Full Bucket Music releases PECS, a FREE Korg Polyphonic Ensemble S (PE-2000) emulation for macOS and Windows.
Korg’s 1976 PE-2000 Poly-Ensemble String Machine is a vintage keyboard instrument that still divides opinions amongst collectors and musicians. I haven’t seen too many for sale, but when I have, they are typically upwards of £2000, depending on the condition, which isn’t a small investment (and the main reason for divided opinions).
Many artists/bands of the late 70s and early 80s produced songs around the sound of the PE-2000, none more than The Wake, a band from my hometown (Glasgow) who I believe used it on every track on their Here Comes Everybody album.
The Great thing about PECS right off the bat is that there are far fewer PE-2000 emulations than there are of other vintage keyboards like the Mellotron or DX7. I know there are a couple, and I think Nord and some other manufacturers have PE-2000 presets or sound banks. But, for many users, PECS will offer something different, which is always good.
PECS stays pretty faithful to the original hardware, starting with the Phase Shifter knob on the left, which adds shimmer and character to the sound. Next, you have a Volume control alongside Bass and Treble boost knobs.
On the right side of the GUI, you’ll find Attack/Sustain controls, Pull Collaboration tuning settings, and Pitch.
In the middle, between those controls, are the sound selection buttons.
The PE-2000 has four core sounds; Pipe Organ, Chorus, Brass, and Strings, with two variations of each. One common complaint about the PE-2000 is that you couldn’t do much tweaking; you had to love the sound as it is to an extent. PECS, however, goes a step further with Tweak Mode, which allows you to adjust instrument parameters in ways the hardware doesn’t, making it more versatile.
Like other hardware string machines, the PE-2000 is dripping with retro character, and it’s probably fair to say a few sounds are in the “it’s so bad, it’s great!” category; but that’s part of the appeal. The PE-2000 perhaps has a slightly harsher sound than some similar instruments, but that makes it ideal for stabbing/percussive sounds and not just pads.
It’s nice to have something like PECS to get a bit of that retro flavor for free. If you like string sounds with a difference, check out Monster Strings from MonsterDAW.
PECS is available in AU, VST2, VST3, and CLAP formats for macOS and Windows.
Thanks to BPB readers Christian H. and Dirk for the info about PECS.
I’m in love with a bucket… There, I said it. Don’t judge me.
Totally get it, dude’s a legend. <3
Absolutely wonderful sound, with a character. Thanks!!!
This is gonna be good. Full Bucket stuff always is! Thanks!