Comparison between a few strings libraries - including BBC SO

cloudesky

New 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:

Nice test. Sounds like the pizzicato is missing from the CSS example.
 
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NoamL

Winter <3
These examples mostly have the same problem (not your fault) - they sound like fingered legato transitions when really you want a string-crossing same-bow transition. I don't think any of them were particularly "great" but SCS won imo with CSS a nose behind. Century Strings and BBCSO were my least favorites, BBCSO sounds clunky and poorly timed and Century Strings just does not have a good natural tone, sounds like it was recorded in an auditorium or something.
 

johjoh

New Member
@muk : great to share this kind or comparison. Wish we could have more of this !

I'm currently (it's almost midnight ...) considering BBCSO as one way to get a complete orchestra.
Currently own both SCS and VSL Dimension Strings.
So here I came, trying to get more "meat" for my decision.

TBH, I am a bit surprised by the examples ...

Not the SCS one - I agree with @NoamL that it "wins" this comparison, but the rather poor results with the other ones.
Soundwise, the CSS is nice, but I'm hearing a lot of dynamic inbalances.
Century Strings : "what are they waiting for ?"- attacks seems unrealistically slow
BBCSO : somehow, attacks are uneven, I also heard a glissando slipping in ???

To come back to my own "problem": is this typical of BBCSO, is it just a problem with the BBCSO strings, or maybe @muk has way more experience with the (programming of) articulations in SCS / CSS ??
 
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borisb2

Active Member
Light and Sound Chamber Strings:
Thanks for doing that. Great comparison.. I prefer LSCS as well for this piece - the tone maybe a bit harsh but very well balanced performance. HO in the other post I like second best.

The legato in BBC SO sounds like community-orchestra-rehearsal-late-evening-can-we-please-go-home .. just awful

... beautfiul orchestration with the woodwinds by the way .. very emotional and effective
 
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Mike T

Boring Member
This is a good passage to use as a "stress test" because it's one of those super simple things that most samples just can't handle. I don't truly like how *any* of them fare with it, but Light and Sound/BBCSO seem to have the most even, controlled sound.

Because few string libraries, if any, have subtle enough dynamics to breathe in the way this excerpt should without varying in dynamics too wildly, I think using expression for some gentle hairpins might add more life into them. The repeating legato transitions, well... this is why we need that sampled with at least a few round robins.
 
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muk

muk

Senior Member
is it just a problem with the BBCSO strings, or maybe @muk has way more experience with the (programming of) articulations in SCS / CSS ??
It was the very first mockup I ever did with BBCSO, so it is safe to say that I have way more experience with either CSS and SCS. That portamento in the BBCSO example, it is something you can control. So nothing to worry there. The legato is another matter. I think that legato programming might not be Spitfire's forte. In any case it is an area where BBCSO does not come close to the likes of CSS, for example.

... beautfiul orchestration with the woodwinds by the way .. very emotional and effective
Thank you Boris!

This is a good passage to use as a "stress test" because it's one of those super simple things that most samples just can't handle.
I agree. Such a simple thing as a repeating legato transition is really tough for many sample libaries.