Thoughts on OT Berlin Strings

Discussion in 'SAMPLE Talk' started by jononotbono, Feb 14, 2019.

  1. jononotbono

    jononotbono Luke Johnson

    ive been eyeing up Orchestral Tool’s Berlin Strings for quiet a while and thinking about buying them very soon.

    Anyone got any thoughts about them? Are they RAM hungry? I’m thinking they will add a new flavour to my String aresenal (which is mainly Spitfire) and I love the sound of the demos I’ve heard of it. Very tempted!
  2. jbuhler

    jbuhler Senior Member

    Jun 19, 2016
    They are very RAM hungry. I had to be judicious when I worked with them on a 32GB machine. I also find Berlin Strings to be very fussy to work with in terms of programming. They sound great, though, at the end. But because BS are RAM hungry and fussy I tend to work with SCS supplemented with SSS as my default strings.
  3. OleJoergensen

    OleJoergensen Senior Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    I only have Berlin strings expansion A and B. I mainly use the sustains and legato and they sound georgeous! The sound is a bit thin, compared to Spitfire symphonic strings, or a bit like one section divissi because of the amount of string palyers OT used when recording the samples. But it just gives something that SSS can’t.
    I agree, they are Ram hungry especially when you hear the diffirent mic position- one is just not enough :).
    Casiquire likes this.
  4. AlexanderSchiborr

    AlexanderSchiborr Senior Member

    May 1, 2014
    what kind of libraries do you have and what music do you write? I have bs + exp. almost since they came out and they are great, though..I still ask because just do recommendations without knowing your background and libraries you have allready I feel not give any useful thoughts.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2019
  5. Confuzzly

    Confuzzly New Member

    May 5, 2014
    New York City
    Berlin strings is a great library. It is one of the most comprehensive in terms of content (especially with the expansions), and it plays quite well.

    Personally my favorite thing about them (and most of OT's stuff) is the flexibility of sound the mic positions give. Their close mics actually sound good to my ears. While not dry, they still sound close without sacrificing their sonic character. This makes it easy to layer the close mic in for a more intimate sound if I want it. This is something I always found difficult with the Spitfire libraries I own, as I tend to find their close mics harsh and/or unappealing.

    The two main downsides I find are:

    1) RAM usage: This is shared by all of OT's stuff. Capsule is nice, but it eats RAM. I am hoping the upcoming sample player will remedy this, but until it is released, or we get more info, I can only hope.

    2) Section size: The section size of Berlin Strings is smaller; about half of a full size string section. It still sounds great, but there are definitely times where I am writing a score and I hit that moment where I want a big, lush string sound, only to find that I can't coax it out of Berlin Strings alone. This can be frustrating. I would personally hand OT my credit card and tell them to charge whatever they want if they would release a full size version of Berlin Strings. Sadly, I don't think it will happen.

    Personally, if I were in your shoes, I would wait until the new sample player is released to decide. Not only would you be able to see if the RAM usage is reduced, but then you wouldn't have to learn a new library twice in a potentially short time since presumably the sample player will change the workflow quite a bit.
  6. JohannesR

    JohannesR Active Member

    Sep 30, 2011
    Los Angeles
    My favorite string library.

    + Sounds great! Very focused sound because of the smaller ensemble sizes
    + The most agile string library I have. Great for string runs and adventurous writing
    + Very playable, especially the adaptive legato patches
    + Extremely detailed, gazillions of patches
    + Everything can be customized via CAPSULE. Truly great!
    + Extensive collection of mic positions

    - Resource heavy - probably the cost of CAPSULE and the mic positions, so I don’t care
    - Can be a tad thin, so you need to have an auxiliary library for those fat, lush strings moments
    - The legato can be a tiny tiny tad clumsy at times compared to CSS, which is the smoothest in class, but now I’m really playing the devil’s advocate here!
  7. muk

    muk Senior Member

    Jan 21, 2009
    jamwerks likes this.
  8. muziksculp

    muziksculp Senior Member

    Dec 26, 2004
    Los Angeles
    I agree. My wish would be to see Orchestral Tools develop a new large section strings library, with their new Sample Player for that more lush, big romantic, epic, ..etc. Strings Sound that we love to hear. :)

    Berlin Strings is one of the best sounding Strings Libraries available today, lots of articulations, and also expansion libraries for it, and all of the Berlin Series, will be ported to OT's new Sample Player system, which will offer better Legato functionality, and possibly other advantages that Kontakt was not able to deliver.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2019
  9. Vik

    Vik Scandi Member

    Dec 15, 2013
    The Berlin Strings section sizes are 8-6-5-5-4, which is pretty close to the ideal string library section size for me. And don't forget that while real orchestras never crossfade, sample library do that a lot. Often, when you hear a 8-6-5-5-4 library, you are listening to sections that are 16-12-10-10-8. If you want it larger, you can always layer with the sul tastos from the expansion kits, or with other libraries. I like SF stuff as well, but often find that SSS (16/14/12/10/8) is a bit to large for my needs, and that SCS (4/3/3/3/3) sometimes is too small.

