View Full Version : Which solo strings work best with GOS?

08-24-2004, 02:20 PM
I've been using GOS for several months now and love them. But my solo strings absolutely suck. I'm not even going to mention what library I'm using right now.

I'm going to be buying a new solo string library in about a month or so and I wondered if anyone here has any recommendations for a library that blends well with GOS.

The solo instruments will be used for film scores. Which means anything from a weeping violin/cello to fiddle playing. Mostly it'll be orchestral stuff though. I don't score to many westerns!

And my price range is about $200.

So far, it seems like there's only Kirk Hunter and Dan Dean. Isn't the Dan Dean Solo Strings lib kinda old now?

Thnaks for all your help!


08-24-2004, 02:56 PM
Don't really have recommendations but will share own experience: -- I use the solo strings from Advanced Orchestra; that's all I have. They are pretty flexible, with all the key-switched articulations, and for the most part pretty realistic, but kind of 'harsh' if that's the right word. You can hear the violin solo with GOS in my 'Romance' excerpt, and the violin and 'cello solo in my Piano Trio No. 1, and the string quartet in the two posted String Quartet movements -- all at the music page on www.soundclick.com , direct link here: http://www.soundclick.com/bands/7/guglielmomusic.htm

None of these were written to demonstrate the sounds, of course, they are just the music I write.

I'd welcome other points of view, haven't heard much about solo strings lately, either, and am heading toward more buying in the next weeks and months ...


08-25-2004, 08:50 AM
Hey Guglielmo

I'm actually using the same solo library! lol!

I find the violin and viola samples sound "nasally" and the cellos sound thin. That's obviously just personal preference. The more recent libraries have instruments that are fuller and "sweeter" - and no, I can't be any more vague in my descriptions! haha

I listened to "Romance" - very,very nice tune! Your GOS string arrangements are beautiful :) The violin doesn't sound bad at all, but to my ears, if your piece had a nicer violin, it would be incredible and VERY realistic.

Don't you love how subjective music is? lol!


Per Lichtman
08-25-2004, 02:44 PM
I used to use AO and now use VSL Solo Strings. It's a couple hundred dollars more but I absoutely love the sound. Going from AO to VSL SS was like night and day. When Garritan comes out with solo strings I'll look at those and ditto for London Solo Strings but right now I feel that VSL SS is much better for my purposes than KH or DD.

If I was going to go with one of those last two though, I'd probably go KH. Also, I haven't heard much yet about it but you might want to take a look at http://truespec.com/store/samplelibraries/rkssq/index.shtml since they sell a $50 Solo string library that might be an improvement over what you have as well as DD, KH and VSL.

08-25-2004, 04:36 PM
XSample makes some solo strings which sound good. I don't have them, but they're on my "maybe" list.

Jeannot Welter
08-25-2004, 07:57 PM
Gary's solo strings are in the works. Expect some surprises...


08-25-2004, 08:27 PM
Gary's got some solo strings coming out???? Any idea when? If the solo strings are as nice as the section strings, I guess I know what I'm buying!

I checked out the package at http://truespec.com/store/samplelib...ssq/index.shtml , but it seems very basic - no layering of samples from what I can tell.

I haven't checked out the demo MP3 files yet, but KH solo strings sell for $180 at http://www.mtlc.net/main.php?a=scd&ShowCD=1610&Type=&Format= $180 for 8GB of samples is pretty good. I'm leaning towards this lib right now.

Right now VSL would be nice, but it's a little out of my budget right now. I'll have to check out XSample.

Oh decisions, decisions....

08-25-2004, 11:31 PM
I rather like the solo strings that are included with Garritan Personal Orchestra. I have also "ganged" two or three of them (there are basically from 1 to 3 solo instruments in each of the strings sections) to make a "small ensemble" or sub-ensemble line occasionally. In addition, there is at least one pizz solo in each. While there aren't as many explicit articulations as in GOS or GOS/Lite, for the price ($249 or $279) it's a bargain!

imho ... KevinKauai :)

08-26-2004, 06:50 AM
Just ordered the VSL Horizons solo strings -- will report back soon! And maybe redo the Romance with them before recording it with the soloist for whom it is being written.

08-26-2004, 08:40 AM
Just ordered the VSL Horizons solo strings -- will report back soon! And maybe redo the Romance with them before recording it with the soloist for whom it is being written.

Cool! You'll probably have nothing but praise for those samples!

Dr. Grace
08-30-2004, 10:04 PM
I haven't heard a solo string library that sounds reasonably convincing. I thinik solo strings would be extremely difficult to sample and sequence.

I think it would be far better, easier, and probably not terribly expensive, to find and record a good player.

Speaking of which, I'm a cellist, and for a very reasonable fee could record a killer solo part for you.


09-01-2004, 03:31 AM
I think the most important thing is the programming.

Look at the GPO solo strings: I think they are so beautiful because you don't have to do anything just play and the kontakt player through all the programming made by TOM does the rest.
It's true that you miss some artculations but if the new solo library will come with this level of "automation" i think it will be the best.

