What's new

Berlin Strings v Afflatus

Cory Pelizzari

(Solonoid Studio)
When did Afflatus come out? An hour ago I took advantage of the BF sale and bought Berlin Strings. I also bought Berlin Brass so I could use the $100 voucher I had.

Reading this and listening to a bit of the Afflatus videos I'm wondering if I should have bought Afflatus. Gawd it's hard keeping track of all the offerings on the market!
Collateral damage from Black Friday sales grenades.
 

reids

Member
Great discussions here. Lots of interesting points and things needing to be clarified. So it seems that Afflatus is on a different trajectory than the other string libraries in terms of its sounds and direction.

Maybe this focus on symphonic strings should be more on Berlin Strings Vs Spitfire Symphonic Strings since I think these two have more in common with each other? Which library would one recommend between Berlin Strings and Spitfire Symphonic Strings? And does OT Berlin series cover chamber strings too?
 

cadenzajon

Active Member
Maybe this focus on symphonic strings should be more on Berlin Strings Vs Spitfire Symphonic Strings since I think these two have more in common with each other? Which library would one recommend between Berlin Strings and Spitfire Symphonic Strings? And does OT Berlin series cover chamber strings too?
Berlin Strings is a smaller orchestra than Spitfire's Symphonic Strings, and a larger orchestra than their Chamber Strings. It only comes in the one variety and doesn't offer divisi or smaller chamber sections.

The Berlin sections have a more up-front classical character than Spitfire's offerings, obviously also recorded in different environments. None of them (to my tastes) offer killer legatos, that territory belongs to the Cinematic Studio Strings. But both Berlin and Spitfire offer fairly comprehensive sets of articulations. I would give Berlin the controllability edge for their Capsule player, which beats the tar (in my very subjective opinion) out of Spitfire's players. But, Spitfire can also function with less of a RAM footprint.
 

reids

Member
Berlin Strings is a smaller orchestra than Spitfire's Symphonic Strings, and a larger orchestra than their Chamber Strings. It only comes in the one variety and doesn't offer divisi or smaller chamber sections.

The Berlin sections have a more up-front classical character than Spitfire's offerings, obviously also recorded in different environments. None of them (to my tastes) offer killer legatos, that territory belongs to the Cinematic Studio Strings. But both Berlin and Spitfire offer fairly comprehensive sets of articulations. I would give Berlin the controllability edge for their Capsule player, which beats the tar (in my very subjective opinion) out of Spitfire's players. But, Spitfire can also function with less of a RAM footprint.
Thanks for elaborating. Lol, sighs. If only it would be easy to pick out one library over the other. They each have unique things offered or done differently. In these versus and comparisons threads, there is never really a clear winner or one that is overwhelmingly praised. It always comes back to the pros and cons of each library, how they can complement each other.....and most likely to get them all if you are looking to get the variety of versatile sounds for your virtual orchestra.
 

galactic orange

Sensor Number
When did Afflatus come out? An hour ago I took advantage of the BF sale and bought Berlin Strings. I also bought Berlin Brass so I could use the $100 voucher I had.
I don't mean to take this thread off-topic, but I'm thinking about getting Berlin Brass during the BF sale. The main thing holding me back is Afflatus.
 

Cory Pelizzari

(Solonoid Studio)
Thanks for elaborating. Lol, sighs. If only it would be easy to pick out one library over the other. They each have unique things offered or done differently. In these versus and comparisons threads, there is never really a clear winner or one that is overwhelmingly praised. It always comes back to the pros and cons of each library, how they can complement each other.....and most likely to get them all if you are looking to get the variety of versatile sounds for your virtual orchestra.
One over the other? Do what I do - sell everything you own except your computer, buy everything, and get 3 new 8TB HDDs for your computer.
 

Saxer

Senior Member
The difference for me looks like this:
Afflatus: You load a patch... oh, sounds nice! You play, you record it, done.
Berlin: Having a plan, I want to play this! Looking for the needed patches, starting to work until it sounds like you planned it. Takes time to fullfill your plans but you will get there rather close.

Mocking up a score: Berlin.
Let you take somewhere by the sound: Afflatus.
 
OP
S

Soundhound

Senior Member
And this was my understanding too but good to have a few people confirm that I am on the right track. I know what I should do if I go ahead now. Thanks to OP for starting the thread I hope you got as much out of it as I did.
I have indeed, and you've been really great guiding it toward the info I need. I think I'm in the market for cream and maraschinos as well. A little caramel would not be unwelcome. :)


Written without harshness :) Can we be real that the only reason one would consider these 2 libraries as competitors is that they're both very temporarily on sale and there's an urgency that "the deal will slip away" by next week? In every other sense, these products are miles apart in what they aim to do. Take a step back, decide what you really are lacking in your template, and then get the matching product, regardless of if it's the best available BlackFriday deal.

