Eminent were a Dutch organ manufacturer who made organs for a variety of markets from the '60s until around 1983 when the company went broke in a world where the organ market had all but collapsed.

However, perhaps their greatest claim to fame was the string synthesiser that was built into the 310 model. Accessed via a few buttons to the right of the upper keyboard, you could assign 8' and 4' strings to either keyboard to accompany your playing.

And what a sound! Lush and swirly (and stereo) and a trademark sound of Jean-Michel Jarre on Oxygene and Equinoxe - the opening chords of both those albums were played on an Eminent 310!

Eminent faced tough competition, however, in a competitive market battling it out with the likes of Hammond, Farfisa, Vox not to mention Japanese manufacturers and they went through many troubled times. In an attempt to overcome these financial difficulties, they released a dedicated string machine under the 'Solina' brand name.

The Solina String Ensemble was to become a legend amongst certain keyboard players (mostly European) as one of the first string synths available. It retained many of the characteristics of the original 310 sound but in a compact, portable format. However, this small Dutch company didn't have the marketing clout to make the global impact this instrument so richly deserved. If the instrument looks familiar, its because American synth giant ARP bought in or licenced the technology and it formed the basis of their own String Ensemble (and later Omni) synths.

But despite these product permutations, the original sound of the Eminent 310 remains unique, even today. Play it and you are immediately in JMJ territory! JMJ often put his Eminent through an Electro-Harmonix 'Small Stone' phaser pedal which provided the lush backdrop to many of his early recordings.

This Eminent 310 has been painstakingly multi-sampled in stereo with samples every minor third (C, D#, F#, A) over the instrument's entire four octave range and capture the lush beauty of this wonderful sound in a truly authentic recreation of the legendary Eminent 310.

Eminent are back in business but are concentrating on classical organs for the church market. You can see them at their website : http://www.eminent-usa.com

Samples kindly donated by Marcel Donné

Eminent 310 photo by Sascha Tisserand (http://frequenz.free.fr)