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GForce VSM Virtual String Machine + Expansion Pack Combo

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Quick Overview

All GForce synths are now available as both 32- and 64-bit plugins.

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Virtual Vintage String Synthesizer Collection

The Virtual String Machine from GForce brings the evocative tones of over a dozen of the finest vintage string synthesizers to your personal studio—Freeman String Symphonizer, Eminent 310, ARP Omni II, ARP Quartet, Crumar Multiman, Polymoog, Elka Rhapsody, Korg PE2000, Logan String Melody, Eminent Solina, Roland RS202, Yamaha SS30 and more. Far more than a preset device, the Virtual String Machine lets you layer any two of the 60 Sample Sets and apply an intuitive synthesis engine to each—as well as add master vintage phaser/ensemble effects. The result is a truly authentic and highly versatile range of textures, perfect for just about every musical genre. Mac/PC stand-alone or host operation (RTAS, VST, AU).

Vintage Sound

In the 1970s—well before polyphonic synthesis and digital sampling was commonplace—dozens of string machines evolved to emulate sections of violins. They changed the face of music in the hands of Pink Floyd, Stevie Wonder, The Cure, Parliament, Herbie Hancock, Air, Joy Division, Jean Michel Jarre, Thomas Dolby, Genesis, Lonnie Liston Smith and many others. More recently, these vintage instruments have seen resurgence with artists like Kasabian and Goldfrapp. The Virtual String Machine puts those same sounds and much more right in your Mac or PC.

Authentic Emulations

Each string machine had its own unique quality. Moreover, some of these gems were rarities only available in certain parts of the world. The Virtual String Machine unites the cream of the crop—Freeman String Symphonizer (the first of the genre), Eminent 310, ARP Omni II, ARP Quartet, Crumar Multiman, Polymoog, Elka Rhapsody, Korg PE2000, Logan String Melody, Eminent Solina, Roland RS202, Yamaha SS30 and more. This manifests in over 60 different Sample Sets spanning the many different settings of these venerable instruments—over 3,200 meticulous samples.

Super Strings

The Virtual String Machine doesn’t stop at simply emulating the best string machines of all time. It allows you to layer any two Sample Sets and apply synthesizer parameters to each layer—creating different envelopes, filter settings, pitch LFO, pan positions, fine-tune amounts and more. And to top it all off, you can apply a vintage-style phaser and/or ensemble to the final patch. The 500+ factory presets are just the beginning of the possibilities for the retro string sound of your dreams

GForce—Virtual Instrument Experts

The Virtual String Machine follows in the footsteps of the other critically acclaimed virtual instruments from GForce—Minimonsta:Melohman, The Oddity, impOSCar and M-Tron. This praise has come from the press, famous artists and the original instrument inventors themselves. Virtual String Machine is no different. You’ll find the same attention to detail and authenticity in every aspect of this incredible creative instrument.

Stand-alone or Host Operation

You can use the Virtual String Machine by itself or as a plug-in with most popular host applications including Pro Tools M-Powered/LE/HD, Ableton Live, Cubase, Logic, GarageBand, SONAR, Digital Performer, and ACID. Compatible formats include VST 2.0 (Mac/PC including VSTi), RTAS (Mac/PC) and Audio Units (Mac). In other words, you can integrate it with the rest of your studio and use it just about any way you want.

Main Features

includes emulations of Freeman String Symphonizer, Eminent 310, ARP Omni II, ARP Quartet, Crumar Multiman, Polymoog, Elka Rhapsody, Korg PE2000, Logan String Melody, Eminent Solina, Roland RS202, Yamaha SS30 and more
over 3,200 individual samples from over 60 Sample Sets
layer any two Sample Sets with synth processing and master effects
fully programmable with 500+ factory patches
stand-alone or host operation—RTAS (Mac/PC), VST (Mac/PC) and AU (Mac)

VSM Expansion

Key Features

18 classic and rare string machines
60 individual sample sets
400+ Patch library
49 notes, each individually sampled and looped
Layer Expansion sounds with the original library
Over 2.5GB of data
Alternative GUI



The VSM Expansion Pack is only available to registered users of VSM. Please ensure you have downloaded the latest version of VSM. Additionally, it is exclusively available via this website as a direct download (2.5GB) via "My Instruments" when the purchase has been completed


Instrument Overview

With the plethora of string machines and multi-keyboards produced throughout the 70s and early 80s it would be almost impossible to include every string-type instrument within VSM. But with release of the VSM Expansion Pack containing instruments sourced and recorded over a seven year period, we believe we're offering the largest single collection of string synths available within any digital format.

