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looking for a String Synth

Posted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 1:52 am
by cryabetes
So I'm looking for a synth particularly for making string/orchestra sounds, especially the gigantic soft string swells like in movies from the 40s. I'm looking for that slightly grainy, definitely detuned, but not quite a chorus effect (well, a stopped LFO on a chorus might do it but I'm not familiar with anyone that makes one), and especially not a delay effect.
(I'm sure the purists out here will get annoyed with me saying this, but) I found a patch I can modify to meet this need on the Juno DI, although buying a (new) synth for one patch seems like a dumb idea (especially since I've got a Juno-D already).

So
Any not-newer models good at this? I'm fine with menu based patch editing, midi, rack-only, etc but they aren't necessities or prerequisites.

[also sorry I didn't really do much of an in-depth search here, just browsed the first two pages to see if there was any similar]

Price range is ideally under $150 if that's the only thing it can offer me, hardware or effects only.

Re: looking for a String Synth

Posted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 4:33 pm
by garranimal
When I think of string synths I automatically think about ARP/Eminent Solina, Roland RS-505, those things. That said, it seems you are not really looking for anything synthetic like that at all but rather realistic orchestra sounds for scoring film.

You may want to look into sampled strings for that. Or even an older but fine rompler like E-mu Proteus, Roland JV-80 series or MSE1 orchestral string rack unit, Korg M1....if that's along the right lines there are many more suggestions.

And then figure out how to get the vintage, grainy, effect. One idea could be as simple as sampling a delicious noise floor from those 40's movies and making a sample loop to play in the background. This sampled noise floor sound can be ducked when orchestra parts are playing, then brought up during quiet passages just like those old movies. Another way is to introduce tape saturation by recording on a reel-to-reel, or using a software plugin for adding that warm analog feel. The tape effect is much more subtle. If you're using a DAW many of them come with such a plugin already.

Re: looking for a String Synth

Posted: Sun Sep 25, 2011 5:52 am
by ndkent
Would second the last comment. People familiar with vintage synths know something of String Synths of the 1970s but they don't sound like what you are referring to. Think 70s synth albums and pop that didn't hire an acoustic string section. The only none of the above was Isao Tomita who seemed to do his strings by an unusual time consuming overdubbing technique with as many overdubs as string players in an orchestra. But that reveals the challenge. A chorus effect can be cool but it's not the same big sound as a whole lot of instruments not playing the same thing. I mean it's not going to be as simple as "modulate the square wave and use this ADSR setting and that filter"

Anyway the 1940s type string orchestra sound certainly was not a synth originally so sampling is the way to go. The advantage of software sample libraries is given a decent computer and drive you can throw some massive multi-samples of many people playing a company could never afford to burn into hardware ROM.

Re: looking for a String Synth

Posted: Sun Sep 25, 2011 11:27 am
by madtheory
cryabetes wrote:I found a patch I can modify to meet this need on the Juno DI
Can you copy the settings over to your Juno D? The old fashioned way, pen and paper? AFAIK it's the same synth engine, pretty much.

Otherwise, M Tron will get you close.

Re: looking for a String Synth

Posted: Sun Sep 25, 2011 1:25 pm
by syntheticsolutions
Dont know if its the sort of thing your looking for but the Moog Opus 3 is a beautiful analogue string synth, not so expensive either

Re: looking for a String Synth

Posted: Sun Sep 25, 2011 2:14 pm
by Ashe37
OP said "Ideally under $150"

I'd love to find a working Opus for $150.

Re: looking for a String Synth

Posted: Sun Sep 25, 2011 3:25 pm
by madtheory
Plus he's not looking for a stringer, despite the terminology he used.

Re: looking for a String Synth

Posted: Sun Sep 25, 2011 4:40 pm
by cryabetes
madtheory wrote:
cryabetes wrote:I found a patch I can modify to meet this need on the Juno DI
Can you copy the settings over to your Juno D? The old fashioned way, pen and paper? AFAIK it's the same synth engine, pretty much.

Otherwise, M Tron will get you close.
Yeah I tried that but the initial sample is one not on mine, definitely a bummer, plus the di has two mfx sections to work with.

Thanks for the suggestions everyone, i'll definitely keep my eyes open.

Think guitar center would have a problem with me bringing a sampler in so I can take the sounds I want without having to buy their synths?

Re: looking for a String Synth

Posted: Sun Sep 25, 2011 5:53 pm
by syntheticsolutions
suppose its not the ideal match for the post :/ still, the opus is a great synth. hope i get hold of one soon