They are calling it the Solina Redux. A re-imagining of the classic Arp Solina Strings to make it groovier, fruitier and even more heavenly. SONiVOX takes all the original Solina sounds and combines them with a side-order of virtual analogue synthesizer. And then for fun they put in a pair of step-sequences to get the juices flowing.
All the sounds are there. Those classic strings that smoothed their way through decades of albums from the likes of the Eagles, Pink Floyd, Joy Division and Tangerine Dream. And then there’s that Ensemble chorus effect which adds a sense of movement and wobble. SONiVOX have taken all of that and put it into software form. But we’ve seen these before, every software bundle of vintage keyboards seems to include one. So SONiVOX have done something different. They’ve married those tones up to a modern virtual analogue synthesizer to create something a bit more unique.
The Solina side gives you slider control over the level of Bass, Cello, Viola, Violin, Horn and Trumpet. A simple ADSR controls the envelope and there’s a glide knob for portamento. Buttons let you switch each section into the Ensemble effect. Dead easy, sounds great. On the left is a far more complex polyphonic analogue style synthesizer with 2 oscillators with detune and pulse width modulation, 2 LFO’s, filtering and envelopes. In fact, the first oscillator has its own filter and we find another one in the mixer section with its own LFO modulation which can be applied to the synth and Solina independently. The mixer in the middle gives a simple crossfader to adjust the mix between the two.
Most of the bottom half of the Solina Redux is taken up with the 8 button step sequencer. They say that there are two step sequencers. One for the Solina and one for the synth. But in the GUI and the demo video there appears to be one sequence where you can decide if the synth is using it, or Solina is using it, or both. I can’t quite see how they get to have their own sequence. The sequencer also has control over level, filter and panning and there are knobs for swing, division, gate length and step order.
Lastly, there’s an effects section. Along with the Ensemble chorus you’ll also find a reverb, phase and vibrato.
Synth ‘n’ Strings
It actually sounds pretty great. The combination of synthesis and a retro orchestra has a lot of charm and interesting variations in palette and an unmistakable lushness. It would seem like an odd thing to do but the software world is full of “why nots?” Solina Redux is out now on a special half-price deal of $129.99.
- SONiVOX Solina Redux page.