Behringer has announced that its Solina synth module, a knockoff of the classic Solina String Ensemble, is now shipping from their factory.
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.
Behringer’s take copies the ARP/Eminent Solina SE-II circuitry, adding a phase shifter, based on the EHX Small Stone.
Here’s the official intro:
- Analog stereo string ensemble synthesizer
- 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
- Eurorack compatible – main module can be transferred to a standard Eurorack case
- 16 controls give you direct access to all important parameters
- ‘Comprehensive MIDI implementation’ with MIDI channel and Voice Priority selection
- 3-Year Warranty Program
Pricing and Availability
Behringer hasn’t announced official pricing and availability for the Solina, but they say it’s now shipping and have previously said that they are targeting a $249 USD price point.
38 thoughts on “Behringer Solina String Synthesizer Now Shipping”
Is it analog? How much polyphony? I wonder how it would compare with the Streichfett?
Yes it is analog, but not the way you might imagine. It is analog just as a 70s combo organ is analog, and it functions in much the same way. As for polyphony, it is limited only by the number of keys on the keyboard attached to it (and never will a voice be stolen). In comparison to the Streichfett, it depends on what you are looking for. If you like the kinds of tones the Streichfett can produce then you may have some difficulty getting them from this type of synth. On the other hand, if you are looking for the authentic sounds that were produced by the mighty 70s string synths, then this is just about the only place you can get them (other than, of course, from a reconditioned 70s string synth). Of all of the hyped promises from Behringer, this is the one I really have hoped would someday materialize. Apparently, that day has come. Unlike the Streichfett, this really is a one trick pony (or a one horse pony as the current US president is fond of saying), but that trick is so magnificent that this may very well go down as Behringer’s premiere synthesizer cloning achievement. No other company has even attempted this since the early 1980s, and I think that his dedication to this project shows Uli Behringer’s true colors.
I think even if you hooked it up to an 88, polyphony would be limited to 48.
Why would that be? There’s nothing in the divide down circuitry that would limit the polyphony, and I doubt it would be restricted to less than 88 keys, since that is a popular controller keyboard number. They do advertise it as “unlimited polyphony”, but of course the limits would be placed by human perception and the total number of chromatic notes one could fit into the the range of about 20Hz to 16kHz. I admit that this is just an educated guess, but why would Behringer artificially limit the polyphony. Wouldn’t make much sense, actually.
“There’s nothing in the divide down circuitry that would limit the polyphony, and I doubt it would be restricted to less than 88 keys, since that is a popular controller keyboard number. ”
It’s limited by the implementation of the divide-down circuitry, like the original. They could make it actually unlimited, but it would cost more to manufacturer.
So there’s no limitation on the number of notes you can play, within the synth’s range.
With their VP-330 knockoff, they basically copied the circuit board of the original and used modern parts, so the range is limited to the range of the original keyboard. The Solina will be the same. If it was otherwise, they would be demonstrating this.
It is analogue, and it’s full original keyboard range polyphony.
Behringer posts a picture of some boxes and says it’s shipping, yet a week later and their major distributors have heard nothing about it and still aren’t even showing preorder. I think we’ve all been duped again…
What is this site now – all Behringer all the time?!? 🙂
no, it’s been fairly quiet for a year. it will get noisier now though, Behringer’s build line is getting warmed up again after a long hiatus and products are starting to roll out; 3-4 on the shipping docks this last week.
Imagine a parrot on Uli’s shoulder..
The Solina has a very recognizable part at the end of Elton John’s “Someone Saved My Life Tonight”. Whenever I think of a Solina String Ensemble, I think of that song.
Elton John? Seriously? And people claim that comedy is dead 🙂
Comedy is not dead whatsoever https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=weYdqzgWsco
“Piss end of my life”, indeed 🙂 I’m not too much younger, and I wish I could still play like that!
Nothing comedic about this. There are indeed some strings at the end of “Someone Saved My Life Tonight”, and a quick google confirms the use of a String Ensemble in this song.
Making fun of other people’s music taste? Are you in high school?
I wasn’t making fun of anybody’s music taste, and, although I haven’t checked, I’m sure that there probably was a string synth at the end of “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” (a tune I really like, BTW). What I did find comedic is that with all of the possible references to string synths on 70s and 80s music productions (most of them probably being Solina), the first thing to come to anyone’s mind is an obscure reference to the end of an Elton John tune. If you were my age and came from a prog rock keyboard playing past, you would also see the humor in this. The humor comes entirely from an age-related perspective. It’s kind of like watching the YouTube video of the Gen-Z kids trying to work a dial telephone. In a similar vein, I was trying to explain how one learns a complex music lead in lecture on the neurobiology of learning last week. When I made a reference to Frank Zappa, the students looked confused. I asked “How many of you are familiar with Frank Zappa?” One student of the thirty or so who were in the class raised their hand. I couldn’t help but smile then, either.
Seriously? Do you talk to your friends and family like that? People that are well healed and have a positive image of themselves, life and others,(and I don’t mean narcissistic) don’t say things like that. As said in one of the replies, “You must still be in high school”.
Well, if any of my friends made a remark like that I’d have to assume that they were hitting the acid a little to heavily. I’d also be a hell of a lot more critical, given that most of my friends are my age and have experienced music that never quite made it to the top 40. As I said, you can’t really fault people for not understanding what they have never experienced. Apparently, it is much too easy to hurt the feelings of some people who don’t really understand human interaction goes a lot further than acknowledging their limited perspectives. Also, if your comment “People that are well healed and have a positive image of themselves, life and others”, was referring to you, I think it speaks for itself about my comment. Check this out before you decide you aren’t a narcissist:
Nobody’s feelings were hurt. We just all think what you wrote was so ridiculous and over the top that it needed pointed out. It’s obvious that you don’t have a clear picture of yourself or you wouldn’t act this way. Call it a gentle correction. Read back what you wrote and pretend someone else said it.
