Spitfire Symphonic Strings

GingerMaestro

Active Member
Apologies, there may be another post devoted to this on here, but I can't seem to find it.

I am going around the houses looking for my main String Library and I have come back to thinking Spitfire Symphonic Strings maybe the answer ? My biggest concern is it's wetness and how it will sit with other libraries, I don't really want to get sucked into buying the whole spitfire range, as I'm not the biggest fan of a lot of their stuff, but I do really like the sound of SSS.

I personally just don't like the timbre of CSS, but think it's a great library, just not my thing.

I like Berlin Strings a lot, but It is ultimately out of my Price Range and I think it's ram usage is going to be an issue for me.

I'm looking at Musical Samplings Soaring Strings paired with Adventure Strings which is obviously drier than SSS, but I quite like this.

Also 8dio Adagio & Century and Agitato, although I find their range a bit confusing.

I think I've narrowed it down to those thus far. Any specific comments on experiences with SSS and using other libraries would be much appreciated. I like the big warm sound of SSS a lot..Thank you..
 

Living Fossil

Senior Member
Hi, i wouldn't care too much about the wetness. You can adjust your microphone mixes as you want.
And there is control over the release of some sounds.

I like the sound of SSS, but there are some inconsistencies in the programming of some sounds, which probably will never be fixed.
(however, you can workaround this by resetting the round robins).

All in all it's a good library. Still, i also use my good old VSL strings for some cases, as well as the LASS library. (For double bass, LASS is still my first choice).
 

Henu

Senior Member
The timbre is stunning, many other things are not. To quote myself from this thread just a couple of days ago,

I. Just. Cannot. Make. Them. Sound. Good. For. Anything. I. Try. Mushy, sloppy, horrible attacks and even more horrible releases. How the hell can SCS be that good and SSS such a disappointment?

I just don't get it- why on earth they assume that "longs" mean lyrical slow-attack-slow-release playstyle and if I want to do proper, attached lines, I either have to divide them into divisi in order to use legatos (which eliminates the attack/release- problem), or then hop between marcato attack and long- patch if I want the notes to be properly attached. And I'm not talking about potteresque runs, but the "longs"- patch is struggling even in 110 bpm playing half notes.
 
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GingerMaestro

Active Member
Thanks @Living Fossil, good to know about the wetness as that has been mentioned a number of times before. Do they sit ok with your other non spitfire libraries ?

Thanks @Henu What do you use as your "Main" source for Symphonic Scale Strings ?
 

Henu

Senior Member
To be honest, I'm still kind of looking for it. That's why I wanted to give SSS a new try, as I really like the sound. I may try that again tomorrow, though, as I've now gathered my thoughts for a couple of days.

I rarely do symphonic-sized stuff, but I've found CSS to to be really nice for that even though it's not symphonic-sized per se. It is awesome, but sometimes a bit "too much" with it's over-the-top vibrato and mid-heavy sound. Sometimes I blend it with Cinestrings, too. When I want to be more agile, I go doubled SCS. (which again isn't still symphonic-sized).
 
SSS has remained my main strings library ever since I got it a few years back, even though I also have SCS and CSS. I like the sound of them in that space, as it screams "cinematic" to me in a way that the other libraries don't. I don't have a problem with the longs, but then again I use them for those very long, swelling chords, and quickly switch to the legatos as soon as I need the strings to be a bit more active.

Two caveats:

First, much of what I'd been doing the last several years has been symphonic and large, albeit not quite "epic", which I think has been perfectly suited to SSS. My upcoming project is going to be much less symphonic, and for that one I don't even have SSS in the template thus far, having opted to concentrate on Tundra, LCOS and some occasional bits of SCS for strings. This next project is going to be rather remote, brooding and frightening, though ... if it were something more accessible and romantic, I'd seriously consider leading off with CSS. But after this one, I am anticipating another highly symphonic project will be next up, and have every intention of putting SSS back in the forefront at that time.

Second, I've begun using the Jake Jackson "Fine" mix of SSS rather than any of the CTAO mics, because I am finding his mix gives me the enormous cinematic quality that I cannot get with just the Close mics, while still taming the room better than the Tree mics do. I don't know what magic Jake did, but no mix I've attempted with those two mics (nor with the Ambient or Outrigger mics thrown in) has been able to duplicate the combination of detail and enormity that the "Fine" mix seems to give me. This is a caveat because the Jake Jackson mixes are only available in the expansion pack, which is no longer available for SSS ... and while I expect them to reappear in a "Spitfire Symphonic Strings Professional" version at some point, that hasn't been announced yet.
 
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GingerMaestro

Active Member
Thanks @Living Fossil I didn't know about precedence, will take a look at that, looks interesting. Do you have any examples of your SSS compositions online by any chance..Thank you
 

ProfoundSilence

Senior Member
if you don't like the timbre of CSS, look at CS2(same developer)

I don't think SSS is worth it if you like berlin strings. Save up, just use HWS with composer cloud until you get them. Honestly from my time with HWS - I think they are better(and more cinematic) than SSS. Soaring and adventure strings are an alright combination as well(although again, I would just use HWS and save for berlin)

berlin has nearly every articulation at it's actual recorded volume, and the ability to blend between them. Also, whenever OT gets around to releasing their new sampler - the ram problem wont be an issue.
 

jbuhler

Senior Member
berlin has nearly every articulation at it's actual recorded volume, and the ability to blend between them. Also, whenever OT gets around to releasing their new sampler - the ram problem wont be an issue.
Do we know their sample player will address the RAM issue? it would be great if it did. I've had RAM issues with just the basic Berlin Strings. With 16GB the library was completely unusable and even with 32GB it was not a happy experience and in any case left little room to load any other instruments, so the idea of getting any other instruments in the Berlin series seemed a fool's errand. I'm now at 64GB and haven't made a new attempt with Berlin Strings but hope to try them again in a few months when I have time. Because I very much like the sound.
 

