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  SK-15 Symphonic Ensemble At a Glance
Picture needed arrowReleased: 1981  Specifications
arrowUser rating: 4.6/5 |  Read reviews (8)
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Eugene Burda writes:
Saw the SK15 last week at a pawnshop. It had just come out on the floor. Plugged it in, turned on, borrowed phones, played. Knew I had to have it. It's 17 years old and still looks and plays like new. I feel like I've gone back in time whenever I sit down with it.

It's built pretty solid. Steel front panel, (real wood sides!), with 22 dedicated sliders. There are 7 for the organ: 5 of these act as drawbars...16', 8', 5 1/3', 4', and 2'. The other two in this section are for organ percussion and a highpass filter to extend the range of organ sounds made with the drawbars. Good Hammond B3 sims to be had here in this section. The Strings section has 2 sliders, sipmly to mix and match amounts of sawtooth wave in 16' and 8' flavours. The organ section's brilliance control i.e. the highpass filter can be used to trim off the high frequencies of the strings' sawtooth waveforms. The Polysynth section has indie sliders for: volume, wave footage (mix variable from 16' to 8'), EG depth and 4 slider for the ADSR. This section also has a slider for filter resonance amount. The other remaining sliders are used for LFO control... depth, delay, and rate.

As I mentioned, there are three sections in the Symphonic esnsemble: Organ, Strings and Polysynth. Each is 7 note polyphonic and all 3 can be used together with no loss of polyphony. And here's where you can make some really magical sounds, because you can make composite sounds using all three sections that really sound wonderful! It's a bit like having a subtractive synth with simple additive features. Layering in some high organ harmonics over a subtractive analog filter sweep (this section is simple but sounds like a beefed up CS01 with 7 note poly), adding in some silky strings and running it thru the BEAUTIFUL swirly, sparkly shiny ensemble effect give me shivers cuz it sounds amazing! And the BIG bonus: every parameter has real-time control so you can get really expressive. There's also a foot volume pedal input that makes this thing really responsive even though the keys are not veleocity sensitive. Ahhh... magic!

Ther were 4 different SK series keyboards built: SK15, SK20, SK30 and SK50D. The 15 is the baby brother. Sure wish I could find a 50!

Comments About the Sounds:
Pure retro heaven if you happen to love that completely electronic string sounds the old ARP Solina String Ensemble made. This thing is capable of sounding exactly like the Solina! It also has good organ sounds, and simple yet useful analog synth sounds similar to the CS series synths which were roaming the earth at about the same time.

(Thanks to Eugene Burda for this info.)

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