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String Music with Areia + BBCSO

Timothy Schmidt

Orchestral Composer
Hi everyone!

I've seen some questions recently about the "classical"/"natural" viability of Audio Imperia products, as well as the usual stream of discussion surrounding the quality and usefulness of Spitfire's BBCSO. In response to both, here's a series of string orchestra pieces I wrote for live performance that I've just finished mocking up using my recent purchases of Areia and BBCSO Core. My goal with the suite was to explore specific techniques and moods in each movement, which conveniently allowed me to test drive the flexibility of the above libraries on:

Repetitions, spiccato runs / "courageous"

Pizzicato / "playful"

Various lengths of shorts / "adventurous"

*solo violin from OT's Tableau Strings

Legato / "gentle"

Tempo changes / "gallant"

Blending with solo instruments* / "shy"

*solo instruments from AI's Nucleus ("viola" and "double bass" are pitched down violin and cello)

Tremolo, snap pizzicato, harmonics, sul pont*, flautando** / "creepy"

*Occurs only in celli
**Occurs only in 1st violins

Legato runs, faster pizzicato, pizzicato clusters / "ethereal"

Con sordino, molto vibrato / "majestic"

*solo viola is pitched down violin from Nucleus

Sul tasto, soft dynamics / "ambient"

Chromatic spiccato, spiccato/chord clusters / "manic"

Multiple articulations in quick succession / "resolute"

For each movement, I imported MIDI data from the original notation files onto Areia tracks within Cubase. Where I could, I doubled the data onto a second set of Areia tracks with similar articulations (e.g. staccato instead of spiccato or sustains instead of legato) to thicken the sound a bit. Then, I copied the MIDI from the first Areia tracks onto slightly quieter BBCSO tracks and made idiomatic adjustments. As a result, most of what you're hearing is Areia; BBCSO is in the background providing the depth that Areia as a studio-recorded library is simply unable to produce. To round off the process, I threw on some reverb to help with tails and cohesiveness, as well as some slight EQ-ing and limiting to brighten and smooth out the sound just a bit.

Do Areia and BBCSO work well together? Do any, some, most of the pieces work to the libraries' strengths? Or the inverse - do the libraries fit the music? What weaknesses are you hearing? I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts! Also, this is my first large-scale project within a DAW and with these libraries, so feedback on synthestration would be appreciated too!

- Timothy

Travis Banks

Less famous than I thought
I stumbled upon this thread due to the current Areia sale. I picked it up at $199.00 and haven't had a chance to play it yet. I scrolled down to see what others thought and was surprised there were no comments yet. I will take some time to listen to all your links above, hopefully this evening. Thanks for the detailed post.
Last edited:


New Member
Detailed/long post.
I'm in the middle of trying to get the same 2 libraries to sit together as well.
Very different sounding string sections.
I had more success getting them coherent once i spent time working on the timing and sample delays of the BBCSO strings.
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