Best cinematic strings libraries ( spitfire , cinematic studio strings, cinematic strings 2 )

darkneo57

Member
Hi,

I'm french, 34 yo, piano teacher, I am a beginner in computer music. I'm looking for the best strings libraries and also the easiest to use.
It would be to make rather epic / cinematic orchestral music( two steps from hells, video games music...)

Having subscribed to eastwest's composercloud, I find that hollywood strings is really way too much complicated, and that there are many problems, e.g the negative offset is different for different notes of the same partch, it's complicated to slur notes from a legato patch with notes from a sustain patch without having to tweak and spend a lot of time.
Since I'm new it's better for me to focus on making music rather than struggling with patches that are not at all intuitive. ( Composer cloud still very interesting for somebody who starts and owns nothing... )


From what I had seen on the internet spitfire symphonic orchesttra is one of the best libraries, very playable and having an incredible sound quality.I also heard that Cinematic studio strings is really good, a little less good than spitfire but very easy to use. Many people would prefer the old version, cinematic strings 2.

Thanks for your help and your precious advicesbecause it's real hassle with hollywood strings.
Sorry for my poor english.
 

TomaeusD

In Space
My advice would be to get Soaring Strings while it's still on sale (today is the last day) and then get Cinematic Studio Strings on Black Friday. The two make a killer combo - Soaring Strings has better dynamic range and doesn't sound as dark (though it is only legato and sustains, no other articulations), but CSS has more realistic legato and shorts than the other libraries to me. Otherwise I would just wait and get CSS on sale and start out with standard legato. That also allows you to get discounts on the other libraries like Cinematic Studio Brass and the upcoming woodwinds.
 

Consona

Senior Member
Just so you know, you get the discount on CSS, CSB, etc., even when having CS2.

It's really crucial what you want to make. If you aim at doing "epic/trailer-y" music than you basically need a legato/sustains/spiccati string library or some all in one library like Jeager or Metropolis Ark or Albion. Just wait for black friday.
 

Mike Fox

Senior Member
Trailer Strings
Soaring Strings

Get them both since they're on sale right now.

Century Strings from 8dio is also on sale. I don't have it, but people love it. Also on sale.
 
OP
darkneo57

darkneo57

Member
I wanted to say that I wanted to know the best libraries, but also the easiest to use. The best would be a compromise between quality and ease of use, I'm not afraid to spend time learning software, but Hollywood strings from Eastwest, it was really a hassle. Thank you for your answers.

From what I had seen on the internet spitfire symphonic orchesttra is one of the best libraries, very playable and having an incredible sound quality.I also heard that Cinematic studio strings is really good, a little less good than spitfire but very easy to use. Many people would prefer the old version, cinematic strings 2.
 

Markus Kohlprath

Active Member
Depending on how much you care about detail and performing musicians usually do, be prepared that it will more or less always be a hassle no matter what you get. If you are not willing to take the learning curve with hollywood strings it won’t get that much better I suppose. you might only end up purchasing one library after the other always hoping that it will sound better and be easier to use only to find out it might be better on one hand and worse on the other. So I would suggest to take the learning experience with HS. It’s excellent and the manual is a good resource to find out a bit about general midi composing. With the experience you make much better decisions in the future knowing what you really need. What do you tell your students if they say „I need a better piano. Mine takes to much practice of scales and all that bs. I‘d rather make some music...“ 😉
 

Jimmy Hellfire

Senior Member
From what I had seen on the internet spitfire symphonic orchesttra is one of the best libraries, very playable and having an incredible sound quality.I also heard that Cinematic studio strings is really good, a little less good than spitfire but very easy to use. Many people would prefer the old version, cinematic strings 2.
Not at all. I, for one, would consider Cinematic Studio Strings the superior library - better and cleaner editing and scripting, easier to work with, better legato, handles high tempi way better. But of course, others might prefer the SSS feel and workflow. What I'm trying to say is that the expectation that SSS must be better because, well, it's SF, is mistaken. At any rate, the two libraries don't sound very similar, and that's gonna be a subjective taste decision.
 

