Review: Adagio Strings 2.0 by 8Dio


Adagio Strings 2.0 is the completely redesigned sample library from 8Dio which features the iconic, lush tone of the Adagio series but with all new functionality. The perfect tool for composers who love Adagio’s expressive sound, now completely overhauled making it easier to use, efficient and completely customizable.

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Review: Adagio Strings 2.0 by 8Dio

Originally released in 2012, Adagio Strings 2.0 is a re-imagined sample library from veteran developer 8Dio takes advantage of their Anthology and Century series bringing forth a completely redesigned interface, legato system, built-in mixing plugins, custom articulation matrix and ‘Chaos Effects’ engine. An expressive orchestral library for modern composers hoping to get more emotion out of their tracks with minimal effort.

Adagio Strings 2.0 sells for $392.00 from 8Dio


When comparing Adagio Strings 2.0 to its predecessors, it’s clear just how much thought has gone into completely re-programming the sample engine from the ground up. As with all previous iterations, this update features the trademark Adagio sound which can be characterized by its stunning tone, silky legatos and raw emotion. As a developer, 8Dio has always strived to consider user feedback and this latest update shows just how far they’ve come since it’s original release seven years ago. While Adagio has received a fair amount of warranted criticism concerning play-ability, this fully renovated library is a breath of fresh air and gives composers the ability to truly “perform”.

Adagio’s completely re-designed GUI and layout

A brief glance at the vast amount of recorded samples gives a clear idea of the sheer amount of hard-work, material and deep sampling that went into this bundle. Globally, Adagio Strings 2.0 consists for 4 main sections comprised of violins, violas, cellos and basses. Each section is divided into 3 separate NKIs including a full ensemble, chamber group and virtuoso soloist patch. Each ensemble also contains a set of ‘sordino’ patches for most of the common articulations with a muted sound. While there is no true 2nd Violins, Kontakt’s ‘transpose trick’ should quickly help you fill out the orchestra.

Adagio Strings 2.0 Articulation Matrix browser

The library contains a large collection of articulations which are split into shorts and longs. The super lush sustains, legatos and arcs are beautiful in tone and are programmed seamlessly across the entire orchestra. The added adaptable legato engine now consists of 8 distinct legato types, separated into 2 separate patches, which smoothly transition according to playing style. As one might assume, these are velocity sensitive and respond to playing style or speed. Unlike older Adagio releases, the legato is extremely smooth and very playable. The all new programming is a considerable improvement making faster ‘runs’ passages a pleasure to perform and slower, portamento transitions seamless. It should be noted the two legato types are from completely different sample sets (Adagio and Agitato) and absolutely have a dissimilar sound. The additional ‘Legato Volume’ knob is another useful option for reducing or increasing the audible transitions depending on personal preference.

Some additional ‘Ambience’ patches great for modern scoring.

In terms of additional content, 8Dio has also included some great ‘Ambience’ patches with some very usable, atmospheric pads. These would work perfectly for quieter underscore moments, trailer intros and anywhere else some subtle tension could help add life to your cue.

Not to be overlooked, the fantastic shorts have a nice range and can easily handle soft passages as well as some more aggressive moments requiring sufficient ‘bite’. The deeply sampled collection consists of marcato, pizzicato, staccato as well as 4 styles of spiccato articulations. Moreover, 8Dio has always focused on getting the most emotion out of their libraries and their strings pioneered their innovative ‘ARC’ patches which aims to capture short, sampled performances. New to the 2.0 version of the library is the controllable ‘ARCs’ which gives composers even more control over the instrument by utilizing velocity to affect the dynamics.

One of the main benefits of the library is the ease-of-use across the sections as well as their uniform layout. The violins, violas, cellos and basses all contain an almost identical articulations list and set-up for each of the included patches. Being able to immediately transpose whole parts across different ensemble sizes truly gives composers a chance to create their own custom ensembles. Adding more or less of one section or another can drastically change the sonic character of your strings to effortlessly fit any situation.
As with other modern orchestral libraries, Adagio Strings 2.0 contains 3 different microphone positions including a mixed, close and far perspective. Each has its own distinct character which should lend well for blending with smaller ‘pop’ tracks, medium-sized productions or even epic, cinematic projects. The close mics are decently dry while still retaining that large, church hall sound in which it was recorded.

Newly added mixing rack and ‘Chaos Effects’

New to 2.0, the library also includes a full range of assignable parameters, like vibrato, transition volume, speed and release tails, enabling composers the complete control over their signature sound. Moreover, the ‘Chaos’ system is a wonderful rack of effects including compressors, EQs and convolution reverb which gives the library as a whole, new life. The randomize button is a great function which quickly creates unique textures and ultimately expanding your sonic palette. The added convolution reverb contains a multitude of great IRs which should add some great ambience to any track.

The Articulation Matrix is completely customizable and fits any workflow

Another new aspect influenced from the 8Dio Anthology/Century series is the clean user interface with the ability to customize your key-switching. Rather than rely on pre-loaded KS patches, having the ability to create your own ‘Articulation Matrix’ gives the control in your hand for whatever best fits your specific workflow. Contrary the to previous versions of the library, the 2.0 update reduces the overall number of NKIs to something much more manageable allowing you to get composing faster and more easily.

All in all, Adagio Strings 2.0 is considerable step up from previous ‘legacy’ versions of the library by taking advantage of the programming, layout and GUI of the new Century and Anthology releases. A great choice for poignant string writing but also capable enough for more ‘epic’ tracks and flexible enough to fit any modern workflow. This updated bundle retains Adagio’s beautiful and timeless sound now paired with the play-ability the library has always deserved. Definitely worth a second look for those who previously disregarded the Adagio series from older generations!

Before purchasing, be sure to check out the great walk-throughs from 8Dio to see the updated Adagio 2.0 series in action.


Adagio Strings 2.0 is a 47.12 GB download with 89 separate NKI instruments and contains just over 64,000 individual samples. The library requires Native Instruments Kontakt 5.6 Full or later; it will NOT work with the free Kontakt Player.

Adagio Strings 2.0 sells for $392 for the whole bundle (or $98 per section) from 8Dio.
Previous owners of Adagio Strings can upgrade for $8 but should contact 8Dio directly for details.

Adagio Strings 2.0 sells for $392.00 from 8Dio


Demos of Adagio Strings 2.0 by 8Dio

Videos of Adagio Strings 2.0 by 8Dio


Contributor BenG reviews Adagio Strings 2.0 by 8Dio
“Adagio Strings 2.0 is the completely redesigned sample library from 8Dio which features the iconic, lush tone of the Adagio series but with all new functionality. The perfect tool for composers who love Adagio’s expressive sound, now completely overhauled making it easier to use, efficient and completely customizable.”