Dry Library for intimate "character" strings (sound examples in post)

cairnan

New Member
Hey all,

I'm looking for a dry library for a close / 'noisy' sound - still clean, but intimate, with audible bow sound and a lot of character. I need to do ensemble work as well, so it can't be a 'Solo'-only library.

Here are two examples of what I'm looking for:


So far, my research leads me to think either Audiobro LASS or Spitfire Studio Strings Professional would be best for this kind of sound. Spitfire Chamber Strings is not a 'dry library', but perhaps it would also be suited to this?

Let me know which of these would be best for the examples I included, and why. If there's some other library entirely that would be even better suited, let me know that as well!

Thanks so much,

cairnan
 

Batrawi

Senior Member
I own LASS Full and the standard SStS (not Pro) which comes with the tree mic only. To me LASS sounds much more natural & raw with the bow noise you're looking for. Probably the close mics in SStS Pro may have this character but as far as I heard from the demos it still doesn't sound as woody and scratchy as LASS.

Edit: Oh and BTW, if you haven't done so already, then you must consider 8Dio's Intimate Strings which I also own. It's also a very good option for what you're looking
 

pderbidge

Senior Member
I don't know of an ensemble library that could pull off that violin solo in your first example. You might be able to get a way with a solo string library that can also pull off small ensembles like what you hear in your videos but not the other way around.

I own LASS and you're not likely to get that intimate solo Violin sound with the LASS First Chairs. The First Chair Cello in LASS in my opinion is much better suited to pulling off solo work but I haven't had the same luck trying to get the FC Violin or Viola for that matter to work in a solo context. They can, however work in an intimate ensemble, like what you hear in the Bjork track.

I think this is something that Embertone Intimate String series could get close to and it has the ability to do a simulated ensemble, although not nearly as well as a true ensemble library like Cinematic Studio Strings or LASS etc....

I own the Friedlander Violin and it could get similar results to your first example.

Based on my experience with my own solo and ensemble libs you could first start with one of these solo string libraries and see if they pull off the ensemble you are looking for first and if not then next look at an ensemble library.

For Solo Strings that can do small ensembles look at:

1. Chris Hein Solo Strings
2. Embertone Intimate Studio Strings.
3. Cinematic Solo Studio Strings- I think one has more room (wetter) than the others and I would prefer something less wet for what you are doing however it sounds really nice and intimate and if can end up doing both it should be considered.

I think Chris Hein and CSSS will handle ensemble better than Embertone Intimate Solo Strings but to be fair I've never tried to use the Friedlander Ensembles feature since I already have LASS for that and I don't own Chris Hein or CSSS so I'm not speaking from first hand experience.

Now you have your solo strings and if it works for you in ensemble mode then you're good to go.

If not, then you can consider:

1. LASS (I prefer the full version because you get First Chairs, all the Divisi and the ability to vary the tone with Colors feature)
2. Spitfire Studio Strings- nice and dry to blend well with any thing, like LASS
3. Cinematic Studio Strings - Wetter that my other recommendations but I don't think it's as wet as Spitfire Chamber Strings so could still be a contender.
4. Spitfire LCO- I know a user that writes a lot of contemporary music for TV/commercial and film and uses these a lot and it sounds great.

There are many others that are great choices I haven't mentioned but these would just be my personal choices to consider based on your examples.
 

prodigalson

Senior Member
Well The bjork example is predominantly solo strings and no more than two or 3 layered at a time.

Spitfire Studio Strings doesn’t have solo instruments and LASS gives you more control over portamento etc.

My suggestion would be LASS
 
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cairnan

New Member
I own LASS Full and the standard SStS (not Pro) which comes with the tree mic only. To me LASS sounds much more natural & raw with the bow noise you're looking for. Probably the close mics in SStS Pro may have this character but as far as I heard from the demos it still doesn't sound as woody and scratchy as LASS.

Edit: Oh and BTW, if you haven't done so already, then you must consider 8Dio's Intimate Strings which I also own. It's also a very good option for what you're looking
Listening to LASS and SStS back and forth, that was my evaluation as well. Both sound amazing, but LASS does seem better for natural / raw. Thanks for the info - I'll look into SStS Pro, as well as the 8Dio Intimate Strings which I wasn't aware of!
 
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cairnan

New Member
I don't know of an ensemble library that could pull off that violin solo in your first example. You might be able to get a way with a solo string library that can also pull off small ensembles like what you hear in your videos but not the other way around.

I own LASS and you're not likely to get that intimate solo Violin sound with the LASS First Chairs. The First Chair Cello in LASS in my opinion is much better suited to pulling off solo work but I haven't had the same luck trying to get the FC Violin or Viola for that matter to work in a solo context. They can, however work in an intimate ensemble, like what you hear in the Bjork track.

I think this is something that Embertone Intimate String series could get close to and it has the ability to do a simulated ensemble, although not nearly as well as a true ensemble library like Cinematic Studio Strings or LASS etc....

I own the Friedlander Violin and it could get similar results to your first example.

Based on my experience with my own solo and ensemble libs you could first start with one of these solo string libraries and see if they pull off the ensemble you are looking for first and if not then next look at an ensemble library.

For Solo Strings that can do small ensembles look at:

1. Chris Hein Solo Strings
2. Embertone Intimate Studio Strings.
3. Cinematic Solo Studio Strings- I think one has more room (wetter) than the others and I would prefer something less wet for what you are doing however it sounds really nice and intimate and if can end up doing both it should be considered.

