Synthetic Sound Labs Soleil, a paraphonic Lo-Fi string machine/synth

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Synthetic Sound Labs Soleil is a new portable paraphonic Lo-Fi string machine/Synthesizer inspired by early vintage string synths of the ‘70s.

Portable synthesizers are more popular than ever. The Pocket Operators, volcas, and others made the beginning. Today the market is full of various synths. From analog, and digital to hybrid.

With Soleil, there is now also a string machine for your pocket  So you can now make your 70s or synth wave completely in a portable setup.

Synthetic Sound Labs

Synthetic Sound Labs Soleil

Soleil is a new analog paraphonic Lo-Fi string machine/string Synthesizer. The little box is tiny and probably the smallest hardware string machine in the world. Or do you know of even smaller ones here?

According to Synthetic Sound Labs, it is inspired by the early vintage string synths of the ‘70s. Hardware instruments like the Elka Rhapsody, ARP Solina, and others.

Soleil has two multi-wave oscillators ranks per note and can play up to 4 notes in paraphonic. The waveforms are continuously variable from thick sawtooth thru variable pulse widths for more reedy sounds. The second rank is detunable for lush pads. It also features a fine-tune control for accurate tuning.

Then, it hosts built-in modulation in the form of an AR (attack release) envelope and a MIDI-controllable vibrato LFO. Attack and release are individually adjustable with dedicated knobs. Soleil only has a single VCA with a volume pot, making it a paraphonic string machine/string synth. 

On the connection side, you get a MIDI input via a 3.5mm TRS Type “A” jack, that supports pitch bend and modulation. An LED MIDI displays MIDI activity right on the unit. There is also a mono audio output, a gate output for triggering external gear (instrument/effects), and an 8-18 VDC power supply input.

First Impression

A fun idea to make a string machine into such a small portable format. It’s a bit of a shame that you have to operate the whole thing with a large power plug. USB would certainly have been more practical here, but it might not have fit into the format. No sound demo yet, sorry. 

Synthetic Sound Labs is available now for $179,95. 

More information here: Synthetic Sound Labs

Hardware Synthesizer News


  1. Interesting, I’ve always loved the sound of the old string machines. I would like to hear this one in action but I have not found a demo anywhere, even on the manufacturer’s site. Depending on how it sounds it might be an alternative to the Behringer Solina module that is supposedly shipping soon. I think you would need a bit of post processing with a phaser/chorus FX on this one for it to sound close to a 70’s string machine.

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