09-01-2004, 08:34 AM
Preliminary report on the VSL Horizons solo strings, for use with GOS ensemble strings, after just a few days ownership: very good but not perfect imo

The strengths: wide variety of sounds from sul tasto senzo vibrato to molto espressivo, including many that are very lifelike and attractive at the same time; extended upper range up to C8 usually (GOS, by contrast, ends very low in some cases); easy keyswitching for frequently used articulations/sounds; real differences in bowing; generally very good tuning, better on the whole than GOS, even if possibly less purely equal-tempered.

The weaknesses: occasional carelessness, obvious even on quick acquaintance (the 'repeated note' patch with a tick in it, and the same tick tuned a little higher for the next note up a minor second; the 'open string' sound on a G# or a D# or a high B). Also the notion that providing repeated quarter notes at bpm 150, 160, 170, 180, and 190 is going to be useful? It's possible I don't yet understand the value in repeated note patches, however. The awful 'scoops' to achieve realism in attacking notes at the wrong tuning and adjusting. No setting for pitch bend == a major time waster for me, since I use pitch changes constantly, and must go in and program 200 cents in pitch change for EVERY ^&#g*# program.

The 'performance tool', like the GOS Maestro tools, leaves me cold, because I simply never 'perform' any lines, but rather step record then edit the midi stream to add controllers, tuning, dynamics, and expression.

Samples generally every whole tone, not every half tone -- but if you dig into GOS the same is true, only more erratically -- and the size of the giga instruments would be huge. Already they strain my fast giga computer with 1GB of memory.

On the whole, a worthy package priced high enough that I didn't feel that I got a bargan, but that I didn't get cheated either. Hope it's ok to put this here -- only did it because of the topic originally posted and its follow-ons.

Jeannot Welter
09-01-2004, 09:26 AM
but if you dig into GOS the same is true, only more erratically -- .
Wrong, except for harmonics 1 and 2, GOS is chromatic.


09-01-2004, 09:50 AM
Jeannot Welter: Look a little closer -- appearances can be deceiving! This is one of the few ways in which I would fault M. Garritan, the trickiness factor.

Jeannot Welter
09-01-2004, 10:30 AM
I am looking as close as you can possibly get.....


09-01-2004, 10:48 AM
I don't want to get in to a criticism fight about a product I like very much -- however, there are many cases where a note LOOKS chromatic in the gigastudio editor, but it is in fact the same patch as a neighboring note, sometimes as much as a third away. This is not terribly frequent, but it happens plenty often too. There may have been a financial decision made not to re-record bad samples, but simply to quietly patch them in and make no mention. I found particularly many in my recent investigations in to the various violin short bows. Only in one case that I remember was the patch choice actually noticeably bad sounding, where there was an F5 patch on the lower dynamic and an F#5 on the higher dynamic, and the two sounded gratingly different. The open G and D strings cause problems in GOS, occasionally, too -- either you don't hear the resonance where it should be, or you DO hear it where it shouldn't be!

09-01-2004, 04:56 PM
Here is a replacement of the solo violin part with VSL Horizons Solo Strings (violin), just the first minute and a half:


The original version (about 4 minutes of it) remains at

http://www.soundclick.com/guglielmo on the music page "Romance [First Part]" , as made with AO solo strings for the solo violin part. The orchestra strings are GOS and the ww/brass/timp a mixture of other stuff.

Comments on the relative success of the different solo parts welcome! Starting, as the piece does, with the solo violin all by itself is a good way to hear the sounds well. Naturally, I have 2 years of experience with AO solo strings and only a few days with VSL Horizons, so there should be yet more possible with them.


09-01-2004, 10:37 PM
hey Guglielmo

Thanks for posting the new MP3! The VSL violin sounds soooo much better than AO. It's like night and day, but I was pretty much expecting that.

So did I read your earlier post correctly? Pitch bend wasn't programmed into the patches? That seems really odd, especially for solo string instruments.

And I'm puzzled too...why would they include repeated-note phrases when there's a performance too? Oh well, it would probably come in handy at some point.

But it does sound nice :)

I really hope Gary will have his solo library out soon. I would assume it'll have a lot of great articulations for each instrument like the section strings do.


09-02-2004, 06:53 PM
mderrico, yes, the lack of pitch bend seemed very odd to me -- why not configure it in VSL??

But that is how those samples were done. Since you listened, and with a few other comments, I've made yet another recording that gets the music finally to the 'romantic' nature it was supposed to be. Both recordings now on the soundclick music page linked from http://www.soundclick.com/guglielmo . What do you think of the solo tuning? I pulled a few notes more closely into 'standard' tuning, but it is still heavily tuned for expression.

I'll be curious to hear examples of Garritan solos soon, too.


09-02-2004, 09:25 PM
That does sound better! I'd suggest using different articulations for the solo violin phrases at the beginning of the piece so that the notes flow together more smoothly.

But since you've only had the library for a few days and it's a massive library, I'm sure you haven't had anywhere near enough time to explore all the articulations! The number of articulations looks mind-numbing!