Review: Con Moto Cellos by Performance Samples


With smooth handling of energetic or delicate playing, Con Moto Cellos features a surprising and powerful amount of flexibility with only one patch and no articulation switching.

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Review: Con Moto Cellos by Performance Samples

These Cellos are the first entry in Performance Samples’ “Con Moto” series, and they certainly make a strong entrance. This series focuses on lively and moving performance from a relatively small strings section, and uses smart scripting and musical sampling to create highly flexible single-patch instruments that handle sustains and legatos. While you might find yourself missing short articulations, mutes, harmonics, or other features that bigger libraries provide, it’s easy to appreciate how well this product does its thing – musical and realistic sustains and transitions that respond to your playing style.

Con Moto Cellos sells for $149 from Performance Samples


In true Performance Samples style, there isn’t much to look at on the Con Moto interface. This could be a disadvantage to some people, but considering how much of the grunt work is done through scripting responding to your playing, it makes sense in this case. There’s no need for articulation menus or keyswitch setups.

What we do get is a mic mixer with 4 mic positions – Close 1st chair, Close Section, Decca Tree, and Wide. By default, only the 1st Chair and Decca mics are enabled. Each position can be loaded/unloaded, muted, solo’d, faded, and panned. They can also be assigned to different Kontakt outputs if you’re into that kind of workflow!

Below the mic mixer you can change the dynamics CC channel, toggle legato mode, and change the singular keyswitch that controls that legato toggler. That’s it!

From a purely sonic standpoint, Con Moto Cellos doesn’t do anything spectacular or different. It’s a good and balanced sounding cello section – not too harsh, but not muddy or dark. The inclusion of the “Close 1st Chair” mic position is something that I found particularly useful. Layering in that mix on top of the others lets you control a level of “intimacy” that a solo instrument can add to a section.

Before I go into the things that this library does extremely well, I’ll start with some of its limitations. Obviously, the Con Moto series is not meant to replace your super-detailed and massive string libraries. The only articulations are polyphonic or legato sustains. There is no vibrato control, sordino, or staccato. There is an added delay of 140ms to all of the samples because of the way the recordings are staged and cut up, so they aren’t ideal for playing parts live if you’re not used to latency. Also, as a result of the recording process, you can occasionally hear a split second of bleedover in more isolated attacks (especially in the ambient mics).

That seems like a fairly big paragraph, but if you’re looking for lively and energetic cellos, it’s nothing to worry about. The legato transitions in this library are extremely fast and energetic when played fast. Con Moto really shines when performing energetic and melodic lines. However, thanks to the multiple types of sampled attacks and releases, this library also handles “slow and delicate” very well. The attack speed changes with velocity value, which is useful for programming all of your cello sustains on one track with only one patch.

The most important thing to take away from all of this – Don’t get Con Moto if you need an all-in-one strings package. But – definitely get Con Moto if you’re looking for a simple solution to playing/programming lively and convincing sustained string performances. What this series does best is give you an amazing “time investment to realism” ratio for the limited articulations it provides.


Con Moto (which means “with movement”) Cellos is a highly focused library of 6 cellos from the Capellen Orchestra. As is customary with Performance Samples, all recordings in this product are cut from musical performances. With 4 mic positions, 3 dynamic layers, multiple attack and release types, and “Active-bow” sustains, Con Moto Cellos takes up 2.14 GB of disk space installed.

The full retail version of Kontakt 5.5.1 or higher is required to run this library.

Con Moto Cellos sells for $149 from Performance Samples


Demos of Con Moto Cellos by Performance Samples


Videos of Con Moto Cellos by Performance Samples