Poll: Solo string/first chair libraries you are really happy with?

Your favourite first chair/solo string library?


  • Total voters
    50
  • Poll closed .

Vik

Scandi Member
This poll is closed now, since a new and more complete poll exists here:

http://vi-control.net/community/threads/poll-which-of-these-30-virtual-violins-would-you-recommend.56095/





Hi, I just started a poll about fav. solo/FC violins, listing only products where the violin can be bought as a separate product, here:
(here:http://vi-control.net/community/threads/which-of-these-virtual-violins-are-you-most-happy-with.54965/).

The poll in this thread is different, and is about fav. solo string libraries libraries string libraries which contain multiple string instruments. I apologise if any libraries are missing (but polls here can only contain 10 listed options anyway).

OT FirstChairs (2016)
VSL Solo Strings (2009)
CineStrings Solo (2016)
Spitfire Sacconi Quartet (2015/2016)
Spitfire Solo Strings (2011)
Kirk Hunter solo strings
Strezov Macabre Solo Strings
Aria Sounds LSS Solo Strings
Prague Sounds Solo Strings
Audiobro LASS First Chair

Please add comments in the thread if you have time – for instance about possible pros/cons, what the strengths are, which of instruments you are particularly happy with and so on.

This is a multiple choice poll, and votes can be changed later if you wish.
 
Last edited:
i don't know what your goal is with this poll, but I think you also have a list of all the available solo strings?( didn't you have another thread as well a out a complete list?)

I miss the bohemian violin & cello. Also EW solo cello/ violin?

Good luck & enjoyment with the poll.

Edit: I see you referred to the other thread...... Duuhh:grin:
 
OP
Vik

Vik

Scandi Member
Hi, ideally I'd like to have one poll for violas, one for violins etc, listing all possible solo/FC libraries, but the polls here can only have max. 10 voting options. So I had to divide the whole thing in multiple polls.

The goal with the poll? Not sure yet. :) But maybe some interesting comments in the thread will help new buyers make a decision?
 

muk

Senior Member
None.

I have VSL solo strings and Berlin Strings First Chairs. The latter is not ready for elaborate solistic quartet writing in my opinion. Mainly due to inconsitencies in the legatos and long articulations, and inconsistencies in volume between articulations and instruments. The Cellos legatos are played totally different than on the other instruments for example. Same with the shorts on the viola. There are many tiny niggles such as these, which altogether make it not a good choice for me for quartet use. It's a bit of a pity, because soundwise it's there imo. Anyway, I use these for layering, not for solo quartet. And to be fair, that is how the library is advertised.

VSL solo strings is as good as it currently gets, again in my opinion. You have unbeatable consistency, you have all the articulations you could wish for. But it's a lot of work to program, and ultimately, because a quartet sound is so exposed, you can always tell that it is samples. You just can't mimick all the subtleties, colors, and timbres real players can coax from their instruments.

So what's to be done? From my perspective, with my experiences, I'd advise to do this: everybody knows a violinist. Ask them if they could bring together a quartet and have some fun playing a piece of yours. Cook them supper, invite them to a concert/opera/cinema/whatever. Make it a great experience for everybody involved. In the end, it's social interaction which is nicer than sitting in front of a computer shifting midi notes around. And you'll end up with a real recording of your piece, which is again nicer than the results of shifting midi notes around in your computer.

If you don't have professional recording equipment or don't want the hassle of interacting live with people there's always services like Hannes_F for example. If I am not mistaken a string quartet recording won't break your bank.

For small formations, and especially for string quartets, I find the cost and effort between creating a mock up and a real recording are comparable. But the results are not. Basically, I only use VSL solo strings for experimenting and all the stuff that I write for myself. As soon as I'd have a more substantial piece of music for string quartet, or something that should be released, I'd try to make a real recording happen.
 

Saxer

Senior Member
Yepp, samples are not ready for expressive solistic parts. When arranging for string quartett I find it much more satisfying to use string ensemble sounds or even a Rhodes piano sound. So I don't waste time trying to get something good sounding without a chance to really get there.
Simple solo parts in an orchestral backing or short note ostinatos are ok. But melodic and emotional stuff is still the domain of good players.
Maybe Samplemodeling gets closer... it's more of a playable virtual instrument than all other libraries. Even if the sound and expression is not the same as a real instrument I hope it will be possible to create at least music you like to listen to. I'm looking forward to the complete SM quartett.
 

