Review: ARC String Textures by ARC

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ARC String Textures: a small selection of quality textures, a very small price… big results in every kind of suspense cue!

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Review: ARC String Textures by ARC

ARC: String Textures is a small library by ARC (Composer Angus Roberts-Carey) which, as the name itself suggests, is dedicated to one thing: String Textures! The library offers great value for very little money and gives you a hand-picked selection of string textures with a unique sound that perfectly fit suspenseful/horror cues.

ARC String Textures sells for £10 from ARC

Thoughts

ARC: String Textures is a small library developed by Composer Angus Roberts-Carey, the library itself is very light on disk space, weighting less than 0.5 GB but delivers a very good selection of strings textures.
The samples of this library come from 2 violins, 2 violas and 2 celli, which would be somewhat worrisome regarding tuning if we were talking about traditional samples but, in this case, we are talking about textures that perfectly fit Horror and Thriller cues and having 2 players for each instrument gives a nice twist to the sound of the library.
This unusual section size gives you a very intimate, close and present sound like if you had a quartet but, at the same time, sits in a bigger dimension, almost – but not entirely – feeling like a small chamber section. The discrepancies in tuning between the instruments really add a creepy quality to the sound which probably is the most important characteristic of the library (3 players for instruments would sound more “in tune” and would not give this unsettling yet desirable – in a Horror/Thriller context – result).

Diving into the instrument folder we can see that it is divided into the ECO and KEYSWITCH subfolders to give you the option of loading the keyswitchable instrument or manually load the type of texture you would like to use

Inside both folders you will find a FULL patch as well as the individual instruments patches. This gives you the option of saving even more RAM but, given the small size of this library, it’s not something that I found myself using a lot. Most of the time you will be heading to the KEYSWITCH folder and load up the FULL patch!

The GUI is very minimalist in a pleasant way, it reflects the nature of the library and the developer with a unique, genuine style. At the top left corner you can select the type of texture (also keyswitchable if you selected the KS folder), the options you have are:

– Sustain Evolution
– Pizz Tremolos
– Light Tremolos
– Harmonic Tremolos Evolution
– Harmonic Tremolo Crescendo
– Col Legno

The library has a range of two octaves and, once you have selected the type of texture at the top left corner, every note offers the same texture at a different pitch.

Still on the left side you have more controls: Var., Expression, ADSR.

The Var. option adds a certain amount of random sample start to make the instrument more natural, up to 2 seconds while the expression is our trusty “modwheel” (or “dynamics”) and ADSR controls attack, decay, sustain, release of the instrument.

At the top right corner you can control the amount of additional reverb and, just below the reverb fader, you have a mixer with pan and volume for violins, violas, celli and room mics.

All these controls will give you enough flexibility to avoid having a “repetitive” instrument but, at some point, you will probably start noticing some kind of rhythmic or “melodic” pattern when sustaining the notes for too long, even if, I have to admit, they loop very well. This is not a big downside but definitely something to be aware of since this library is not multi-sampled and does not have Round Robins.

The pan and volumes controls in the mixer give you a lot of control on the sound and you will quickly have the desired balance between each instrument of the section. The room mics are very incisive on the sound and add a nice room to the very dry close mics. All the samples are quite dirty, raw and there is a lot of bleeding between the mics (the textures have probably been recorded as an ensemble/performance and then split into different mics) which again, adds a lot of realism to the sound but prevents you from having absolutely JUST one instrument playing.

Overall ARC String Textures is a very nice discovery in the world of smaller sample libraries, it has a very specific target of users that will surely enjoy it for the particular and unique sound. If you are in need of strings textures that would fit horror scores like “The Witch” or “Hereditary” this library is definitely for you!

Facts

ARC: String Textures installs at less than 0.5 GB via, requires the FULL version of Native Instruments Kontakt 5.8 or higher, the Kontakt Player is NOT supported.

ARC String Textures has a very unique and genuine sound that suits modern horror and thriller scores, despite its few controls it does not feel like a limited library or just a selection of “texture loops”. It is very responsive to your playing and super inspiring to use.

ARC String Textures sells for £10 from ARC

 

Demos of ARC String Textures by ARC

Videos of ARC String Textures by ARC

Contributor Andrea Federici reviews ARC String Textures by ARC
“ARC String Textures: a small selection of quality textures, a very small price… big results in every kind of suspense cue!”