Video Demo/Walkthru at the bottom of the page!
Today we’re going to look at another niche product, Auddict’s Angel Strings Vol. 1! Angel Strings is a fantastic collection of unique and experimental playing styles for an orchestral string ensemble. This library offers a different approach than your standard string ensemble library, and is focused on unique effects, tones, and playing styles that may not be offered in the more traditional collections. Not only do we have some great effects and sounds you may not find elsewhere, you also get standard sustains, spiccatos, tremolos and a basic bowed-runs builder. The library retails for 100 Pounds which is approximately $130.00 USD.
I was excited upon hearing the demos for this product, as it was something that was sorely missing in my orchestral template: performance based string effects that simply cannot be properly reproduced with standard samples alone. The price seemed fantastic. and I took the plunge (this is my first orchestral library from Auddict, and after being highly disappointed in their first synth, Hexeract, I was a bit hesitant. However, I can safely say, Angel Strings delivers!)
Angel Strings is not compatible with Kontakt Player, so it loads up in the file browser or your Quickload panel. It has three instrument categories:
Notice the first abbreviation, “USE2”, which stands for United Strings of Europe (vol 2), as Angel Strings features the same performers/players that recorded their main string ensemble library, United Strings of Europe. This will help it naturally blend in for owners of USE.
The bulk of the content is contained in the SFX and Tonal Longs and Shorts .nki files. Overall, the quality and detail in this library are excellent. In SFX, we have two different kinds of risers: one slow and steady, the other very grating and in your face. Next we have dives: I noticed the “Dives Attack” and “Dives Smooth” are very similar, different only slightly near the end of the sample. Tremolo dives, obviously, add a quivering tremolo technique to the dive. All of these long samples have a slider to adjust the sample start time. However: these samples do not sync to your DAW’s tempo and have no way to adjust the actual speed of the sample. This can be frustrating, having to adjust the samples in the MIDI sequencer multiple times before it fits just right in your compositions. The Trem and Sus Bridge articulations are very harsh and grating, as they are played very close to the bridge of the instrument, and sound very eerie and bizarre. Even more unnerving is the Scratch Tone, which is a slightly undulating and de-tuned sound and quite disturbing to listen to continuously,, and lastly we have Perc Sounds, which is using the bow to strike the instrument to create various percussive noises. All in all, these samples all would be excellent for a horror score, creating atmospheric tension, and building a sense of dread and unease in a track. I found it a bit odd they named it Angel Strings, as the samples sound to me more like Demon Strings: dark and perfect for building tension.
Next we have Tonal Longs and Shorts. Here we have standard sustains, clusters, bends, sul ponticello, molto sul tasto, sautille spicattos and staccatos. I really loved the “Cluster to Unis” (this sounds almost like the deep tone in the famous “THX” logos in the beginning of movies) , as well as the bends. These really add realism and dynamic performance to any track, and really help to spice things up a bit. It’s really nice we have sustains as well, though I did find when playing softly (these notes respond to velocity, or how hard you play the keys), the release was louder than rest of the samples. Overall, this is really quality stuff, minus a few issues, but they’re quite negligible given the price and amount of unique content, and the fact most will not purchase this library for the sustains which you can find in every other string library imaginable. The Sautille Spiccatos are also excellent, very crisp and detailed.
The last instrument is Bowed Runs and Tremolos, and it has a step sequencer to allow the trems to be played in a wide variety of ways. This acts very similar to a “trance gate” on a synth pad, and it really pretty cool to use. The Bowed Runs have a tightness slider, which in theory allows them to be played super tight, or a bit lazy, and everything in between. However, when the slider is set all the way to the left, at the slowest setting, sometimes you get really bad stretching/phasing issues, and that makes it unusable at this setting.
The Mixer Panel offers a wide variety of mic positions, though I honestly thought it was a bit confusing to use, and I preferred to use a third party reverb and pan within my DAW.
Overall, this is a quality collection, especially if you are looking for unique performance based samples for horror scores. Angel Strings seems to be very badly named, as I mentioned above, as these samples are the opposite of Angelic, more dark and tense in nature and better suited for creating unease and sense of dread. There are certain articulations I use very frequently (bends, clusters, risers) and others I don’t use at all. The video at the bottom of the page details everything you can expect with this library, so please check it out, and like and subscribe for more great content like this!
+Unique and quality sounds that you may not find in other collections.
+Nice effects that are very usable, especially on horror tracks.
+Really good price for the content.
+Includes standard sustains and shorts, which perform very well.
-No TM patches, does not sync to DAWS tempo
-Sample start seemed useless to abruptly come in right in the middle of a riser.
-No stretching for long samples, and have to be manually adjusted to match your tracks tempo, which can be painstaking.
-Bad phasing/stretching when “bowed runs” tightness slider is set all the way to the left.
Alternatively, there is 8dio CAGE Strings, which offers more content, but is much more expensive.