Creating a string arrangement using VST instruments

I need to add a string part to a completed song and I’ve more or less worked out the voicings. I’m considering trying to bulk it out by adding extra lines to, say, a first violin to have the effect of multi-trackiing (the notes would be the same, but I’d play each one in real time to try to mimic different instruments. Can anyone help with hints and tips? The strings won’t be particularly prominent in the final mix but I’d like to make them as authentic as possible? I’m thinking of a 4/3/3/3 ensemble (that’s 1st and 2nd violins, violas and cellos).

There’s no real short answer to this except use your ears and use fade in/outs and volume expression to create an authentic feel. There are several video’s on YouTube about this. A nice one that comes to mind is this one of Junkie XL:

Excellent Nickeldome - I’ll give that a look. Thanks


I wouldn’t go for mimic of multi-tracking, when you are using VSTi as a source. In the sample, there should be multiple players already, so this kind of “live randomness” should be included in the sample already.

Thanks Martin. I’m pretty new to Cubase (I’ve had it for a while but I’ve been concentrating on writing and playing in a band) so I’ll take a look at what you suggest.

Martin is quite right, provided you use VST instruments that give you ensemble samples. If you have solo instrument samples, in my experience it’s difficult to layer them to create an authentic ensemble sound. In my experience, different string libraries sound best for different purposes, so if you can’t get the sound you want with what you have, it might be worth experimenting with another library. You also don’t necessarily have to use viola samples for violas, provided the parts remain in the register of violins.