Behringer Solina String Ensemble Clone Announced, Without Concrete Plans For Production

Behringer head Uli Behringer today announced their take on a Solina String Ensemble clone in Eurorack format.

While the company has shared detailed illustrations and specifications, they say they don’t have any concrete plans, yet, for if or when they will manufacture the synth.

The original was made by Eminent, and marketed as the Solina String Ensemble and the ARP String Ensemble. It uses divide-down technology, which allowed for full polyphony using 70’s technology.

The classic string synth sound was a staple of 70’s disco, pop and synth music.

The Behringer clone plans combine an updated take on the classic string synth design with a clone of the classic EHX Small Stone phaser effect.

Here’s an example of the original Solina + EHX Small Stone combo in action, via spentzos74:

Features:

  • Analog stereo string ensemble synthesizer
  • Authentic reproduction of original “ARP/Eminent Solina SE-II*” circuitry
  • Ensemble chorus effect utilizes Bucket Brigade Devices (BBDs) controlled by 2 LFO’s
  • Phase shifter modeled after “Small Stone*”
  • Dedicated Rate control and separate Color switch for fine-tuning of effects speed and tone
  • String section featuring violin, viola, trumpet, horn, cello and contrabass instruments
  • 12 tone generators with octave divide-down technology to provide full polyphony
  • Complete Eurorack solution – main module can be transferred to a standard Eurorack case
  • 16 controls give you direct and real-time access to all important parameters
  • Comprehensive MIDI implementation with MIDI channel and Voice Priority selection
  • 3-Year Warranty Program

Pricing and Availability

Behringer’s product brochure mockup (pdf) for the Solina String Ensemble says the synth will be released in Q4 2018, priced at US $249. But Uli Behringer says “Ignore the date and price, as we haven’t decided if and when we will build this recreation.”

54 thoughts on “Behringer Solina String Ensemble Clone Announced, Without Concrete Plans For Production

  1. Yes Please make this and give us an audio in to use as effect processor ensemble chorus and phaser on other synths. Uli you are the best!

    1. Yes, exactly, and please! I was just thinking the same thing. There are no stand-alone chorus ensembles that actually do dual or triple BBD chorus with multiple LFO’s like these old machines. Right? Or am I missing something I’ve been looking for for years? Well… there was an old MTI unit once and some DIY Juergen Haible pcbs..

      1. @djtomaswhite finding 70s ensemble chorus is very hard to come by in effects units. Besides what you mentioned there is the DIY Oakely, wersivoice, and elkorus. All these are extremely rare and can only be found on the used market. No software has been able to replicate this effect. I’m surprised because the string ensemble chorus sound is found in so many legendary tracks from the 70s & 80s. Essential in all forms of disco, funk, goth, new wave, kraut rock, psychedelic rock, and synth soundtracks for film and television. Even used in 70s/80s radio pop-rock hits.

  2. Uli Behringer stretching the medium of the teaser advert into previously unimagined thinness. With the new teaser-tech from Behringer it’s now possible to launch a teaser less than one micron thin! Not even a breadboard or a 3d mockup. This truly is peak tease

    How can small manufacturers cope with this quality of teasing?

    You might think it impossible … until you hear about my recreation of the ADS Con Brio 200. A 64 voice analog additive synth from 1980. Not only do I not have an image, or a mockup, I have no intention of even starting work on looking into recreating this synth.

    It’s a new golden age of tease!

    1. OR Behringer conducting marketing research to determine what to build. Marketing 101 – just like Yamaha and the CS-80 revival.

      Imagine large coompanies not getting input from their custom base on what why to produce? The R&D on new products can easily exeed several million dollars in non-recurring engineering costs – especially when developing hybrid components. When I was designing chips, we stopped designing them in when the chip design process exceeded 5 million dollars. To pay these expenses without being able to directly gauge customer acceptance is just a recipe for bankruptcy.

      1. I completely agree John. I don’t understand what the point of this theoretical “intentional vaporware” marketing technique would even be. And what justification do people have for doubting that Behringer will follow through with their teasers, when every indication thus far has demonstrated that Uli is true to his word (even if a given synth might require years of development)? How absolutely dare a company engage in dialogue with their customers to determine what they are interested in purchasing!

          1. They don’t take years of development usually, that depends on how it sits in their development chain. The Oberheim clone sits outside the ordinary development program, because it is a passion project.

            Anyhow. Looking in forums, it is clear that people want the classics back. I think there are a lot of people that can’t fully move on, until they see their favorites resurrected. Plus, in the process the makers will learn what made the original special, and that way be able to use that knowledge in developing new products, that possibly comes with “an old soul”, making them feel like the classics.

