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Best Solo Cello?

pderbidge

Senior Member
For lyrical lines I've gotten great results from LASS FC Cello as well as Tina Guo.
I went looking for a more versatile Cello and at the time Emotional Cello was on sale. The only problem is I think I'm the only person on this forum who thought the legato in the examples sounded too much like fake midi cellos of the past. Yes, it has a nice tone but there just seemed to be too much, to my ears, that gave it away as a fake cello. Nevertheless, there were so many people, whose musical works I admired, that love this cello so I decided to go for it. I usually never go against my own ears no matter how well loved a particular VI is by the community, but this time with so many great composers on this forum vouching for it, I went for it. After noodling with it, I was saddened by the fact that it sounded just like I heard it sound in the demos. The point is, if you like the sound of the demos then go for it, but if not, then don't because it does indeed behave the way it sounds in the demos. I did persevere though and opened it up again more recently and I believe I found a legato patch that I quite liked but I can't remember the name of the patch. There are also are a ton of other useful articulations in Emotional Cello that it will still get used. The Emotional Violin on the other hand sounds great to me and I was able to get the cross grade pricing on during the current Best Service sale.
After some disappointment with Emotional Cello, I decided to pick up Tina Guo Vol 2 on sale and I prefer the legato in it over Emotional Cello, although I wish it had multiple legato options like you get with LASS FC. Also Vol 2 could use just a hair more vibrato to give it a bit more life therefore it's not going to have that same warmth that other Cello libraries do due to sounding a little bit unemotional at times that a little more vibrato would have remedied.
So I'm still on the hunt and it will probably be Chris Hein Cello. Everything I've listened to sounds really nice and in traditional Chris Hein style it seems very flexible. I would also consider Audiomodelings Cello, however there is this certain buzzing in the sound that I don't like. Other than that it sounds really nice and is really flexible as well. If it weren't for the buzzing I hear I would have picked it up already given it's price. I'm still on the fence over Embertone's Blakus as well. I have the other two so I should complete my bundle some day. Honestly, if someone offered me my choice of the lot as a gift there's no doubt I think Chris Hein would be my first pick for Cello.

One more to mention is the Cello in Macabre Solo Strings. It sounds really nice and you also get Violin and Viola with it. Only for legato lines but sounds like it excels at that. I don't own this one but I'm considering it.
 
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ism

Senior Member
The only problem is I think I'm the only person on this forum who thought the legato in the examples sounded too much like fake midi cellos of the past. Yes, it has a nice tone but there just seemed to be too much, to my ears, that gave it away as a fake cello.
My theory is that there's a perceptual element to it. If you compare, say, Spitfire vs Chris Hein or Emotional, you have basically two extremes,

Spitfire: "Uncompromising sonority with as much expressiveness as possible without compromising the sonority"

CH: "Uncompromising expressiveness with as much sonority as possible without compromising the expressiveness"

The spitfire approach naturally has a certain artifacts in the form of bumpiness when transitioning between dynamic layers and vibrato vs non vibrato, which impacts the expressiveness.

Whereas the Chris Hein approach uses sophisticated techniques like phase alignment to avoid this bumpiness and maintain pristine expressiveness. Instead you get artifacts that impact the sound quality.


And this is my experience listening to anything by CH and Emotional Cello - sublimely beautiful one minute, then suddenly a kind of "synthyness" in the sound quality coming from an underlying modelling technique. For me this just breaks the illusion, and is the only reason I haven't yet picked up these instruments. (Though there's still lots I love about them)

I can certainly hear the artifacts of the underly sampling techniques in the spitfire instrument, but they just don't bother me in the same way. They don't seem break the emotional illusion of listening to a cello, even if I know perfectly well intellectually that I'm hearing a few unrealistic artifacts in a line. I also think that they wash out more easily in context.

Many people seem to experience the exact opposite though. And I don't doubt their experience at all, which why I think there's something going on here at a fairly deep perceptual level.

As, I think it was Dumbledore who said: "Of course it's happening in your head Harry, but that doesn't mean it's not a real cello".
 
