Monday, January 1, 2024

REVIEW: Benjamin Wallfisch Strings Bundle by Orchestral Tools

REVIEW: Benjamin Wallfisch Strings Bundle by Orchestral Tools

Award winning Hollywood composer Benjamin Wallfisch joined forces with Orchestral Tools, to craft  This groundbreaking collection that not only revolutionizes sampled strings for professional composers, but also establishes a fresh benchmark for realism and expression. The partnership has additionally yielded a second impressive collection: Stringscapes by Benjamin Wallfisch. This compilation boasts an extensive array of intricate and avant-garde string textures and effects, delving into the experimental realm of contemporary scoring. Sample Sound Review takes a deep dive into this bundle. 



As a composer and musician, delving into the Benjamin Wallfisch Strings Bundle was a captivating experience. This virtual instrument collection is a testament to the meticulous craftsmanship and artistic vision that Orchestral Tools consistently brings to the table.

 Who is Benjamin Wallfisch

Before getting to deep into the review I need to state that Benjamin Wallfisch, a highly acclaimed composer with over 100 film and television credits. His extensive portfolio includes blockbuster hits such as IT, The Flash, Blade Runner 2049 (collaborating with Hans Zimmer), The Invisible Man, Mortal Kombat, Shazam, Thirteen Lives, and the Academy Award best picture-nominee Hidden Figures, collectively grossing over $4 billion worldwide. Benjamin has collaborated with music icons like Adele, Herbie Hancock, Lang Lang, Pharrell, and Yuja Wang. Throughout his career, he has immersed himself in a diverse range of musical genres and disciplines, drawing inspiration from mentors across the musical spectrum. This extensive musical education enables him to seamlessly integrate multiple styles into his own work, whether in orchestral compositions or innovative electronic sound design.

Benjamin has also been rewarded a Golden Globe, BAFTA, Emmy, and two Grammy nominations, establishing him as an authority in understanding the nuanced expectations of orchestral string performances.

Once I loaded up the ensemble, I was struck by the lush, emotive sound and detailed nuances of a real string ensemble that was nothing short of remarkable. The depth and expressiveness of each instrument, from the soaring violins to the resonant cellos, are unparalleled, providing a level of realism that is essential for crafting truly evocative compositions.

One huge feature is the flexibility offered by the extensive range of articulations. Whether I needed delicate pizzicatos, soaring legatos, or dramatic spiccatos, the Benjamin Wallfisch Strings Bundle delivered with finesse. The intuitive interface allowed me to seamlessly switch between articulations, empowering me to shape my musical ideas with ease.

Benjamin Wallfisch Strings provides both full and divided sections. You can choose between upbow and downbow strokes for sustained notes and legatos. This lets composers have super detailed control over exactly how each instrument is played. It's mostly for those smooth and long notes, but it's like giving composers a blank canvas to paint their musical ideas on.

The tutti consists of the first 14 violins, while the divisi sections consist of two groups of 7 violins each. Each section was recorded separately in its original location, ensuring a consistently natural sound without any reused recordings. 

Most sample libraries use loops in the long, held-out notes. Within Benjamin Wallfisch Strings, they ditched the loops completely. Every sustained note in this collection is an authentic, unbroken recording, steering clear of the repetitive looping. You also get legato options for all sustained long  notes, resulting in the utmost realism. Making the instruments sound more natural, like they're really breathing and changing as you hold those notes. It's a very cool and new approach!

The dynamic range of these virtual strings is exceptional, allowing for both intimate passages and powerful, sweeping crescendos. The attention to detail in the sampling process ensures that every note is imbued with the rich, organic textures that define a world-class string ensemble. You can craft interconnected melodies and variations that will deliver and amazing performance.

Orchestral Tools offers a range of performance options and controls. The incorporation of authentic bow changes, dynamic cross-fading, and genuine legato transitions brings an additional layer of realism to this string library. 

 Benjamin Wallfisch Strings was recorded at the Teldex Scoring Stage in Berlin.

The only con in this library is the size, it has a whopping 1072 GB of samples. Using the SINEarc compression it downloads at 501 GB. It runs in the Free SINEplayer, so there no other software that needs to be purchased.  It is really large and does take some time to download. It's recommended to have 16GB plus of RAM and have an Intel Core i5 or above. To be clear, you have the option to select which mic position you want to download which will save space on your hard drive. 


Here is the list of Mic Positions: 











What about Stringscapes?

 Stringscapes presents an extensive collection of orchestral string effects and textures. I was really impressed with the diverse array of string effect sounds. There are ambiences to spine-chilling sonic landscapes perfect for scoring horror or true crime. This may be the ultimate resource for experimental strings, incorporating aleatoric phrases, clusters, extended playing techniques, and beyond.

These awesome sounds comes from a solid lineup of 14 first violins, 12 second violins, 10 violas, 10 cellos, and 6 double basses, all skillfully recorded on a scoring stage. You'll have access to tutti patches, as well as high and low strings. On top of the usual Orchestral Tools microphones, they also threw in an atmospheric setup. 

And here's the cool part – all the recordings are in their natural 'raw' state, and there's also a special mix by Benjamin Wallfisch. That means you get that Hollywood vibe right out of the box, plus a bunch of choices to tweak and fine-tune your own unique sound. It downloads at 60 GB and also runs in the Free SINEplayer. Stringscapes stands out as distinctive and innovative in its own unique way.


  Final Words

In conclusion, the Benjamin Wallfisch Strings Bundle by Orchestral Tools stands as a triumph in virtual instrument design. It elevates the art of cinematic scoring by providing composers with a tool that not only meets but exceeds the demands of professional music production. Whether you're scoring for film, television, or any project that requires the highest level of musical expression, this bundle is a must-have, albeit with a significant investment. Bravo to the Benjamin Wallfisch and Orchestral Tools partnership for creating a virtual string ensemble that truly represents the pinnacle in the world of virtual orchestration.









Written by Steve Montgomery


No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.



Loopmasters Premium Sounds

PB Best Deals