LONDON, UK: sf Audio, purveyors of the finest virtual instruments from the finest musical samples in the world, is proud to announce availability of sf CHAMBER STRINGS — an encyclopaedic super-deep sampled set of rationalised and refreshed strings articulations and techniques taken from recordings of 16 of the finest strings players playing the finest instruments via the finest signal path at Lyndhurst Hall within London’s legendary Air Studios, served up as the company’s first sample-based virtual instrument for NI’ industry-standard KONTAKT PLAYER platform to ship with NKS® (NATIVE KONTROL STANDARD), an extended plug-in format allowing advanced integration with NI’s KONTROL keyboard controllers — as of July 21…
For many musicians, the word chamber can conjure up mental images of white wigs and harpsichords; however, in modern vernacular it simply describes a group of instruments that is smaller than a symphony orchestra — anything from a quartet to 40-odd players. Where strings are concerned it is generally taken to mean a medium-sized ensemble encompassing five sections — 1st violins, 2nd violins, violas, cellos, and basses. As such, sf CHAMBER STRINGS features 16 of London’s top string players — four 1st VIOLINS, three 2nd VIOLINS, three VIOLAS, three CELLOS, and three BASSES, all super-deep sampled with multiple dynamic layers and round robins, plus over 244 articulations, including 38 SHORTS, 53 LONGS, 19 FX, 39 TRILLS AND TREMS, and 45 extraordinary LEGATO patches programmed by UK composer Andrew Blaney — beautifully recorded in situ at Lyndhurst Hall within London’s legendary Air Studios at 96k via a meticulously-maintained Studer two-inch tape machine using a stunning selection of valve and ribbon mics, Neve ‘AIR Montserrat’ preamps, and a Neve 88R large-scale console. Simply speaking, it sounds superb! Satisfaction ‘out of the box’ is further guaranteed thanks to a comprehensive selection of articulations and techniques presented in an ENSEMBLES format for sketching and composing while three essential and diverse-sounding mic positions — C(lose), T(ree), and A(mbient) — allow sf CHAMBER STRINGS to be used with flexibility… from expansive Hollywood to tight pop, it’s all there for the taking!
That, in a nutshell, is what sf CHAMBER STRINGS is all about. Appreciating the rationalised and refreshed rationale behind bringing about sf CHAMBER STRINGS warrants a brief trip back in time to when sf Audio’s adventurous sampling served the needs of a chosen few. For sf Audio was built on a chamber strings project that was four years in the making. Many friends, including ‘A-list’ composers, complained that sampled strings were unwieldy, ill-defined, and too epic in sound and scope. Several threads soon surfaced: sensitive and achingly-beautiful quiet passages through to the searing lyricism that made up much of their musical output did not need huge numbers of strings but rather attention to detail; symphonic ranges often tripled and quadrupled in size when playing lots of notes. Needless to say, the good ship sf Audio set sail on a corrective course of sampling, starting with the difficult task of recording a chamber strings range which was shared as part of a private project with those nearest and dearest to the company’s co- founders. Fortunately for them, encouragement ensued in large amounts, although many noted — with best intentions — it still sounded… well, “Kind of big.”
Back, then, to the drawing board. sf Audio returned to the ‘chamber challenge’ by posing themselves a pertinent question: “How small can we go before it no longer sounds like a string section?” 4, 3, 3, 3, 3 was the answer and they knew that for sure. Sound at all familiar? A uniquely intimate group of 16 extraordinary players was duly assembled in one of the best recording locations anywhere in the world — Lyndhurst Hall within London’s legendary Air Studios, scene of much famous film scoring, attracted by its exceptional acoustics, stunning architectural features, and natural light, with scores of resultant webpages (http://www.airstudios.com/previous-clients/film-project/) proving that sf Audio was in good company.
Cutting a longer story shorter, over time the resulting recordings became the backbone of a seismic shift in superlative sampling, a lengthy labour of love that blossomed into several SABLE – CHAMBER STRINGS virtual instrument modules for sf Audio’s acclaimed multi-volume BML (British Modular Library) — an ambitious project to create the greatest-sounding, deepest-sampled, and, ultimately, future-proofed living orchestral virtual instruments collection based on ultra-detailed, next-generation recordings of the world’s finest musicians — gave the company a firm foothold on the commercial music technology map. More to the point, perhaps, that those SABLE – CHAMBER STRINGS releases remain the pet favourite of everyone — without exception — who works at sf Audio speaks volumes. As does the faithful following of dedicated users around the world.
Why, then, the need to now effectively replace several SABLE volumes with the rationalised and refreshed new product that is sf CHAMBER STRINGS (albeit one with 107.3 GB of uncompressed .WAV files, featuring no fewer than 72,697 of the finest musical samples money can buy)? In the wise words of sf Audio co-founder (and composer) Christian Henson, “As users ourselves, and as a developer that takes pride in listening to our customers, we understand that it has been an incredibly difficult library to maintain, and, for new users, it has all the appeal of a kit car!”
Clearly the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few after all. As such, sf CHAMBER STRINGS’ simplified folder architecture advances accessibility to newbies and intuitive ease of use and convenience for SABLE veterans. It is instantly accessible from the library pane as a NI KONTAKT PLAYER library and comes complete with a new and intuitive GUI (Graphical User Interface) including an inline help system. sf CHAMBER STRINGS is also sf Audio’s first product to ship with NKS®, an extended plug-in format allowing advanced integration with NI’ KONTROL keyboard controllers. Deep and friendly, detailed and easy to use… in short, it’s the chamber strings library its creators have always wanted. “It’s an incredibly detailed library,” concurs fellow sf Audio co-founder (and composer) Paul Thomson. “We’ve consolidated everything into one package. This is the first release of that, which is the close, tree, and ambient mics — the most commonly used of all the mics, with the full articulation range of the previous SABLE – CHAMBER STRINGS series.”
sf CHAMBER STRINGS can be purchased and digitally downloaded from sf Audio for a time-limited introductory promo price of £412.00 GBP/$629.00 USD/€579.00 EUR until July 31, 2016 — rising thereafter to £549.00 GBP/$839.00 USD/€769.00 EUR — from here: http://www.spitfireaudio.com/shop/a-z/sf-chamber-strings/ (Past purchasers of any SABLE product are all entitled to a discounted upgrade path to sf CHAMBER STRINGS.)
Note that NI’ free KONTAKT PLAYER is included with sf CHAMBER STRINGS, while sf Audio’s free Download Manager application for Mac or PC allows anyone to buy now and download anytime.