Review: Sacconi Strings Quartet from Spitfire Audio


Sacconi Strings “Playable” instruments are spectacular in achievement but fall just a hair short of being ideal with the real gem being the key switched articulations and multi-mic positions.  This library deserves some serious consideration for both media and traditional composer seeking realism in their string quartet mock-ups.

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Review: Sacconi Strings Quartet from Spitfire Audio

I am writing this quickly as I am on deadline at the moment so please excuse any typos (etc) until I have a chance to have someone proof the review. That said I did try to include all the relevant info and my opinions on the library for you as this library deserves some serious consideration!

Sacconi Strings Quartet sells for £399  from Spitfire Audio


Spitfire has been working on the Sacconi Strings Quartet library for about 5 years. In order to capture the sample set for the library Spitfire choose the famous Sacconi Quartet and set their sights on recording in Wigmore Hall, one of the more favoured chamber music venues in the world. The Hall is famously booked solid so in order to get the time needed to record in the venue Spitfire took the free days they could, sampling the performers one day a year for multiple years.

First encounter with the folder structure and instruments in the library was a bit confusing. The first level of folders for this Kontakt library has 2 main folders: “Main Mics” & “Stereo Mics”. The folders contain over 160 kontakt presets for the sampled Violin 1, Violin 2, Viola and Cello. The confusion for me was to decipher what the difference was for the “Playable” and “Individual” kontakt presets as well as the different mic options for the instruments.


Sacconi Strings Quartet File Structure

In summary the “Playable” instruments are the Ture Legato instruments. They load up with a cleverly scripted “Intelligent” playback with 4 separate legato transitions (no keyswitches or articulations) and the “Individual” instruments load up with key switchable articulations set which is standard across all four instruments. The “Playable” instrument are labeled “True Legato” instrument on the official Sacconi Strings Quartet web page, but not in the final delivered instruments. And the “Individual” instruments contain all the sampled articulations which can be triggered by keyswitch.


Sacconi Strings Quartet Playable and Individual Instruments


Working with the “Playable” instruments, the scripting intelligently adapts to your playing and features a very nice legato. Playing the instrument triggers the 4 different kinds of true legato ranging from short transitions to more protomento-esque and it works really well. It is very playable right out of the box and the quality using both the stereo mics, separate mics or the Easy Mix controls (shown above) sound beautiful. Each instrument resonates in the hall nicely. When the different instruments play back together they blend really nicely as the playback samples are placed in their respected seating position across the stereo field.

The “Playable” (legato) instruments sound very nice and are easy to play quickly to get a pretty realistic performance.

The “Individual” Kontakt preset allow for traditional keyswitching with up to 14 articulations including:

Short Staccato
Short Spiccato
Short Pizzicato
Short Bartok Pizz
Short Col Legno
Short Harmonics
Marcato Attack
Long Flautando
Long Harmonics
Unmeasured Tremolo
Measured Tremolo (150bpm)
Trill Major 2nd
Trill Minor 2nd

Spitfire has also includes some Ensembles section presets. I found these easy to play. With the sound and playback quailty I think these alone could deffinatly make it into some final mixes. They are also very handy if you want to sketch out your quartet compositions using both hands before splitting off the separate parts.


The Multi Mic instruments give you all 7 of the microphone positions to load and blend. Using these individual mic positions allows for sculpting your sound. I found that I could get a very beautiful sound utilizing the sound of the Outrigger mics blended with Close and Stereo mics.  Beware though that loading up all the microphones will use up close to 2GB of your RAM per instrument.

I found that I could get a very beautiful sound utilizing the sound of the Outrigger mics blended with Close and Stereo mics.

Additionally, each of the separate string instruments is broken out into an additional preset for each articulation. Of note here for some users, the close mic although very present and up front does have some of the hall resonating in it’s tail so be aware that this is not a dry isolated sample playback.


Those familiar with Spitfire libraries will be familiar with the Ostimatum functionality, a simple arpeggiator/sequencer that is available for the short articulations. It’s nice to have although I have not found that I use these feature with Spitfire instruments.

Overall I love the sound of this library. The hall really adds to the sample set and the performances can sound fantastic with little effort. Sacconi Strings Quartet gives you all the options to work quickly without thinking about mic positions or articulations with the Playable (True Legato) instruments or options to dig into the instrument and really design your sound with the key-switchable articulations & 7 different mic options.

I did hear a few oddities in the playback of a couple samples in the Stereo Far mic performances (like the noise build up on the long flautando articulation of the first violin).

The Playable instrument, though spectacular in achievement, falls just a hair short of being ideal. I was able to get some very nice playback from these Playable instruments, but the real gem is the key switch instruments here. I would have loved to have had the true-legato instruments have the ability to additionally load up the other keyswitched articlautions for much more realistic performances all from one preset.

I would have loved to have had the true-legato instruments have the ability to additionally load up the other keyswitched articlautions!

All in, Sacconi Strings is a wonderful set of solo string instruments that can provide just about everything needed for creating very convincing realistic quartet mock-ups. Which says a lot considering up until a couple years ago I swore off solo string virtual instruments because the technology and scripting was not advanced enough to fool my ears.

I also have to say that for an instrument by Spitfire, Sacconi Strings Quartet is very competitively priced at £399, just a touch over the competition similar products, but with all the bells, whistles, and sonic quality we expect from Spitfire.


Sacconi Strings Quartet  contains 46768 samples and downloads as  70GB, It does require the full version of Kontakt.

Sacconi Strings Quartet sells for £399  from Spitfire Audio


Demos of Sacconi Strings Quartet

Videos of Sacconi Strings Quartet