Expressive String libraries

Discussion in 'SAMPLE Talk' started by JohnMarkPainter, Mar 9, 2019.

  1. JohnMarkPainter

    JohnMarkPainter New Member

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    Digging through these forums to find libraries I have never heard of (THERE ARE MANY).
    I promise to keep researching, but looking for a 'short list'.

    I've been writing for live strings and orchestras for a long time and rarely relied on VI for the actual work because I just couldn't get what I wanted from them without using phrase based samples at least.


    I have Bohemian Violin and Cello and Spitfire Solo Strings.
    Spitfire seems a little safe for me but useful for sure.
    I work mostly on rock/pop records as opposed to orchestral style.

    I am looking for sections that are playable.
    Vibrato/Non Vib, Portamento, non phony legato are all very important to me.
    Just found 8Dio All Adagio and like what I am hearing.

    I have Play Cloud, Iconica Ensembles, Halion Symphonic

    Thoughts?
    Thanks
     
  2. JohnG

    JohnG Senior Member

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    Others may differ, but I think that if you can play strings yourself and have a lot of experience with the real thing, no library can touch them (real strings). They are mostly way too LOUD, for starters. Then there's the "ever so slightly out of tune" problem, the note transition problem, the lack of control over dynamics, the mic-too-close / too-far-away problem. It's endless.

    A string quartet often sounds so magical and just try doing that with samples.

    As you know, when wind and string players execute even the simplest lines, they give them shape. It's mind-numbingly time consuming to give shape to every note / line in a sampled orchestra.

    I still like the sound of Hollywood Strings but I like the Diamond set with the other mic positions (for full disclosure I have received free products from East West but I certainly paid full price for HS).
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2019
  3. midiman

    midiman Active Member

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    Cinematic Studio Strings are still probably the best overall option out there. I am not sure you are looking for symphonic strings or solo strings, cause you mention you wrote for orchestras, but the libraries you talked about are both solo strings...
     
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  4. Robert_G

    Robert_G It really is just an expensive hobby for me

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    If 'expressive' is your #1 want.....8dio century strings bundle is what you want. The sampled arcs are beautiful and unmatched by other libraries. The sound overall is top notch.
     
  5. JohnG

    JohnG Senior Member

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    CSS is has a great sound -- I bought it and I use it -- but personally I use it when I want / can handle a lot of vibrato. For me, the vibrato is either completely off (that is, no vibrato) or it's very intense.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2019
  6. OP
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    JohnMarkPainter

    JohnMarkPainter New Member

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    As an example of one type of writing I use a lot, this is a quartet stacked 4 times.
    Would have sounded better with 16 players (if they were tight).

    Non Vib is important to me. I wish Bohemian had it

     
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  7. Batrawi

    Batrawi Active Member

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    Nice snippet!!
    I think LASS probably is the best option in sample world to get you close to this
     
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  8. Batrawi

    Batrawi Active Member

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    I tried to mock up your second example (love this style!);
    Here is it with LASS, 8Dio ISS and CSS(close mics).
    To be fair, I just didn't spend much time with midi editing and I just copied/pasted the same data. In all honesty, the library that I didn't expect to do well actually sounded by far the best of them all;)





     

    Attached Files:

  9. NoamL

    NoamL Winter <3

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    Hi John, welcome to VI-C!

    CSS ought to be on every recommendations list for string libraries. It's just so high quality. However, for what you're specifically looking for & based on your audio references, I think you will get a kick out of LA Scoring Strings. Especially since you are working on records more than film/tv.

    I don't normally recommend LASS to people but for your purposes it might have several advantages:
    • very dry, controlled studio sound
    • good non-vibrato samples
    • you can build small-to-large section sizes (anywhere from a 16-piece to 60-piece string orchestra)
    • very playable
    You should absolutely still look at Cinematic Studio Strings, but there are a few things in it that might be dealbreakers for you. The legato is very realistic and therefore takes up to 300ms on the slower transitions; thus you either have to use a delay-compensating tool or move the notes left of their quantized position. If you don't like working with MIDI / not as experienced, it can be a little frustrating and not the most "playable out of the box" library, although @Ihnoc has written a really nice script for Kontakt that is a must-have. CSS has very expressive and beautiful vibrato especially at the top dynamics, with a romantic sound - think 50s-80s Hollywood. Non vibrato samples are there but the legato transitions aren't as great as for the main library.

    The disadvantages of LASS, by contrast (and what keeps me from recommending it more often): only one microphone position; only one speed of legato transition (plus portamentos); not enough varieties of short notes; a rather dry and rosiny sound that you really have to work with to make it sound "Hollywood"; and finally it's more expensive than comparable libraries.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2019
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  10. OP
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    JohnMarkPainter

    JohnMarkPainter New Member

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    Super helpful.
    Only listened on my phone, but I can tell I need to at least get the legato LSS soon
     
  11. OP
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    JohnMarkPainter

    JohnMarkPainter New Member

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    Understood.
    The more present recording is very important for me.
    They all have their limitations....gotta get all of them :)
     
  12. JohnG

    JohnG Senior Member

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    @NoamL I think is spot on. LASS considering your interests. It's a good complement to Hollywood Strings.
     
