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Hi, I'm pretty new to the composers forum and this is my first posting. I recently have been hired to score an Independent film and want to upgrade my current orchestral library to one that sounds a little more authentic than what I am using now. Currently, I mainly use EWQLSO Gold and have been able to tweak it with an assortment of EQ/Reverb/FX plug-ins to give it a more realistic and full orchestra sound, but the solo instruments aren't quite up to par.

I am curious with what you are using and what any of you know about the following V.I.s':

Hollywood Strings

Action Strings

LA Scoring Strings

Hybrid Strings

8Dio adagio

VSL Dimension strings

Adagio violins

Cinematic Strings

Your opinions and feedback are more than welcome and appreciated.

Thanks, Eric

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Hi Eric,

I've no experience with Action Strings, Hybrid Strings or VSL Dimension Strings, but I can tell you from using other products from VSL that they require quite a bit of effort and skill to convincingly use them. Here are some thoughts about the other libraries, all of which I own.

Cinematic Strings 2 - Fast, easy to use. Limited choice of articulations. Nice, lush, but slightly dark timbre. Recorded in position, so no placement or panning necessary. No divisi or solo instruments (only full size sections).

LA Scoring Strings - very versatile, moderate learning curve, needs good reverb. Great programming. Recorded in position. Real recorded divisi a3 plus first chair solo - a lot of control over your section size.

Hollywood Strings - lots of articulations. Some programming bugs. Moderate learning curve. Very demanding on computer resources, especially on Mac OSX. 16+GB RAM recommended, for multiple mic positions, better make it 32+GB. Very long loading times, which do benefit from having SSD hard drives. Great sound. No real recorded divisi - just close mics which divide the section in two. No solo instruments.

8Dio Adagio Strings - at this moment the library is incomplete, violas and basses are not yet released. Insane amount of articulations, many of which are not found elsewhere (recorded swells, dynamic bowings). Some bumpy programming. Moderate learning curve. Requires panning, positioning and a bit of reverb. Loading up all the patches takes quite a bit of RAM, although nowhere near what Hollywood Strings need. 3 section sizes: full section, 3 players, solo. The solo violin is less versatile than the one in LASS though.

Each one of them brings something different to the table. Depends on what you are looking for... But each one of them will be an improvement over the EWQLSO strings.

And if you're looking for a smaller sized section, I'd also suggest to check out Spitfire Sable.

Thank you Mihkel for taking the time to respond.

Ultimately, I guess I should have focused this posting on finding the best solo instrument V.I.'s out there...thinking the list I included would include some good ones.

You have given me some great insight and 'food for thought'. I was not aware of how much RAM the Hollywood strings requires for the optimal setup. One thing I absolutely can't stand is lag or sluggish response to a VI or plug-in I am running...even when optimizing and running the bare minimum on my Macbook Pro. Though, I do run a lot of beefy programs.

That said, is there a V.I. that contains great sounding solo instruments? The main instruments I seek are Violin, Viola, and Cello. It appears LASS and 8Dio Adagio Strings are the two you've mentioned having solo instruments, what are your thoughts with how they sound?

Thanks again!



Mihkel Zilmer said:

Hi Eric,

I've no experience with Action Strings, Hybrid Strings or VSL Dimension Strings, but I can tell you from using other products from VSL that they require quite a bit of effort and skill to convincingly use them. Here are some thoughts about the other libraries, all of which I own.

Cinematic Strings 2 - Fast, easy to use. Limited choice of articulations. Nice, lush, but slightly dark timbre. Recorded in position, so no placement or panning necessary. No divisi or solo instruments (only full size sections).

LA Scoring Strings - very versatile, moderate learning curve, needs good reverb. Great programming. Recorded in position. Real recorded divisi a3 plus first chair solo - a lot of control over your section size.