Massimo

Active Member
None.

I have VSL solo strings and Berlin Strings First Chairs. The latter is not ready for elaborate solistic quartet writing in my opinion. Mainly due to inconsitencies in the legatos and long articulations, and inconsistencies in volume between articulations and instruments. The Cellos legatos are played totally different than on the other instruments for example. Same with the shorts on the viola. There are many tiny niggles such as these, which altogether make it not a good choice for me for quartet use. It's a bit of a pity, because soundwise it's there imo. Anyway, I use these for layering, not for solo quartet. And to be fair, that is how the library is advertised.

VSL solo strings is as good as it currently gets, again in my opinion. You have unbeatable consistency, you have all the articulations you could wish for. But it's a lot of work to program, and ultimately, because a quartet sound is so exposed, you can always tell that it is samples. You just can't mimick all the subtleties, colors, and timbres real players can coax from their instruments.

So what's to be done? From my perspective, with my experiences, I'd advise to do this: everybody knows a violinist. Ask them if they could bring together a quartet and have some fun playing a piece of yours. Cook them supper, invite them to a concert/opera/cinema/whatever. Make it a great experience for everybody involved. In the end, it's social interaction which is nicer than sitting in front of a computer shifting midi notes around. And you'll end up with a real recording of your piece, which is again nicer than the results of shifting midi notes around in your computer.

If you don't have professional recording equipment or don't want the hassle of interacting live with people there's always services like Hannes_F for example. If I am not mistaken a string quartet recording won't break your bank.

For small formations, and especially for string quartets, I find the cost and effort between creating a mock up and a real recording are comparable. But the results are not. Basically, I only use VSL solo strings for experimenting and all the stuff that I write for myself. As soon as I'd have a more substantial piece of music for string quartet, or something that should be released, I'd try to make a real recording happen.
I am with you Muk about finding players to record ones music instead of spending hours/days programming MIDI notes and CC controllers. I love VSL solo strings, I only have the Special Edition Vol.1 Strings with the Plus extended content and love it. I have tried a few solo string libraries but VSL to me still remain the best with the exception of SF Sacconi 1st violin which I also love.
 
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Vik

Vik

Scandi Member
Please ignore the wording ("Your favourite first chair/solo string library?") in the actual poll - "favourite" somehow suggests that the voters need to have an overview of all these products and know what they think is best. The idea isn't to find out the objective truth about which product that's "best", just to see which products people are happy with using. And of course, the outcome of such poll are of course influenced by a lot of things (which products that are most well known, which products that have been out for a while and so on).
 
OP
Vik

Vik

Scandi Member
17 votes so far.... maybe making such libraries isn't such a good business after all?

Or have people bought them but aren't happy with them? :)
 

rocking.xmas.man

Active Member
I have spitfire solo strings and I think they are fantastic as first chairs to add different legato styles to string melodies created with albion or just add legato to string parts created with libraries without true legato like Symphonic Sphere. I also like to use them in some solo contexts but usually just for simple lines. Sadly they don't work too well in non orchestral context because of the huge amount of ambience. They are not perfect but I did not feel the Need to buy something else for first chairs.
 
OP
Vik

Vik

Scandi Member
I consider getting one of these, and CineStrings solo, Orchestral Tools' First Chair and Sacconi looks the most interesting to me.

I usually find the violin to be the most difficult instrument to kane snd OK. So maybe I should go for on of this (http://vi-control.net/community/threads/virtual-solo-violin-library-you-are-really-happy-with.54965/) instead. Or is there any chance that the violin in one of the products in this thread is as good as the dedicated solo violins in that other thread?
 

chrysshawk

Active Member
I consider getting one of these, and CineStrings solo, Orchestral Tools' First Chair and Sacconi looks the most interesting to me.

I usually find the violin to be the most difficult instrument to kane snd OK. So maybe I should go for on of this (http://vi-control.net/community/threads/virtual-solo-violin-library-you-are-really-happy-with.54965/) instead. Or is there any chance that the violin in one of the products in this thread is as good as the dedicated solo violins in that other thread?
Maybe you might want to sit on the fence a bit until the Cinematic Studio Soloists are available? I'm in the same boat as you wrt CS Solo which seem like a solid option right now, but I'm curious about what Alex and co comes up with.

