The humble Crumar Performer was a much underrated string synth.
Italian manufacturer, Crumar (named after the company's founder, Mario Crucianelli), produced some truly great products in their time but sadly they never made the impact they deserved (possibly because Crumar also made some real lemons which soured the manufacturer's reputation somewhat).
Crumar brought good sounding synths at affordable prices - they gave us the Bit 01 synth (and its derivatives), one of the first affordable dual oscillator polysynths and their 'Organiser' series of organs weren't too shabby either. They even had the venerable Bob Moog involved in the design of their 'Spirit' synth!
One of the other products they made was the Crumar Performer, a versatile string synthesiser released in 1979 that was as good as any of its more famous rivals at a fraction of the price. Seriously!!
An offshoot of their 'Multiman', the Performer was a string synth first and foremost but it also included a 'brass' section. This was actually not bad for very simple polysynth sounds at the time but no substitute for a real polysynth being a single oscillator job with a fairly weak filter and it bypassed the chorus/ensemble unit so it wasn't possible to beef it up. But you could use the LFO for some rudimentary filter sweeps and it had its uses in extremis.
However, unusually, the Performer had a raw audio out and a trigger out which was quite something at the time...
I owned a Performer many (many, many!) years back and loved it - solid, dependable and reliable and sounded great in any number of circumstances and one of the only string synths to rival the sound of the much more expensive ARP String Ensemble. But the addition of the raw oscillator and trigger out meant that I could route it through my ARP Axxe to create some fairly convincing polysynth sounds (and far better than any of the on-board 'Brass' settings!).
It was the string sound, however, that was the best thing about this underrated little gem (very few used the 'Brass' sound ... except - now - in YouTube videos!)! It was lush and smooth, featured a three band EQ section, adjustable attack and release envelope controls and an LFO and you could coax a lot of sounds out of its simple feature set. Well orchestrated, it could sound surprisingly realistic. It was easily capable with little or no effort of creating the high, dreamy Mantovani-like string sound so beloved by Japanese synthmeister Isao Tomita in his later recorded output whilst having quite a threatening and raspy (and not particularly realistic) bottom end.
It had quite a range on it too. As well as the 16' and 8' tabs, there was a TRANSPOSE switch that effectively gave you 32' and 4' strings - an effective range of 6 octaves which is all captured here in this authentic sample library.
The Performer was most famously used by Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran (you can hear it being phased throughout their first single, 'Planet Earth' and others) but it was (is?) also a staple part of the St Etienne sound as well.
In keeping with the other Hollow Sun string synths, the Kontakt version is more refined to include a panel that goes some way to re-create the real thing with control over the balance of the two registers (16' and 8'), tone and envelope and all of the original's sounds (and more) can be coaxed out of this simple panel. The TONE control allows you, with one single control, to recreate many (and more) of the textures produced by the Performer's 3-band EQ from full on string synth to delicate shimmers, quasi-vocal ensemble sounds and more.
In many respects, it provides some functions not possible on the original such as balancing the different footages (they could only be switched on or off on the real thing). The two other tabs at the bottom of the panel take you to pages where you can access parameters for velocity, pitch bend, etc., and also to add phase shift and reverb effects.
|NOTE : It will work with the Kontakt Player but only in 'demo' mode and the session will be time limited.