Alternative Solo Strings by Spitfire Audio Review

Alternative Solo Strings is a relaunch of Spitfire Audio’s Artisan Cello and Artisan Violin plus additional instruments. Spitfire did take the existing Cello and Violin and added Double Bass and Viola and wrapped everything up in a new interface. Spitfire Audio did send a review copy with no strings attached.

The instruments are performed by Joel Hunter (Viola), Mary Scully (Double Bass), Chris Worsey (Cello), and Warren Zielinski (Violin). This library is more on the raw and sometimes nearly crude size. The four player are all based in London and have been recognized for contribution their performances to Captain America: Civil War (Henry Jackman) – Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (James Newton Howard) – Victoria & Abdul (Thomas Newman) – Jason Bourne (David Buckley/John Powell) – Interstellar (Hans Zimmer) – Warcraft (Ramin Djawadi) – The Hunger Games (James Newton Howard) – The Dark Knight Rises (Hans Zimmer) – Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (Sherlock Holmes) – Inception (Hans Zimmer) – Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (Alberto Iglesias) – The Twilight Saga (Carter Burwell) – Batman Begins (Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard) – Gladiator (Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerrard) – Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship Of The Rings (Howard Shore)

Installation

After purchase, Spitfire adds the library to your Spitfire Audio account. You can download and install the library with the Spitfire Library Manager app.

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Sound

If you wonder where the library got its name? The articulation ARTICULATIONS LONG (ALTERNATIVE) provided the library its name. In this articulation, each note is a performance of its own while the techniques used will vary from note to note. The longs are useful for injecting character and are unpredictability which is truly inspiring. The alternative lines are really cool and unique.

Alternative Solo Strings have been recorded in a dry location. This time the instruments have been recorded over a period of years at Spitfire HQ’s studio. What makes this library special is the raw and edgy style of the performances. To blend it with other more wet libraries just add a bit of reverb to glue it together.

Alternative Solo Strings fit well together with Ólafur Arnalds Evos, and his other libraries or can be used in a minimalistic approach which seems to have a revival these days. It can be a complementary library the London Contemporary Strings (LCS). Both have been recorded in the same dry space. With new reverb plugins, you can change the location and surrounding tone easily.

Performance patches are available for Cello and Violin only, the legacy products. The new recorded and additional included instruments do not support performance legato. This is a step backward.

The performance patch is great for sketching your main idea and get started – here only with the Cello or Violin. I did have the impression that the composer community has appreciated the performance patches, not sure why they are not included for Bass and Viola.

Cello and Violin – Performance patches

There is currently (mid-Feb) an issue with some of the included mic recordings which Spitfire Audio is addressing, if you bought the library in February you will receive the updated through the Spitfire Library Manager app. (Product Update from Spitfire Audio – Feb 2018 addressed the found issues.) Rating was raised after the fix.

You can find the complete included articulation here. The included articulations beside the missing performance legato are enough. Remember this library is about the modern edgy tone and less than about different articulations that you are used too from other Spitfire Audio string libraries.

User interface & Usability

Spitfire is using a similar UI across all products and has cracked the nut with it. All features you need are accessible – right there to use.

Rating:  Five out of five stars

Alternative Solo Strings is going to the avant-garde and more modern sound and edgy world. If you are looking for the completeness of articulation you get a different string library from Spitfire Audio. These are rough solo strings with extra character. If you are into the vibe of Ólafur Arnalds from other Spitfire Audio, it is a good library for you.

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