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NI Symphony Series Strings VS Cinematic Studio Strings

Which is a better purchase?


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Puzzlefactory

Senior Member
Personally, I don't like the way the NISSS strings sounds, especially the short articulations, so for that reason I would say CSS (which is my favourite string library that I own).
 

Alex Fraser

Senior Member
Righty-ho. As SSSE user, here are my thoughts. Hope it helps someone.

The legato.
No question, CSS is better here, providing the delay compensation is something you can integrate into your workflow.
SSSE has a workable legato but it’s a little tricky to get right in practice. Getting a flowing passage requires the right amount of legato playing, the correct velocity to switch between portamento and legato… and a spot of mod wheel control to smooth some of the note attacks. It also really helps to “think strings” whilst programming.

It’s a lot to juggle. It took me a solid hour of noodling and tweaking before I could “dial it in.” Without a bit of practice, you’ll yo-yo between sweeping portamento and hard bowed legato like a drunk string section.

CSS looks to be a lot easier but I know the delay compensation would drive me up the wall. A personal preference though.

The sound.
Out of the box uses a basic stereo mix, paired with convolution reverb. This can be improved upon with the separate mic mixes, both in width and space. The library is still quite dry compared to the rest of the Symphony Series and doesn’t quite reach that “air studios” luxury vibe.


The Auto-Divisi..
…is a thing of magic and witchcraft. I though it would be a gimmick but in practice it’s really useful and generally gets out of the way. You can also split the desks into separate library loads for the ultimate in tweakability, or create a smaller orchestra size. The divisi is the big USP here.


Other thoughts.
The demos on the NI site for the most part really don’t show off the library to full effect.
It’s capable of a lot more. There’s more vibrato and “life” in the library to be had if you use the separate “vibrato via cc control” patches, for example.

IMO, the library sings *if* you play it like a proper string section. I can understand (some of the) unfavourable first impressions. It’s not an Albion ONE style library that “does what it does” right out of the box. It requires a little love, time…and if we’re being honest, some good playing/programming chops.

It’s also a screaming bargain right now for Komplete users.

As for CSS, I think it sounds lovely and creamy and completely understand the love for it. But SSSE has an unfair bad rep for sure. So I'd vote for both if possible. To answer the original OP.. it's unanswerable. Depends on what you want from both sound and workflow. Get both!
 
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rconn

New Member
Between these two, i'll recommend CSS for its sound but in terms of workflow, i'll opt for Native Instruments Symphony Series Strings. Based on the video on the auto-divisi for Native Instruments Symphony Series Strings, i really love the easy and smart way of dealing with divisi strings writing. Pretty solid and smart approach in terms of scripting by Audio Bro. How i really wish this could be applied to LASS. Who knows perhaps the future LASS 3.0?

But if you're given a chance to wait, i'll try to wait for Chris Hein's upcoming Orchestral Strings library which he has showcased lately in one of the strings comparisons demos. Sounds beautiful even though it's not a finished product yet. To me seems like a few more scripting or programming touch up and i'm guessing it'll be out Q1 2018. Base on my experience with CH's solo strings libraries, his scripting and articulation switching is very fluid and i'm having a very positive mindset on his upcoming Orchestral Strings. I cant wait to hear its release.
I have Chris's solo strings and they are really good.
 
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rconn

New Member
I always say stray away from polling an incredibly popular library here. If I were to make a poll here saying "Who's better at getting to the moon, NASA or Spitfire Audio?" I'd be willing to bet Spitfire would win.
LOL! I knew I would get some bias when I asked this question. The only reason I asked in the first place is because after a lot of research and scouring the forums, I haven't found very many, maybe 8 people total, that talk about NISSE and why they like/loath it. It's just not talked about...so without a healthy discussion from people who own and use the library, it can be a little daunting to try and make a solid decision.

The one thing I can appreciate about EastWest is the composer cloud...while I know a lot of people don't like subscription models, I love them. It gives you a chance to really try the sample library before committing to shell out your hard earned cash to buy it.
 

Alex Fraser

Senior Member
LOL! I knew I would get some bias when I asked this question. The only reason I asked in the first place is because after a lot of research and scouring the forums, I haven't found very many, maybe 8 people total, that talk about NISSE and why they like/loath it. It's just not talked about...so without a healthy discussion from people who own and use the library, it can be a little daunting to try and make a solid decision.
Absolutely. In my research I came up against the same wall of silence, hence my longer post above.

