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One String Library to Rule Them All

ProfoundSilence

Senior Member
in terms of completeness - full berlin strings is unbeatable.

violins I = 37 articulations in the main library + 15 articulationis in expansion A + 30 articulations in expansion E. This doesn't even include the swells/crescendos/decrescendos/runs from the main library.

you can intelligently create multis to crossfade between these, or velocity switch, ect. infact you can 4 way 2d crossfade between them.

just loading single articulations for Violins I and the first expansion is 53 articulations. but its also 4.81 gb with only 1 microphone position. throw in an SFX multi and a measured trill patch and Bartok pizz and you're at 5.42 gb.

if you wanted to fit all the articulations on keyswitches, you'd have to use something like flex router and another keyboard(larger than 61 keys)

and ofcourse full berlin strings is vastly more expensive as well.

but it does basically everything, except any official divisi solution. although I've figured out ways around that - its pretty immense when it comes to options.
 
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Fleer

Feeding the Trolls
If you like LASS, have a look at NI Symphony Strings as well. It’s made by the same developer AudioBro, if I’m not mistaken.
 
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dsblais

dsblais

Member
If you like LASS, have a look at NI Symphony Strings as well. It’s made by the same developer AudioBro, if I’m not mistaken.
Thank you. I don't have LASS, although I have and like Genesis. I have Kontakt 12 Ultimate; the NI Symphony Series is a larger version of Symphony Essentials - String Ensemble, right?
 

Fleer

Feeding the Trolls
Indeed. And it‘s a really good one. I just upgraded to K12CE from K10U. No solo strings though. In the lower budget range I’d pick Embertone for that.
 

benmrx

Senior Member
I still think SCS (spitfire chamber strings) is a fantastic ‘all-around’ library. You can make it sound like larger sections if needed, and the ‘performance legato’ patch is amazing for playing lines in live. Plus, there are a ridiculous amount of articulations and legatos to choose from.
 

chapbot

omnivore
I used to be a huge LASS fan, but now I'm using Spitfire Studio Strings and find LASS sounds a little long-in-the-tooth in comparison.
 

tehreal

Active Member
All string libraries that are used for realism have some delay and therefore need some massaging after playing it in. I own over 20 string libs and if I had to choose one then the one that combines great sound, expressiveness and the most versatility is CSS. It's on the drier side and you can easily use it in a lot of different types of projects. If you need it cheaper than wait for Black Friday.

I'll use/layer in other libs if I need a specific sound but CSS is the general workhorse.
 

Lee Blaske

Senior Member
I agree with everyone suggesting to give up. ;) There is no perfect solution.

However, if larger than chamber orchestra size is your goal, cross VSL's Dimension Strings off your list. That library is more on the smaller, intimate side.
 
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dsblais

dsblais

Member
Thank you, all. I actually decided to go the SSS route. I loved the sound and Spitfire is a missing part of my mostly VSL and OT libraries. (I really like VSL Chamber Strings and was looking for a large classical sound, so SCS wasn’t quite what I sought.) Thanks again!
 

5Lives

Senior Member
I know you've already chosen, but given I own LASS (my very first major string library), CSS, SCS, and am trying Hollywood Strings Gold via Composer Cloud, thought I'd chime in (with my extremely amateur opinion - nowhere near as skilled as many folks on this forum).

Tone
1) CSS - lush, romantic, slightly darker
2) SCS - intimate, small. doesn't sound nearly as big as the other libraries (unsurprisingly)
3) Hollywood Strings - lush, brighter than CSS, but not overly so. In between CSS and LASS.
4) LASS - dry by default, quite nasal-y and can be harsh (I dip the EQ around 3k and 10k). Definitely have to tweak it (not sure I've gotten it right yet). They offer Stage & Color presets, so you have to play around with them.

Legato (all pretty tied with pros and cons each) - this was a tough one as all of them are quite good in this regard:
1) LASS - Offers very noticeable portamento AND glissando legato transitions. Unlike CSS, also offers vibrato control with legato.
2) CSS - While yes there is that delay and it requires some editing, it is great to be able to control transition speed. I don't think there's an explicit bow change legato but there is a re-bow. The portamento is pretty subtle compared to other libraries.
3) Hollywood Strings - Well, there's like 15 legato patches, so you have to wade through those to figure out which one you want to use. Each patch also seems to use like 3 different CCs to get the various intricacies programmed. However, if you're willing to put the time in, it's pretty great.
4) SCS - The performance legato patch is easy to use and sounds great - wish it was integrated into the main patch, but Logic's multi-channel articulation selector makes it easy enough to have both patches loaded in the same instrument instance. Vibrato and speed controls available if you want to go deep.

