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Legato Strings comparison - one phrase, eight test runs

muk

Senior Member
Hi everyone,

To assess the timbre and sound qualities of my strings libraries, I've run them all through one musical phrase. First the violins 1 only, then the whole strings orchestra. With each library I 'performed' the phrase anew. So no copying midi tracks from one library to another. I corrected the most obvious mistakes and tweaked the passes for each library, but didn't spend too much time on the details.
I used panning and reverb where necessary, but no other external effects (except for some eq on Dimension Strings only, because they are Dimension Strings). Spitfire Chamber Strings 'stacked' means layered with the transposition trick.

Of course I don't know all the libraries equally well. Nor is there a musical phrase that suits all the libraries exactly the same. So this comparison tells absolutely nothing about the quality of each library. But maybe it is useful for some to compare the timbres, and hear how different these libraries all sound on the same musical material. So I thought I'd share. Here goes:

https://app.box.com/s/yp7als50ef75iydyx97i7ncme2f0j08e
 
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borisb2

Active Member
just saw this (and listened to it) .. great comparison

LCSC can sound even silkier when boosting the close mics a bit further

you don't have LASS or SF Studio Strings by any chance? :P
 

chocobitz825

Senior Member
see this is the thing, they all sound great and i know everyone always upsells Cinematic Studio Strings..but for some reason, it always feels super vanilla to me. Totally playable, totally convincing, but lacking a certain passionate expression that others have...
 

Nova

New Member
Dang...wishing I had bought Spitfire Chamber Strings in last week's sale after listening to that. Although the undisclosed examples are pretty great too. I also agree with the above about CSS, I really want to love them but they seem....dull.
 

nas

Active Member
see this is the thing, they all sound great and i know everyone always upsells Cinematic Studio Strings..but for some reason, it always feels super vanilla to me. Totally playable, totally convincing, but lacking a certain passionate expression that others have...
Totally agree, CSS gets a lot of love around here but I personally can't connect with their darker sound - regardless of playability. I suppose you can never have too many string libraries and that sound could be just the thing for a specific project, but I much prefer the sound of their CS2 library and of course my favorites being SF SCS and SSS.
 
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muk

muk

Senior Member
LCSC can sound even silkier when boosting the close mics a bit further
Thanks for the tip.

Thanks for the Spitfire Studio Strings snippet RobG.

I agree about CSS's darker tone. It can sound dull in comparison. But from my experience it reacts rather well to a bit of processing. You can open up the sound to some degree with eq etc. The example here is out of the box.

When will the undisclosed be revealed?
Sorry Sid. I completely forgot about this thread. The undisclosed example is Light and Sound Chamber Strings for the close mic. The ambience this time isn't provided by external reverb. Instead, I used Spitfire Chamber Strings ambient mics to provide some sense of space.
 

borisb2

Active Member
Sorry Sid. I completely forgot about this thread. The undisclosed example is Light and Sound Chamber Strings for the close mic. The ambience this time isn't provided by external reverb. Instead, I used Spitfire Chamber Strings ambient mics to provide some sense of space.
The undisclosed was LSCS?? That sounds gorgeous!! (even better of course by blending in SCS).. So my tip with the close mics was obsolete then :P

Just picked up LSCS last week for a killer $120.. it blends so well with CSS
 
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muk

muk

Senior Member
The undisclosed was LSCS?? That sounds gorgeous!!
Yes, the main part of the sound is Light & Sound Chamber Strings. They did a lot of things right during recording, capturing a beautiful and versatile sound. The timbre of these strings is just right. I just wish they'd release an addon with more articulations.
And SCS has such a beautiful natural ambience that I thought I'd try to combine the two.
 

averystemmler

Active Member
Totally agree, CSS gets a lot of love around here but I personally can't connect with their darker sound - regardless of playability. I suppose you can never have too many string libraries and that sound could be just the thing for a specific project, but I much prefer the sound of their CS2 library and of course my favorites being SF SCS and SSS.
I love CSS, but I do absolutely get where you're coming from. Depending on the desired sound, I sometimes end up EQing the everliving shit out of it. And then putting saturation on the top end.

More importantly, though, I find that mixing it with CSSS (the solo strings) has an immense impact and can make the sound more interesting. You can get a pretty useful spread of possibilities depending on how you use the solo strings (I.e. doubling, filing out harmony, plucking pizz alongside CSS sustains, etc), and then how you mix them together. I really like the sound of the solo strings brought forward in the mix, with CSS pushed into the background with the room mics. And then the bajeezus EQed out of both of them.
 
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nas

Active Member
I love CSS, but I do absolutely get where you're coming from. Depending on the desired sound, I sometimes end up EQing the everliving shit out of it. And then putting saturation on the top end.

More importantly, though, I find that mixing it with CSSS (the solo strings) has an immense impact and can make the sound more interesting. You can get a pretty useful spread of possibilities depending on how you use the solo strings (I.e. doubling, filing out harmony, plucking pizz alongside CSS sustains, etc), and then how you mix them together. I really like the sound of the solo strings brought forward in the mix, with CSS pushed into the background with the room mics. And then the bajeezus EQed out of both of them.
Yeah I heard some of the demos with CSSSSSSSS :) blended in with CSS and it does sound really more expressive. I also sometimes do that with larger sections and will blend a solo string section or smaller ensemble section for the added detail and a touch more of expressiveness... but less so with the SF libraries as I find the CC's options to usually be enough. I tend to not EQ very much though, except for a little dip around 2k on the hi strings to smooth things out a bit and maybe some HPF on the Basses and Celli if needed - especially on shorts.

I agree it's nice to add some saturation, for me it's usually in the form of VCC and VTM plugins.
 

paoling

Developer
How to resist :D

I believe that the main reason LSCS sounds the best is because the programming is better on these. There are little bumps and quirks on few of the other examples.

Here is my quick version with Venice Modern Strings:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/qdognw29bfeybfy/Venice Modern Strings V1.wav?dl=0

The MIDI part may not be exactly the same, because I just tried to reproduce the original melody in Logic. There's just a touch of Valhalla Room, but not too much since the FAR mics can happily substitute the need of an external reverb.
 

JMJ33101

Member
How to resist :D

I believe that the main reason LSCS sounds the best is because the programming is better on these. There are little bumps and quirks on few of the other examples.

Here is my quick version with Venice Modern Strings:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/qdognw29bfeybfy/Venice Modern Strings V1.wav?dl=0

The MIDI part may not be exactly the same, because I just tried to reproduce the original melody in Logic. There's just a touch of Valhalla Room, but not too much since the FAR mics can happily substitute the need of an external reverb.
What will the price range be?
 
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