Poll: Berlin Strings vs Spitfire (playability and sound)

Discussion in 'SAMPLE Talk' started by Vik, Aug 22, 2015.

Is Berlin Strings or Mural (or Sable) best in terms of playability and 'sound'?

  1. Playability, scripting, adaptive legato: I prefer Berlin Strings

    76 vote(s)
    45.8%
  2. Playability, scripting, adaptive legato: I prefer Spitfire Mural and/or Sable

    64 vote(s)
    38.6%
  3. Sound: I prefer Berlin Strings

    64 vote(s)
    38.6%
  4. Sound: I prefer Mural and/or Sable

    92 vote(s)
    55.4%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Vik

    Vik Scandi Member

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    There were some comparisons on this forum around when Mural and Berlin Strings were launched. Since then, both have been updated and additional volumes have been released from both companies. I ended up with Mural, and based on my sound preferences (based on demos; I don't have Berlin Strings), that was a good choice. But based on playability, user friendliness and how advanced the 'adaptive legato' solutions are, Berlin Strings seem to be better than in Mural. Again - this is based on actually using Mural - but only watching Berlin Strings demos... not a fair comparison. Hence this thread. :)

    I'm very impressed with the new, expanded adaptive legato in the new solo instruments from Orchestral Tools, and – based on things I've heard and seen eg on YouTube, the Berlin Strings library is also very good at automatically switching between various articulations on the fly, and (important!) this includes switching between the various legato types and all other articulations. Some of this can be done by using combination presets in Mural, or by editing things after they have been recorded. I haven't heard the new Mural combination patches, but from what I already own (M1 and M2), I haven't been able to recreate what I have seen and heard in eg one of the initial Berlin demos.

    So - to those of you who own or have compared the two... what are your opinions?
    There are two questions in there, so you can select two reply options in the poll.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2015
  2. wpc982

    wpc982 Active Member

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    You'll probably find few who have both! I'm happy with Berlin Strings, except the Double Basses must have been a poor personality match (probably only two players, but they manage to be out of tune with each other most of the time). As to adaptive legato etc, the BS legato works pretty well and does not cause large rhythmic displacements; on the other hand, the new Nocturne legato is like some of the worst offenders in that department: takes a very large amount of adjustment to get a legato rhythmic motive to line up with other voices.
     
  3. timtom

    timtom New Member

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    We also have both and its a little bit like comparing two nice car brands. It doesn't matter which one you drive you will probably have a big smile on your face while driving them both ;o)

    Both are excellent libraries and depending on the musical style or way of writing or sound you will sometimes prefer the one or the other of the two or sometimes even experiment and mix them. To have both libraries is more of a luxury and if you ask me. One of them will do the job perfectly fine and at the end its really about the sound you want to achieve and therefore i would just listen to the demos and walkthrough videos and decide yourself which grabs more your taste and attention....and if you can't decide which one and have some coins laying around then just take both ;o)

    one more thing to add: i think the Berlin Capsule and their expanded adaptive legato leads the way at the moment but i guess it won't be long until other companies adapt their system as well.... on the other hand Mural (as most of the SF Libs) is less demanding in the Computer compared to the Berlin Series.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2015
  4. maxime77

    maxime77 Active Member

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    I've got both as well, and to me Mural is much better. It's got the ease of use of Cinematic Strings (switch between articulations & use the different mic positions easily) and a sound that I can't find in any other library. It doesn't really need reverb because of the hall it was recorded in, and out-of-the-box, you can get the sound of soundtracks such as Promised Land (close sounding), and Harry Potter & the Half Blood Prince, which were both recorded at AIR Lyndhurst.
     
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  5. OP
    OP
    Vik

    Vik Scandi Member

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    And... if you want to switch between one of the legato patches, which are in it's own preset, and one of the artics that are in the Core Palette?
     
  6. babylonwaves

    babylonwaves Senior Member

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    if you open the core/deco/legato pallet in one kontakt instance and make them use the same MIDI channel, it will behave like one instrument (note: this works with UACC switching, didn't try with the other methods).
     