            Besides Behringer makes original synths as well.

            If what you are hoping for is something completely new, subtractive synths is still the best compromise between learning curve, and ability to re-create sounds and create new ones. Re-synthesis and physical modeling are great for re-creating sounds, but programming such synths to make completely new sounds, is a nightmare. FM (Phase Modulation), Phase distortion, are also really complex. Additive for synthesis works best as a waveform generation method in my mind, or to make organ sounds. Granular and other extreme sample modulation methods, are mostly “by chance” synthesis, it is possible to get interesting sounds from almost any sample, manipulating it, but not a a go to method for a specific type of sound. West coast synthesis offers advantages over east coast synthesis, mostly when it comes to sound effects and noises.
            However, even subtractive synthesis can be made too complex, by introducing too many option. Synths took off after the release of the Model D, that was a simplification of modular before it.. Price did play a role, but the Model D wasn’t a cheap instrument when it was released.

            In this case, string machines are products of their time. They aren’t convincing re-creations of string ensembles. Improving on them, would make them something else. But still people are looking for that type of sound.

          2. Thanks Jon, absement, and King for your support. In someway’s it can take more time to clone an electronic device since you have to first reverse engineer the device you’re interested in. Then you have to start designing. Remember this started with Curtis chip development – and that counts toward the whole R&D cycle. Also, remember they’re not anywhere complete with the whole vintage project, it has a long ways to go yet. So, yes, it takes years for the Behringer to clone a whole series of synths. Then again, it takes years to come up with ‘new’ designs.

            And seriously, is there anything really new out? To me, it all appears derivative of what’s already out there. People claiming ‘new’ designs and better than ‘cloned’, forget that very little of anything is original in anyway. Everyone builds on what others have done. This whole beef against Behringer is truly specious to anyone who labored in an engineering department for the last 30 years.

            Everyone copies from someone, that’s how humans learn. Even patents – the hallmark of of so-called invention – is rife with duplication and similarities. Innovation, on the other hand thrives on taking from others successes and building new products from old. People saying that Behringer isn’t innovative doesn’t understand the word – or how modern products are designed.

            Thanks for reading!

            1. I wish that the IP/Patent system changed completely.
              I want to see that any patent has to be licensed out. I mean if the patent holder isn’t the one that can make the best products out of the patent, well then it is only fair that others can have their go at it. And the patent holder would be making money of their patent. Many, even useful patents just sits there, perhaps with the holder attempting to make something out of it, but with no success. It would be better if companies could scan through the lists of patents and find something useful, and use that, knowing that they still have to pay for it, but that they won’t get in to any legal battles over it.
              That way, things could evolve much quicker.

              Or course that would also mean higher standards for approving patents. That system is completely dysfunctional. Prior art doesn’t seem to matter, especially if the company seeking the patent is a big one, like Apple for example. General design also gets patents. Patents should be for unique technical solutions. Some may to some extent involve design of products, but patenting an specific placement of something, that technically can be placed anywhere, just to make sure that one can take legal action against any other company for placing that in the same place, is not grounds for a patent.

              I’ve come up with an idea of something I call “Stradivarius Envy”, where players of synths so desperately wishes that they were playing something that actually required an expensive production technique for that special sound.
              And I guess Behringer cloning classics makes it quite obvious that those instruments are at the end of the day just simple electronics. They aren’t world class instruments, like a Stradivarius. Some try to label Moog as a “Stradivarius” among synths. But at best their instruments are hand assembled, based on components mostly produced by factories that are similar or the same as Behringer uses. In some cases with a bit of American wood thrown in. And when Behringer cloned the Model D, they got really upset, because that hurt the Moog business plan, and any chance for them to pretend they were doing something special. But like I’ve written many times, the Moog Model D Re-issue was just as much a clone as the Behringer one. The Moog company that made the original no longer exists, so no one can really re-issue it. And there was a reason why Bob Moog when he controlled the company, did not do a “re-issue”, because he felt the world have moved on… even him signing of any “re-issue” would not have made it one, besides he wasn’t even really the one that created the Minimoog, so it would have meant that it would not even been signed off by the actual designer of the original.

              And when it comes to new ideas, I don’t have any for new synthesis methods, I have some for extended envelopes and in some ways perhaps simplifying the logics behind building sounds on subtractive synths. But no ideas that would completely change the synthesis.

    2. If companies were giving due diligence to their digital and VA designs, none of this near-trolling would be possible. Uli knows that many of these companies are profiting off of inflated gear acquisition syndrome, not quality hardware/firmware combinations, and thus plays with them to keep them guessing and confused.

  3. One of my first live setups included an Elka Rhapsody which I could get to sound like the opening of Camel’s Lunar Sea. Off topic but very happy I bought the DM12 desktop, use it all the time, well made, affordable and sounds awesome.

