UVI String Machines review

70s and 80s string synths galore

  • £76
  • $99
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Our Verdict

Fantastic classic string synth sounds that don't cost the earth.


  • Top-drawer sounds. Attention to detail. Reasonable price tag.


  • Only 29 combination presets.

More sampled vintage gear from the Gallic ROMpler masters, String Machines brings you over 70 sampled patches from 11 classic analogue string synths of the 70s and 80s. The 1.2GB ROM loads into the free UVI WorkStation or MOTU MachFive.

The synths include the Solina String Ensemble, Roland RS-505 and VP-330, Korg PE2000, Crumar Performer and Eko Stradivarius, and two patches from any of them can be loaded as separate layers and edited separately or together.

"As we've come to expect from UVI, the sound of String Machines is absolutely top-drawer"

The custom UVI WorkStation interface serves up a decent array of tweakables with which to transform the sound. The analogue-modelled resonant filter offers high-, low- and band-pass modes, and can be modulated by an ADSR envelope and velocity - strangely, there's no LFO. The Stereo section enables adjustment of unison spread, detune and 'Color' (some kind of filtering), while the mod wheel can be assigned to cutoff, tremolo and vibrato at the same time, per layer.

The effects section comprises phaser, delay and reverb, all with no controls beyond a Mix knob - they're just for quick patch processing; UVI WorkStation's massive range of 'proper' effects are also on hand for heavier lifting.

Flipping the Step switch reveals a pair of step sequencers. Running up to 16 steps at all straight, dotted and triplet resolutions up to 32nd-notes, each sequencer can be activated for each layer, modulating volume, filter cutoff or both. It's a simple but effective setup, although obviously we wouldn't say no to a few more modulation targets (eg, pitch, resonance and the effects mixes).

As we've come to expect from UVI, the sound of String Machines is absolutely top-drawer - the spirit, richness, warmth and dirt of the synths themselves has been captured with real love and attention to detail. Our only criticism is that there are a mere 29 combination presets, but being as easy to program as String Machines is, this shouldn't be too much of a problem. We're also very pleased to see such a reasonable price tag attached - in our opinion, this is how much all UVI soundbanks should cost.

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