80's synth strings on the hunt

OK, so I’m experimenting to create some iconic 80’s string sound. Something like this:

And it is a humbling experience. It’s insane that amount of crap I managed to patch. Does any of you have luckier hands?

Is it just some saws, chorus, and delay? With a bunch of LFOs? I don’t even get close to the sound I’m looking for…

I found this article very interesting, and fun to emulate in Rack:

DocB’s Pad2 has a strings preset which is also nice.

You probably already know the current Rack version of Plaits has super-saw mode, and of course there’s Squinky’s Saws. But the newer Plaits firmware also has a String Machine mode - unfortunately we don’t have an official Rack version of that yet. And docB’s Pad2 has already been mentioned.

The first example in that video sounds very synthwave. Have you tried following some of the building synthwave tutorials on YouTube? Might be some clues there.

Alternatively, if you were able to find a similar sound in a VST like Surge that might help give clues how to patch it in Rack.

As an aside, I usually spend more time looking for 70s style sounds. But I was recently trying for an Enya-like background track for a video and came up with the following using Plaits chord mode through chorus reverb and phaser. Just demonstrating how much the effects can impact the sound.


FWIW, found this by Nataniel on YT. Don’t know if it’s any help

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The surge ensemble effect is based on the set of bbd chorus effects found at the end of string machines of yore and may help


@PaulPiko if we’re talking supersaws, Flag’s free Prodigal Son module is excellent:

…and don’t forget these:

Free Cloud Generator:

Not free, but highly recommended!


I just used to do Saws with lots of reverb. Now I am cheating, I use Squinky’s sfz player.

What do you think about the analog brass though? I don’t like how they usually do it, so I used to do sync+fm or something. It’s something I found on youtube few years ago. Sounds pretty convincing

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The Surge Rack module String VCO may help you.

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As others have said, use lots of chorus. And of course my Saws is the most accurate super saw and has been in the library much longer than most of the others.


It was my first choice indeed… :slight_smile:

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Thanks for all the great suggestions!

I think I’m on the right track now. I’m still not happy but I’m getting closer