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Best Strings for Fast Playable Runs?

In your opinion, what sample library has the most convincing patch for fast, playable runs? I know Orchestral String Runs is a good designer, but I was wondering if there was a decent patch that didn't require too much configuration.



Senior Member
OSR has run patches? 2 types iirc.

I've experimented with Berlin strings and think that's what I'll end up using.

4 way crossfade, detuned articulations.

have an example of a run you're trying to replicate?

Paul Cardon

Ninja Otter Music
It's not the BEST at runs, but I've thoroughly enjoyed using Spitfire Chamber Strings' Performance Legato patches for fast playable passages and runs when I need to transition between quick moments, runs included, into longer sustains without piecing together multiple libraries/patches. Plus there's dedicated runs legato outside of the Performance Legato patch (in the similarly named "Legato performance" patch) that does a better job with the "blur" inherent in runs.


Senior Member
I can recommend Orchestral Tools String Runs (OSR) and Spitfire Chamber Strings (SCS).

The cool thing about OSR are the pre-recorded figures you can combine plus playable run patches+marcatos = really nice results possible.

Here is an example where I‘ve used SCS in a pop/electronic track.

Fast forward to 2:40 we liked the results in that context and kept the samples.


Active Member
Also, after you find an agile legato or runs patch you like from any library, try layering it with a solo or first-chairs library and add some intentional squeeze/stretch/shift/inconsistency of note timings in the middle of the runs. This will add quite a lot of realism. The problem is that any scripted runs patch would only emulate 2 notes overlaping during each legato transition - but real string runs will end up with 3 or even 4 notes blurring overlapped at the same time because of individual instruments being inaccurate in an ensemble playing something very fast.

Scripting that many notes overlapping would either add a lot of latency that kills playability or would need to magically predict future notes that will be played. Instead it's easy enough to emulate more overlapping with layered solo strings on top of a patch you like.

To the extreme, I suspect dimension strings would do the best because it's possible to control the MIDI of each instrument separately. But I personally haven't yet tried doing runs like that with Dimension strings.

Peter Stallo

I got OSR, so now have to figure out how to use it. I didn't even think about layering a couple of patches--that's a good idea, too.


Prerecorded run libraries are a separate thing, but if you want a truly playable string VI for shorts, the VSL performance trill legato patches for chamber and solo strings are both very good, IMO.


New Member
How would users compare the playable string runs patch in OSR with CSS's marcato patch? Is one more convincing than the other for string runs?

I like music

Senior Member
Hard to beat the Playable Runs choices in the Effects folders of Hollywood Strings. I like to mix the Slur Runs with the Spiccato Runs.
These are delicious. I used to ignore half the folders for HWS, until I chanced upon the Playable Runs folder. Between HWS, OSR, and CSS, I should theoretically be able to make great runs.


Senior Member
Are you talking about the playable patches? Need to look at those again.

the problem is that the playable transitions of OSR have the blur/intonation issues of actual runs, while the marcato patch from CSS lacks much of the a.) transition and b.) the pitch is too perfect so it just sounds like midi.

The other major thing is that OSR has like an entire dynamic layer above CSS marcato legato. The mod wheel all the way up on CSS sounds like OSR half way... and since runs are generally speaking an entirely dynamic element(often times used as essentially a tonal crescendo to a target note) Having the extra umph that's not just a volume increase, but literally harder bowing - gives you more options.

this is some torture testing - leaving the mod wheel up CSS(2nd pass) and OSR at 50% mod wheel(first pass)

normally you would hopefully be using the mod wheel, but that's the most fair comparison, considering I can achieve a similar timbre with both.

Also, something I like about OSR - is that I can have dynamics set to velocity(which is something I like when doing runs, since I usually like to use 2 hands.

OSR also has a spiccato transition patch as well.



Senior Member
alternatively, this is me tossing one of those "run" type xy crossfade patches for berlin strings.

for the sake of time(and controllers) I used velocity on all 4 articulations, and used my 2 main ccs as blending between shorts vs longs, and between the marcato FFF and staccato blurred, as well as the sustain imm and sustain blurred. I also only used legato transitions on the blurred, so I have some overlap occurring with a non-legato patch.

I completely played this in live, but normally what I'd likely do - is set up each run with just modwheel/notes in live - then loop it to control the 2d xfade, then find the "sweet spot" for that phrase and record it in(probably moving the CC's in general to make it feel more alive)

Further more, I could combine 4 completely different articulations to suit the phrase, be it switching the marcato FFF for spiccato exposed, and staccato blurred with spiccato blurred - switching sustain imm with Sul Pont Imm and Sus Accented or Sul Tasto portato long. ect. Switching each individual long articulations to different legato transitions and blending(maybe the blurred has all 3 legatos one speed slower than the non blurred sustain) so I can add the right about of blurr/transition/intonation.

likewise, you can control the attack on these samples - so you could soften the shorts transition to the point that it's less of a precise note start.

using the same midi with the marcato legato patch(I dialed the reverb up on CSS here to give a similiar ambience) a few things become extremely apparent. Too perfect, and the lack of round robins is very obvious - compared to berlin strings - which has multiple samples being blended together(thus different RR numbers, so they don't line up the same basically ever) and feels much less sterile because of it.

edit: and ignore the "CCC version" title, it's CSS, not sure why I accidently named it CCC.


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