The string section contributes the most in orchestral music. This sample library therefore aims to help create MIDI orchestrations. It can be used on its own or “layered” with other string libraries to get a richer sound. The library is kept relatively small and utilizes the SFZ format that can be loaded with freely obtainable software. For flexibility, the samples have minimal reverberation.
This sfz library includes:
- 18 Violins (sustain)
- 14 Violas (sustain)
- 12 Cellos (sustain)
- 10 Contrabasses (sustain)
How to get it
I recommend trying out the lite ogg version first before deciding if the extended version is for you.
The lite version consisting of ogg samples is available for free at Gumroad (but you’re welcome to pay a little more if you wish). Visit Sampleism (account required) if you prefer a lite version that uses lossless wav samples (currently at Sampleism’s minimum price). The instruments are sampled at minor third intervals.
The extended version featuring chromatic samples (every semitone) and 5 programmed velocity layers is available at a very affordable price at Gumroad. This is also bundled with other instruments at a lower combined price. As it shares the same wav samples, the lite version is also contained in the full version.
All samples are looped in the SFZ file, and are in 16bit 44.1kHz stereo format.
How to use it
The sfz library is tested with Plogue sforzando during development. Among the freely available software, sforzando has the best compatibility to sfz opcodes and is easiest to use. Hence, sforzando is recommended in case there are some issues with other sfz players. This has also been tested with Cakwalk Dimension (LE). Cakewalk is responsible for the SFZ specification. Some software are capable of using sfz libraries directly (Synthfont & MuseScore). However, these might not handle sfz as good as dedicated plug-ins do.
Without reverberation, the samples might sound unnatural. Reverberation is a characteristic of the space (hall) where the instruments are played. Reverb plug-ins should therefore be used to emulate a performance space. There are two main types of reverb, algorithmic and convolution based. Algorithmic reverb is typically more CPU friendly. Convolution reverb uses impulse response (IR) recordings that allow specific orchestra halls to be emulated.
Impulse response sets may be found here:
As for reverb plug-ins, plenty of free ones can be found. For example, Freeverb3 (http://freeverb3vst.osdn.jp/) is available for Windows, Mac and Linux.