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  13. Vik

    Vik Scandi Member

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    LASS and CSS (and CSSS) are certainly good recommendations, and for detailed control over expression and an intimate sound, it may be worth checking out some solo libraries as well. Maybe a combination of solo (or first chair) samples and small sections is be a good way to get the sound I think you're looking for?

    There must be at least 150-200 string libraries out there, and it will take time to find out what your best choices are... so, unless you have checked them already: it could be worth checking out Harmonic Subtones' Emotional Cello and Emotional Violin. There are also some libraries that won't give you much control over legato/vibrato, but which still sound expressive - like for instance The Tina Guo cello, some of the Afflatus presets (NB: no vib or portamento control), like the Scene d'Amour presets, Performance Sampling's Soaring Strings and the Con Moto Cello by Performance Samples. Surprisingly, some libraries sound more expressive with almost no parameters to control than some of the libraries which have a lot of knobs. Spitfire Chamber Strings is also a library that's worth checking out, comes with a lot of articulations and is very playable.

    One of the examples you posted would benefit from a way to have detailed control over how a note ends, and the Emotional Violin is a good example of a library that lets you do this. If you look at this picture, you'll se that you can choose from a lot of different 'ornaments' (endings) by using the key switches in the right column. If you press one of these key switches after you have played your note, the note will fade into another articulation. I wish more non-solo libraries had this option.

    Screen Shot 2019-03-09 at 22.12.13.png
    Embertone's Joshua Bell Solo violin and Spitfire's Bernard Herrman library may also be worth checking out.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2019
  14. OP
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    JohnMarkPainter

    JohnMarkPainter New Member

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    Yikes!
    I have a lot of listening to do.

    Maybe I can replace my Garritan Gofriller and Stradivarius libraries ;)
     
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  15. holywilly

    holywilly Active Member

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    VSL dimension Strings can be very expressive and it works very well both by itself and layering with others.
     
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  16. Batrawi

    Batrawi Active Member

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    Just in case... what did you mean by LSS? if you mean 8Dio's ISS (capital "i" for intimate; not a small "L") then you should be aware that it has no vibrato control, even though, I consider it to have a very well thought legato transition that starts with a non-vibrato and then progressively fades into vibrato based on real perfarmance! It is very well implemented that I personally haven't felt the need for a vibrato control for the first time. Yet, I thought you should know in case this could be a deal-breaker to you
     
  17. OP
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    JohnMarkPainter

    JohnMarkPainter New Member

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    Will I be sorry if I start with the Lite LASS?
    I do a lot of unisons/octaves that then split out into more parts.
    A lot of samples don't pull this off well.
    Will I need all the separate chairs etc to do it?
    I don't fully understand the structure of their libraries yet (Other than the ARC)
    P.S.
    Working on a disco-esque track this week

    A couple more refs. Same Quartet
    The 'bite' in the tone is generally useful for pop mixing.

     
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  18. JohnG

    JohnG Senior Member

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    Nothing sounds like the real thing, but of the string libraries I have, I agree with @NoamL that LASS is the closest to what you have been posting.

    Good luck!
     
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  19. Batrawi

    Batrawi Active Member

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    If that's how you usually write, then you will need the Full LASS Library which contains all divisi sections and not the Lite version. You'll need to look at their chart available at the bottom of this page to understand the structure
    https://audiobro.com/la-scoring-strings/la-scoring-strings-lite/
    but there is nothing really complicated about it; if you take for example the violins section, you'll get divisi A(4 players), divisi B(4 players) and divisi C(8 players). They are all different unique players/samples. Then, you have the full violins patch which combines all 3 divisi in one patch(16 players). Same applies for the other sections. Of course this is all aside from the solo instruments! So in a nut shell, LASS full will give you the most flexible option. I would recommend it based on that.. even though deep inside, I would still highly encourage you to take a closer look at CSS; no it DOES NOT have good vibrato control as LASS; no it DOES NOT have divisi sections as LASS, but man, its realism is just on another level!
    For the couple of references you just posted above, I think LASS can pull off both very well. CSS on the other hand will pull off the first one superbly, but the second one...not so good (due to the non vibrato).
     
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    JohnMarkPainter

    JohnMarkPainter New Member

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    The Berrnard Herrman Spitfire looks like fun for the right job.
    But the LASS is calling me...

    I like very present sounds with orchestra.
    Sorry for the long example, but this is a small orchestra that I cut at Ocean Way Nashville. Strings are in at :40 (a horn player had one ear off on their headphone bleeding click...oops)


    Iconica has a nice close mic tone but their legato has a bad note transition tendency....one note sounds great but then a moving riff totally blows your cover.
    Especially when I try to play unison lines like the ones in this example
     

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