ProfoundSilence

Senior Member
Do we know their sample player will address the RAM issue? it would be great if it did. I've had RAM issues with just the basic Berlin Strings. With 16GB the library was completely unusable and even with 32GB it was not a happy experience and in any case left little room to load any other instruments, so the idea of getting any other instruments in the Berlin series seemed a fool's errand. I'm now at 64GB and haven't made a new attempt with Berlin Strings but hope to try them again in a few months when I have time. Because I very much like the sound.
you can bake your mic mixes into a single microphone position. And in general, the gui they have looks like wayyyy less graphics.(ever loaded a bunch of instruments with no microphones loaded and looked at your ram?)
 

jbuhler

Senior Member
you can bake your mic mixes into a single microphone position. And in general, the gui they have looks like wayyyy less graphics.(ever loaded a bunch of instruments with no microphones loaded and looked at your ram?)
Yeah, I was just wondering if we know OT plans to work on ways to reduce the need for RAM. I don't recall mention of that, but I could easily have missed it.
 

ProfoundSilence

Senior Member
I use SSS for my orchestral template and their Chamber Strings for divisi passages.

This orchestration is all strings:
this just sounds like a classical recording to me. It's perfect for that sound - but it's just not a cinematic sound. That was exactly my issue with it... you needed to absolutely pummel it with EQ to get it even remotely cinematic sounding
 

whiskers

Perpetual student
Yeah, I was just wondering if we know OT plans to work on ways to reduce the need for RAM. I don't recall mention of that, but I could easily have missed it.
I wonder, and again, pure speculation, if their new player would have efforts to reduce system footprint. Not sure what the plan would be for Kontakt instrument owners though. Could they do a free crossover? Or is it paid? Not sure.

Would be interesting to see how the OT player goes, though.
 

whiskers

Perpetual student
this just sounds like a classical recording to me. It's perfect for that sound - but it's just not a cinematic sound. That was exactly my issue with it... you needed to absolutely pummel it with EQ to get it even remotely cinematic sounding
curiosity/diction point - how would you describe your envisioning of a 'cinematic' sound quality?
 

ProfoundSilence

Senior Member
Yeah, I was just wondering if we know OT plans to work on ways to reduce the need for RAM. I don't recall mention of that, but I could easily have missed it.
I think after all the feedback they've gotten - it would only make sense for them to create some kind of "slider" for this.

honestly it's not THAT bad if you're smart about it. There is nothing special about berlin series ram usage - it's just a consequence of being deeply sampled. Reduce the depth of the sampling and you'll see a drop in ram usage. it's not exactly a problem if you get 13x RR for spiccato on cello(I think it's something ridiculous like this) when many only give you 5x RR.

1.) create a legato patches with no transitions - freeze the one with the transition
2.) create short patches with only 1 or 2 RR and use the fake neighbor. freezing the real one
3.) use one microphone while writing
4.) if you still need to free up ram, you could literally just turn off dynamic layers until you're down to 1 and just adjust the volume range slider to approximate

I'd wager you could get a pretty incredibly lightweight version prior to rendering out stems.(and this was probably the *inspiration* for inspire)

I thought about creating an inspire-esque template - but I should probably finish my regular template first haha
 

ProfoundSilence

Senior Member
curiosity/diction point - how would you describe your envisioning of a 'cinematic' sound quality?
Honestly? Probably from blockbuster hits from mid 90s to early 2000s.

Cinesamples captures this(MGM FTW)
OT captures this(Teldex FTW)
Cinematic Studio Series captures this(although the brass tone is admittedly much more cinematic than their strings which have some weird buildup)

the common thread here is probably obvious - trackdown, teldex, and sony mgm are all scoring stages, and not a church. SSS sounds exactly like someone set up a decca tree in a church and performed *insert century+ dead composer here*.

for the sake of fun, here is the Hollywood sound(shawn murphy no less)


it has a modern smoothness to the strings, and doesn't sound like a church(because it's not? IIRC it was 20th century fox?)
 
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JohnG

Senior Member
I don't subscribe to much of the jawing about "Hollywood sound" and "cinematic" when discussing libraries.

Most libraries, if you orchestrate the way it's done by JW or JNH or someone like that, can produce a movie sound, and if you arrange like Mozart, more that way. Of the two I still find it harder to do Mozart.

With multiple mic positions and all the articulations they provide (from soft to quite intense), I find that you can do quite a bit with SSS. I like CSS ok but find the sound of SSS more appealing -- just taste, and an aversion to vibrato. Still using Hollywood Strings and LASS too.

Apart from basic sound, it's handy to have ore than one library since, sometimes, one library or another has very small tuning issues. Accordingly, if you're writing dense harmony, you might find that you need to substitute a viola or cello or something from a different library to get that magic perfect tuning.

I'm not sure that it's that huge a decision; I've heard really nice music now for 15 years from composers who are great with samples. At this point I'd say choosing a library is more a matter of taste than its capability.