Sovereign

Senior Member
I also heard that Cinematic studio strings is really good, a little less good than spitfire but very easy to use. Many people would prefer the old version, cinematic strings 2.
No, Cinematic studio strings is superior in quality to anything Spitfire put out IMO. But as Jimmy above here wrote, they do sound differently. That is also the case when comparing Cinematic studio strings to Cinematic Strings 2. Different sound.
 

Eptesicus

Senior Member
My advice would be to get Soaring Strings while it's still on sale (today is the last day) and then get Cinematic Studio Strings on Black Friday. The two make a killer combo - Soaring Strings has better dynamic range and doesn't sound as dark (though it is only legato and sustains, no other articulations), but CSS has more realistic legato and shorts than the other libraries to me. Otherwise I would just wait and get CSS on sale and start out with standard legato. That also allows you to get discounts on the other libraries like Cinematic Studio Brass and the upcoming woodwinds.
I would agree with this. This is what i am using at the moment and its a good combo.

Soaring Strings' legato is good for layering in when CSS can't quite keep up or nail the passage you are writing quite right.

Soaring Strings probably has the most agile legato of any string library i have bought. It can actually do fast slurred/legato arpeggio type stuff, without sounding completely awful.
 
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Eptesicus

Senior Member
Depending on how much you care about detail and performing musicians usually do, be prepared that it will more or less always be a hassle no matter what you get. If you are not willing to take the learning curve with hollywood strings it won’t get that much better I suppose. you might only end up purchasing one library after the other always hoping that it will sound better and be easier to use only to find out it might be better on one hand and worse on the other. So I would suggest to take the learning experience with HS. It’s excellent and the manual is a good resource to find out a bit about general midi composing. With the experience you make much better decisions in the future knowing what you really need. What do you tell your students if they say „I need a better piano. Mine takes to much practice of scales and all that bs. I‘d rather make some music...“ 😉
To be fair, i have Hollywood strings diamond and it is what i was using for years. I agree that you can absolutely get good results, but PLAY makes it just such a faff to use compared to things like CSS.

Even after using it for years, it still annoys me!

It can also be burdensome on ones machine if you want the full patches with all the mics turned on. It eats ram like crazy.

As you say though, buying CSS/soaring isn't magically going to make the OP's music any better. It could make making that music a bit less time consuming and less frustrating though.
 

Wolfie2112

Senior Member
Having subscribed to eastwest's composercloud, I find that hollywood strings is really way too much complicated, and that there are many problems, e.g the negative offset is different for different notes of the same partch, it's complicated to slur notes from a legato patch with notes from a sustain patch without having to tweak and spend a lot of time.
Not sure what you are referring to with those issues. IMO, you already have the best for the type of music you describe. In fact, Two Steps From Hell has EW libraries all over it (it's Nick Phoenix' company). If you spend some time with Hollywood Strings (read the manual, etc), you'll get a lot out of it. I've been using Hollywood Strings since day one, and they still get used daily. My new "bread and butter" library is BBCSO, but it's not ideal for that big, epic sound.
 

porrasm

Member
If you're a beginner I wouldn't recommend mixing Spitfire symphonic strings with East West stuff. East West is pretty dry while Spitfire is super wet, you will have trouble mixing them together.

Maybe Cinematic Studio Strings? They're easy to use and are the most consistent library I've tried.
 

barteredbride

Hello and hola...a Brit in Spain
Sorry for my poor english.
Yes your english is really terrible !!!

(sarcasm!) :grin:

Have you looked at Orchestral Tools Metropolis Ark series? Specifically Ark 1?

You mention epic trailer music, but only talk about strings. Ark 1 has strings, brass, woodwind, 'epic percussion', a choir and i think even a piano.

It's built around ensemble sections and is very quick (you mentioned 'easy') to get those epic sounds.
 
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Michael Antrum

Only the good die young....
I think Cinematic Strings 2 is rather more 'epic than' Cinematic Studio Strings. Plus there is an upgrade path to CSS later. I do have to put a gate at the top end though as it can be a little more noisy than I would like. I've never really felt the need to upgrade it to CSS as well. I think CS2 is normally on a Black Friday sale too.

