Italian manufacturer, Crumar, 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 that 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 were surprisingly good as well.

One of the other products they made was the Crumar Performer, a versatile string synthesiser that was as good as any of their more famous rivals.

An offshoot of their 'Multiman', the Performer was a string synth first and foremost but, like the ARP String Ensemble, they also included a 'brass' section which was actually not bad for simple polysynth sounds. It was the string sound, however, that was the best thing about this underrated little gem!

It was lush and swirly, 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.

The Performer was most famously used by Duran Duran but it was (is?) a staple part of the St Etienne sound as well.

I owned a Crumar 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 much more expensive ARP String Ensemble.

Samples kindly donated by Jon Katz