  4. I mean fun great whatever, but: “Complete Eurorack solution – main module can be transferred to a standard Eurorack case”? why on earth would anyone want to put a polyphonic string synth with like 4 patch points that’s going to take up like 60+ HP (which you’re going to need MIDI to play notes on anyway) into a modular rack?

    Like just go ahead and make it a proper desktop module with 1/4 inch outs and a midi input not in a goofy spot, this makes zero sense/looks like something people would mock up on a forum without actually thinking through.

    1. Well they seem to be using eurorack a bit like 19″ rack, as a standard for mounting instruments in. In doing so, the user can have the option of using it on the desktop, in a 19″ rack or in a eurorack. The only issue I see with that, is when the product needs more parameters than would fit in the width of 19″ and the height of eurorack, as that would require splitting the unit, and having to find a way to connect controls via a minimal number of cables… thus most likely meaning digital controls.

      If it does offer input for the effects, it would be used as an FX processor in eurorack, though.

  5. “they don’t have any concrete plans, yet, for if or when they will manufacture the synth.”

    Anything to remain in the news. Behringer is a company that exploits other people’s ideas and the press’s thirst for news while being thoroughly unsupportive of both.

    I’m boycotting this company whose ethics are based on Trumpian-style opportunism.

    1. Actually both behringer and news sites benefit from this.
      Behringer gets feedback on the interest, to see if there is any point in making the product. And if it is an exciting project, the news site gets page views.

      If Behringer just checked interest in their own forum, they would not get an idea of the overall interest in the product, and newsites would not get the page views.

  6. Not real interested in a Solina if I get the VC340 – which I will, Not head over heels for strings machines, although they have their uses. I’m more of a sampled string section guy anyway 🙂

    1. I want the vc340 but 249 is more of a price tag I am interested in – this and the crave I totally want

      1. Interesting point whoremongr. I hadn’t seen the $249 for the Solina. My studio has no uerorack accommodations yet; waiting for the Behringer System 100m. Once that cat is in the bag, I’ll reconsider the Solina – after all for the right price, duplicate/similar capabilities in string synths are fine. After all I all ready have the waldorf streichfett; a string machine if there ever was one!

  7. There’s no reason this needs to be Eurorack format. That doesn’t even make sense. If not a keyboard, it should be a little box like the Streichfett.

    1. It actually makes a lot of sense. By making it eurorack compatible and less wide then 12″, plus supplying a desktop box, people can mount it the way that best suits them.
      The issue would arise if Behringer had to cut down on controls on the front panel in order to keep it in that format, but as long as they dont, there is no issue. And even then there isn’t enough room, there is always the possibility of splitting the panel in two, but then they would need interconnectivity, which most likely means digital controls.
      People don’t have room for a lot of keyboard synths, neither for lots of desktop ones.

      1. Quite true, My project studio has more than 120U (17 feet) worth of rack mount synths and 6 keyboard synths – installed, with more in storage. I find more than 2 keyboards high an uncomfortable way to play, just the 2 makes it easy to play either keyboard.

        So, given similar restrictions a bias toward rack mount synths – above – would make sense for the high capacity synth customs. But the vast majority of customers won’t be like me. They’ll be the folks just starting out, or having a small setup. These customers would be more likely to buy a keyboard version since they wouldn’t already have a eurorack infrastructure, or experience with eurorack to favor buys rack mount. The customers who want a desk side could belong to either camp. Given most successful companies design a small number of products to serve the largest number of customers, the second groups of folks should be the target audience for Behringer’s products. However, a common strategy companies with this product portfolio, start out leveraging their whole product set against the majority of customers attempting to place as many products with each customer as they can – which would look more like a balanced set of offering in each form factor from Behringer – with a modular design capable of porting the design to multiple form factors for the second round of upgrades,

        1. But the Behringer offerings works as desktop synths as well.
          And the notion that a synth is a keyboard instrument only, is going away.
          Many uses the DAW to control the synth, the midi data in the daw may come from a piano styled keyboard but, it could come from a pad controller, or be done by mouse, or something else.
          Many uses hardware sequencers.
          And some uses other types of interfaces that connect over midi or CV.

          The biggest issue is not selling the modules without the keyboard, it is to get it set up so that people can try them out in stores. So there could be an advantage of doing two version, because the keyboard version will likely be set up to be set up to be played, the module, less likely. Alternatively making keyboards that the products can be mounted in, and sending them to the store, with the demo unit of the module. In some cases those keyboards might be Eurorack, and in some cases they could be 19″ rack (with tilting rack panels). And I’m for this solution over two versions.

