After carefully weighing the pros and cons, we were still left with two superb sampled orchestral libraries so we decided to honor them both. For these libraries, you''ll need a healthy budget and a fast computer (both manufacturers recommend a dedicated system), but the results will be commensurate.
Audiobro LA Scoring Strings (Mac/Win, $1,099)
Audiobro''s LA Scoring Strings (LASS), which was created by film composer Andrew Keresztes, turns the divisi approach to dividing large string sections on its ear by giving you a single first-chair player along with four groups of one to 16 players for each string section (violins, viola, cello, and bass)—you assemble the group from the parts. This 40GB library for Native Instruments Kontakt and Kontakt Player (included) was recorded dry on a large film-scoring stage. It is accompanied by a variety of excellent impulse responses for Kontakt''s IR reverb. You''ll find a large selection of articulations and some excellent Kontakt scripts—Real Legato, Trill, Anti-Machine Gun, Tuning (variations), and Delay and Humanization—for implementing string-playing techniques from the keyboard. In the words of EM contributing editor Geary Yelton, “In addition to a terrific sound, LA Scoring Strings delivers startlingly faithful phrasing and articulation.”
EastWest/Quantum Leap Hollywood Strings Diamond Edition (Mac/Win, $1,495)
EastWest Quantum Leap''s stated goal in creating Hollywood Strings was to capture the Hollywood sound we''ve all grown accustomed to in movies and commercial recordings, and it did an admirable job. EastWest founders Doug Rogers and Nick Phoenix, along with composer Thomas Bergersen and Academy Award–winning engineer Shawn Murphy, assembled a 57-piece string orchestra in EastWest Studio 1 and recorded 312GB of samples using a variety of modern and vintage mics in five setups. The results are delivered on a hard drive in EastWest''s proprietary Play format. The Play software lets you freely mix the five miking perspectives; provides a plethora of performance options, including elaborate keyswitching and crossfading; captures numerous articulations; and includes a great-sounding impulse/response reverb modeling a variety of cathedrals, halls, studios, and rooms.