Not only that, we're adding the sounds of several iconic machines that are worth the purchase price alone. Where else can you find the classic band-pass tones of Yamaha's mighty GX-1 along with Moog's masterpiece Vox Humana, and with the ability to combine them in a single patch should you wish?

The VSM Expansion Pack contains a raft of vintage string sounds from a veritable treasure trove of rare, iconic and highly desirable instruments, together with the occasional also-ran. What all of these instruments have in common though is character, whether it’s the cold, stark tones of the Elektronika or the layers of lushness that emanate from the Logan String Melody II.

If string ensembles are your thing, this expansion pack, combined with the original VSM library, grants you unparalleled access to an incredible range of vintage string ensembles and more.


VSM - An overview

Sample loading

Setting the layer key range

Using the LFO

The filters

The Amplitude Envelope

Dynamic control

The Phaser

The Ensemble

Assigning MIDI CCs

Creating that epic sound



The Original String Machines

A Second History Of String Synths © Gordon Reid

By 1975, it seemed that new string synths were appearing almost every month. Following in the footsteps of pioneering instruments such as the Freeman String Symphonizer, the Eminent 310 Unique and the Solina, there were the Crumar Stringman, the Eko Stradivarius, the Hohner Stringvox, the Logan String Melody, the Roland RS101… and at least a dozen others. But keyboard players craved more than just ensemble sounds, and this was the year in which Yamaha announced what is widely considered to be the greatest and most desirable of all polyphonic synthesisers. The Yamaha GX-1 was physically immense, and had a sound to match. OK… it wasn’t a string synth, but it introduced the string and ensemble sounds that would become widespread when affordable dual-oscillator polysynths appeared a few years later.

At the other end of the scale, some very useable low-cost ensemble keyboards were appearing. Similar in some ways to the Logan String Melody, the Jen SM2007 String Machine (1976) was physically identical to a small range of Vox keyboards sold in the 1970s. This is not surprising. Vox was by this time a brand name of the Thomas Organ Company, which had already rebadged the Logan and sold it in the UK as the Vox String Thing, and it seems that they repeated the exercise with the SM2007, rebadging it as… the Vox String Thing!

The Hohner K4 (1977) was another high-quality string synth with a murky lineage. Released in the USA as the Hohner Stringer, it appeared in Europe as the Hohner String Orchestra and the Elgam String Ensemble. Whether Hohner manufactured any of these is open to question, as all seem to have been linked with Logan Electronics. As for their character… this was rich and lush in the style of the Logans, but with a somewhat different timbre and an unusual Ensemble control that could layer three octaves of the voices, resulting in a mighty sound.

The following year, ARP released what may be the greatest of the so-called ‘multi-keyboards’. Described by one of the company’s directors as a “synthesiser sandwich”, the Quadra (1978) combined four sound generators: a string ensemble and polysynth reminiscent of the ARP Omni II, a dual-oscillator monosynth, and a bass synth. Like many other strings synths, the Quadra’s ensemble sound was based on a divide-down sound generator shaped by a single (paraphonic) AR contour generator, but it benefited hugely from being passed through ARP’s celebrated chorus ensemble. The Quadra was designed in a hurry and rushed out almost in desperation, but it still did some things better than any other instrument.

The Farfisa Soundmaker (1978) was a more basic multi-keyboard, with a string section, a limited polysynth, and a simple monosynth. The strings aside, its sounds were rather bland, so it was not a great success and is now extremely rare. Nonetheless, owners are not hesitant to heap praise upon its ensemble sounds. Descriptions include ‘warm’, ‘silky’, and ‘smooth’, and one player described it as “more desirable than a Solina”. That was high praise, indeed.

Even more rare, perhaps, is the Clef Strings. Originally designed as a project for an electronics magazine, this was supplied as a kit by Clef Electronics between 1978 and 1982. It could be a surprisingly attractive and reliable keyboard, and it sounded rather fine, with many useable voices. Furthermore, it was cheap (£179 for the electronics kit and £49 for the case in 1982), but the fact that players had to build it before playing it relegated the Clef to the realms of the electronics hobbyists. Shame.

Like Ken Freeman’s second and fourth prototypes and Korg’s earlier PE-2000, the Korg Lambda (1979) featured three divide-down oscillator banks that allowed players to detune banks A and B against a fixed bank, thus creating a rich ensemble sound. In addition, its Chorus (i.e. human voice) preset slotted nicely into the class of sounds often referred to as Vox Humana. The combination of Chorus, String I and String II is a classic sound, quite different from other string synths.

