Comparison of 23 String Ensemble Libraries

Discussion in 'Software Reviews and Tutorials' started by webhead, Jul 7, 2020.

  1. webhead

    webhead Rock Star

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    This is a good video to answer some "which is the best library" questions.



    The libraries in the video:
    Spitfire Albion One
    Spitfire Albion II Loegria
    Spitfire Albion V Tundra
    Spitfire Symphonic Strings
    Spitfire Masse
    Spitfire Chamber Strings
    Spitfire Originals: Epic Strings
    Spitfire Symphonic Strings: Ensemble CS Blend
    Audio Imperia Nucleus
    Steinberg Iconica Ensembles
    Orchestral Tools Metropolis Ark I
    Orchestral Tools Metropolis Ark II
    Musical Sampling Adventure Strings
    Musical Sampling Trailer Strings
    Fluffy Audio Venice Modern Strings
    Strezov Sampling Afflatus Strings
    8Dio Agitato Sordino
    Heavyocity Novo Essentials
    Cinematic Strings 2
    Cinematic Studio Strings
    Sonokinetic Da Capo
    VSL Appassionata Strings
    EastWest Hollywood Strings Gold
     
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  3. Downlo

    Downlo Kapellmeister

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    I almosr never use strings but from what i can hear, on cheap pc speakers Albion One sounds best to me.
    But i did like that combo he did at the end.
    For me many have too much room sound or they are not that great at transitioning from one note to the next.
    The small gaps. If u catch my drift.
    The short articulations almost all sound okay.
    Surprised at how bad that VSL sounded.
     
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  4. Smoove Grooves

    Smoove Grooves Audiosexual

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  5. WizzDome71

    WizzDome71 Kapellmeister

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    My favs here are Spitfire Symphonic / Chamber Strings and Cinematic Strings 2.
    I also love Audiobro LA Scoring Strings 2 and Orchestral Tools Berlin Strings but they are not in the video.
    IMO you don't need any other library if you use these ones. You get very good results by blending them together, depending on your needs but all these libraries are very expensive...
    God bless sister site:metal:
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2020
  6. Trurl

    Trurl Rock Star

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    23 libraries in 27 minutes? That's pretty quick. Did he adjust the programming to be optimal for each one?
     
  7. WizzDome71

    WizzDome71 Kapellmeister

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    He only uses ensemble patchs and yes he adjusted velocities and CC programming to "match" (not scientific though).
    I did this kind of test myself a few months ago and came to this conclusion = Spitfire, Orchestral Tools, Cinematic Strings and Audiobro are the best. I don't like the 8Dio's (even the new one, only my opinion), FluffyAudio (ridiculous vibrato, so annoying), Strezov (so unrealistic). I have to mention that the old EastWest library works very well for "blending".
    You can try Ben Osterhouse Cello Textures to add more life to your strings...
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2020
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  8. Trurl

    Trurl Rock Star

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    I haven't used that many libraries that extensively but based on what I have used I agree with you pretty much all the way. Still want to check this out though when I have time...
     
  9. chopin4525

    chopin4525 Producer

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    Not trying to be polemical but that is the exact type of video that tells me nothing about a library.
     
  10. WizzDome71

    WizzDome71 Kapellmeister

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    you just cannot share your full experience with others, this one is just a shortcut to what you can end up finding by yourself in 320 hours. at least it gives you an idea of the "sound" of the strings, not getting into more complex settings. but what do you expect from a library? having a good sound or having settings (they are all the same btw)?
     
  11. GianaSister

    GianaSister Kapellmeister

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  12. chopin4525

    chopin4525 Producer

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    I agree but if I let you hear a couple of long and short notes of a piano or a violin, can you get an information of how good the instrument is? I think the answers is no. The nuances are what make a library different from the other and why you might choose it over something else unless your musical writing is only made up of long and short notes. Which I hope is not. xD
     
  13. WizzDome71

    WizzDome71 Kapellmeister

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    lol. yeah there were only two "articulations" here. the best solution is to test by yourself, but i've been there and come to the pretty same conclusions. my test wasnt based on long notes only :)
    what are your favourites? i mean the ones you use
     
  14. Smoove Grooves

    Smoove Grooves Audiosexual

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    Straight away this video shows us the weaknesses of certain libraries, so I wouldn't say as @chopin4525 did that this type of video tells us nothing about the library. And I thought the comparison test was fair.
    Admittedly, if there were another few vids for different articulations it would be more complete.
    But this was still as scientific a test as it needs to be, and a simple challenge for anything purporting to be a string library.
     
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  15. chopin4525

    chopin4525 Producer

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    Maybe I should mention the ones I don't use, lol!
    I usually go for Berlin Strings, Symphony Series String Ensemble or LASS for cinematic stuff.

    Care to provide any example of what you don't like and why in sustains and short notes?
     
  16. Smoove Grooves

    Smoove Grooves Audiosexual

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    Certainly. One glaring truth that I knew of already is, regardless of articulation, how static, lifeless and dry those Musical Sampling libs are!
    To me, in context with the others, they don't sound like what I want to start off scoring with.
    I tried them due to the small footprint but didn't like them. Doesn't mean they aren't useful, and they're great for people that can get away with spending less. Don't get me wrong.
    So in this case it is irrelevant that they used sus and shorts, because it should be obvious that the whole lib has that sound.

    I have Albion ONE yet I still don't know why. I don't even use it for a quick sketch because I know I'd eventually split it all into separate libs!

    I don't believe any one lib can provide enough versatility, and I know we all blend this and that, and that every track requires something different. No lib has the answer.
    But for me, the answer is found from the libs CSS/CS2, SF SS and Albion II, AB LASS. Love all the 8Dio Sordino stuff. I have some of the OT instruments and a lot of Chris Hein stuff for solo line parts.
    Also some small Ostinato stuff from OT and Sonokinetic.

    This vid is useful if u watch it with a certain listening criteria, imo.
     
  17. chopin4525

    chopin4525 Producer

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    I see. Thanks for elaborating your answer. :like:
     
  18. WizzDome71

    WizzDome71 Kapellmeister

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    I agree with @Smoove Grooves . None of them has the answer for all situations. In addition to what you mentionned (Chris Hein, Sonokinetik), I sometimes use Emotive Strings and Action Strings (i'm so ashamed lol) but i absolutely HATE Symphonic Strings Ensemble. For Solo parts I highly recommand Embertone's Joshua Bell Violin (stunning) and the Intimate Strings Series. For the 8Dio libraries, i don't know why but I find them lifeless (as i said, even the new one (Anthology) which includes all previous adagio series)
    Oh and i forgot the Evo Strings Series by Spitfire, they are soooo inspiring
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2020
  19. Smoove Grooves

    Smoove Grooves Audiosexual

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    @WizzDome71 Agreed re. 8Dio, but that's why I only use their Agitato ensemble range, which is what I meant when I mentioned Sordino.
    The NI stuff does work well, nothing to be ashamed of!
    When I think of well optimised and coded, and nice to use and play, I don't think of Spitfire Audio!
    I think of Cinematic Samples and AudioBro.
     
  20. Trurl

    Trurl Rock Star

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    What I learned from this video is that ensemble patches suck and you shouldn't use them. I would have done his little cue in sections. With the ensembles poly patches the transitions just don't work.
     
  21. WizzDome71

    WizzDome71 Kapellmeister

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    AudioBro have the more realistic legato strings to me and they sound dry which is a good thing. There are many libraries that work very well for staccato.
     
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