Nabeel Ansari shares his Comparison of Cinematic Strings 2 vs Cinematic Studio Strings


Earlier this week I was checking out the demos of Cinematic Studio Strings (CSS). The new library sells from Cinematic Studios (for $399) makers of the popular Cinematic Strings 2 (CS2) library. The legato sounded smooth and the demos showed a lot of character. I especially liked how the different legato transitions had finite ms offsets so there would be no guess work pulling your note heads forward to get a nice smooth legato transition.

Just a couple days later I saw my fb friend, composer Nabeel Ansari,  who works as a Senior Associate Developer at Impact Soundworks, had used CS2 on a game trailer cue for the game SOLE. He picked up CSS and replaced the CS2 instances and then posted some comparisons of how CSS compared with CS2. He was kind enough to expand on the post and send me his audio and thoughts to share with the SLR readers.

For the base of the test Nabeel swapped out CS2 for CSS with minimal programming changes.


Sole Theme – NEW VERSION with CSS – Cinematic Studio Strings Render

Sole Theme – OLD VERSION with CS2 – Cinematic Strings 2 Render

“I spent virtually no effort moving it over, I just replaced all the CS2 nki’s with CSS nki’s and it just worked. Remarkable how playable it is with minimal programming. All I had to do was apply around a -100 ms offset to the tracks to get it to line up.”


Nabeel captured some screen grabs of each of his midi parts which I have posted at the bottom of the page as well as rendered out each of the 4 mic options for both Cinematic Studio Strings and Cinematic Strings 2 for us to hear bare with no other instruments – below.



Sole Theme – CSS Cinematic Studio Strings Render  (Mixed Mic)

Sole Theme using CS2 Cinematic Strings 2 Render (Mixed Mic)


“Absolutely nothing was mixed, or tweaked. Everything was normalized to 0.0db mic volume, -6.0dB Kontakt nki volume (the default). No panning or EQ, no external reverb. What you hear is exactly what comes in the library when you launch it.”



Sole Theme using CSS Cinematic Studio Strings (Close Mic)

Sole Theme using CS2 Cinematic Strings 2 (Close Mic)


MIDI file of the String Parts

MIDI file of the String Parts



Sole Theme – CSS Cinematic Studio Strings Render (Main Mic)

Sole Theme – CSS Cinematic Studio Strings Render  (Room Mic)



Sole Theme – CS2 Cinematic Strings 2 Render (Room Mic)

Sole Theme – CS2  Cinematic Strings 2 Render (Stage Mic)


Nabeel Ansari thoughts:

“I like the slow legato of CSS better, it feels more apparent and satisifying, but once they both come into full voicing in the theme, both libraries sound pretty amazing.

Just goes to show, CS2 is still an incredibly strong and good-sounding library. I don’t consider CSS a replacement for it, I think they both have a solid tone that’s useful depending on application. On a pure value perspective for the composer who doesn’t have all the money in the world, I’d recommend CSS to any newcomer simply because it’s a little more refined in the interface and has a wider set of articulations.

As a listener myself I agree with Nabeel’s findings and hope to get a chance to do an in-depth review of CSS to share with you sometime in the future.

Big thanks to Nabeel Ansari for sharing his comparison!

Sole Theme for SLR - 1st Violins

Sole Theme  – 1st Violins


Sole Theme for SLR - 2nd ViolinsSole Theme – 2nd Violins


Sole Theme for SLR - Violas

Sole Theme  – Violas



Sole Theme for SLR - Cellos

Sole Theme  – Cellos


Sole Theme for SLR - Basses

Sole Theme – Basses