Comparison between a few strings libraries - including BBC SO

muk

Senior Member
Hi everyone,

Having bought BBC SO I wanted to compare it with some other libraries I have. This the first few bars of Schubert's song 'Du bist die Ruh' that I orchestrated. It's the very first short mockup I made with BBC SO. I'm still making myself familiar with the library and setting up a template. I am not as familiar with it as with the other libraries I used in this comparison. Yet I like the result. The instruments blend very nicely and build a cohesive sounstage.

The woodwinds in all the examples are VSL woodwinds. Except in the BBCSO one of course. That example is purely BBC SO. No copy pasting of audio was done. Every string library was played in individually, and tweaked to make it sound as good as I could. Some are nice in my opinion (others less so...), but none has the coherent quality that I hear in BBCSO. It's still early. This test run is quite encouraging for me though.

Spitfire Chamber Strings:


Cinematic Studio Strings:


Century Strings:


Century Strings con sordino:


Light and Sound Chamber Strings:



BBCSO custom mix:


BBCSO Jake Jackson Mix 1:

 

RogiervG

ppp to fff thinker
the strings in bbc so sound lovely in nature. warm like in a concert.
second one i find nice, is the cinematic studio strings.

one note: the balance of bbc so woods is different compared to the vsl ones. maybe fix that, so it's more the same.
 

Zedcars

Klaatu barada nikto
The BBCSO certainly sounds the most “could have sworn I was sitting in front of a live orchestra” sound.

I only own the SCS and BBCSOP so it’s interesting for me to hear them all side by side.

Did you try blending the VSL woods with the BBCSO strings? I realise that defeats the object of buying the BBCSO (ie good internal blend) but I wonder if it’s easy or hard to mix with other libraries. I haven’t tried yet.

Thanks for taking the time to do this.
 
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Scamper

Sample Hooter
The sound of the BBCSO is really great with that big, yet dry room and all the sections fit together so nicely. I still prefer CSS/CSB for their control and musicality, but if they had the sound of BBCSO, that would be close to a perfect library.

What mics are you using with that custom mix?
 
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muk

muk

Senior Member
@RogiervG thanks, I agree about the sound of the BBCSO strings. It's my favourite in this example. After that I like Light and Sound and Century Strings con sordino, though the latter has some issues with the legato transitions.
Regarding balancing the woodwinds, that's a tough one. I did the VSL versions some time ago and probably don't have the project files anymore. And I like the current balance in the BBCSO version. But maybe I can tweak it a little more.

Thanks @Zedcars. I really like the concert hall orchestra sound of the BBCSO. No other library I have can quite pull that off.

I haven't tried blending yet, I've only just finished my BBCSO template. But I will certainly try. If it works I think that I will be using VSL woodwinds and Cinematic Studio Brass alongside of BBCSO, as the second players. The balance is very different in these examples, VSL sounds much closer and not in an actual room like BBCSO. I will have to try and see if I can get them to match a bit better.

Thanks @Scamper. I agree, the sound of BBCSO is really quite something. Love that about the library. I also agree that Cinematic Studio Strings are a breeze to work with. They sound lovely too. To my ears they have a very different sound that works for different contexts. I prefer BBCSO for concert hall style of music. CSS is fantastic for that highly romantic filmmusic with lots of vibrato. I think that I will be using both libraries a lot and choose depending on the context. Cinematic Studio Brass is awesome too. I'll see if I can integrate it in a template alongside of BBCSO.

What mics are you using with that custom mix?
It's a pretty wild mix of Close, Tree, Ambient, Stereo, Mids, Sides, Balcony, and Spills. On the strings I use a slightly different mix without the Mids, but the Ouriggers instead. Overall it's slightly drier than the Jake Jackson Mix 1. I was looking to create a live concert hall kind of sound. My modest pc can't handle the load of all the mics I am using, so I work with the Jake Jackson mix 1, and then bounce section by section with my custom mix.
 

miket

Senior Member
I know you've been weighing whether or not to get this for a while now. Glad it's turned out to be worth it for you!
 
