Thursday, November 28, 2019

REVIEW: SPITFIRE SOLO STRINGS (2019) by SPITFIRE AUDIO




Six years after it's initial release, Spitfire Audio revisits Spitfire Solo Strings and re-records all new samples and have included Solo Violin and Solo Cello Total Performance.


OVERVIEW


~41270 SAMPLES

66.2 GB UNCOMPRESSED.WAV

43.3 GB DOWNLOAD SIZE

87.0 GB DISK SPACE REQUIRED DURING INSTALL


GUI DETAILS

THE OVERVIEW PANEL


(This is the main interface for melodic instruments. Its default view displays all available playing techniques, has a simple microphone mixer and includes the main feature controllers.)






THE OSTINATUM


(In this view you can add notes to a pattern sequencer, select which key it triggers on and then play for instant ostinato creation. It’s like an arpeggiator on a synthesizer.)



GENERAL CONTROLS PANEL

(This view allows further in-depth control of the instrument, showing all available signals and feature controllers, as well as the ability to purge techniques from memory to reduce system usage.)




REVIEW

 Spitfire Audio returned to Lyndhurst Hall at AIR Studios to re-record one of their oldest and finest libraries called Spitfire Solo Strings. Firstly, this updated re-release came out in 2018, but in 2019 they included Spitfire Solo Violin Total Performance and Spitfire Solo Cello Total Performance. I never had the pleasure of playing the re-vamped Solo Strings during last year's release until now. I was amazed to find out Spitfire recorded all new samples, updated scripting, and created a fresh new GUI (interface) in the 2018 version. Legacy owners of the original Solo Strings should be happy to know that Spitfire offers a cross-grade discount.




When you open up the Spitfire Solo Strings in Kontakt, you'll see six .nki instruments lettered A. Violin (Virtuoso), B. Violin (1st Desk), C. Violin (Progressive), D. Viola, E. Cello, and F. Bass. There is also a folder called Advanced Extended Techniques that include Core and Decorative for each instrument category. In the advanced folder, you'll also find Individual Articulations, Legato Patches, and other patches.  The sound and play-ability of Spitfire Solo Strings are wonderfully sampled, giving realism not found in a lot of orchestral solo string libraries I've played. However, this isn't surprising considering Spitfire's standards for excellence. The Spitfire team worked with a group of internationally acclaimed musicians that are known as first-call soloists and have been heard in many major Hollywood films. The players who were recorded in this library are Jack Liebeck (violin - Virtuoso), Clio Gould (violin - 1st Desk), Thomas Gould (violin - Progressive), Max Baillie (viola), Richard Harwood (cello) and Leon Bosch (double bass). Spitfire recorded many of their libraries in this legendary Hall at AIR Studios. This studio has been used to record many film scores like Dunkirk, Beauty and the Beast, Wonder Woman, Paddington 2, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, The Dark Knight, and Gladiator. Spitfire Solo Strings was recorded utilizing ribbon and valve mics through Neve Montserrat preamps on 2” tape before converted with Prism AD converters at 96k for a precise production. 

Yes, you can buy The Spitfire Solo Violin Total Performance and Spitfire Solo Cello Total Performance individually for $99 each, or buy Spitfire Solo Strings, which now includes both of these. This is an extremely attractive package at a great price point.



Both Total Performance libraries consist of an array of techniques and articulations that allows you to create exceptional realism in a solo performance. There are five forms of true legato, including, fingered, portamento, bowed, arpeggios, and runs. The articulations included in the Solo Violin are staccato, spiccato, trills, tremolo, molto vibrato, progressive vibrato, and non-vibrato.  The articulations included in the Solo Cello are staccato, spiccato, playable trills, tremolo, pizzicato, Bartok pizzicato, molto vibrato, progressive vibrato, and non-vibrato. The benefit of the total performance patch is that you don't need to use keyswitches to change articulations. The Solo Violin and Solo Cello were programmed to respond to the velocity of your playing. I like this option because it keeps me inspired and doesn't interrupt my workflow.   Spitfire Solo Violin and Spitfire Solo Cello were performed by world-renowned concert musicians Jack Liebeck (Violinist) and Richard Harwood (Cellist).  

The overall sound of Spitfire Solo Strings is powerful and the legatos are spot on. The short articulations deliver a strong and solid attack. The longs offer an alluring realism but I did find I needed to increase the release control to get my style of sound for the longs. Don't forget to take full advantage of the dynamics, vibrato, and release controls to bring out the most realistic delivery out of your composition. Experiment to find what sound works the best for you because we all hear things a little different. One of my favorite parts about this library is how the ambience created by the Hall accentuates the rich sound of the strings.

Spitfire Solo Strings is beautifully designed and is suited to bring out that emotional, intimate, and melodic expression. I found this library fits perfectly in my mix and combines ideally with other string and orchestra libraries. I wrote a few themes reminiscent to composer greats like John Williams, and that convinced me this library is nothing less than superb!

Spitfire Solo Strings is Kontakt player compatible, contains 66.2 GB of uncompressed WAV samples, and downloads at a 43.3 GB. 

An exquisite update to one of their oldest libraries with the added two Solo Performance patches makes this a must-have!

5 OUT 5 STARS


















Written by Steve Montgomery
 (Infinite Mindscape & Darkmood)


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