Appearing the same year, the Roland VP-330 was one of the classic keyboards of the late 1970s, and its Strings and Human Voice sections generated some of the most recognisable sounds of the era. With just one footage, the Strings sound was generated by a single divide-down oscillator bank passed through Roland’s fabled ensemble unit. Enveloping was very basic; it offered variable Release, but its Attack was paraphonic, which could result in a ‘sucky’ and artificial sound. Nonetheless, the VP-330’s strings were remarkably useable, and some players even dumped their Mellotrons in favour of the little Roland!

One of the nicest ‘pure’ string synths ever released, the Godwin Model 749 String Concert (1980) was another to show Logan-esque characteristics. Like the String Melody II, it offered ‘cello, viola and violin registrations, plus attack and release controls with wonderful, slow maximum times and, best of all, true polyphony rather than the paraphonic architecture of so much of the competition. However, improving upon the Logan, the 749 had fully variable modulators so, instead of offering preset voices, it allowed players to control the ensemble effect, making it far more subtle than other string synthesisers.

By 1981, polysynths had become affordable, and the dividing line between string synths and polysynths was becoming very blurred. The core of the Firstman FS-4V was a four-voice synthesiser with individual oscillators, filters and amplifiers for each voice. However, unlike conventional oscillators, the voice boards in the FS-4V incorporated a divide-down section tapped at multiple octaves for a string ensemble sound. Unfortunately, the instrument proved to be rather unreliable, which is a shame because, when working, the FS-4V was capable of some interesting and unusual string sounds.

The Teisco SX-400 (1981) was another Japanese instrument that failed to make a significant impact. This was also a 4-voice polysynth at heart but, unlike the Firstman, it was built like a tank. What’s more, it featured a whooshy, noisy ensemble effect that produced some of the lushest sounds of any string synth or ensemble. Had it appeared in the mid-70s, it might have become a classic, but it was at least five years too late to do so.

By 1982, it was becoming difficult to sell a ‘pure’ string synthesiser or ensemble, and manufacturers were repackaging all of them as multi-keyboards. As you might glean from its name, the Crumar Trilogy sported three sound creation sections: String, Organ, and Synth. Given the company’s pedigree in this area, it wasn’t surprising that the strings were warm, even though the sound was hampered (again!) by a paraphonic architecture. Unusually, a number of the controls in the synthesiser section also acted upon the strings. These included frequency modulation (vibrato) and four types of pitch-bend for bowing effects.

The Sequential Prelude – a repackaged Siel Orchestra 2 – was perhaps the most surprising string synth to appear that year. Mind you, its lineage shouldn’t be held against it; Siel manufactured many low-cost string synths, and the ARP Quartet had been a repackaged version of the original Siel Orchestra. But the later model had a huge advantage over the former – a 5-band equaliser made it capable of producing a much wider and more interesting range of string sounds.

Perhaps the most interesting keyboard of 1982 was the Technics SX-K200. At first sight, this seemed to be destined for the toy bins occupied by Bontempi organs in the 1970s, but a closer inspection showed that the it was an important instrument that anticipated the direction that much of keyboard technology would take in the 1980s. Most importantly, the SX-K200 was the first keyboard to include PCM samples as part of its sound generation. Nonetheless, its Orchestral Presets were generated by Technics’ analogue organ technology, so the SX-K200 also qualifies as one of the last of the analogue string ensembles!

Before releasing the DX7, Yamaha released two (relatively) low-cost digital keyboards for the domestic market. One of these was the CE25 Combo Ensemble (1983), which included three FM-generated strings voices among its twenty presets. Surprisingly, the CE25 was both velocity- and pressure- sensitive, and it offered a Symphonic Depth control that determined the amount of chorusing applied to the sound. The results could be superb, and even today the CE25’s strings can hold up their heads in respectable company.

The Sequential Circuits Fugue (1984) was probably the last ensemble synth released in Europe, Japan or the USA. However, production of this type of instrument continued for many years behind the Iron Curtain. The free world new little or nothing of the Electronica EM25 and numerous other instruments built in Soviet Russia and the DDR before the wall came down, but it later proved to be a combination of a string synth, a limited organ and a basic polysynth. The EM25 was far from ‘lush’ and, rather than emulate the rich sounds of the classic Italian string synths, it produced yet another flavour of rather harsh, but often interesting string ensemble sounds.