I think you've got lots of great strings already, the only thing you might be needing (if "css2" meant CS2) is a very dry and close recorded library. Afflatus seems better in that regard. But buying that library - regardless of how on sale/intro priced it is - is buying a lot of stuff you may not need, like all the ensemble patches mixed with woodwinds or ethnic instruments.
Very wise and much appreciated! I'm afraid this is being spurred by the sales prices, and as such focusing on what my arsenal needs is all important. I don't do mockups, but have had any number of jobs that needed straight ahead classical string elements in them. I've always been able to get a pleasing result with CS, CS2 (that is what I meant, thanks!) the spitfire chamber, symphonic and some others. And for the most part, the work I've been getting really doesn't need that, it's been more for my interest in learning more about proper orchestration when I have the time, which is less than I'd like... I just always meant to get the Berlin Strings when the opportunity arose since so many people seem to look to it as their bread and butter.

But the Afflatus sound is curling my toes like McCartney's bass playing, and when I'm writing there's nothing quite like having an inspiring sound to get to ideas more quickly.

I imagine that Afflatus will be useful in fewer projects than Berlin, but for my purposes my guess is I'd get more out of it.

Thanks all for the informative discussion. Now to summon the courage to spend that much $ on yet another string library. A good single malt is often useful at times like these...
 
OP
S

Soundhound

Senior Member
You were typing that as I was typing mine. If I wasn't such a motor mouth I'd have beaten you to the punch. :)


The difference for me looks like this:
Afflatus: You load a patch... oh, sounds nice! You play, you record it, done.
Berlin: Having a plan, I want to play this! Looking for the needed patches, starting to work until it sounds like you planned it. Takes time to fullfill your plans but you will get there rather close.

Mocking up a score: Berlin.
Let you take somewhere by the sound: Afflatus.
 
This is slightly OT but very much relevant.

I was attracted to the tone of both Afflatus and Arva (Strezov's Children's Choir), and I still am. As Arva is a smaller investment, I went ahead with the purchase this past weekend to get a sense of the quality of Strezov's products.

The tone of Arva is gorgeous (probably the best in the market), but I cannot say the same regarding its "technical" aspect:

1. Many of the "mmm/aah/ooh" legatos are poorly looped, to the point that they almost seem to be intentional (for whatever the reason are).
2. The positioning of the Sopranos and Altos are not asymmetrically panned, but heavily panned to left.
3. The so-called "bonus" soloists patches are really sub-par in terms of quality. There are no mic positions, and with fewer syllable options than the rest of the library.

The fact that Arva has been updated fairly recently, i.e. Mar 2018, is also alarming (at least for me), with so many issues "hanging" so to speak.

Now I wonder whether the quality of Arva might reflect the same standard of excellence of Afflatus. I want to take the plunge too, but after the purchase of Arva, I've become even less certain.

Maybe someone could chime in to help me/us make better/fairer judgement, as I am worried that Afflatus might suffer from similar issues, not only because they are produced by the same developer, but also share a similar engine.
 
Last edited:

Cory Pelizzari

(Solonoid Studio)
This is slightly OT but very much relevant.

I was attracted to the tone of both Afflatus and Arva (Strezov's Children's Choir), and I still am. As Arva is a smaller investment, I went ahead with the purchase this past weekend to get a sense of the quality of Strezov's products.

The tone of Arva is gorgeous (probably the best in the market), but I cannot say the same regarding its "technical" aspect:

1. Many of the "mmm/aah/ooh" legatos are poorly looped, to the point that they almost seem to be intentional (for whatever the reason are).
2. The positioning of the Sopranos and Altos are not asymmetrically panned, but heavily panned to left.
3. The so-called "bonus" soloists patches are really sub-par in terms of quality. There are no mic positions, and with fewer syllable options than the rest of the library.

The fact that Arva has been updated fairly recently, i.e. Mar 2018, is also alarming (at least for me), with so many issues "hanging" so to speak.

Now I wonder whether the quality of Arva might reflect the same standard of excellence of Afflatus. I want to take the plunge too, but after the purchase of Arva, I've become even less certain.

Maybe someone could chime in to help me/us make better/fairer judgement, as I am worried that Afflatus might suffer from similar issues, not only because they are produced by the same developer, but also share a similar engine.
They've done a much better job with this library. Choir libraries in general are tricky things to nail, along with woodwinds and brass. I'd consider Afflatus a new era in Strezov Sampling.
 

