Best Orchestral Strings VST LibrariesOrchestral Strings for you?

Do you want a high quality orchestral strings VST library?

Perhaps your first high end string library, or simply a new one to expand your composer toolkit?

In this quick guide I have compiled a list of great string libraries.

Strings VST Libraries – Top List

  1. Cinematic Studio Strings
  2. NOVO Modern Strings
  3. Spitfire Symphonic Strings
  4. Century Ensemble Strings
  5. Cinestrings Core
  6. Berlin Strings
  7. Soaring Strings
  8. Symphony Series Strings
  9. CH Ensemble Strings
  10. LA Scoring Strings (LASS)
  11. Afflatus Strings

Hello Composers! =)

My name is Mike, founder of professionalcomposers.com, music composer and sound designer since 1998, old school nerd, and coffee addict. So grab a cup of coffee, and let’s check out some Orchestral String VST Sample Libraries! =)

Cinematic Studio Strings

Cinematic Studio StringsRecorded in position in Australia’s premiere scoring stage, which gives it a natural, lush cinematic sound.

Made by the same company that made the highly praised “Cinematic Strings 2” which to be honest has been a staple in my own composer toolbox.

All-in-one string library with all the essential articulations, and great playability.

My Favorite Highlights

  • Amazing Legato Engine
  • Very Simple & Effective GUI
  • Classic String Ensemble Sound
  • Includes all Fundamental Articulations
  • Great Room Sound from the Scoring Stage

Is Cinematic Studio Strings for you?

If you need an all in one string library if you need a classic hollywood style string ensemble, recorded with a fairly dry sound in a scoring stage, with all the essential articulations in one package…well then Cinematic Studio Strings is a great choice.

NOVO Modern Strings

NOVO Modern StringsA strings library with a modern sound, and with the added ability to design and shape the strings to pads, pulses, or anything you desire.

NOVO includes both traditional instrument presets, as well as a sound designer section, as well as a loop designer.

Recorded at the famous Eastwood Scoring Stage at Warner Bros. Studios.

My Favorite Highlights

  • Amazing Sound Shaping Tools
  • Very Inspiring and Creative Interface
  • The Macro Controls are super powerful
  • Rich and powerful string sounds

Is NOVO Modern Strings for you?

If you want strings with a modern and cutting edge sound, and the ability to create hybrid sounds from creative sound design tools…then NOVO might be just the library for you.

Spitfire Symphonic Strings

Spitfire Symphonic StringsSpitfire Audio has made many orchestral libraries, but this has to be one of their top achievements.

Featuring 16 1st Violins, 14 2nd Violins, 12 Violas, 10 Cellos & 8 Basses sampled with over 175 articulations, including 59 shorts, 94 longs, and 5 legato patches. All recorded in the legendary Air Studios in London.

My Favorite Highlights

  • The incredible amount of Articulations
  • Great Dynamics and Round Robins
  • The Creamy Flautando and Super Sul Tasto
  • The Ostinatum Engine

Is Spitfire Symphonic Strings for you?

If you need a massive string library with lots of articulation, great expressive control, and don’t mind high use of disc space and RAM…then this library might become a fundamental tool in your composer arsenal.

Century Ensemble Strings

Century Ensemble Strings8dio gives you lots of articulations, and lots of control over shaping the sound and expression.

Century Ensemble Strings is a big “all-in-one” string library for anything between lush chords to sharp ostinato patterns.

Lots of user control over things like dynamics, expression, speed, release tails, vibrato and even legato volume.

And also great control over the microphone mix, with both main microphones and spot microphones.

My Favorite Highlights

  • Great Microphone Mix Controls
  • The Speed Control Feature
  • Lots of Short Articulation Options
  • The Arcs sound Amazing

Is Century Ensemble Strings for you?

If you like lots of user control in shaping the sound, room and expression, and you are a sucker for great short string articulations and control for ostinatos etc…then this library will be a good choice for you.

Cinestrings Core

CineStrings CoreCinesamples have a reputation of making instruments that are instantly playable, with a great sound out of the box. And Cinestrings Core will give you just that…and more.

I especially like their mapping page where you can customize how the instrument responds to your performances.

They also have a great microphone mixer page, where you can customize the overall sound.

My Favorite Highlights

  • The Amazing Playability
  • The Microphone Mix Control (including the mixer presets)
  • The Mapping Page to Create your own Performance Control
  • Very nice for lush legato lines and melodies

Is Cinestrings Core for you?

If you want instant playability with a lush lyrical sound, plus the ability to map the performance controls to respond to the way you record and perform your string parts…then Cinestrings Core will not let you down.

Berlin Strings

Berlin StringsThis is a mountain of a string ensemble library, not only in size, but also in the amount of details, dynamics, round robins etc. For example, spiccatos have up to 24x round robins!



Their legatos are amazing, including 4 different legatos in their adaptive legato engine, and 3 different vibrato types.