    Btw, Berlin Strings seems to layer well with Spitfire Chamber Strings. There are also a couple of good Ensemble patches in Berlin String that one always could sneak in behind a section to make a mockup sound larger.

    Maybe they'll offer more expansion kits in the future? Real con sordinos would be great - and a set of divisi sections would also be useful. Not only as divisi sections, but also as something one users layer with the main library. It's not a perfect library (none are), but still one of my favourites.
    jononotbono and Casiquire like this.
  10. OP

    jononotbono Luke Johnson

    Thanks, there's a lot of good advice here! Think I will buy it in a couple of weeks. Loving everything I've heard with it so far. Impressed with how fast String parts can be programmed with it. Down to the smaller player count no doubt.
    jbuhler likes this.
  11. jbuhler

    jbuhler Senior Member

    Jun 19, 2016
    I actually find the opposite, that it takes longer to program the string parts than my other strings, though I can often achieve superior results. Though rereading your comment, I now wonder if perhaps you mean how well the library handles fast string figures, such as runs and turns. I find it to be hit or miss on that, tbh. Likewise the legato. The library does have a gorgeous sound.
    jononotbono likes this.
  12. OP

    jononotbono Luke Johnson

    Yeah, that's exactly what I mean't. Sorry for the confusion.
    jbuhler likes this.
  13. jamwerks

    jamwerks Senior Member

    Mar 21, 2010
    Just some speculation here. Their Current Berlin Series will be ported to their upcoming player (this year). They'll keep recording their libraries at Teldex. They'll be doing a totally new line of generic Orchestral libraries with the new brass library being the Junkie XL one.

    As for WW's, they were doing a redux of the Exp A and may have decided at that time to just start all over again for a totally new complete WW library (I'm hoping so anyway). Hoping for a complete WW section : Picc, Fl 1, Fl 2, Alto Fl, Bass Fl, Fl a3, OB 1, Ob 2, English horn, Ob a3, Cl in E-flat, Cl 1 in B-flat, Cl 2 in A, Bass Cl, Contrebass Cl, Cl a3, Bn 1, Bn 2, Cbn, Bn a3, Sop Sax, Alto Sax, Tenor Sax, Bari Sax. !! Hope they do it complete, might become the reference for the new 10 years (like VSL WW's have been for the last 10+ years).

    For the new string library, I'm hoping they will do the sizes and placement that they've been using on Metropolus series (12 V1, 12 V2, 10 Violas, 8 Celli, 12 DB, with the V2's on the far right). That would really make it worth while then having the entire Berlin, Metropolus, & Newbe(?) series strings, that would all work well together, and complement each other. When porting Berlin Strings over to the new player, they'll probably do a few updates.

    Here's to hoping!
    Casiquire likes this.
  14. OP

    jononotbono Luke Johnson

    Ah yes! The new player. I actually haven’t read about that. What is it going to involve (any articles on it online?)? Think it will be sensible to wait till it’s in the new player actually.
  15. JohannesR

    JohannesR Active Member

    Sep 30, 2011
    Los Angeles
    I like a lot of what OT has to offer, but the BWW situation annoys the **** out of me. It’s the worst offender on the market when it comes to consistency. You have:

    - The newly recorded instruments from BWW Revive
    - The old recordings from BWW remixed to blend with Berlin Revive
    - The Contrabassoon, Bass Clarinet straight out missing from BWW Revive, so you’re stuck with the drier original BWW recordings

    Sorry, but that’s not work at professional level.

    Sorry about the rant.
  16. SimonCharlesHanna

    SimonCharlesHanna Senior Member

    Feb 3, 2012
    Yeah and the expansion wind instruments are very very average.
    Land of Missing Parts likes this.
  17. Land of Missing Parts

    Land of Missing Parts No Time for Honky-Tonk

    Jan 27, 2013
    It's worth noting that Orchestral Tools has mentioned that they are doing fixes to BWW Revive.
    JohannesR and jamwerks like this.
  18. Casiquire

    Casiquire Senior Member

    May 7, 2013
    While you're correct mathematically, my experience is that sonically string crossfades really only get a little fuzzier, they don't sound like a change in the number of players. It's confusing to me because my original theory was that players react to one another differently and play differently in a large group than a small group, and I think that's true and a part of why the same library doubled up doesn't really sound like an ensemble of twice the players, but then there are some significant counter examples like LASS where he sections are recorded separately but do distinctly sound like more players when combined. Maybe it's more to do with the tone of different players and instruments? Sorry for the off-topic but I do find it an interesting paradox and to my ears BSt sounds like a smaller and more detailed ensemble, even during crossfades.
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