sounded great.
It's very limited but all string synths are.
You don't have the problem of the attack retriggering because there's none ;)
I also had an Elka X-705 and the strings on there were identical, both manuals had a different rhapsody board if I remember correctly, that was a real beast.

The second one I had was the Sk-20, I really didn't like the strings on there, they were muddy and didn't cut through a mix like the Elka.

I then had a Solina string ensemble, first version, that one was allright but at the time I felt like the strings were too mellow, again compared to the Elka, and I preferred getting the 1400$ they were selling for on eBay.

I then had the chance of getting a Roland Rs-09, I really like the sound of that one and the overall design. The paraphonic envelope made it hard to play but i got used to it, the chorus is very nice and the external input was a nice bonus.

Since i'm a big fan of Joy Division, Martin Hannett and New order I always lusted over the Arp Omni II, last week I finally had a chance to own one.
I love the sound, very similar to the Solina, but with a polysynth section. It makes it less of a one trick pony.

To me the Omni beats the Sk or Rs because of its Solina-esque sound, great design and use in some classic albums.
The Elka comes in second for its big "not so sweet" personality.

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Re: String Synth Battle Royale: Yamaha SK vs Roland RS vs ???

Post by retrosounds » Mon Apr 13, 2009 1:36 am

I'd say the Korg Lambda ES-50 or the Korg Sigma.

Both are stringers (ok, the sigma is more synth/string-machine and is monophonic), and they both can make a decent string sound from what i've heard.
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Re: String Synth Battle Royale: Yamaha SK vs Roland RS vs ???

Post by wiss » Mon Apr 13, 2009 3:43 am

The VP 330 is part of the RS family as well.....

I have chewed thru all the RS's........The 202 is my favorite for strings only.....
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Re: String Synth Battle Royale: Yamaha SK vs Roland RS vs ???

Post by LucB » Tue Apr 14, 2009 5:52 pm

Yeah i forgot about the VP 330, is it any close to the RS-505?

I really like the SK-20, but cutting through the mix is an issue.

I'm guessing the best way to find out would be to make a poll about it like they usually have on the VSE homepage.

We would need to make a list and then people could vote. Anyone has a clue if we could do this?

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Re: String Synth Battle Royale: Yamaha SK vs Roland RS vs ???

Post by space6oy » Tue Apr 14, 2009 9:21 pm

LucB wrote:We would need to make a list and then people could vote. Anyone has a clue if we could do this?
it's an option when you start a new thread.

haven't had others to compare it to, but i like my RS-09. though i agree w/ spidey, the release being cut is weird.

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Re: String Synth Battle Royale: Yamaha SK vs Roland RS vs ???

Post by Sir Ruff » Wed Apr 15, 2009 1:34 am

I had both the rs-202 and the mx-101(?) I really didn't like either because of the lack of slow attack... sure, they sounded great, but for me, there just needed to be more attack.
Do you even post on vse bro?

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Re: String Synth Battle Royale: Yamaha SK vs Roland RS vs ???

Post by Clavier » Wed Apr 15, 2009 5:16 am

I like the Yamaha SS-30 and the Crumar Orchestrator.
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Re: String Synth Battle Royale: Yamaha SK vs Roland RS vs ???

Post by Automatic Gainsay » Wed Apr 15, 2009 6:08 am

I have a soft spot for string synths.
I have to agree with those who supported the Korg Lambda. Three oscs with VCA per key. Compact. Beautiful wood. Lots of features. You just can't beat it. Plus, it sounds like a Novachord. It's the best.
Most overrated: Frickin' Solina. My god, what a boring and limited sound. Yes, that effect is really awesome... but that's like playing every sound you create through a phaser. It's a one trick pony. You NEVER hear anyone lauding the Solina without the phase... and for good reason. The goddamned Realistic MG-1 sounds as good. ; ) (exaggeration, admittedly, but still)
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