Logan String Melody II

According to till-kopper.de, the first version of the Logan String Melody (referred to later as "mk I") was built between 1973-1976. The unit reviewed here is the second version (Logan String Melody II), which was built between 1977-1980 in Italy.

The basic sound alternatives are called "CELLO", "VIOLA" and "VIOLIN", which is basically the basic string sound in three adjacent octaves. Like most string machines, the keyboard is split in the middle so that you can adjust the sound seperately for the lower part (BASS) and the upper part (TREBLE) of the keyboard. The sliders for adjusting the volume of each basic sound works upside-down, like drawbars, i.e. you pull the slider towards yourself for raising the volume of a sound.

First CELLO, then adding VIOLA and later VIOLIN [291 KB, mp3]

The attack and release (called "sustain" on the Logan) times can be independently controlled for the upper and lower part of the keyboard.

Minimum versus maximum attack time [188 KB, mp3]
Minimum versus maximum release time [364 KB, mp3]

The Logan has only one output for connecting to an amplifier. It also has a volume control pedal input.

The Logan String Melody II has five different ensemble effect variations, as opposed to mk I which only appears to have one. These are called O, ACC., SOLO, ORCH., and ORGAN, but are not quite as you would expect based on the names. There is no off switch for the ensemble effect, but the ACC variation is the most subtle effect. O is the typical string ensemble effect. ORCH. is a variation on this, but acts at the same time as a preset button, with the CELLO, VIOLA and VIOLIN "drawbars" full out. SOLO is a vibrato effect with a high-mid boost, and ORGAN is a phaser-type of effect.

Example of the Logan String Melody's ensemble effect with CELLO (O/ACC./SOLO/ORCH./ORGAN) [657 KB, mp3]

The sound of the Logan is definitely the most warmest of the string machines tested. It is a very organic and warm sound, quite the opposite to the Roland RS202, but not quite as full or defined as the Hohner String Performer. The Logan is slightly duller than the sound of the Roland RS202 or the Hohner String Performer, but when boosting the higher registers the Logan really comes to bloom. I don't recommend using a shelving EQ though, since this will also add a lot of hiss. The Logan is also the most noisest one of the bunch.

Example of a full string ensemble, two variations, without any additional EQ [733 KB, mp3]
Example of a full string ensemble, two variations, with +5 dB parametric EQ around 6 kHz [733 KB, mp3]

Using the Logan together with a good phaser pedal sounds amazing. If you want to get the famous Jarre string-sound from Oxygene, but cannot find or afford a rare Eminent (not speaking about fitting it into your appartment), the Logan String Melody is probably as close as you can come.

CELLO with O-ensemble through an EHX Small Stone phaser [997 KB, mp3]

A nice bonus feature of the Logan is the addition of a highly usable bass sound to the lower part, which comes in two variations: PERC (actually a sub bass) and BASS (a more nasal bass, resembling the basic string sounds).

First PERC, then BASS [388 KB, mp3]
Example of playing the PERC sound in the lower part and a string mixture in the upper part [361 KB, mp3]

Although the sound variation options are less than on the RS-202, the Logan is still quite versatile. By setting the attack and sustain to zero, and choosing an appropriate ensemble effect, it is possible to get quite a usable organ sound out of the Logan as well.

Transistor organ [352 KB, mp3]

As most string machines, the Logan is built into the bottom of a flight case for easy transportation. It weighs 15.3 kg without the top case cover, which probably adds a kilo, and its dimensions are 103 x 38 x 16 cm (with top case cover).