I think Chris Hein and CSSS will handle ensemble better than Embertone Intimate Solo Strings but to be fair I've never tried to use the Friedlander Ensembles feature since I already have LASS for that and I don't own Chris Hein or CSSS so I'm not speaking from first hand experience.

Now you have your solo strings and if it works for you in ensemble mode then you're good to go.

If not, then you can consider:

1. LASS (I prefer the full version because you get First Chairs, all the Divisi and the ability to vary the tone with Colors feature)
2. Spitfire Studio Strings- nice and dry to blend well with any thing, like LASS
3. Cinematic Studio Strings - Wetter that my other recommendations but I don't think it's as wet as Spitfire Chamber Strings so could still be a contender.
4. Spitfire LCO- I know a user that writes a lot of contemporary music for TV/commercial and film and uses these a lot and it sounds great.

There are many others that are great choices I haven't mentioned but these would just be my personal choices to consider based on your examples.
A phenomenal and thorough breakdown. Thanks so much for the help and great insights, especially how certain libraries shine for solo vs ensemble work.
 
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cairnan

New Member
Thanks so much to all for the great insights! :emoji_pray:

Confirmed a lot of what I suspected about LASS vs. Spitfire Studio Strings (I'll likely purchase the former for ensemble work), as well as providing great solo library suggestions / info about which libraries work for solo vs ensemble arrangments.

Regards,

cairnan
 
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cairnan

New Member
The Embertone solo instruments sound truly phenomenal to my ears. As do the Chris Hein
 

SGordB

Active Member
I don't have experience with LASS or Spitfire, but for dry, expressive, authentic character, be sure to check out VSL's solo and ensemble strings (https://www.vsl.co.at/en/Solo_Strings_Bundle/Solo_Strings_I). If you don't need a deep set of articulations, the solo and ensemble strings basics (including performance legato) are included in their SE Volume 1, which is deep discounted at Best Service until March 25: https://www.bestservice.com/special_edition_collection_vol_1.html
VSL seems to be a bit of a Rodney Dangerfield these days, but I'm an unabashed fanboy.
 
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cairnan

New Member
I don't have experience with LASS or Spitfire, but for dry, expressive, authentic character, be sure to check out VSL's solo and ensemble strings (https://www.vsl.co.at/en/Solo_Strings_Bundle/Solo_Strings_I). If you don't need a deep set of articulations, the solo and ensemble strings basics (including performance legato) are included in their SE Volume 1, which is deep discounted at Best Service until March 25: https://www.bestservice.com/special_edition_collection_vol_1.html
VSL seems to be a bit of a Rodney Dangerfield these days, but I'm an unabashed fanboy.
Thanks, I've heard VSL do some very dry libraries, possibly even more so than LASS. I'll give them a listen.

edit: they appear to contain a vast selection of orchestral instruments beyond strings as well. At that price I'm indeed tempted
 

SGordB

Active Member
Thanks, I've heard VSL do some very dry libraries, possibly even more so than LASS. I'll give them a listen.

edit: they appear to contain a vast selection of orchestral instruments beyond strings as well. At that price I'm indeed tempted
Yep. SE1 covers most of the orchestral basics, making it a great entree into the VSL sampleverse. I forgot to mention that the "bowiness" of the solo strings is so real, I wish I could turn it down sometimes. The important thing, for me, is that the playability and expressiveness of VSL VIs is outstanding. Taste, if course, is very personal, but my wanderlust for sampled orchestral instruments has pretty much been sated since I began buying VSL libraries a couple years ago. As clean and dry as the samples are, they beautifully take on whatever acoustic colour I want them to with my reverb and ambience plugins.
 

pderbidge

Senior Member
Thanks, I've heard VSL do some very dry libraries, possibly even more so than LASS. I'll give them a listen.

edit: they appear to contain a vast selection of orchestral instruments beyond strings as well. At that price I'm indeed tempted
Not necessarily a big deal but you should be aware that you need VSL's dongle ($40) to use their libraries.
 

SGordB

Active Member
Not necessarily a big deal but you should be aware that you need VSL's dongle ($40) to use their libraries.
Worse, if you lose a dongle or the dog eats it, VSL will charge you 50% of full VI or software price to restore any licenses you had on it — unless the dongle is less than 2 years old or you’ve insured your licenses with them (around $50 a year, I think). VSL’s perverse dongle/license policy has soured many customers. Me, I plan to buy a new dongle every 2 years.
 
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cairnan

New Member
Thanks for the heads-up on both those points regarding the dongle. I'm fortunate that I already have one for Cubase Pro 10.

Very good to know about the 2 year approach to VSL dongle policies as well:emoji_thumbsup:
 

SGordB

Active Member
I’ve gotta correct myself: if you want a chamber-sized ensemble, you need VSL’s SE Vol. 2. Vol. 1 has orchestral-size string sections. That said, for that intimate chamber string sound in the two samples you shared, I don’t think you need anything more than an ad hoc ensemble of solo strings.
 
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cairnan

New Member
I’ve gotta correct myself: if you want a chamber-sized ensemble, you need VSL’s SE Vol. 2. Vol. 1 has orchestral-size string sections. That said, for that intimate chamber string sound in the two samples you shared, I don’t think you need anything more than an ad hoc ensemble of solo strings.
Good to know
 

Fab

protect your ears!
hey buddy, I like that Bjork song!

I think you are right by saying LASS, and check out audio demos for Joshua Bell solo violin for the sound in the first video.

Fab,
 

muk

Senior Member
To add two more libraries to the list: VSL Dimension Strings (the most configurable option for studio strings settings), and Light & Sound Chamber Strings (a more rounded and refined sound, but very capable for studio strings applications).