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muk

muk

Senior Member
I know you've been weighing whether or not to get this for a while now. Glad it's turned out to be worth it for you!
Thank you Mike! It's too soon to form a definiere opinion, but first impressions are very good and I love the sound signature.
 

josejherring

Senior Member
BBCSO is definitely on the list for my sample purchases this year. In the meantime I'd thought I'd give my aging library a go at it to add another for comparison.

I did it by ear and I think I was like a 1/2 step off or something, but you'll get the gist.

Du bist die Ruh'

 

OleJoergensen

Senior Member
BBCSO is definitely on the list for my sample purchases this year. In the meantime I'd thought I'd give my aging library a go at it to add another for comparison.

I did it by ear and I think I was like a 1/2 step off or something, but you'll get the gist.

Du bist die Ruh'

It sounds good aswell! Which strings did you use?
 
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muk

muk

Senior Member
Sounds beautiful Jose. Quite a different sound from all the other examples. EWQLSO?
 
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josejherring

Senior Member
It's all HO except ww which are EWQLSO.

Edit: i just remembered I ended up switching to EWQLSO basses for the pizz. The HO basses just don't have that round low end.
 
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josejherring

Senior Member
BBC sounds good indeed, but I don't think I prefer it to SCS.
Personally I love the sound of BBCSO but for some reason I've never been fully convinced yet. The library doesn't hook up well to my ears. The tone is gorgeous but every demo I hear there are these huge gaps in the transitions, lack of RR for "legato' and sustain patches (not really a deal breaker because too many RR and your programming becomes too random). The room is gorgeous, the tone of the strings fantastic. The tone of the WW fantastic and the percussion seem pristine but something about it hasn't fully gelled to my ears. I'd like to be really wrong on that.

I may get BBSCO core shortly just to see if I'm wrong about that. I did hear one demo of a SW cue that did get me a little excited. But, I could hear the gaps yet still.

It's like that Lady Gaga song, "it's like a broken mirror, you can glue it back together but you can still see the cracks in the m*therf*ker. "

I've come to realize though that being part of the sample community for 15 years that my aesthetic tends to be way different than most people's so I'm still listening to a lot of BBCSO demos ect....

Mostly though I'm leaning towards specialty libraries these days rather than the all in one package type libraries. But, ideally I'd like to have HOOE when it comes out and BBCSO as my main libraries because they come closes to the sound I like.
 

StillLife

Senior Member
Personally I love the sound of BBCSO but for some reason I've never been fully convinced yet. The library doesn't hook up well to my ears. The tone is gorgeous but every demo I hear there are these huge gaps in the transitions, lack of RR for "legato' and sustain patches (not really a deal breaker because too many RR and your programming becomes too random). The room is gorgeous, the tone of the strings fantastic. The tone of the WW fantastic and the percussion seem pristine but something about it hasn't fully gelled to my ears. I'd like to be really wrong on that.

I may get BBSCO core shortly just to see if I'm wrong about that. I did hear one demo of a SW cue that did get me a little excited. But, I could hear the gaps yet still.

It's like that Lady Gaga song, "it's like a broken mirror, you can glue it back together but you can still see the cracks in the m*therf*ker. "

I've come to realize though that being part of the sample community for 15 years that my aesthetic tends to be way different than most people's so I'm still listening to a lot of BBCSO demos ect....

Mostly though I'm leaning towards specialty libraries these days rather than the all in one package type libraries. But, ideally I'd like to have HOOE when it comes out and BBCSO as my main libraries because they come closes to the sound I like.
I understand completely. I feel the same way. I doubted between the BBC core and completing the Studio Orchestra pro. And although the BBC is cheaper and even comes with percussion, its tone - though lovely - does not tickle me as much as that of the Studio Series.
 
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muk

muk

Senior Member
Interesting and cool how tastes differ here. For this short piece BBCSO is my favourite, just because of the gorgeous sound. Cinematic Studio Strings and Spitfire Chamber Strings I do not care for much here (though I love CSS for other things).

Jose, about the gaps in the legato transitions, I have a suspicion where this comes from. Some of the instruments have an 'extended legato' patch, where you can perform legato and shorts on the same patch. I think it's something that Andy Blaney programs if I'm not mistaken. For some instruments this patch is very good. For other instruments, the normal legato patch, which is hidden and not active by default, sounds much better to me. You have to be careful when programing and choose the right option.