Hi. I'm looking for some more appropriate string samples to use with my PC-based live rig. It currently runs Gigastudio so Giga-native would be ideal. I also run VSTIs on it though so a standalone program might be OK, although I don't like dongles or intrusive CP.
In the studio, I generally use Garritan Orchestral Strings and I really like them. However, they are very rich and romantic in tone and I find they don't translate brilliantly into non-classical styles. They also depend on the vast number of articulations for getting around quick lines - a great feature, for sure, but not so good when you're playing live in one pass and you don't want to be messing too much with complicated keyswitching. The general legato patches take too long to "speak" to work really well for quick pop and disco lines.
I currently use GOS on my live rig as well, but I'm not thrilled with it for these reasons. I'm currently with a band doing a lot of Motown, Norman Whitfield productions, 70s funk and disco etc, and I really want some strings that would work better for those sprightly rhythmic passages. Ideally something conceived with a light, commercial sound rather than a classical one, but if not at least a classical set that has the right stuff.
Possibly VSL VI Chamber Strings. There are really quick speaking legato patches, loads of articulations and the interface is the best of any orchestral sample library currently on the market. If you want to stay with Giga then you can get the Horizon Chamber Strings, but this is not as quick or intuitive to use, and the quicker speaking legatos don't exist, as far as I remember.
I have rediscovered the "Sus+Short AG" patches of GPO for playing on keyboard (x-folder version, set the cc01 slider to -100 %). IMO they cover practically the entire articulations spectrum if handled well with the modwheel and appropriate keying. I do spiccatos, trills, sustained notes, everything apart from pizzicatos.
Two things are important:
1. Lower the length parameter to 20 % or shorter.
2. Be sure you form the ends of the longer tones with the modwheel going towards zero.
I wished there were a KS version just with the Sus+Short AG and the pizzicatos.
I bought GPO and found the same thing for my Pop/R&B production. Just didn't work. Bought the VSL Chamber Strings and Solo Strings VI and have had a smile on my face ever since. They ROCK! You can double up the Chamber Strings with transposing and pitch-wheeling back to unison for a bigger sound if needed. (That way you aren't triggering the same sample twice) and they cut through beautifully on fast tunes. Can't say enough about the VSL Vi's. Easy to use, amazing sound. Couldn't imagine doing my CD without them.
You might check out Steinberg Halion String Edition. I have Vol. 1 and find it's sound to be more suited to pop and rock than to classical pieces.
Also you should look into Kirk Hunter's libraries. Even his old virtuoso string library works great because of its more agressive tone.
VSL: Tempting, but a bit more than I want to spend and I REALLY don't want to start putting dongles on my live system. If it were for the studio I might be tempted to think again, but for the purpose I want it for, it's just not a good idea.
GPO: Possible, but aren't the string samples in there taken from the same recordings as GOS? In which case, if I'm not happy with GOS in this role, I can't imagine getting a lot closer with GPO. But I could be wrong about this.
Kirk Hunter: This looks the most likely, and I don't know why I didn't think of it before.
Does anyone know the practical and sonic differences between the old KH Virtuoso Series and the newer Chamber Strings included in Emerald? The latter is certainly good value for what you get, but still - for me at this stage - an investment. The former is practically free at $59!
The Chamber Strings have sections of about 4, which seems a little small to me. A lot of the disco stuff will be violins only, and probably wants more like about 8-10 to sound like the authentic sections of the style. (Daryl, you're a violinist aren't you - am I right about this?) Thus it sits annoyingly somewhere BETWEEN such dedicated chamber libraries and the more full-on GOS, SISS etc.
The Virtuoso Series appears to have variable section sizes, from 2 to 24. I'm not sure how they did this - are they actual different recordings, or some kind of clever programming? In principle, if it works, this would seem like a good solution, as I'll be able to just adapt and blend the sizes "to taste" until I get the sound I'm after.
I know they won't be anything like the more modern VSL, SISS etc, or even GOS. But let's be real, I only want them for playing disco and Motown licks live in one pass using (as far as possible) one articulation, going through a PA in clubs and function rooms.
Any more opinions on these KH libraries would be welcome. The idea of being able to solve my problem for $59 is very appealing.