Staccatos
1) CSS - the best in my opinion, nice and tight without being overly harsh and crunchy
2) Hollywood Strings - next best, maybe slightly less tight, but they have a lot of available articulations I have yet to check out
3) LASS - CRUNCHY to the max, but probably great for fast passages
4) SCS - Delicate is what I'd refer to them as, much like the library as a whole IMO

UI (best to worst):
1) CSS - very easy to see all the articulations, disable them, change keyswitches, see in real-time what legato speed or short articulation is playing
2) SCS - almost as good, easy to see all the articulations. I wish the performance legato patch had some indication of what sample / transition was being played so you can be sure you've programmed things right.
3) LASS - ARC is a friggin' beast to figure out but once you do, it makes sense and is very powerful. Nice to see which articulations / legato transitions are selected in real time.
4) Hollywood Strings - The sheer number of articulations with strange names and very short descriptions make it a bit hard to figure things out here. Play's main interface is not super clear either to me.

So, all of them are quite good IMO. I have criminally under-used LASS - initially due to ARC being difficult to understand...and then due to the "unrefined" tone. While I do think it still has great legato and articulations, I'm not sure I gravitate towards it due to that tone - don't want to wrestle with it. CSS is wonderful - not maybe as extensively deep as the others in some regards, but pretty much all you need, easy to use, and sounds awesome. SCS has that great Spitfire sound, solid programming, and a host of interesting articulations - great if you want that smaller chamber sound. And finally, Hollywood Strings - I haven't had enough time with it and it is a beast to wrangle in terms of going through all of the articulations (many of which look exactly the same) and coming up with the template you like, though they do have a number of pre-made sets I need to dive into. It does offer something unique to CSS (tone and more articulations), so it could be a good companion. Personal layering favorite combos - CSS + HS or HS + SCS.
 
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Paul Cardon

Ninja Otter Music
Every library has different players giving different performances in different spaces with different direction and notation for the recording and different developer mindsets and different programming goals and different programming methods and different playability and etc. etc. etc.

There's so much to get out of so many libraries, and while there will always be some better than others at certain things, they're all pretty unique! Not to say they all have enough "good" unique aspects to warrant purchase... :grin:
 

jaketanner

Senior Member
in terms of completeness - full berlin strings is unbeatable.

violins I = 37 articulations in the main library + 15 articulationis in expansion A + 30 articulations in expansion E. This doesn't even include the swells/crescendos/decrescendos/runs from the main library.

you can intelligently create multis to crossfade between these, or velocity switch, ect. infact you can 4 way 2d crossfade between them.

just loading single articulations for Violins I and the first expansion is 53 articulations. but its also 4.81 gb with only 1 microphone position. throw in an SFX multi and a measured trill patch and Bartok pizz and you're at 5.42 gb.

if you wanted to fit all the articulations on keyswitches, you'd have to use something like flex router and another keyboard(larger than 61 keys)

and ofcourse full berlin strings is vastly more expensive as well.

but it does basically everything, except any official divisi solution. although I've figured out ways around that - its pretty immense when it comes to options.
All this for a measly $1500...lol Yes it a good library, but that's a Hefty price.
 

GingerMaestro

Active Member
This is a bit of an outsider, but just wanted to give a shout out to Venice Modern Strings from Fluffy Audio. I bought it on the release day and am really loving the sound. It's not as extensive as Berlin Strings in terms of Articulations etc, but it has a beautiful sound as is very playable. I also have Spitfire Studio Strings, but in direct comparison, VMS's sound really works better for me for many projects.
 
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dsblais

dsblais

Member
This is a bit of an outsider, but just wanted to give a shout out to Venice Modern Strings from Fluffy Audio. I bought it on the release day and am really loving the sound. It's not as extensive as Berlin Strings in terms of Articulations etc, but it has a beautiful sound as is very playable. I also have Spitfire Studio Strings, but in direct comparison, VMS's sound really works better for me for many projects.
Thank you. I bought it as well, but have found it really limited to a certain style of music (at least as far as what I can get out of it). For that particular style it's lovely, but for a wider range I just couldn't make it sound or play right. (That has been my experience with CSS and HS, too, so it may just my stylistic leaning.)
 

shawnsingh

Active Member
violins I = 37 articulations in the main library + 15 articulationis in expansion A + 30 articulations in expansion E. This doesn't even include the swells/crescendos/decrescendos/runs from the main library.

you can intelligently create multis to crossfade between these, or velocity switch, ect. infact you can 4 way 2d crossfade between them.

Can you please elaborate how you are setting up crossfades in a multi?
 

Vik

Scandi Member
All this for a measly $1500...lol Yes it a good library, but that's a Hefty price.
For a really good sample library, that's IMO a very good price. Imagine what people use on cars, holidays, iPhones, restaurants, clothes, booze or a weekend at a hotel.
Shawnsingh, here's something about setting up crossfading in a multi...
...but there's also a way which allows you to crossfade between two different Kontakt instances, which can be even more useful.
 

shawnsingh

Active Member
Yeah, I knew about the poly key switching, but I hadn't thought about using two instances in parallel though, very clever. Thanks very much for sharing!
 
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