I think a straight comparison between the two libraries is perhaps a little unfair, as they have completely different design specs from the start. SSSE is all about the divisi and everything flows around it. CCS is focused on the world's best legato. Different rooms, section sizes etc..
 

rottoy

Plebeian
I'm really curious to hear more examples of the auto-divisi feature in action. It really is something that more string ensemble libraries should incorporate as a standard.
 

Sid Francis

Senior Member
"it´s not talked about" is my main criterium after some time in this forum since americans are so damn polite... In german forums there would be far less people trying to be diplomatic all the time. For this reason "it´s not talked about" gives me a lot of the information I need for a purchase. If the audio demos were ravishing I would give a damn about the opinion of others but there was not even one I could listen to to the end. By the way: I loaded and activated demos for NI Woodwinds and Brass and played with them for 3 minutes, then deleted them. I did not even install the strings then. Thats the reason I did not talk about them... And I had so much wished I could "get there" for so little money. But these are products which are , ahm..."not talked about".
 

sostenuto

Big NKS Fan !
Understand the OP's Thread title ... but continue to wonder why Audiobro's LASS does not enter the discussion.
Do those who define clear reasons against NI_SSS, find similar issues with LASS ??
NI offer is attractive, and this Thread is most helpful. LASS represents far more investment, and more related comment surely seems appropriate here ?
 

Sears Poncho

Active Member
Understand the OP's Thread title ... but continue to wonder why Audiobro's LASS does not enter the discussion.
Because the NI offering is 150 bucks, that's why. :P

Like others, I am intrigued by the capabilities and certainly the price. But the demos aren't selling the product (2 sound pretty good). I'd at least like to hear some of the smaller sections straight up with no other instruments.
 

sostenuto

Big NKS Fan !
Because the NI offering is 150 bucks, that's why. :P

Like others, I am intrigued by the capabilities and certainly the price. But the demos aren't selling the product (2 sound pretty good). I'd at least like to hear some of the smaller sections straight up with no other instruments.
Reasonable criticism for sure :thumbsup:.... NI/Audibro clearly have resources to provide best possible exposure to their products, especially when normal pricing is much higher.
Makes it even tougher to sort current offer, if LASS differences are not so great.
 

ism

Senior Member
How is the dynamic cross fade in SSSE?

This is what really bothers me in the NI solo brass - it has some sampled dynamic arcs, but even the sustain patches come in soft and loud patches with no playable cross fade between dynamics. The arcs do sound good, but I find them very cumbersome, and not at all playable. ( And perhaps a bit cynically, I wonder if they're primarily there to allow demos to give the impression that it can do dynamics better that it does.) I find this is an utterly fatal flaw, especially in a brass library.

Maybe it's an idiosyncrasy, but the ability to start very softly and crescendo convincingly has become my litmus test of a great library. And it can be very hard to tell from demos just how well a library does this (or, if you prefer, easy to conceal limitations via careful marketing).

Any thoughts on how well SSSE does this?
 

Alex Fraser

Senior Member
How is the dynamic cross fade in SSSE?

This is what really bothers me in the NI solo brass - it has some sampled dynamic arcs, but even the sustain patches come in soft and loud patches with no playable cross fade between dynamics. The arcs do sound good, but I find them very cumbersome, and not at all playable. ( And perhaps a bit cynically, I wonder if they're primarily there to allow demos to give the impression that it can do dynamics better that it does.) I find this is an utterly fatal flaw, especially in a brass library.

Maybe it's an idiosyncrasy, but the ability to start very softly and crescendo convincingly has become my litmus test of a great library. And it can be very hard to tell from demos just how well a library does this (or, if you prefer, easy to conceal limitations via careful marketing).

Any thoughts on how well SSSE does this?
It doesn't follow the same pattern - the legato is a single layered patch over (I think) 4 velocity layers. Sometimes I can hear "the joins" if I listen hard enough, but you can further "blur" things by cc controlling the modulation.
 
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rconn

New Member
It
Understand the OP's Thread title ... but continue to wonder why Audiobro's LASS does not enter the discussion.
Do those who define clear reasons against NI_SSS, find similar issues with LASS ??
NI offer is attractive, and this Thread is most helpful. LASS represents far more investment, and more related comment surely seems appropriate here ?
I have had experience with LASS and used it when working on projects in the past. I sit in the middle on that library when it comes to love/hate. It's not something I would consider owning as my workhorse library. Part of the reason its not in the poll. I use EastWest Hollywood Strings for a lot of stuff now but I'm no exactly thrilled with its sound. It takes quite a bit of work and is a cumbersome workflow. I've already wasted so much of my creativity time making templates for HS library. :rolleyes:
 
