Cherry Audio - Pro Soloist

Oh, man, I have been praying for this one… :slight_smile:

And the usual introductory offer of $49

I’m in!

From the Cherry Audio Website

BlockquotePro Soloist is the latest in Cherry Audio’s roster of ultimate “what if?” virtual instruments. Featuring the precision-crafted and circuit-modeled DSP designs of award-winning developer Mark Barton, Cherry Audio’s Pro Soloist goes far beyond emulating the treasured, preset-based monophonic analog synth originally released by ARP in 1972. Pro Soloist not only exactingly reproduces the expressive controls, 30 presets, and the unique underlying architecture of this prog rock classic, it breaks it out of its cage by making it fully programmable and expanding it with full polyphony, splits and layers, a mod matrix, integrated studio-quality effects, and more.

At the beginning of the 70s, analog synthesizers were just making their way into the hands of working musicians, and their operation was still a mystery to most folks outside of a college music lab. To avert potential user intimidation and bring synthesis to the masses, manufacturers introduced simple monophonic preset synths that were intended to sit atop an organ. ARP led the charge in 1970 with the Soloist, the first commercial preset synthesizer, featuring 18 presets and basic controls.

In 1972, ARP followed it up with the Pro Soloist, updating the analog preset control with revolutionary digital read-only memory chips (which improved tuning stability) and expanding the preset selection to 30. Most impressive was the introduction of an innovative “touch sensor” keyboard (now commonly known as aftertouch), where pressing harder after playing a note introduces changes to the sound, allowing highly expressive playing. Specifically, the Pro Soloist’s touch sensor controls enabled pitch bend, wow, growl, brilliance, volume, and vibrato. This was heady stuff in the early 70s, and the Pro Soloist proved popular with musicians for its ability to rapidly emulate lead instrument sounds such as horns, strings, woodwinds, and more.

Despite its association with progressive rock, the Pro Soloist was popular with acts as varied as Tangerine Dream, Gary Numan, Kansas, Herbie Hancock, Patrick Moraz, Styx, John Entwistle, Parliament, Billy Preston, Vangelis, David Bowie, Brian Wilson, the Ohio Players, Chick Corea, Prince, and Josef Zawinul. Most notable was Tony Banks of Genesis, for whom the Pro Soloist was his first synthesizer. The track “The Cinema Show” on the 1973 album Selling England by the Pound showcases many of the Pro Soloist’s presets building up to his epic solo featuring the “Fuzz Guitar 1” preset.


I bought this pretty much minutes after it came out. It sounds great. Hearing Selling England By the Pound as a kid was life changing for me.


I was messing about with it last night, and within a few minutes was getting close to the Los Endos lead. Oboe, chorus, and delay and reverb.


I’ve had little time for playing with this since getting it, as getting ready for my next show is all consuming right now. So I am really pleased somebody else has done all of the hard work in figuring out how this quirky synth was used in Genesis’ “Cinema Show”.

I’ve listened to the original as well with a quick bit of A/B ing. I think there is a bit more brightness in the effects and overall mix on the album, but it sounds to me like he has all of the right presets in the right order!

And it shows how by deft use of switching presets that Banks got a lot of mileage out of this preset synth, and why a Genesis synth solo was always very different to what the other prog bands were doing, mainly with MiniMoogs in those days as the goto lead synth.


The Pro-Soloist is a quirky instrument in many ways, limited, yet fascinating in so many ways. One oddity is the way that the vibrato can’t be fully turned off for the Fuzz Guitar 1 preset, which was a favourite of Tony’s. One way to hide it was to turn the speed to its lowest. You can hear that slow vibrato all over Genesis synth solos of that time, as it chorusses beautifully with the delay.

After a few decades of keeping mine running at all costs (and those costs certainly added up) I finally decided to move it along to a new home. I can pretty much recreate all my old Pro-Soloist sounds on current synths, since I know those sounds so well. I may yet grab that Cherry version, but I’ll wait for an uber-deal.


Like Hackett, Banks was a master of adding outboard effects to achieve cool sounds. He even built some of his own.

If you have an original, it would be interesting to see your take on the VST

It’s current on offer in their store at $49 ($20 off)

Whilst I do not own the original, I was always frustrated that I could never get those Genesis synth sounds out of any hard or soft synth of mine. Yet five minutes with this Cherry Audio synth and I was nailing one of the sounds in Los Endos (one of the slow lines that I could play without too much difficulty :slight_smile: )

As mentioned, I sold my Pro-Soloist a couple of years ago. I don’t miss it. It really is quite simple to program emulations of the PS with a modern synth, VSTis included. The one PS feature that many synths lack is an LFO with delayed onset.

I have Cherry Audio’s ARP 2600 emulation, and, perhaps predictably, that does a great PS. With a bit of tweaking, even Steinberg’s Cubase-bundled Retrologue manages a close-enough of that famous Fuzz Guitar preset.

Strangely, I’m currently working on a piece of music that uses some of my PS soundalikes. When complete I may upload a section of it for an example.

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