Over the last few years, I’ve had the chance to play around with a wide range of string libraries over the past few years including LASS, Cinematic Strings 2, Hollywood Strings, Symphobia 1 + 2 etc. I currently own and often use LASS and Cinematic Strings 2, and very occassionally use Hollywood Strings as its just so damn big and clunky (although it does sound beautiful). This week I tried out the new library by 8Dio called Adagietto – based upon the Adagio series which is four separate libraries for Violins, Violas, Basses and Cellos.
Adagietto offers a combination of the Adagio libraries in one “ensemble” library providing a quick and “easy to use” ensemble library, when you need it – offering both the option to play four part strings in one patch, or each section separately using individual patches. The library weighs in at just under 13GB and was recorded with 11 Violins, 8 Violas, 6 Cellos and 4 Double Basses. It contains two microphone selections to choose from – far and close – allowing you to mix both selections also.
Downloading the library was simple – you get an email with the download link, stick your code into the 8Dio downloader, and away you go. Simple process, and didn’t take too long. I loaded up the library in Kontakt and the first thing I noticed was its not a “Kontakt Library” (ie. doesn’t show up in your library list along the left hand side), but just a normal library that you have to load each patch from the file browser area. This generally irks me a little bit, but fair enough – I understand that Native Instruments charges developers more to make it a Kontakt library that shows up in your library list, so not all developers will make their libraries this way.
Looking at the patches, we have the following folders:
- Individual Sections
Ensemble is split into two folders – Longs and Shorts.
Longs has the following patches:
- dynamic bowing
- dynamic bowing sordino
- sustains sordino
- trills maj
- trills min
Shorts has the following patches:
Individual Sections is split into one folder for each string type – violins, violas, cellos, basses
Each instrument then has the following articulations to choose from:
- Dynamic bowing sordino
- Sustains Sordino
- Trills Maj
- Trills Min
The Legatos folder has one legato patch for each string section.
The first patch I tried was the Ensemble Dynamic Bowing patch (ie. four part strings in one patch). Each dynamic bowing patch is basically a normal note being played with a crescendo or “musical breath/arc” – “It is an emotional expression you can never achieve crossfading sustains”. There are two to choose from – dynamic bowing 1 offering a softer gesture and dynamic bowing 2 offering a stronger gesture. I enjoyed the dynamic bowing patches as they sounded very natural and even when just playing around with them, you can create some beautiful and lush sounds.
I often find myself in need of sordino strings my compositions, so I was happy to see that Adagietto included a nice range of them. The ensemble patches have Sordino Dynamic Bowing 1 and Sordino Dynamic Bowing 2 (as do each individual instrument section) along with Sordino Sustains also. I really loved the far mic sordinos and when coupled with the dynamic bowing, they really sounded beautiful – very emotional and lush.
The Ensemble Sustains patch is probably going to be one of the most used ones for most people who own this library. Its full 4 part strings in one patch allowing you to write for string ensemble easily. I thought it sounded beautiful – better than Cinematic Strings 2 actually – and when combined with the super simple interface, it made using it really enjoyable. Of course, having such a simple interface, does mean you’re not getting as many tweakable options as some other competing libraries, but to be honest, I think its a fair trade off in this case. The Ensemble Tremolo and Ensemble Trills patches both sound incredible also – a large and resonant sound.
Onto the Ensemble Shorts patches, these again all sounded great. The pizzicato patch was one of my favourite string pizzicato patches I’ve heard so far as it just sounded very natural and realistic. The spiccato and staccato patches were perfect and the “bartok” patch was a nice unusual articulation that might come in handy at some point.
Each patch in the individual section sounded as expected – the same as it sounded in the ensemble patch, just by itself. All instruments in here sounded great,
The Legato folder offers 4 patches – one legato patch for each string section. These patches were absolutely gorgeous, my favourite being the Violins Legato patch. They sound very lyrical and emotional and are perfect for so many types of writing.
I see Adagietto as a quick and easy to use string ensemble writing tool that sounds great and gets the job done quickly. For this reason, its perfect for composers who work on very tight deadlines and are looking for something that can speed up their string writing. It sounds gorgeous (I used it with EWQL Spaces and it was amazing) and offers the majority of articulations you’d normally use in most of your writing. Its not very RAM intensive meaning its great for low-end computers and its a good amount cheaper than the majority of its competitors in the same area (Cinematic Strings 2 – $499, Cinestrings Core – $499, Hollywood Strings Gold – $399).
Although it might not offer same level of built in flexibilty in the interface as some of its competitors and uses separate patches rather than keyswitches, the sound of Adagietto more than makes up for these minor flaws.
8Dio Adagietto is available at http://8dio.com/instrument/adagietto for $349