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rconn

New Member
"it´s not talked about" is my main criterium after some time in this forum since americans are so damn polite... In german forums there would be far less people trying to be diplomatic all the time. For this reason "it´s not talked about" gives me a lot of the information I need for a purchase. If the audio demos were ravishing I would give a damn about the opinion of others but there was not even one I could listen to to the end. By the way: I loaded and activated demos for NI Woodwinds and Brass and played with them for 3 minutes, then deleted them. I did not even install the strings then. Thats the reason I did not talk about them... And I had so much wished I could "get there" for so little money. But these are products which are , ahm..."not talked about".
You're definitely not wrong about a lot being said about a library when "its not talked about", especially one that has been out for a couple years. So, I see your point...part of the reason I asked in the first place. However, I have learned in the past that just because something isn't the most popular thing, doesn't mean its bad. Musician's tend to jump on "bandwagons" when it comes to gear and then bash anything they are not familiar with.

I just wanted objective feedback on people who actually made the purchase of NI SSE and CSS and can give a valid opinion about the library. Every library has a learning curve, some more than others. For example, EastWest HS takes a lot of setup in the beginning, and I wouldn't say they are playable out of the box, however they can sound really good.
 

sostenuto

Big NKS Fan !
It


I have had experience with LASS and used it when working on projects in the past. I sit in the middle on that library when it comes to love/hate. It's not something I would consider owning as my workhorse library. Part of the reason its not in the poll. I use EastWest Hollywood Strings for a lot of stuff now but I'm no exactly thrilled with its sound. It takes quite a bit of work and is a cumbersome workflow. I've already wasted so much of my creativity time making templates for HS library. :rolleyes:
Thank-you for helping. Will not pester this Thread in other directions, but wanting to 'avoid' exactly what you describe with E/WS HS, if at all possible. So tough now to commit in just one direction (for strings/brass/woods/perc/choir/etc) .... perhaps not practical any more.
 
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rconn

New Member
Thank-you for helping. Will not pester this Thread in other directions, but wanting to 'avoid' exactly what you describe with E/WS HS, if at all possible. So tough now to commit in just one direction (for strings/brass/woods/perc/choir/etc) .... perhaps not practical any more.
No problem, and I don't think you are pestering the thread. We're all trying to make solid decisions with our money. Musical instruments are personal...the issue with virtual instruments is that you rarely get a chance to try before you buy...unlike traditional hardware. This means there is a lot uncertainty whether you're making a good or bad choice.
 

ism

Senior Member
Easy : Spitfire audio !

The only valuable question is :
who's better at getting at the moon, Paul Thomson or Christian Henson ? ;)
Relevant to this thread though, if Spitfire and certain other companies who I won't name, put out some marketing videos, including a detailed walkthrough and some demos of actually trips to the moon, then all things being equal, I'm likely to trust Spitfire to actually get to the moon over certain of the others. Sure Spifire lunar travel would probably cost a little more that some of the competitors, and if, say, Embertone or Alex from CSS has a similar travel package I'm going to give those some serious thought also. But the reality is that there does exist a certain class of competitor who, while perhaps perfectly capable of getting to the moon, are going are going to sell it as a trip Jupiter and so when you arrive on the moon, you're disappointed and checking your ticket to see if you actually just paid for a trip to the moon after all, or if, had you waited for an inevitable sale, it might have been a pretty good price for a trip to the moon, as opposed to too good to be true price to get to Jupiter.

Hence my question about dynamic crossfades.
 
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mc_deli

n trepreneur
Relevant to this thread though, if Spitfire and certain other companies who I won't name, put out some marketing videos, including a detailed walkthrough and some demos of actually trips to the moon, then all things being equal, I'm likely to trust Spitfire to actually get to the moon over certain of the others. Sure Spifire lunar travel would probably cost a little more that some of the competitors, and if, say, Embertone or Alex from CSS has a similar travel package I'm going to give those some serious thought also. But the reality is that there does exist a certain class of competitor who, while perhaps perfectly capable of getting to the moon, are going are going to sell it as a trip Jupiter and so when you arrive on the moon, you're disappointed and checking your ticket to see if you actually just paid for a trip to the moon after all, or if, had you waited for an inevitable sale, it might have been a pretty good price for a trip to the moon, as opposed to too good to be try price to get to Jupiter.

Hence my question about dynamic crossfades.
I was thinking the same... I hope my legs don't break

Back on topic, this thread is good. I have SSBrass and do like the sound of it. More to the point, I have CS2 and am thinking seriously about CSS and there is great info here as usual. Reading the legato timing threads is a bit daunting... I guess that's my question: what's the easiest large string lib to use that has good legato... don't tell me I should save up for SA SS...?
 
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