Also it's a bit amusing that people who are asked which solo library they like the best, instantly assume you have no idea and suggest you get real players instead. As if there is zero need for solo samples in today's composing world. I'd get real players for sure, but sometimes that takes more than 10 minutes to contact them, record them, mix them, until the part is done.
 
OP
Vik

Vik

Scandi Member
embertone is missing and in baroque music they are the best. And SWAM, of course.
Sure, Embertone isn't in the list.
http://www.embertone.com/instruments/friedlanderviolin.php
The list was based on which violins that was mentioned in this thread: http://vi-control.net/community/threads/complete-list-of-solo-first-chair-string-options.54439/
...and for some reason, the Embertone violin wasn't mentioned there. But it certainly should have been in the poll.
If a moderator sees this: maybe you can put the Embertone in there instead of one of those which hasn't got any votes yet – that won't effect the poll results?
If not, please vote for Embertone by posting "Embertone +1" in the thread.
Swam should also have been there, but the forum limits polls to have only 10 voting options, so until this possibly will be changed one day, polls like these are bound to be limited.
 

Jimmy Hellfire

Senior Member
I don't have of those any yet. As it is right now, OT First Chairs seem very attractive to me - I love the sound and also the fact that they're not virtuoso/solo instruments. But I'm still holding out to see how the Cinematic Studio Solo Strings will be. CSS is the first string library I've bought in a long time. A future classic that came out of the blue.
 

Lawson.

Senior Member
OT's First Chairs (and their specific solo products) are very nice, as well as Spitfire's Sacconi Strings and Embertone's Intimate Strings Series. OT and Spitfire's products both sound a lot better straight out of the box, but with a bunch of tweaking, Embertone really has some depth. I'm really impressed that I can specifically control bowing, and their fast legatos sound really good.

The second best thing to do would be to get all of them! The first best thing to do would be to hire real players. It's not that hard, and definitely worth it.

[Note: I have received free products from all three developers named in this post.]
 
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Vik

Vik

Scandi Member
OT's First Chairs (and their specific solo products) are very nice, as well as Spitfire's Sacconi Strings and Embertone's Intimate Strings Series. OT and Spitfire's products both sound a lot better straight out of the box, but with a bunch of tweaking, Embertone really has some depth.
How would you compare OT's Nocturne violin with Spitfire's Sacconi (if you have both)?

And - does anyone know what's up with http://praguesounds.com/? Can't access it...
 

Lawson.

Senior Member
How would you compare OT's Nocturne violin with Spitfire's Sacconi (if you have both)?

And - does anyone know what's up with http://praguesounds.com/? Can't access it...
I unfortunately don't have the Nocturne violin, but from the videos and demos it seems to have a beautiful sound. A bit closer and more modern sounding than Sacconi (which I do have). Sacconi instantly makes me think of a classical quartet, which is both a good and bad thing I suppose. It really depends what you're writing for! Also, Nocturne has WAY more legato options compared to Sacconi (which IIRC only has slur).
 
OP
Vik

Vik

Scandi Member
I also think Nocturne sounds good in the demo, so I'm a little surprised that it hasn't got more than 4 votes yet - can't compared with Bohemians 15. It could be the price.
Also, based on the OT walkthrough: iirr there's a generous amount of reverb on the violin most of the time, and few (if any) sections where it's naked and without accompaniment. In some of the other demos, one can almost hear the wood of the instrument. Maybe Nocturne sounds terrific even without reverb, but I'm not 100% sure it does. It still appears to be a very... musical VI.
 

Neifion

Senior Member
I unfortunately don't have the Nocturne violin, but from the videos and demos it seems to have a beautiful sound. A bit closer and more modern sounding than Sacconi (which I do have). Sacconi instantly makes me think of a classical quartet, which is both a good and bad thing I suppose. It really depends what you're writing for! Also, Nocturne has WAY more legato options compared to Sacconi (which IIRC only has slur).
The 1st Violin and Cello of Sacconi were recently updated with portamento and bow-change to go along with the adaptive slur. The 2nd Violin and Viola are still just slur.