Hollywood Strings - lots of articulations. Some programming bugs. Moderate learning curve. Very demanding on computer resources, especially on Mac OSX. 16+GB RAM recommended, for multiple mic positions, better make it 32+GB. Very long loading times, which do benefit from having SSD hard drives. Great sound. No real recorded divisi - just close mics which divide the section in two. No solo instruments.

8Dio Adagio Strings - at this moment the library is incomplete, violas and basses are not yet released. Insane amount of articulations, many of which are not found elsewhere (recorded swells, dynamic bowings). Some bumpy programming. Moderate learning curve. Requires panning, positioning and a bit of reverb. Loading up all the patches takes quite a bit of RAM, although nowhere near what Hollywood Strings need. 3 section sizes: full section, 3 players, solo. The solo violin is less versatile than the one in LASS though.

Each one of them brings something different to the table. Depends on what you are looking for... But each one of them will be an improvement over the EWQLSO strings.

And if you're looking for a smaller sized section, I'd also suggest to check out Spitfire Sable.

Hi Eric, 

No problem!

I'm afraid I'm going to have to say that every single solo string sample library out there is limited, mostly to do with the complexity of programming the samples without any audible fades and unnatural sounding transitions. Solo strings are one of the most difficult things to get right.

The solo strings in LASS are quite good, rather versatile, but their tone is rather harsh. You can also buy them separately (look for LASS First Chair) from the rest of the library. 

8Dio's solo violin sounds very lush, but has a rather thick vibrato and its overall character makes its uses rather limited. There are youtube videos on 8Dio's site where you can hear the solo violin, you should definitely hear it first (maybe it will suit the style you want to write in?). Solo cello is a bit more versatile in my opinion. Can't say anything about the viola yet - it will be released March 22nd.

And although I am not a huge fan of VSL string sections, their Solo Strings (not Dimension Strings - those aren't fully released either just yet - only violins so far) are pretty versatile too, but like I said, it takes a lot of work to make them sit in a mix well. 

Maybe you should consider getting a combination? Like Cinematic Strings for easy to use, lush large sections and LASS or VSL for the solos?

Mihkel,

A lot to consider here. I think I may look into your last suggestion with Cinematic Strings and LASS or VSL for solos. I will keep doing research and let you know what I end up purchasing. 

Thank you!

Eric

You may find this useful. I posted them recently.

No problem, happy to help!

As a final note - if you'd rather stick with just one library so that your mixing setup doesn't get too complicated, then I guess the full version of LA Scoring Strings is closest to what you are looking for. But the learning curve is definitely a bit steeper than it would be with Cinematic Strings.

There are many videos on youtube that provide insight into how all of these libraries work (product walkthroughs and user reviews), they can help speed up the learning process immensely.


Eric Englehorn said:

Mihkel,

A lot to consider here. I think I may look into your last suggestion with Cinematic Strings and LASS or VSL for solos. I will keep doing research and let you know what I end up purchasing. 

Thank you!

Eric

You mentioned solo Violin Eric, in which case if your budget is limited you might want to consider Embertone's upcoming violin library as well. It sounds quite nice and is going to be well within most people's budgets:

https://www.facebook.com/Embertone

Thanks Raymond. I am using Kontakt 4.

Raymond Kemp said:

Keep in mind one thing when using vsti especially solo instruments. Spend some time making them sound musical rather than real. For real use real.

One question though, do you have the full version of NI Kontakt 4/5?   Having this opens up many choices for buying individual instruments.

Thanks Terry. I will check this out. I appreciate the tip!

Terry Jones said:

You mentioned solo Violin Eric, in which case if your budget is limited you might want to consider Embertone's upcoming violin library as well. It sounds quite nice and is going to be well within most people's budgets:

https://www.facebook.com/Embertone

Hello Eric - in my experience the only legato violin worth getting at the moment is the Vienna Symphonic Library's solo violin. And to complement this, for fast staccato, I recommend checking out Signor Paganini Solo Violin.

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