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ChrisSiuMusic

Senior Member
My preference has always been Tina Guo Legato and V2, but then again I haven’t written music needing other styles of cello. For what it does, Tina’s libraries work very well.
 

stfciu

Active Member
My theory is that there's a perceptual element to it. If you compare, say, Spitfire vs Chris Hein or Emotional, you have basically two extremes,

Spitfire: "Uncompromising sonority with as much expressiveness as possible without compromising the sonority"

CH: "Uncompromising expressiveness with as much sonority as possible without compromising the expressiveness"

The spitfire approach naturally has a certain artifacts in the form of bumpiness when transitioning between dynamic layers and vibrato vs non vibrato, which impacts the expressiveness.

Whereas the Chris Hein approach uses sophisticated techniques like phase alignment to avoid this bumpiness and maintain pristine expressiveness. Instead you get artifacts that impact the sound quality.


And this is my experience listening to anything by CH and Emotional Cello - sublimes beautiful one minute, then suddenly a kind of "synthyness" in the sound quality coming from an underlying modelling technique. For me this just breaks the illusion, and is the only reason I haven't yet picked up these instruments. (Though there's still lots I love about them)

I can certainly hear the artifacts of the underly sampling techniques in the spitfire instrument, but they just don't bother me in the same way. They don't seem break the emotional illusion of listening to a cello, even if I know perfectly well intellectually that I'm hearing a few unrealistic artifacts in a line. I also think that they wash out more easily in context.

Many people seem to experience the exact opposite though. And I don't doubt their experience at all, which why I think there's something going on here at a fairly deep perceptual level.

As, I think it was Dumbledore who said: "Of course it's happening in your head Harry, but that doesn't mean it's not a real cello".
For lyrical lines I've gotten great results from LASS FC Cello as well as Tina Guo.
I went looking for a more versatile Cello and at the time Emotional Cello was on sale. The only problem is I think I'm the only person on this forum who thought the legato in the examples sounded too much like fake midi cellos of the past. Yes, it has a nice tone but there just seemed to be too much, to my ears, that gave it away as a fake cello. Nevertheless, there were so many people, whose musical works I admired, that love this cello so I decided to go for it. I usually never go against my own ears no matter how well loved a particular VI is by the community, but this time with so many great composers on this forum vouching for it, I went for it. After noodling with it, I was saddened by the fact that it sounded just like I heard it sound in the demos. The point is, if you like the sound of the demos then go for it, but if not, then don't because it does indeed behave the way it sounds in the demos. I did persevere though and opened it up again more recently and I believe I found a legato patch that I quite liked but I can't remember the name of the patch. There are also are a ton of other useful articulations in Emotional Cello that it will still get used. The Emotional Violin on the other hand sounds great to me and I was able to get the cross grade pricing on during the current Best Service sale.
After some disappointment with Emotional Cello, I decided to pick up Tina Guo Vol 2 on sale and I prefer the legato in it over Emotional Cello, although I wish it had multiple legato options like you get with LASS FC. Also Vol 2 could use just a hair more vibrato to give it a bit more life therefore it's not going to have that same warmth that other Cello libraries do due to sounding a little bit unemotional at times that a little more vibrato would have remedied.
So I'm still on the hunt and it will probably be Chris Hein Cello. Everything I've listened to sounds really nice and in traditional Chris Hein style it seems very flexible. I would also consider Audiomodelings Cello, however there is this certain buzzing in the sound that I don't like. Other than that it sounds really nice and is really flexible as well. If it weren't for the buzzing I hear I would have picked it up already given it's price. I'm still on the fence over Embertone's Blakus as well. I have the other two so I should complete my bundle some day. Honestly, if someone offered me my choice of the lot as a gift there's no doubt I think Chris Hein would be my first pick for Cello.

One more to mention is the Cello in Macabre Solo Strings. It sounds really nice and you also get Violin and Viola with it. Only for legato lines but sounds like it excels at that. I don't own this one but I'm considering it.
To be honest I am happy it is not only me that hear that things in emotional cello and I had exactly the same feelings.

However as @pderbidge mentioned the emotional violin seems much better. I would really love to see update on the cello that would receive similar approach. Then it might be perfect.

But I do agree how @ism describes it. For this teritory (expressiveness) I still think emotional cello does it best along maybe with chris hein which I don't own to confirm this.

I don't regret my purchase anyway. I still think this is one of the best.