          For the end users, they will, if they start buying soon realize that they wont need a keyboard with every module, if they thought that at all to begin with.
          By offering keyboard with mounts instead, makers would help in making the customer get beyond that mental barrier, and start seeing the advantage of rack (euro and 19″), that may also work as desktop modules.

  8. Love the Solina sound, but this format seems a little strange.

    I can’t see putting something like this in a Euro system. Seems like they’re wanting to do a rack module, but are afraid that nobody’s buying them.

    I like the VC340 design much better, this design reminds me of the Behringer D, they shrunk down the original without thinking it through.

    The price would be hard to resist, though!

    1. I’m guessing they would be keeping costs down by reusing the Behringer D’s form factor rather than a bespoke cabinet…

      1. That may be it. Personally I’d rather have a nice little box that goes next to my keyboard and enjoy playing. I’m not that big into analog strings enough to justify the space a vc340 would take. This doesn’t have seem to have cv/gate so eurorack would be odd.

      2. or maybe at some point they will release an inexpensive controller/rack that can host these and/or modules-

    2. It is less than 19″ wide, so it will fit in a 19″ rack. Or a Eurorack for those that mainly uses that. Or as a desktop, for those that want that.
      I don’t see any major issued with Model D in eurorack. Yes they shrunk the controls, but they are usable, not like the Roland Boutique faders on the Ju06, and jp08.
      As long as they dont cut controls out, or do what roland did, it works fine.

  9. noooooo! i have not yet been tempted by any of uli’s knock-offs, but geez, this is one i might have to go for.

  10. Apart from whether they make this, I would love it if they just would put the Solina’s ensemble chorus in a TC box like they did with the Juno chorus. And while they’re at it, why not also put the Polysix ensemble in a TC box? Would make for a nice trilogy of synth chorus pedals.

  11. I’m waiting for a Farfisa Compact Duo in rack format for 300 €…. If they can make a String Solina, they can make a Compact Duo. The technology is the same.

  12. I LOVE that they put it into that compact euro-rack format and added the built in phaser! It makes it so convenient to gig with and takes up so little space at home/studio, I’ve always wanted analog string machines but never had the space for them or could justify lugging them around, but this is beyond perfect!

    I wish they also would make key-less euro-rack format version of their VC340 and Odyssey.

  13. Uli, quit jacking around and just recreate your all-in-one that you made for yourself when you were playing in bands. Also, Yamaha, just combine all of your Reface series machines into one with a full size keyboard/desktop.

  14. This is too special. The VC340 is already niche. But how many really need a Solina on stage (and in studio there are several good plugins for this already).
    Uli better concentrate on finishing Synthi AKS or Arp 2600 first (which will also make more sense with Eurorack connectibility)

  15. How are they going to make that little thing weigh 50 pounds?

    I have a defunct Arp Solina in my basement . . . it will probably stay there.

  16. The comments about audio input is relevant, it’s something that all gear with build-in filters or effects should have. A rackable solina with a smallstone phaser seems like a solid idea, one for me!

  17. Absolutely yes!!!! After hauling my Hohner String Performer and Crumar Multiman-S to gigs I would love to see a Solina desktop. I would buy it immediately. Very innovative. Don’t mind the fashionable negativity coming from a handful of bored individuals. A Solina clone stringer will find its way into the hands of thousands of artists who do not have the time to patrol the web to post moot comments. Do it Uli!!!

  18. Regarding the comments about Eurorack compatability—I built a “Solina” string synth that is based on an Arduino. Sounds cool, not sure how close it is to the real thing. The one that I built has a trigger out (I can’t tell if the Behringer has one). I can have the string synth trigger envelope generators on my Eurorack and process the audio through the filters, VCAs, etc. Paraphonic synth. Very fun. Highly recommended. I think the Eurorack compatability is a great idea.

  19. Wow wow! these are the best news I had been waiting for a long time. I’m a true fan of 70s electro disco and Spacey atmospheric sounds that the Solina can create and I’ve been wanting something that would even come close to recreating the true beautiful and incredible futuristic sounds that only the 70s classic Solina along with a Phaser can make.So I ask you Mr.Behringer Please absolutely yes yes yes make that classic synth come back. I personally be so very great full and super happy to own one if not two. Keep us updated on your decision. I would love with all my heart and soul to finally own one of the best Classic Synths ever created the Solina string ensemble true classic for 2019 and 2020 and beyond the future to listen to.

  20. Why on earth do I need one. After all I have plenty of synths with strings… from anolog to wave table and sampler… so why? Because it sounds just like the recordings from the 70s and 80s even 90s
    Its like a hammond B3 that no clone can do the same… also my mini moog goes with it…

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