Just because it's a bit older doesn't mean its not as good. (At least that's what I keep telling my wife...)
 
I recently made a new template. You can easily mix different libraries if you use a good reverb. Lots of good reverbs out there. I use Spaces II and am finding its pretty efficient these days. I bought all the Metropolis ARK stuff and use that along with Hollywood Orchestra. Grest stuff. Metropolis samples are specialized and can’t cover everything, but they have some real magic in my opinion. It doesn’t take much to make them work together with the Hollywood stuff. After watching some enthusiastic videos, I also bought Spitfire Symphonic Strings. They sound great! and are nicely set up. Very different from the massive folders of Hollywood Orchestra programs. We will be cleaning that up soon. It needs it. I have to say one thing though. If you want to understand the difference between the Spitfire Symphonic Strings and other string libraries, I would say you should know that they don’t really Reach FF and the legato intervals are not very pronounced. Is there something I am missing? Its true Thomas and I created Hollywood Orchestra and use it on Two Steps From Hell, but we largely replace most things with live orchestra. The Hollywood samples are used to reinforce the epic sound, and we use other samples as well.
 

5Lives

Senior Member
They sound great! and are nicely set up. Very different from the massive folders of Hollywood Orchestra programs. We will be cleaning that up soon. It needs it.
This would be most welcome! If Play allowed for better articulation management and combination (like Capsule or CSS or even Spitfire), it would give a whole new life to HO! Thank you in advance!
 

MartinH.

Senior Member
Have you looked at Orchestral Tools Metropolis Ark series? Specifically Ark 1?

You mention epic trailer music, but only talk about strings. Ark 1 has strings, brass, woodwind, 'epic percussion', a choir and i think even a piano.

It's built around ensemble sections and is very quick (you mentioned 'easy') to get those epic sounds.
Imho you are overselling Ark1 and its contents. E.g. it only contains bassoons and contra bassoons, that is not "woodwinds" as in "the whole section". The piano isn't intended as a replacement for a fully sampled piano either. The string shorts have some timing inconsistencies and in general I'm not super in love with the strings and how they are split to just "low strings" and "high strings". Most likely gonna be buying something else at some point to replace the strings entirely.

It's still a good library that I don't regret purchasing, but it needs a long list of qualifiers imho to minimize the chance of someone being underwhelmed by it in the end.
 
OP
darkneo57

darkneo57

Member
Thank you all for your answers and advice and sorry for my late answer.

First of all, I wanted to tell you that although I am a beginner in computer music, I studied orchestration and music writing for several years at the conservatory. As for HS, although French, I took the time to translate the entire manual. I took the time to ask questions to the Eastwest support staff when I didn't understand something. I spent several months on it, a lot of time handling sounds, controlling C11 & C1.

I am someone who is not afraid of work and spending time, but despite all this there are many things that do not work well for me. Already, as mentioned above, there is an offset between the time when the note is played in the DAW and the time when the sound is produced. In addition, this offset is different if it is a V1 V2 viola Bass patch, and this offset may vary according to notes and articulations. It's really a pain to have to settle each note like that, so yes it's not real musicians playing, but there is a limit...

As for the articulations, it is impossible to slur a legato note with a sustain sound without having to create several tracks and tweak like a madman. If you let a legato note last, after a while there is a kind of break in the sound because the loop is of poor quality. As for the repeated notes, I had to create two tracks otherwise the artuclation is bad. In short, it is not normal that the notes are not on the beat and that it is necessary to tear out one's hair in order for the notes to articulate correctly. I have no doubt that the experience of several years is not negligible, but there is a limit. Sorry, but I have all my hatred for HS coming out all of a sudden.

Not knowing of any other library strings, I don't know what to expect. Do you have the same problems with SSO ,CSS, & CS2?

Several people in this thread told me that CSS is better than SSO. Is that really the case. I remember that when I checked out the Strings VIs, I saw a video on youtube where a person compared each patch from each library, and I found that spitfire still sounded better, which made me hesitate for my future purchase, because I had heard a lot of good from CSS.

Thank you a thousand times and have a great weekend.