My Favorite Highlights

  • The Adaptive True Legato Engine (slurred, agile, fast and portamento)
  • Bow Stroke Control (soft, immediate, accented)
  • Up to 3 different vibrato expressions
  • The Dynamics and amount of Round Robins

Is Berlin Strings for you?

If you are looking for ultimate control over the details in your performance, an amazing legato engine, a smaller string section sound, and you have the computer resources to run this massive library…then Berlin Strings is a wonderful choice.

Soaring Strings

Soaring StringsThis library excels in melodic, lyrical and of course “soaring string lines”. Great legato and vibrato was their intention when creating this library.

It was recorded with medium sized ensembles on a scoring stage, in traditional seating arrangement.

My Favorite Highlights

  • Four dynamics of legato (p < fff), including true FFF sampling
  • True Bow-Change Repetition sampling
  • Molto expressivo vibrato across the upper dynamic range

Is Soaring Strings for you?

If you want a string library that focuses on lyrical legato, expressive vibrato and a very soaring sound that is playable out of the box…then Soaring Strings might be what you are looking for.

Symphony Series Strings

Symphony Series StringsBased on a bigger sized string section (30 violins, 12 violas, 10 cellos and 8 basses) this library can create that powerful, rich and big sound.

Recorded in Budapest in a large orchestral studio with high ceilings and a big beautiful room sound.

Lots of articulations to choose from and map in the articulations setup page, as well as nice features like auto divisi and polyphonic legato.

My Favorite Highlights

  • The Articulation Setup Page (lots to choose from)
  • Microphone Mixer with all the independent controls
  • Auto Divisi
  • Polyphonic Legato

Is Symphony Series Strings for you?

If you want that big and lush sound for your orchestral strings, and appreciate auto divisi and polyphonic legato…Symphony Series Strings may be a perfect choice for you.

CH Ensemble Strings

CH Ensemble StringsThis library has a very a different approach than most other developers. It was not recorded in section, but rather perfectly tuned individual instrument recordings.

Then the vast sample pool of 120.000 samples was carefully detuned, time shifted and positioned in the stereo field to make up all the sections and articulation controls.

This approach makes for a final result that is way more customizable than ordinary string ensemble libraries.

My Favorite Highlights

  • The Clean Overall Sound due to the specific production method
  • The Tight vs Loose control on many articulations
  • The choice between Full or Small ensemble size

Is CH Ensemble Strings for you?

If you are looking for a string library without the occasional performance errors on some notes and dynamics, and superior control over aspects like loose vs tight etc…then this will be a great choice for you.

LA Scoring Strings (LASS)

LA Scoring Strings (LASS)This library seem to be either love or hate. Simply because it is very dry, and not instantly playable.

Instead their focus have always been on extreme control over details and realism.

My Favorite Highlights

  • The Dry Recordings (if you prefer adding reverb yourself)
  • The Stage & Color controls
  • Micro Tuning and real-time performance of tuning
  • ARC (Audiobro Remote Control) for controlling all sections from a single window

Is LA Scoring Strings for you?

This is a library for composers that like realism, lots of detailed control over the sound, and are not afraid to dive in and adjust settings, automate etc. It takes more effort, but the end results is amazingly realistic, and the amount of sound shaping and user control is superb. Perhaps that composer is you?

Afflatus Strings

Afflatus StringsAfflatus strings has a very original approach, in that it focuses on themes and moods in every aspect of the library, instead of the classic instrument sections, articulations etc.

This approach has made this library have a very diverse range of tone, mood, character, playing style and overall sound. You can switch from romantic to aggressive to battle sound in your strings…super quick and easy.

My Favorite Highlights

  • The Focus on Mood and Sound Character
  • Polyphonic True Legato on some Presets
  • Switchable Divisi on some Presets

Is Afflatus Strings for you?

If you want a string library that truly inspires you, much more than simple preset names like “staccato 8 violins” can do, and if you love instant playable strings in a huge range of tone, style and mood…then Afflatus Strings is perfect for you.

Honorable mentions

  • VSL Strings
    Huge range of strings libraries, with superb user control. If you are used to Kontakt libraries, VSL will have a bit of a learning curve, but the amount of detail in their product range is amazing.
  • EastWest Hollywood Strings
    Available in their “Composer Cloud”, and if you don’t mind their Play Engine, you can get a huge variation in articulations, tone and control.

More Orchestral String Libraries

I decided to only include 1 orchestral string library per developer in this comparison. But you should definitely go ahead and check out their other string libraries in their respective product range.

Here are some of the top developers that have more Orchestral Strings product to choose from:

  • Spitfire Audio
  • Orchestral Tools
  • Cinesamples
  • 8dio
  • Musical Sampling

My name is Mikael “Mike” Baggström, and I am a composer, sound designer, artist, video creator, coffee lover, and true nerd…

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