  7. OP
    OP
    Vik

    Vik Scandi Member

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    Sure. But I'd like to have a much more 'adaptive' solution. And regarding the combination presets, there's a lot of room for improvement there as well. It's easy to imagine a lot of possible presets which moves eg. from normal Longs to Sul Tasto. Likewise, 'unrealistic' (but in some contexts useful crossfades) between Longs and Flautando would also be great - and so on. It would also be great to have legato versions of most of or all the relevant articulations. Maybe Mural 3 solves some of this, and maybe there will be improvements in the future. But – what happens in the beginning of this Berlin demo is AFAIK not possible to get straight out of the box, in Mural:


    Likewise, this wasn't possible in the Mural 1 & 2 combo either:

    But – I should probably keep my mouth shut until there's a demo of the new combo patches which includes Mural 3. :) I did look at the walkthrough and playthrough for Mural 3, and while I skipped a few seconds here and there (because I know Spitfire is brilliant at making presets which covers one articulation at a time), I don't think there was any demonstration of new combos which included the new Marcato Attacks (are they implemented in the Legato presets also?). I also wonder if there is some integration between the new Rachmaninoff longs and legato transitions.

    Mural, 2 and 3 may all be great products if one doesn't expect presets which include all the needed dynamics and legato transitions which seem to come with Berlin. I really hope I'm wrong in most of this, because I have already invested in two Mural volumes.

    And - before someone says that one cannot expect a combination of legato and marcato pacthes from Mural because it won't be able to do that until volume 4 or 5... I kind of agree. OTOH, I'd rather have a library for one or two instruments now - which I can use fully, than a number of instruments which lacks certain samples and some scripting for the first few years of it's existence (maybe Mural will support all this in another year or two).

    At the same time - Mural seems (to me) so much better if one needs gentle string sounds (and I do): True Con Sords, great Sul Tasto/Flautando and so on.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2015
  8. prodigalson

    prodigalson Senior Member

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    I believe Paul mentions in his walkthrough that the Legato sul G (sul C) patches transition to the Rachmaninoff longs. Not sure if it's used as an extra layer in any other legato patch.

    Personally, I have both and I enjoy the transparency and lightness of BS. It can definitely be more nimble than Mural. But for me, if it's a symphonic sound I want, Mural has no contender. It just has a slightly different workflow IMO but one which is in no way restrictive.

    The only major drawback to Mural right now over BS is they didn't release fast legato in the latest volume 3. That was a huge oversight IMO and very disappointing. They're clearly out to ensure people need to buy Vol. 4. which is frustrating. But other than that, the sound and detail of Mural is unparalleled.
     
  9. prodigalson

    prodigalson Senior Member

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    I also just noticed that you included Sable in this comparison and IMO in terms of detail, sound, playability, scripting etc. Sable kills Berlin Strings and Mural. Especially with the latest updates to the scripting.

    Sable is amazing.
     
  10. OP
    OP
    Vik

    Vik Scandi Member

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    That's my feeling too. Ideally, I guess I'd like to have something between Mural and Sable in size, with the sound of Spitfire but with the playability of BS.

    The lack of divisi is a restriction for me... the other restrictions is that for me, still being a Logic user (remember Logic has no proper articulation control, expression maps, decent automation of articulations, the articulation ID solution can't be sent to 3rd part plugins, MIDI Draw has has only one lane etc etc) are all the steps needed to get things done.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2015
  11. prodigalson

    prodigalson Senior Member

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    Right, Mural has no divisi, they intend Sable for that...

    But neither does Berlin Strings, right?
     
  12. maxime77

    maxime77 Active Member

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    They added some divisi articulations in Mural vol. 3. as they show in the walkthrough video.
     
