Waldorf has announced the availability of the Streichfett String Synthesizer — a modern take on the string synthesizer sounds of yesteryear.
Here’s what they have to say about it:
Back in the Seventies and early-Eighties, keyboard players wishing to create (not necessarily authentic-sounding) string sections often turned to so-called string machines making use of top octave divider technology to produce polyphonic pitching for each key played. Popular in their heyday, these distinctive-sounding string synths can be heard all over classic recordings by both electronic music innovators, prog rockers, and pop acts of the time — think French synth showman Jean-Michel Jarre’s multi- million-copy-selling Oxygene, or even adult movies of a similar vintage — think German synthmeister Klaus Schulze’s soundtrack to Bodylove, but died a death when more authentic-sounding sampling technology took hold. However, now Waldorf has successfully brought back to life those extinct string synthesizer sounds of yesteryear with a modern-day musical twist thanks to the Streichfett String Synthesizer, a colourful desktop module that surely stands out far from the musical crowd!
Who better qualified, then, to touch upon the whys and wherefores of string machine revival (with a cultural culinary knowing nod and a wink) than Waldorf Music CTO Stefan Stenzel: “We had a string machine in our office, and, although it was malfunctioning, we enjoyed playing it. Everything sounded like it could serve as a soundtrack to an Eighties ‘sensual’ movie! We thought it would be fun to create something similar, so we listened to many different string machines to figure out the sweet spots of each individual machine. Quickly the name ‘Streichfett’ stuck, and we decided to revive the extinct species of string synthesizers.”
As such, Streichfett brings the distinctive string synth sounds of those now-much-missed machines to today’s discerning musicians by cleverly combining the best of yesteryear’s classics with today’s technological advances — all neatly squeezed into an attractive compact and cost-effective package with everything to play for. Indeed, its dual sound engine features a 128-voice polyphonic STRINGS section (with Choir, Organ, Brass, Cello, Viola, and Violin presets) and an eight-voice polyphonic SOLO section (with shimmering-sounding, slightly percussive Bass, E-Piano, Clavi, Synth, and Pluto presets that blend well with the STRINGS section) — essential for creating those velvety smooth sounds with high-fat content! Essential, even, for creating ‘vintage’ adult movie soundtracks — Parental Advisory Explicit Lyrics optional! The Ensemble effect handles lubrication of the STRINGS section while the EFFECT section adds adjustable Phaser or Reverb. Alternatively, the EFFECT section can be used to Animate the STRINGS register, resulting in spectacular sound morphing effects.
While those presets bear little resemblance to their real-world instrument namesakes, that’s not the point here. Just like yesteryear’s classic string synthesizers, Streichfett delivers distinctively rich and creamy pads unobtainable on any modern-day instrument and succeeds in doing so with a simple and easy to comprehend user interface that belies the somewhat complex sound engine that lies beneath. But despite being blessed with relatively few controls, quite an array of sounds can quickly be dialled in, so it’s just as well that Streichfett can store 12 user-programmed patches in its MEMORY. More reasons to be cheerful and take it on stage, surely?
Streichfett’s robust, roadworthy casing matches its cheerfully-coloured Rocket Synthesizer and 2-Pole Analog Filter siblings, and, of course, comes complete with MIDI In and MIDI Out plus USB connectivity for equally easy integration into any modern-day DAW- based recording setup. Left/Stereo and Right/Mono Audio Out and a headphone output ensure that the outside world can clearly hear its distinctive sounds in all their ear-opening glory.
The Waldorf Streichfett is available now, with an SRP of €279.00 EUR (including tax). See the Waldorf site for more details.
Does it capture that vintage ‘sensual’ string synth sound? Check out the video demo and let us know what you think!