It is interesting what have been said about cinematic studio solo strings though as they would be my next choice. Now I have to take a closer look on spitfire solo strings till my wishlist cart is still on ;)
 

Przemek K.

Senior Member
I'd say there is no best but only whats best for a specific piece of music you are aiming for.
You want beautyful slow emotional lines, get Cinesamples Tina Guo Cello legato, maybe Virharmonic Bohemian Cello, You want to go for faster yet expressive stuff with tons of articulations, go for Chris Hein Solo Cello (you get actually 4 different Cellos in one lib) or Emotional Cello from Harmonic Subtones. It really depends on the type of music aou write, but also what features you need to suit your workflow. And personal taste of course, which is..well a personal matter I guess.
 

MichaelVakili

New Member
Besides the Tina Guo - Blakus Cello /Embertone /,Nocturne cello /Orchestral Tools/ and Emotional Cello /Best Service/ are all great cello libraries.
 

VgsA

Active Member
As with other cello threads, I'm leaving here my official demo for Emotional Cello, I honestly think I wouldn't be able to pull this one off with any other virtual cello. But definitely, different tracks demand different cellos, at least IMO.
 

Pixelee

Active Member
Chris Hein and Virharmonic. Chris Hein has a lot of articulations, lots of possibilities. I quite like the British Cello tone.
 

wst3

my office these days
Moderator
What Przemek said - it depends!

I tend to start with either Tina Guo (either one) or Embertone Blakus Cello. But sometimes they are not exactly what I am looking for, so I'll turn to 8Dio, or VSL, or Spitfire, or sometimes (when I'm feeling especially masochistic) the Garritan Gofriller.

And "what I am looking for" could be as much playability as sound or available articulations.

I may be a little unsophisticated myself, but I do not find the lack of a proper cello (or anything) to be nearly as limiting as my own skills as a composer or user of virtual instruments.

If I had an unlimited budget I'd probably own more, but really, I'm in pretty good shape these days.

The problem, of course, is that it is impossible to audition all of them, so we are left to the mercy of user demos. I don't envy anyone just starting out!
 

nas

Active Member
Another voter for Virharmonic. It has a gorgeous sound and I think they really hit on something with the bowing control. It's easy to play out of the box and very expressive but when you start to gain more facility and fluency with the forced key switches, you can get even more control and detail.
 

TigerTheFrog

Amateur
Let me settle this once and for all with Brett Chen and Eddy Yang's TwoSet Violin video, "$1000 vs. $10,000,000 Violin." There are two things that come out of this video: first, a world-class musician like Benny Tseng can make any instrument sound good; and second, a world-class instrument can make any musician sound better.

I realize this is not a completely scientific test, but I trust Brett and Eddy.


So: Tina Guo has Gand & Bernadel Cello made in Paris in 1878. It costs a ton more $$$ than the other ones that were sampled for the other instruments, which as everybody knows, proves it is the best. To my untrained ears, the tone is yummily sonorous.

So the winner is Tina Guo, probably by a few hundred thousand bucks!! :dancer:

Also, as Brett and Eddy also show, some of you are better musicians than others, and could generate convincing and beautiful cello music with probably any cello VI, although more likely with Hein, because you really need to know your shit to manipulate all those freaking sliders.
 

ism

Senior Member
As with other cello threads, I'm leaving here my official demo for Emotional Cello, I honestly think I wouldn't be able to pull this one off with any other virtual cello. But definitely, different tracks demand different cellos, at least IMO.
Really superb expressiveness. And the thought of trying to get anywhere near this music space with anything other the EC or CH makes me shudder.
 

VgsA

Active Member
Really superb expressiveness. And the thought of trying to get anywhere near this music space with anything other the EC or CH makes me shudder.
Thank you! TBH, I've never tried @Chris Hein 's cellos, so I wouldn't know, but based on previous experiences with the woodwinds (official demo below), I think they could be really inspiring too!

 

chocobitz825

Senior Member
For emotional cello, I wonder if perhaps some saturation or distortion and maybe some room emulation might change the overly smooth parts that end up sounding synth...I haven’t gone back into it in a while, but it definitely is one that provides the most expressive playing options, at the expense of a truly sampled instrument’s sound.
 
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