Strezov

Active Member
This is slightly OT but very much relevant.

I was attracted to the tone of both Afflatus and Arva (Strezov's Children's Choir), and I still am. As Arva is a smaller investment, I went ahead with the purchase this past weekend to get a sense of the quality of Strezov's products.

The tone of Arva is gorgeous (probably the best in the market), but I cannot say the same regarding its "technical" aspect:

1. Many of the "mmm/aah/ooh" legatos are poorly looped, to the point that they almost seem to be intentional (for whatever the reason are).
2. The positioning of the Sopranos and Altos are not asymmetrically panned, but heavily panned to left.
3. The so-called "bonus" soloists patches are really sub-par in terms of quality. There are no mic positions, and with fewer syllable options than the rest of the library.

The fact that Arva has been updated fairly recently, i.e. Mar 2018, is also alarming (at least for me), with so many issues "hanging" so to speak.

Now I wonder whether the quality of Arva might reflect the same standard of excellence of Afflatus. I want to take the plunge too, but after the purchase of Arva, I've become even less certain.

Maybe someone could chime in to help me/us make better/fairer judgement, as I am worried that Afflatus might suffer from similar issues, not only because they are produced by the same developer, but also share a similar engine.
Sorry for derailing the topic, but --- hi @mobileavatar , sorry to see that you're having issues with Árva! Please if you could do take a moment and send us an email to our support form with the problems and we'll work on those right after the Afflatus update. TBH we haven't received any suggestions for Arva so far (for instance a lot of people asked us for Wotan legatos) so any of these will be absolutely welcome. We have a spreadsheet printed out in the office with suggestions for the libraries and we're always trying to make them work (and some of these were great like the loop-sequence and batch edit features of Syllabuilder 3.5 - the 2018 software feature update). Recording Arva was the hardest thing we did in our company history - I think that sampling children is probably the worst thing one can do to oneself. Sorry for the offtopic!

P.S.
On the topic - I love Berlin Strings and use it, but to be honest the Arks take a much bigger part of my template (and I love the strings there!). I am not as talented as you lot here and I often need a timbral push to get ideas flowing. :)
 
On the topic - I love Berlin Strings and use it, but to be honest the Arks take a much bigger part of my template (and I love the strings there!). I am not as talented as you lot here and I often need a timbral push to get ideas flowing. :)
Thanks, George!!! I understand the challenges. I will definitely write to your team and hopefully would be able to find some workarounds.

Edit: And apologies. I should have written to your team first to sort out the issues first. Somehow I felt the urgency due to the Aflflatus offer expiration.
 
Last edited:

Vik

Scandi Member
Can we be real that the only reason one would consider these 2 libraries as competitors is that they're both very temporarily on sale and there's an urgency that "the deal will slip away" by next week?
You make sense as usual. Another reason one may see them as competitors is that they both sound good and that most people who want to invest in a new library couldn't afford one major investment like that in one go.
I usually don't buy stuff at BF sales and feel that I pretty much have what I need when it comes to string libraries, but Afflatus still caught my interest - since that library IMO belongs to a small group of libraries that stick out in terms of having an inspiring and believable tone which sticks out among the more than maybe 120 string libraries I'm aware of.
And - while I may not need presets with sax and strings layered, or piano and strings: with Afflatus I'd ignore that if I were in the market to buy a string library right now, because there are presets/samples I don't need in pretty much all the lins I have.
Chamber Strings and Berlin Strings have weak scripting especially in the legato area
Nevertheless, those two libraries are often mentioned by people who list legatos they are happy with. The legatos I had heard in Berlin Strings and SCS demos were a main reason I was interested in them, so - if Afflatus has better legatos than that, kudos to Strezov!
Maybe this focus on symphonic strings should be more on Berlin Strings Vs Spitfire Symphonic Strings since I think these two have more in common with each other? Which library would one recommend between Berlin Strings and Spitfire Symphonic Strings?
Between Berlin Strings and SSS, I'd clearly go for Berlin Strings. And to answer your question, I'd probably recommend Cinematic Studio Strings 'between' these two, since I have these libraries. Maybe Afflatus could be seen as being as somehow between these two as well - although from what I've heard so far, Afflatus looks more like a potential LASS3 competitor to me, with it's tone, auto-divisi and polyphonic legato. Maybe it's not as bread and butter as some of the major libraries out there (no portamento, and I don't know if it has a separate vibrato control.... anyone?), but sometimes tone and inspiration is what matters the most. And good legatos.
 

