Review: Tina Guo Vol. 2 by Cinesamples


Cinesamples teams up with renowned cellist Tina Guo for round two of their incredibly popular cello library, offering a different playing style and new articulations at an amazing price.

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Review: Tina Guo Vol. 2 by Cinesamples

Cinesamples Tina Guo Vol. 2 library allows you, essentially, to have access to one of the most renowned and popular cellists in the world, Tina Guo (Hans Zimmer Live, Cirque de Soleil, the video games Journey and Diablo 3, the films Inception, Iron Man 2, etc). The library features all new articulations and recordings, and boasts a slick interface combined with excellent sample quality and smooth playability. Overall, Tina Guo Vol. 2 is a worthy successor to the incredibly popular Tina Guo Acoustic Cello library.

Tina Guo Vol. 2 sells for $99 from Cinesamples


Cinesamples recently released the follow-up library to one of their most popular sample libraries of all time, the Tina Guo Acoustic Cello. This library features all new content, but it can also be seen as an expansion to the first Tina Guo cello library, as you will not get a definitive set of articulations with Vol 2 (it’s missing an expressive and lyrical legato patch for slower lines, featured in Vol. 1). Each of the patches contains two separate mix options: “Tim’s Mix” (presumably named for project director and mix engineer Tim Starnes), and “Raw Mix”. The Raw Mix is more natural and flat, and Tim’s Mix seems to enhance the resonance and alters the timbre of the samples, giving it a more polished sound. There are controls for adjusting legato speed, the amount of reverb, release volume, as well as options to enable and disable legato, attack overlay, and the “infinite bow” function. When “Infinite Bow” mode is enabled, the note will sustain indefinitely with no interruptions, as opposed to hearing a natural re-bow periodically throughout the sample.

The Arco Legato patch is probably the one most users will gravitate towards, as it features excellent legato transitions, and is capable of pulling off very realistic and surprisingly fast paced lines. Dynamics are all controllable with CC01, assigned to the modwheel by default. When the dynamics are at their lowest, playing the notes with a higher velocity (striking the keys a bit harder) will create a pronounced accent at the beginning of the note. If the notes are played briefly instead of being held out, this can function as spiccato and legato all in the same patch, giving a more performance oriented feel. The legato is capable of playing some very agile and fast paced phrases, and the instant playability and smoothness of this articulation is a standout feature. Note that while each articulation has it’s own separate .nki file, loading up any one of them will enable the option to keyswitch between each of the others, excluding the phrases and effects patches.

The “Open Strings” articulation only features four notes, which are the notes produced when each string is bowed. “Sul Pont” offers a more unique sound, as the strings are bowed as close to the bridge as possible, bringing out more harmonics and having a more shrill, less full sound. I find this playing style adds a bit of an unnerving feeling, and lends itself well to building tension. The “Harmonics” articulation is very subtle, and puts out a very light and airy tone. The harmonics are evocative and beautiful, and gives off an ethereal, fantasy-like vibe. “Spiccato” and “Vibrato Pizzicato” notes and tight and crisp, while offering pristine detail throughout all dynamic ranges, the pizziccato being especially delicate in the lower ranges. The marcatos are more pronounced, and have the most vibrato out of all the articulations it seems. There are no options to control the amount of vibrato, and each note press triggers the note to ring out in full, so the note does not stop playing when you release the key.

This library also includes “mini phrases” and granular effects. The mini phrases and effects capture Tina’s true performance, and are a nice addition to add a more “human” touch to the library. They are mapped across the keyboard, with the option to adjust the root note, scale, and speed of the phrase, though it would be nice to have the option to sync the phrases to your DAW’s tempo. The granular effects option can be enabled on any of the phrases, and are described as follows:

“Instead of playing back the entire sample as recorded, the GRANULAR button triggers a stream of ‘grains’ or small chunks of audio that begin playing from the playhead. “

In practice, the granular option adds a more electronic, almost trippy feeling to the phrases, with enhanced convolution, echos, and delay added, with the option to adjust the density of the granular effect. When the density is at it’s lowest, you can get a sort of stuttering type effect, as the sound seems to bounce left to right like a ping-pong delay effect. I don’t see myself using these effects and phrases as much as the rest of the patches, but they are nonetheless a nice addition to the library.

All in all, this library offers an impressive amount of content for a very attractive price, and is a worthy addition to both owners of Tina Guo Vol. 1 and new users alike. Besides a few quips with the amount of control over some articulations (especially vibrato amount and marcato length), Tina Guo Vol. 2 offers excellent playability and quality, not to mention the option to, in theory, feature the playing of Tina Guo herself (or at least Robo-Guo) in your own compositions.


The library costs $99 and runs in the Free Kontakt Player, and comes in at about 11 GB installed (22 GB required for installation). Included are the following articulations : Arco Legato, Open Strings, Sul Ponticello, Harmonic, Spiccato, Marcato, Vibrato Pizzicato, Mini Phrases, and Granular FX.

Tina Guo Vol. 2 sells for $99 from Cinesamples


Demos of Tina Guo Vol. 2 by Cinesamples

Videos of Tina Guo Vol. 2 by Cinesamples


Contributor Brian Freeland reviews Tina Guo Vol. 2 by Cinesamples
Cinesamples teams up with renowned cellist Tina Guo for round two of their incredibly popular cello library, offering a different playing style and new articulations at an amazing price.”