I just read it and I think that person is brilliant 🙂
you DON’T talk to your friends and family like that? I would think that’s one of the perks of a “friend” is to question and joke around about questionable music taste, or a questionable synth reference.
Man, you modern day, brittle and puritanical types are just too much. When I see someone getting offended over a benign joke, it speaks volumes about to me about how insulated and easy the person’s life is. It’s the mark of the brittle.
And about elton john, from my perspective as a gay man, the dude was always a brown noser and sheep with regards to the gay community in particular. Or, listen to him kiss putin’s butt years ago on that prank call (look it up). So I welcome any roasting of him. I think it’s you that needs to grow up and live a little.
Thank you, Uli!!!!!!
Man, this is a lot of Behringer news. Gotta check out the housing market now.
Well, what do you expect at the end of the week when Uli drove old Dixie down?
This one is pretty cool. If you want this sound as authentically recreated as possible, they’re the only ones doing it. I’ve seen real Solinas list for 3-4k, so this will definitely be getting checked out when and if it arrives.
Two days after posting my comment above, a Solina sold in Toronto for $3650Cdn. I could never stretch to that amount of money for such a niche, albeit cool, keyboard. I have two other stringers in my studio but they don’t quite sound like the Solina so I think I may have to get this when it ships.
I’m pretty sure I’m going to HAVE to buy the Behringer Solina when it becomes available because of songs like the following that I absolutely love!
Gary Wright – DreamWeaver
Kansas – Lamplight Symphony
The Buggles – Elstree
Pink Floyd – Welcome To The Machine
Thomas Dolby – One of Our Submarines
And the bridge on Come Sail Away by Styx.
If this is any indication of their impending availability, Sweetwater just took my order for one on back order. My guess is that these delivery date predictions are real!
it’s not listed on sweetwaters site, what are you talking about?
When I saw this announcement I immediately sent an email to my Sweetwater advisor (or whatever you call the person they assign to help with your orders), asking him if they anticipated shipments from Behringer. He got back to me early this morning (Monday) and told me they had and that they were ready to take pre-orders. I asked to be put on the list. Sometime Monday afternoon I got the usual canned verification email.
Thank you for your order — we always appreciate your decision to choose Sweetwater. As a returning customer, you know that we’ll make sure your order gets to you quickly and efficiently. And of course, we’ll send shipping and delivery confirmation to keep you in the loop the whole way.”
Given that I didn’t place an order for anything except the Solina, this is obviously the verification that I am on the list to receive one when they arrive. However, I did the same thing when I heard the announcement that the Kurzweil K2700 was going to ship and received the same email. I got the synth about nine months later, sigh.
Also, just to let you know, I’ve purchased several items from Sweetwater over the past 30 years that never made it to a listing on their site. You just have to ask your sales rep.
JR, I think they’re called Sales Engineers. I’ve put in double-secret-pre-orders for a bunch of Behringer stuff in late 2021 and early 2022. they’re keeping track of it in the order history now. now just have to wait the 3 months for cargo ships to get here.
My Novation Summit and Prophet REV2 can emulate a solina quiet well…i gues a lot of other synths the same…seems to be a bit redundant to me…even for this low price.
No they can’t (at least not realistically)! Nothing out there that is currently available as a purchasable instrument (or facsimile, thereof) can do the job completely or correctly. I admit, you can get close (and I guess that if you’re into playing horse shoes or curling, that may be adequate for you), However, I doubt that you will find agreement with your contention from anybody who has ever owned and played an actual 70s string synthesizer for any amount of time (especially in the context of a live performances). Although I admit that I have neither a Summit or a Rev2, with all of the synths I do have or have had, I have never been able to duplicate the malleable organic sound of an authentic string synth. Sampled instruments, especially GForce’s, are spot on for what has been sampled, but that’s their limit. Once you go away from playing the samples verbatim, you totally loose the authenticity of the real thing. Simulations like Arturia’s are really just a pretty bad joke. The closest I ever got was using a Waldorf Kyra, because its architecture was most conducive to handling the polyphony requirements (something that you would have a real problem with using an eight- or 16-voice synth), however, after working on one patch for over a week, after listening to it after some dead time, I wasn’t as impressed as I was when I finished it (and even if it was “perfect” it would only be one specific string synth sound, which is really my main point here). So, given that there really isn’t an available option (outside of finding an actual functioning 70s string machine) there is no redundancy in this Solina, whatsoever.
David Bowie. Heroes. ARP Solina.
For those who may have not seen it and may be interested, Syntaur did a documentary about string machines. This explains the history of these keyboards as well as how they work and how they differ from synthesizers. The original Solina is discussed and played in this documentary. I think you will find this to be interesting:
This is a great introduction to string synths. What I find interesting is that the MXR Phase 90 get endorsed by Dennis DeYoung. Also, my string machine of choice was the Univox Stringman which was identical to the Crumar Stringman with a different name plate. The Multiman was the Stringman’s successor and those foot-range sliders were featured on both. For my money, those Crumar/Univox string machines were the best of the bunch. However, the Solina is the one that everybody remembers and it is a hell of a lot better than no string machine at all. So, I will be more than happy when mine arrives.