Angel Strings Vol.1 – Experimental Orchestral Strings Sample by Auddict Review
In amongst the comprehensive string libraries sporting legato, spiccatos, pizzicatos and other traditional techniques, you can come across a string library that focuses on more specialty techniques for niche composing needs. Today we’ll be looking at one of these examples – Angel Strings from Auddict.
Auddict is a relatively newer sample developer who provides cinematic orchestral and percussion libraries for modern scoring needs. We also had a look at their United Strings Of Europe in an earlier article. To support the review Auddict did send a copy with no strings attached. Angel Strings comes with a selection of expressive longs, fx articulations and shorts in a wide variety of microphone positions.
After downloading the library, it can be unzipped to your folder of choice. No registration is needed as it requires the full version of Kontakt to run.
Angel Strings sounds nice – it has a clear and colorful texture with a wide sound. The close mics are intimate while the various room mics provide different kinds of bloom and wetness, as well as a reverb channel that has the sound of the samples run through a hardware reverb unit.
The sound is a little thicker due to all sections being recorded in their note range together – so getting a split section sound can only really be achieved by using the close mics, but regardless, the library provides a great sound for pad work and underscore. There are sustains that bend from a cluster into a unison note, which aren’t too useful but they do sound great nonetheless.
Then we get molto vibrato sustains which are full of character, as well as some very nice sounding sul tasto sustains which are perfect for laying down a blanket of soft strings. The star of the show here though is the wavering sustains, which are notes played with quickly varying intensity, resulting in a pulsing dynamic tremolo effect which truly is wonderful to hear and is a great pad sound for cinematic music. To round out the sustains we also get sul ponte sustains and tremolos, which are good for harsher scoring passages, and sustains that begin by bending the note down or up – these can be played in a separated fashion to get a kind of chordal wave up and down the keyboard. Two short note articulations are provided – sul tasto staccato and fast spiccato, which are rather tame but still sound neat overall.
In a second patch, we get a variety of divebomb clusters, clusters that slide down to unison notes, rising clusters, cluster tremolos and harsh behind-the-bridge tremolos, as well as a small selection of percussive knocks and bow hits. It sounds great for what it is, although it does feel like there’s a bunch more content that could have and should have been added here.
Finally, in a third patch, we’re given tremolo samples that have been spliced into short notes in order to create custom timed tremolo phrases and fast short note passages – but this is where the library stops dead.
User interface & Usability
The GUI is simple and provides just the controls needed for mixing the microphone positions and setting custom key switches along with the usual ADSR controls, which is fine. But there’s a shortfall in the execution of Angel Strings that makes it feel rather unfinished – or to put it bluntly, was cut in half to facilitate selling multiple volumes rather than one comprehensive volume.
The reason I say this is that while Angel Strings does sport some really neat sustains and a handful of cool fx articulations, it feels like something is sorely missing here. There are no pizzicato effects, col legno effects, short note effects and rips, wild sustains and other unique things one would expect from a library that focuses on unique string articulations. It appears as though Auddict have picked out the absolute bare-essentials from a larger collection and released them as a full priced library – after all, this library is in fact titled “Angel Strings Volume 1”. It’s hard not to play through what Angel Strings has to offer and not feel a little taken advantage of, to be honest.
This is made worse by the poorly presented timed tremolo patch – the aliasing and audio artifacts are very noticeable even when attempting to play these spliced notes with small changes to length and tempo, and the provided note-on sequencer is, to be frank, embarrassing. Whether you’re playing live or rendering quantized MIDI, the sequencer will scramble the played notes every time without fail.
The CPU usage for the sustains is also very volatile – for example, the sul ponte sustains seem to work fine with all the mics loaded, but if you switch to the sul tasto sustains, the CPU and disk usage will explode exponentially. These very glaring negatives really drag down the overall experience of using the library, which is unfortunate.
Rating: Three out of five stars
Angel Strings gets stars for sounding great and having some truly wonderful articulations to play with. They can provide some solid and unique underscore and can be inspiring at times – but the stark selection of articulations that have been cynically watered down to spread over multiple high priced volumes, the chaotic CPU, and disk peaks, and the wince-inducing timed tremolo patch just bulldoze over what could have been a great collection.
If only the entire collection of the Angel Strings sessions were provided in a single package with optimized performance and a better approach to timed tremolo, this collection would be deserving of much more praise.