Checking Out: Synchron Duality Strings by Vienna Symphonic Library

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VSL tries a new concept for sampling strings, and it (mostly) delivers in spades.

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Checking Out: Synchron Duality Strings by Vienna Symphonic Library

VSL‘s new Duality Strings is a very unique and quite useful and solid library, offering two string ensembles in one- a lush symphonic strings section recorded in the hall Synchron Stage Vienna alongside a smaller, more intimate section recorded in the dry Stage B.

Duality Strings normally sells for € 595 ($650) for Standard, € 960 ($1048) for Full from Vienna Symphonic Library

Thoughts

While we’ve certainly had plenty of string libraries flood the market in recent years, both wet and dry, none have quite blended the two extremes the way that Duality Strings aims to. Most large sections always offer close mics, but it’s usually still the same section size recorded in the same large hall, and while it offers more detail and clarity, it’s not quite the same as layering two libraries together, something that almost every composer I know does on a daily basis. This is where Duality Strings really aims to do something tried and true in a more convenient and intuitive way- it’s basically three libraries in one – one wet, one dry, and a combination of both which is what loads up by default. They’ve recorded large symphonic strings in the Synchron Hall, and at the same time, recorded smaller string sections in the dry stage B at the same time- playing the exact same articulations, down to every last detail.

Smaller string sections bring out a lot more texture and detail, allowing you to hear each individual player and their bow strokes, the rosin on the strings, the woody resonance of the instruments themselves, and when they’re recorded in a dryer environment like Synchron Stage B, it brings out every last little nuance and detail that much more.

Of course, recording dry also means we won’t have the beautiful, lush reverb tails and soaring symphonic textures that you’d get when recording in a symphonic hall. Duality Strings truly does offer the best of both worlds, and there’s an impressive amount of richness and realism on display as you play these sounds back. I immediately noticed the sheer level of detail, which presented itself as a beautiful, rosin-y, woody character from Stage B that permeated every note I played. Adding those dry mics really makes you FEEL the players there in the room with you, it’s really quite unique and a joy to play. It makes the shorts more rich and crisp, the longs more textured, and just adds another level to the sounds that simply wouldn’t be possible otherwise.

The sheer amount of articulations and options for shaping your melodies are immense, and can actually be a tad overwhelming. When creating the demo track I was absolutely spoiled for choice, and while it definitely is nice to have the options, but it can also be a bit tedious and time consuming to try out every single note attack, release, legato and vibrato style, etc to find the perfect sound. Granted, in the end I am glad the options are there, but just be warned this is a deep library made for learning and programming, not just playing in a line and having it sit perfectly. I have no issue with it, but it can be exhausting to some. Ultimate precision and tweakability is the game here, and this is definitely end game level stuff.

All-in-all, I was thoroughly impressed with the sound, character, richness, and realism of the samples. The idea to have to ensembles recorded at the same time playing the exact some articulations, that’s really intuitive stuff, and this could easily be the ultimate string library for many composers. I did find the “normal” legato transitions felt non-existent sometimes, they lacked the fluidity and flow that I would expect from a legato patch, but the options for slurred and agile legato pretty much smoothed over that small critique pretty quickly. When you start loading in mic positions and layering in the Stage B mics, it can also take a hefty toll on your system resources, but that’s to be expected with any large library like this, and I didn’t notice any particular performance issues, just high RAM use in some cases (which I expected).

The amount of content, unique articulations like glissandos and pre-recorded runs, plus the ability to seamlessly blend between wet and dry samples makes this Duality Strings really stand out in a vast sea of competitors. Color me impressed!

Facts

Requires the latest version of the free VSL Synchron Player.
121.2 GB needed for Standard library.
242.3 GB needsd for Full Library.

Duality Strings normally sells for € 595 ($650) for Standard, € 960 ($1048) for Full from Vienna Symphonic Library

 

Demos of Duality Strings by Vienna Symphonic Library

Videos of Duality Strings by Vienna Symphonic Library

Contributor Brian Freeland reviews Duality Strings by Vienna Symphonic Library
VSL tries a new concept for sampling strings, and it (mostly) delivers in spades.”