Review: Oscillation Strings by Ben Osterhouse

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Ben Osterhouse’s Oscillation Strings is filled with beauty and dripping with emotion. The attention to detail in these pulsing string swells is just stellar. With each section of a chamber orchestra represented in both legato and straight formats, Oscillation Strings will convince your listeners that you spent a large amount of your scoring budget on beautifully recorded live string players.

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Review: Oscillation Strings by Ben Osterhouse

Oscillation Strings is one of the best boutique string libraries on the market. Focused on controllable string arcs, Oscillation Strings brings you both customizable string swells and polyphonic legato in an easy-to-use interface. More importantly though is the gorgeous tone of these deeply expressive strings. Oscillation Strings is one of the best string libraries I’ve played within the last year, period.

Oscillation_Strings_Main

Oscillation Strings sells for £60.00 from Ben Osterhouse

Thoughts

There are so many wonderful string libraries on the market. Many of you reading this probably already have several of the major string libraries that come to mind when thinking about sampled strings. However, there are many boutique string libraries from smaller developers that are often overlooked in the sampled strings universe, and that is a pity. When done well, boutique string libraries add a characteristic flavor to your tracks that you just don’t get with full string libraries from the major players. When it comes to boutique string libraries, there is no one doing it better than Ben Osterhouse. As a string player himself, Ben has a knack for capturing not only the sound of live strings, but more importantly, the emotion that only live strings can offer. Rather than offering an “all-in-one” string library, each of Ben’s boutique string offerings focuses on a particular articulation or playing style. This sharpened focus of fully representing a single string playing style means that Ben brings an attention to detail to his libraries that is just so, so good.

Oscillation Strings is the eighth string library in the Ben Osterhouse catalog (if you count his three “String Flow” libraries as a single offering), and it might just be my favorite. Most of Ben’s libraries thus far have focused on strings in motion; Pattern Strings, Secco Strings, Sospiro Strings, and the String Flow series have each focused on the movement of strings in different playing styles. Oscillation Strings also revolves around string movements, but in the presentation of delicate string swells that are dripping with emotion and beauty.

Oscillation Strings Swell

Oscillation Strings includes sections for violin, viola, cello, and bass strings. The only weakness I can think of within this library is the fact that there is no ensemble patch, but since the RAM footprint is not huge here you can run multiple instances of the library to create your own ensemble. You can choose to play within the context of either the “Swell” or “Expression” tabs. The Swell method allows you to choose both the attack and decay time of the string arcs that you play. Ranging from 2-8 (intervals of 2), you can set both the swell and the fade of the string arc you are playing. You can play a straight-forward 8 beat swell with four beats rising and four beats fading, but you can also play something like a two-beat swell with an eight-beat decay as well. This presents a lot of creative potential for your tracks. However, if these intervals aren’t enough, you can simply jump over to the Expression tab to fully control the timing of the swell using your modwheel. Oscillation Strings allows you to play the arcs in Half, Quarter, or Eighth notes. Quarter notes have been sampled at both 90bpm and 120 bpm, while Half notes were sampled at 120 bpm and Eighth notes were sampled at 90bpm. There is a Speed control that allows you to time-stretch the samples too. The Speed control allows you to set the chosen note value to Half, Regular, or Double speed. Keep in mind that Kontakt will have to time stretch the samples in some instances, which could decrease the realism of the samples if used far outside of the sampled bpm.

Oscillation Strings Speed

Here’s the thing though – I haven’t even told you about the best feature yet! Oscillation Strings would be a wonderfully beautiful library or expressive string arcs if Ben had stopped here, but what takes Oscillation Strings to the next level is the inclusion of polyphonic legato arcs using both legato scripting and legato samples. Legato scripting allows you to play in a legato style without increasing the RAM of your Kontakt session, but it does so without the use of the actual legato samples. When using the legato scripting and/or samples, you have the choice to either play using Bow Change or Portamento styles. The portamento samples that were recorded for this library are my favorite – they are just so, so good – but the bow change samples are great as well. However, equally important is the scripting, which is also intelligent, as it automatically detects the correct legato sample and interval to use when moving from one chord voicing to another.

Oscillation Strings is simply excellent. Ben Osterhouse continues to surprise me with string libraries that are not only beautiful, but also super-useful for the working composer. I couldn’t recommend Oscillation Strings more highly.

Facts

Oscillation Strings requires the full version of Kontakt 6.3.1 and was created from 11,427 samples. It focuses on rhythmic custom string swells and includes a fantastic polyphonic legato.

Oscillation Strings sells for £60.00 from Ben Osterhouse

 

Demos of Oscillation Strings by Ben Osterhouse

 

Videos of Oscillation Strings by Ben Osterhouse






Contributor Raborn Johnson reviews Oscillation Strings by Ben Osterhouse
“Ben Osterhouse’s Oscillation Strings is filled with beauty and dripping with emotion. The attention to detail in these pulsing string swells is just stellar. With each section of a chamber orchestra represented in both legato and straight formats, Oscillation Strings will convince your listeners that you spent a large amount of your scoring budget on beautifully recorded live string players.”