  13. prodigalson

    prodigalson Senior Member

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    That's a full section articulation with half the desks playing con sordino and the other half normale. It's a wonderful, useful articulation, but only divisi in one context. It still has a full complement of players so is hardly divisi in any practical way
     
  14. tomaslobosk

    tomaslobosk Active Member

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    Sound wise, IMO Mural is the best, it has that amazing non-hollywood tone that you hear in some of the best Deutsche Grammophon's recordings.
    On the other hand, BST has that really good hollywood tone, and I just love how Hendrik scripts his libraries, however, I can't imagine using this library in my productions... Samples were denoised, specially short articulations, so they lack that bow strike sound, and that mono noise mic didn't work for me. I just love the natural beauty of samples.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2015
    maxime77 likes this.
  15. OP
    OP
    Vik

    Vik Scandi Member

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    Sable is more mature than Mural and Berlin, and some people may prefer Sable over Mural for that reason alone. IMO it would be wrong to limit the comparison to BS and Mural.
     
  16. samphony

    samphony Senior Member

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    I bought the sable bundle the day it was announced and man it did evolve! I prefer sable and layer in Albion 1-3 if needed although I also bought Mural Vol 1.
     
  17. TintoL

    TintoL Active Member

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    +1 to Sable. It simply doesn't compare to any of the libraries here. It's just so detailed and the programming completely open so you can adapt it to your playing. Similarly to VSL it's flexible, but, you have to put work on it.

    But the sound, the sound of sable has no comparison. Just compare the simple run patch of sable to any library including orchestral tools runs, and sable kills every other with it's realistic sound.
    The reason I think sable is in the shadows of mural is because people relate sable to baroque stile composition and people want to compose trailer epic stuff, I don't know.

    Also, I don't understand the obsession with playability. At the end you have to program, because there is no way you can get the expressiveness of a real violin on a keyboard . It will simply not happen. If it does, I guess we'll say goodbye to the real orchestra.

    Just compare any VSL solo string demo to any other library (including spitfire solo strings) and see what programming can do.
     
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  18. OP
    OP
    Vik

    Vik Scandi Member

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    One needs to put work into any library, but that doesn't mean that libraries that needs less work (in some cases, a lot less) than others are preferable.

    Obsession? :)
    Here's how I see it... I've spent endless hours of work with tweaking, using known or relatively unknown ways to get to the results I want - for years. And I don't like to admit this - but I've often spent this time in the midst of working on a musical idea I liked, in the midst of what originally was plain "inspiration", whatever that is. And - believe it or not - that part is very important for some of us: we don't want to get lost in programming when the impulse was to just... compose. I know for sure that many composers have experienced exactly that, and this has been a dilemma since long before great orchestral libraries existed. I've read tons of manuals and wasted a lot of time on finding solutions in Logic's Transform and Environment windows in sessions which actually started out with only focussing on music.

    I believe that the reason both Spitfire, Orchestral tools and many others actually do invest a lot of time on scripting is that they know we'd rather have brilliant sounds and great scripting rather than just good sounding libraries. That's actually part of what we pay for. So - even if one always have to tweak adjust things, a library which needs as little as possible of that is preferable. I don't think this has anything to do with "obsession". :) If the programmers and product designers behind the DAWs and libs we use had lost as much time on tweaking as some of us has, I'm sure they'd focus more on making 'transparent' tools.

    Unfortunately, even if they have been developed over many years know, I still don't feel as the Spitfire libs and Logic Pro X are as transparent as they could and should have been.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2015
  19. EvilDragon

    EvilDragon KSP Wizard

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    Can't blame Spitfire on Logic's shortcomings, now, can you? Or what do you mean by "transparent", here?
     
  20. OP
    OP
    Vik

    Vik Scandi Member

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    Of course not - I'm just trying to explain why it's extra frustrating to deal with. Even if we ignore Logic's shortcomings in this area, there's still a lot to be desired from the Spitfire scripting, eg with reference to eg what was shown in the first YouTube video above. Even with Cubase+Spitfire, one wouldn't be able to produce such a complex combination of articulations by simple pressing record and play something... right?
     

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