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Comparing Solo Violins

MitchellMiller

New Member
Hi all,

I'm looking to pick up one of the following VIs for a solo violin. Haven't seen a discussion comparing these three, so I'd like to hear your thoughts! Which out of these three has the most value right now, and has the most variety for different styles? Would like something that covers most of the bases, not just something that specializes in ultra vibrato for example.

1. Joshua Bell Solo Violin
2. Virharmonic Bohemian Violin
3. NI Stradivari Violin (Pretty new, looks/sounds great from what I've heard so far! Made by e-instruments though, which I've never had good impressions from.)
 

Bman70

Senior Member
What about Friedlander violin? I would say it falls somewhere between JB and NI, but depending on your needs could be a contender.
 
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MitchellMiller

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Appreciate the suggestions, but I'm mainly considering the three products I mentioned in my post. If you have experience with those and something else that you'd suggest due to your experience with those three products, would love to hear that. Don't want to go too off topic already and bring several other sample libraries into question though before those three have been addressed.
 

VMC

New Member
Hey Mitchell!

I didn’t like the tone of Friedlander Violin. I never used Joshua Bell Violin nor Stradivari it’s quite new right? Yea I never liked e-Instruments as well. They have instruments in collaboration with Ableton too.

Have you looked at the Nocturne series from Orchestral Tools?

I don’t personally have those but they’re so damn good.

Here’s the link if you want to check:

Nocturnal Violin

VMC
 

ism

Senior Member
- Joshua Bell has *much* better tone that NI - largely because it doesn't do phase alignment and it has real (recorded) vibrato. But this also means that you have much more limited dynamics on the JB. (Though maybe also because of Joshua's performance, and the acoustic of the studio etc).

Conversely because of the phase alignment the NI lets you craft the dynamics of your arcs to a much greater degree. JB has 4 dynamics layers an long and short recorded de/crescendos, so it's not that you don't have wonderful dynamics in the timbre. But in general, once you play a note at a given dynamic, you can change the volume a bit, but you can't change the timbre until you play a new note (or rebow).

- NI uses simulated vibrato. It's kind of ok, but it doesn't sound remotely as good as the JB. The JB actually has a recorded non-vibrato and progressive vibrato. The JB also has simulated vibrato, so if you need the flexibly of the simulated vibrato it's there, and it's as good as the NI vibrato. But the recorded JB vibrato is vastly, vastly better. It depends how much fake vibrato bothers you.

So the big difference between these two is that NI gives you a lot more expressive flexibility via phase alignment and simulated vibrato, but at significant cost to the tone. JB preserves the pristine tone of Joshua's performance at all costs, which comes at a certain cost of flexibility in the dynamics (though it actually has more flexibility in the vibrato )


- In contrast, the Bohemian records *all* dynamics and vibrato. So you have only a little control over the arcs of the vibrato and dynamics, but it always sounds pristine. Especially for languorous slow evolving dynamic/progressive vibrato arcs, this is unbeatable. But this approach makes it very hard to, for instance, coordinate with other instruments in that you have almost no control over the speed of the progressive vibrato, or the shape of the dynamic arcs. That said, if you're able to write the rest of your composition around the (pre-recorded) shape of these arcs, there really wonderful and expressive-sounding arcs.


So basically, all 3 three instruments are best in class, but they make significantly different design choices that trade off sound quality vs. expressiveness and flexibility.



- If you're looking for something that makes design decision sitting between these extremes, I find Spitfire Solo Strings hits a certain sweet spot between uncompromising tone quality and as much expressiveness as possible without sacrificing tone quality (at the expense of other limitations):


 
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MitchellMiller

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- Joshua Bell has *much* better tone that NI - largely because it doesn't do phase alignment and it has real (recorded) vibrato. But this also means that you have much more limited dynamics on the JB. (Though maybe also because of Joshua's performance, and the acoustic of the studio etc).

Conversely because of the phase alignment the NI lets you craft the dynamics of your arcs to a much greater degree. JB has 4 dynamics layers an long and short recorded de/crescendos, so it's not that you don't have wonderful dynamics in the timbre. But in general, once you play a note at a given dynamic, you can change the volume a bit, but you can't change the timbre until you play a new note (or rebow).

- NI uses simulated vibrato. It's kind of ok, but it doesn't sound remotely as good as the JB. The JB actually has a recorded non-vibrato and progressive vibrato. The JB also has simulated vibrato, so if you need the flexibly of the simulated vibrato it's there, and it's as good as the NI vibrato. But the recorded JB vibrato is vastly, vastly better. It depends how much fake vibrato bothers you.

So the big difference between these two is that NI gives you a lot more expressive flexibility via phase alignment and simulated vibrato, but at significant cost to the tone. JB preserves the pristine tone of Joshua's performance at all costs, which comes at a certain cost of flexibility in the dynamics (though it actually has more flexibility in the vibrato )


- In contrast, the Bohemian records *all* dynamics and vibrato. So you have only a little control over the arcs of the vibrato and dynamics, but it always sounds pristine. Especially for languorous slow evolving dynamic/progressive vibrato arcs, this is unbeatable. But this approach makes it very hard to, for instance, coordinate with other instruments in that you have almost no control over the speed of the progressive vibrato, or the shape of the dynamic arcs. That said, if you're able to write the rest of your composition around the (pre-recorded) shape of these arcs, there really wonderful and expressive-sounding arcs.


So basically, all 3 three instruments are best in class, but they make significantly different design choices that trade off sound quality vs. expressiveness and flexibility.



- If you're looking for something that makes design decision sitting between these extremes, I find Spitfire Solo Strings hits a certain sweet spot between uncompromising tone quality and as much expressiveness as possible without sacrificing tone quality (at the expense of other limitations):




Thank you so much for your input of the three instruments, and for adding in SSS at the end there. The way you explained everything makes perfect sense. I guess I need to decide if I want something that has more flexibility for mocking something up before sending it to someone to actually record it, or something that has precise realism at the expense of flexibility.

Really appreciate the time you took in explaining that out!
 

ism

Senior Member
Thank you so much for your input of the three instruments, and for adding in SSS at the end there. The way you explained everything makes perfect sense. I guess I need to decide if I want something that has more flexibility for mocking something up before sending it to someone to actually record it, or something that has precise realism at the expense of flexibility.

Really appreciate the time you took in explaining that out!

As per this diagram, safest thing is to just buy them all:

35137D2E-5ADE-4D63-B50D-BCFF5A457A92.jpeg
 

Ashermusic

Senior Member
I have to say that while it is nice, the Joshua Bell doesn't sound like the tone of Joshua Bell that I hear on recordings.
 
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