This website is dedicated to the Eminent Solina String Ensemble.
The String Ensemble is an example of excellent Dutch craftsmanship. The wooden casing certainly looks good and is very sturdy. The console with sliders and instrument selection buttons is made of metal. The four octave keyboard is fine and has this typical 'spring crack' when you depress the keys. The contact springs are located under the keys, so they don't get covered with dust easily. In fact, the contacts are built that well that I have not noticed any cracking or sound degradation due to corrosion.
The unit can be opened by taking out three screws at the back, lifting the lid some two centimetres and sliding it backwards. Under the lid, service information can be found; these paper sheets contain the full schematics of the string ensemble.
Inside, the machine is a perfect world of neatly placed boards and very tidy wiring. A joy to see! A spare fuse, contained in a small envelope, is stapled to the inside of the unit near the mains transformer.
The buttons and sliders on the panel are the following: power on/off, tuning up/down, contrabass, cello, volume bass, crescendo, sustain length, master volume, viola, violin, brass, horn and modulation.
The contrabass and cello selectors can be used to turn on a 16' or 8' monophonic bass, which is triggered by the lowest of the keys one presses. The bass runs from C0 to G1 and stops there. The bass volume can be adjusted to match the volume of the upper registers by the 'volume bass' slider.
The crescendo and sustain sliders can be used to alter the attack and decay rates of the viola and violin registers and also have some minor effect on the other registers.
The viola and violin are the core string sounds of the unit. Brass and horn are also very nice and soft sounds which may be blended with the viola and violin sounds to create subtle sound differences.
The modulation button can be used to turn off the built-in chorus effect. I think nobody will do this, for the stereo chorus of the ensemble is what makes this machine sound so very wonderful!
It has stereo high outputs, mono low and high outputs, AC. trigger and DC. gate outputs and a connection for a proprietary expression pedal. The pedal is of the type with a light bulb and a photo resistor. Don't connect a standard keyboard expression pedal for you might damage your ensemble by doing so.
I have recorded some sound samples to give you an idea of the sound of this machine. Maybe you are considering to buy a second hand one etc. Then these fragments may help you decide.
This sound starts with a viola and modulation off. I play a D minor chord and turn on the chorus after a few seconds. The effect is stunning!
Note: some minor glitches can be heard, this is a recording error, not a property of the instrument. Unfortunately, I do not have time to redo the recording.Modulation demonstration
I play a D minor chord with the viola sound. The first chord is played with crescendo and sustain set to minimum, the second to maximum.Crescendo/sustain range demonstration
The sample starts with a D minor chord using only the viola; after a few seconds, the violin is turned on. Then a bass line is played using first the cello and then the contra bass.Viola, violin, cello and bass
These two sound samples demonstrate the brass and horn sounds, which are in fact quite nice sounds, too.Brass Horn
During the last years, I got several requests for schematics, spare parts, etc. so I put up the stuff that I know here for your convenience.Schematics of the newer (MK2) version
(thanks to Ken Gans/Maarten Burgers for passing on the schematics).
For spare parts and other technical questions, please contact:Orgelservice de Bruijn
It is run by a former Eminent employee. I once ordered a spare key for my Solina, a bit expensive but it works.
Page last updated on August 11th 2008 by Ronald Bos <ronald dot bos dot msc at gmail dot com>