cola2410

Member
P.S.
On the topic - I love Berlin Strings and use it, but to be honest the Arks take a much bigger part of my template (and I love the strings there!). I am not as talented as you lot here and I often need a timbral push to get ideas flowing. :)
Hi George, I would second that completely - Arks are more valuable as inspiring tools and Afflatus goes well beyond that though I'm judging by the demos only! In my experience I had one request to do a medieval, game-of-throne-ish cue. With Berlin it would require three main libs at least (strings, brass and perc) apart from fx although only a couple of patches from each will be used. So no wonder I got Ark1 and a bit of extra perc (I had no Ark3 at that time) and job's done. I also own both Inspires and I would say they somehow concentrate the best-of-the-best (or most commonly used) patches in them. Don't forget that OT also extend Arks by multis following ProjectSam approach. Honestly speaking, I don't hear that much traditional orchestral work in scoring for movies apart from what Desplat and Marianelli do and I fully support George's approach to making a string library. All we are supposed to do is illustrate what's going on there on the silver screen and the list of emotions and expressions is not large.

Legatos, this is what people do take care about when talking strings. I'm not sure why very few here previously expressed what is most important for strings - writing lines and melodies. I remember Junkie XL said in one of his videos but not here. Strings is all about lines, not chords, and simple reason for that is people remember them (lines), they memorize them and this is what typically differentiates your score. I'm not sure how other people approach that but I do care about the melody even in a small part of the score. Pizz, spicc, marc, thrills - all these are supplementary and make absolutely no sense if there is no legato. Again, I support George in making this a priority whatever it takes.

Vibrato - and here is no consensus unfortunately. I was struggling with the common perception that vibrato should be in strings no matter what calling them soaring and generally people accept even molto vibrato very well. But I like to have different styles in my palette so I need different vibrato styles. SF folks tried to encapsulate them in x-fade and it sounds meh. On the other hand, I'm perfectly fine having different vibrato style patches like George did starting from almost no vibrato. And my suggestion for making controllable vibrato is explore the way Embertone tried to do that using LFOs but model LFO shape after real string player and mix several types with randomization and speeds along with some distortion made by harder bowing to simulate different people playing differently.

And combinations - I have expressed the opinion here several times about making the most commonly used combinations in scoring, already mixed and positioned. With polylegato it would even become possible for different sections of the orchestra. Start from Spectrotone as more traditional, through Hermann beauties and further to Johannsonn, Part and others.

George, please continue making other parts of Afflatus the way you started. Thank you.
 
Last edited:
I got a reply from Strezov Sampling two days ago:
"we would be able to work on those and polish them for a smoother looping. We'll include that in the next patch of the library."

While I very much appreciate their attitude, I wonder how such poor loops got released in the first place for a pro-level library. For the rest of the problems regarding lopsided image and limited range, they simply said that was how the samples are recorded.

Then I went on to ask as Afflatus shares certain features of the same engine, would Afflatus exhibit similar issues? I got no further reply.

I understand Afflatus might mark a new era at Strezov Sampling, but Árva is relatively new also...
I wanted to take the plunge to purchase Afflatus, but after the reply I got and the experience I have with Árva, guess I need to think harder.

I could imagine how inspiring Afflatus could be, but if there are similar quirks to their children's choir lib, Afflatus could be equally "discouraging" for the creative process. And if Strezov's team acknowledges the issues with Árva, how come the library is still sold at such premium price (esp. when there is unlikely any planned fix/upgrade in the foreseeable future)???
 

HBen

Active Member
I got a reply from Strezov Sampling two days ago:
"we would be able to work on those and polish them for a smoother looping. We'll include that in the next patch of the library."

While I very much appreciate their attitude, I wonder how such poor loops got released in the first place for a pro-level library. For the rest of the problems regarding lopsided image and limited range, they simply said that was how the samples are recorded.

Then I went on to ask as Afflatus shares certain features of the same engine, would Afflatus exhibit similar issues? I got no further reply.

I understand Afflatus might mark a new era at Strezov Sampling, but Árva is relatively new also...
I wanted to take the plunge to purchase Afflatus, but after the reply I got and the experience I have with Árva, guess I need to think harder.

I could imagine how inspiring Afflatus could be, but if there are similar quirks to their children's choir lib, Afflatus could be equally "discouraging" for the creative process. And if Strezov's team acknowledges the issues with Árva, how come the library is still sold at such premium price (esp. when there is unlikely any planned fix/upgrade in the foreseeable future)???
Well, at least they are doing some issue and content updates, that is way better than Synchron Strings 1, nothing to be updated. After my experience with VSL, I found the rest of these library developers are more lovely to get along with.
 
Top Bottom