I have heard from numerous composers that Cinematic Strings 2.0 is what they would describe as a “workhorse” string library. I have been looking forward to getting this instrument to see if it lives up to the hype.
I should point out that I haven’t played many string libraries, just some of the cheaper ones, so this is really my first look into a first rate pro string collection.
The interface in Cinematic Strings is where everything takes place. There are only 7 patches included: 1st & 2nd Violins, Violas, Cellos, Basses as well as Full & Lite Ensembles. All of the articulations, microphone choices and details are all selectable via keyswitches or on the interface itself.
So let’s dig in a little bit.
The articulations included are: Arco, Tremolo, Half & Whole note Trills, Run Mode(more on this a bit later), Staccato, Marcato and Pizzicato. Turning select articulations off will purge the samples thus making the RAM burden a bit lighter.
While this list mat not be as extensive as some other libraries, it covers most of the ground of what you would need in a core string library.
Depending on the chosen articulation there are some extra controls for shaping the tone. When you are playing Arco, the knob to the right let’s you choose the playing position. Low will give a brighter and more energetic sound and High give a slightly more muted and mellower tone. It’s really nice to have this option available.
For the Staccato and Marcato bowings this knob turns into a selector for Staccatissimo or Staccato. The first being a shorter note and the latter being slightly longer.
The ‘Advanced’ tab right beside the ‘Matrix’ tab gives you further options for articulation. The middle panel gives you sliders for adjusting the lengths of the short notes: Staccato, Staccatissimo and Pizzicato. Moving the left sliders shorten the note while leaving the release intact. Moving the right sliders will shorten the releases. This cuts off the tail of the note so the natural recorded reverb starts getting omitted.
Off to the right side there are switches for Staccato Overlay, Vibrato Control and Releases. The Staccato Overlay adds a Staccato or Staccatissimo sample over the sustain articulations(Arco, Tremolo & Trills) when the velocity of the played note is 60 or above. Good for accents.
The Vibrato Control and the drop down menu below lets you map a MIDI CC parameter to the vibrato. Great feature allowing you to ‘play’ the vibrato in for more expression and realism.
The releases are automatically turned on and scripted in but you can turn them off here if desired.
Run Mode vs. Live Mode
There are 2 different ways that Cinematic Strings utilizes to make convincing fast runs, a staple technique in the cinematic style.
Run Mode is an articulation keyswitch that is basically a legato mode optimized for very quick transitions.
The other option, Live Mode, which can be turned on or off via a switch on the interface. What this mode does is add in trill samples when playing a fast passage in Staccatissimo Mode. This mimics the players of the orchestra not playing exactly in time or in tune during these fast runs. In the Advanced Tab you can adjust the intensity of the Live Mode. It works wonderfully well and adds another dimension of realism to your score.
Cinematic Strings has sampled the legato transitions of the sections and cleverly scripted them into the patches. You can turn the legato off via the switch to play polyphonically. It may not have the different types of legato articulations that some other libraries may offer, but it sounds quite nice. It adapts to the speed of the playing so it sounds natural in fast passages as well as slow.
Designing the Space
There are 4 different microphone mixes that you can load up and mix to suit your particular situation: Close, Stage, Room and Mix. You can load, mute and purge the samples as well as adjust the levels and panning for each mic. The Mix is a crafted mix of the close, stage and room mics that will probably work in most instances. Using this one will give you a nice cinematic sound while not needing to load up all the other mic samples.
There is also a big ‘Hall Reverb’ knob on the interface. This just controls the wet/dry mix of the sound. The reverb itself is a standard effect built into Kontakt, so if you’ve got nicer external reverbs or plugins you can turn the knob completely to the left to turn it off and use your own sends.
As I said earlier, I am not familiar with some of the other pro string libraries out there like LASS and Hollywood Strings so I can’t really give a comparison, but I can say that this is a great option for a core string library if you don’t have one already.
The articulations included are limited but should cover most of what you might need on a daily basis. I really like that they are all keyswitches instead of loading a myriad of separate articulations. It keeps you focused on the part as opposed to breaking up your melodic line onto different lines in your DAW.
The sound is fantastic and very cinematic, and the features like Live Mode and Low and High playing positions add an extra dimension of realism. The independent vibrato control is really handy too.
I can see why a lot of composers call this their workhorse string library.
An excellent all-around instrument!
Cinematic Strings 2 is a completely redesigned and updated version of the original orchestral strings sample library. Whilst retaining the warm luscious tones produced in the world class Verbrugghen Hall of the Sydney Conservatorium, the new version features a sleek new interface and even smoother legato.
Because Cinematic Strings was created to meet the needs of working composers in today’s film, television and video game industries, our focus has been to maximise both efficiency and authenticity. With this in mind it provides a realistic mockup tool, and an inspiring instrument – which will save you from all the hassle and wasted time spent tweaking parameters, modifying CC data, or applying drastic EQ and reverb effects to emulate the sound you’re after.
Have a look at the video walkthrough of the new features, by clicking the image to the above. You can purchase now, receive download links instantly and start making real music today!
Brand New Interface
Thanks to our cutting edge GUI, Cinematic Strings is incredibly easy to use. Loading and unloading articulations, assigning keyswitches, adjusting the microphone balance using the new mixer, and controlling a built-in reverb are all just a click or two away. With all these features accessible from the main GUI page, you’ll have Cinematic Strings working alongside you on your latest project within minutes. Just click on the image for a detailed video walkthrough.
New Legato Engine
Real legato transitions were sampled for Cinematic Strings. Our new legato engine is designed to be more authentic and efficient, allowing the transitions to be integrated seamlessly into your melodies. This is made possible by our advanced scripting system that adjusts the dynamics and timbre automatically while you play. The new engine compensates for your playing speed automatically, so that when you play fast, shorter more natural legato transitions are triggered. This leaves you to focus on what you write, not how you write it.
New ‘Mix’ Microphone Position
Cinematic Strings utilises three microphone positions – close, stage, and room. Mixing these three together will allow you to take advantage of the deep concert hall warmth captured in the recordings. Additionally, you can achieve a full sound while saving on computer resources by using the new “mix” microphone position. This sounds so good that we’re willing to bet you’ll be using this 99% of the time.
Other Features and Enhancements
- NEW! - Full Ensemble patches; ideal for quick sketching or filling out a track
- Controllable vibrato using a MIDI CC (user selectable)
- 4 dynamic layers for all articulations
- All common articulations sampled: Sustains (with and without vibrato), Tremolo, Trills (half and whole tone), Staccato, Pizzicato (with Bartok Snap)
- Specialised ‘Runs’ mode for creating realistic fast string runs
- 4 x Round Robin samples for all short notes – essential for realistic repeated notes
- Repacked using Native Instruments lossless compression algorithm to reduce per-sample footprint
- New staccatissimo samples – for when you need that extra bit of nimbleness!
- User-adjustable short note lengths
- Built-in algorithmic reverb, adjustable from main GUI page
- Intelligent controllable vibrato. The system doesn’t enable vibrato samples unless you move the controller – this saves resources if you’re not using this feature
- Selectable high and low playing positions – controlled via GUI control or velocity sensitive keyswitch