Review: Spitfire Solo Strings by Spitfire Audio
With a goal of bringing intimacy and detail of a single voice to rise above the force of an orchestra, Spitfire Solo Strings delivers! This is a magnificent sample set is delivered in the same easy to use interface we have seen from Spitfire’s many Kontakt libraries.
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Review: Spitfire Solo Strings by Spitfire Audio
It has been over 6 years since Spitfire Audio released one of their very first instruments, a Solo Strings library for Kontakt. Fast forward to 2018 and the developer has had thousands of hours of sampling and scripting experience producing dozens of award-winning libraries that many of us depend on in our daily work.
In the first promotional video, Paul Thomsen, co-founder of Spitfire Audio, showed off the instruments and the WIPs sounded great! But, no legatos were shown causing a wave of questions across social media and forums. In follow-up posts weeks before the official release, the developer showed examples of the Legatos in action and I was sold.
With a goal of bringing the “intimacy and detail of a single voice to rise above the force of an orchestra”
Spitfire Solo Strings delivers! This is a magnificent sample set is delivered in the same easy to use interface we have seen from Spitfire’s many Kontakt libraries.
The Solo Strings have been designed with the same signal chain and mic positions as Spitfire Audio’s Orchestral series of libraries. This means that they blend perfectly.
Recorded in Air Lyndhurst to 2” tape, the library comes with a Bass, Cello and Viola NKIs as well as 3 distinctly different Violin instruments: Virtuoso, 1st Desk and Progressive NKIs.
The difference between the Virtuoso, 1st Desk and Progressive Violin NKIs is obvious at first listen. Each contains a unique performance as well as different placement in the hall.
For the Violin Virtuoso, the developer sampled a standing player in front of the orchestra. This is similar in style to the way a featured soloist would perform in front of the orchestra ‘concerto’ style.
The Violin 1st Desk instrument captures the first violin in position, also known as first chair. Just like first chair instruments, this sample set can add bite and definition to a section performance and acts the leader of the orchestra.
The Progressive Violin patch was recorded further from the conductor. This NKI was designed to blend into a larger string section with “a more contemporary vernacular, opening the door to a modern, filmic sound of extended techniques” such as “Mandolin pizzicato”.
Additional NKIs are provided for Extended Techniques, Individual articulations, other patches and of course the Legato Patches.
For the legato instruments, Spitfire has provided a Cello, Viola and a Violin (1st Desk) NKIs.
These legato instruments operate with a clever bit of scripting that changes the legato transition with velocity sensitive triggers. A portamento legato transition is triggered if playing low level velocities, a fingered transition is triggered at medium velocity levels and a bow change legato transitions are triggered when employing a harder velocity.
Although I am really loving the way the true legato samples perform with this clever velocity sensitive scripting, I would have really liked to have seen legato implemented into the main instruments. I usually work with keyswitches for articulation changes and for using the Solo Strings I will need to have a dedicated midi channel for the legato instruments, and another for the main instruments.
I don’t want to cause wild speculation here, but I wonder if we will be seeing an update with the Virtuoso Violin and Progressive Violin as Legato instruments down the line. It seems as though the developer would have captured those legato samples during the session(?) …..again just wondering aloud.
Despite my critiques, I am loving the sound and performances I am getting out of this library. From the moment I loaded it up the quality and responsiveness really stood out. Even with live playing, I am pleased with this collection and I am certain that with a little programming, Spitfire Solo Strings will shine and become my go-to solo string library.
My take away from the first look video was that I need to use the Con Legno articulations in something soon! They sound amazing and really do exemplify the “ “intimacy and detail” Spitfire Audio were going for. Don’t get me wrong, this is a next level string library when it comes to sample quality and playability with the legato instruments.
Spitfire Solo Strings downloads as 42.8 GB. The library contains a sample set of 3 separate Solo Violin, Viola, Cello & Bass recordings. Spitfire Solo Strings is a Kontakt Player Instrument compatible with both the full and free Kontakt Player 5.6.8 or higher.