Recommendations for VST instruments for string quartet

Now that NP4 has been released, the volume of discourse regarding it is so high I simply can’t take it all in. But that’s good.

Since this game changing release I would like to ask what people would now recommend as a set of really good solo strings for use with NP and NPPE. Any experience? My use case is principally string quartet.

I’m not sure, but I think there’s no great choice, if you stick to NPPE. I only have the BBCSO Pro with solo strings (and I have Core, Pro, HOOPUS and Synchron Prime). Maybe anyone with another library?
I know Arne might expand the NPPE offer to some popular libraries (we discussed about Spitfire Solo Strings which he acknowledged could be a good choice, but there are many others… and actually they do work pretty nicely only with Expression maps. I can make you a demo with Spitfire Solo strings and with Cremona quartet if you send me a file)

I’m with Marc here. No obvious choice, although I’ve yet to try the Cinematic Solos… As I mentioned in your other thread, I was rather disappointed by CineStrings Solo, but they’re definitely not all bad, I just can’t live with the cello. (but then I’m fortunate enough to work with world class string players on a regular basis :slight_smile: )

Outside the NPPE domain, I would not hesitate to recommend the VSL Solo Strings for quartett work. I have both the VI and the Synchronized versions, and the latter is probably the best out of the box. No one beats VSL for sample editing accuracy, consistency and predictability, so if one can live with the VSL timbre, it’s a good choice… Their Dorico software (Playback template/Expression maps) caters for the basic articulation set (which includes support for VelXF by CC2, but it must be enabled manually in each Synchron instance)

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but can any of these solo libraries handle double and triple stops, chords (with their arpeggiated or grace-note starts), and some serious double stop work?
do they have the necessary basic techniques: arco, pizz, harmonics (artificial and natural), sul pont, etc…?

With lots of invisible articulations and expressions, I could get the old Garritan Solo Stradivari (not the one that comes with GPO, but an actual single instrument library, only one violin) and the Solo Gofriller Cello to play surprisingly well in Finale.

Sadly, neither of those libraries are available anymore, and I can’t register my copies on my new computer as the website where you register doesn’t list them as available.

the VSL solo strings has everything you can dream of…


i would love to take you up on that. i have many quartets in Dorico🙏🏽

the VSL solo strings aren’t yet programmed into NPPE, however, right?

True. And may not ever be either… apparently the synchronIZED bit is prohibitive…

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when you say “the VSL solo strings”, which library exactly do you mean?

I find VSL’s way of naming their libraries incredibly frustrating.

Be my guest :person_shrugging:

ça y’est… maintenant les commandes pour les réalisations avec tes libraries vont commencer!!

this one: SYNCHRON-ized SOLO STRINGS - Vienna Symphonic Library
here is a few measures of Haydn using the VSL provided Dorico template:

There are also solo strings in the SE (Special Edition) VOL.1
They sound like this (using the VSL provided template)

some BERG…

(sorry, poly legato was off when I exported the above, so cello bar 6 is partial)
same with NPPE CineStrings Solo:

NP4 native sounds:



Here is the same Berg with the Cremona String Quartet (my own expression maps).


that Cremona quartet sounds very good! is that being played back through Dorico?


Thank you, I like the sound of it too, and I listen to it quite a lot as I’m writing a string quartet right now. Yes, it’s just straight Dorico; I pretty much just entered the first page of the score did next to no editing. I shortened the notes at the end of bar 4 to reflect the pause, and that’s about it.

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Cremona Quartet was the best money I spent in a long time (aside from Dorico itelf).


have you tried blending it with anything else? for example in the context of a violin or viola concerto?

it’s 50% off right now, and I’m seriously debating getting it.
but the expression maps are of your own creation, as you said, so it doesn’t come out-of-the-box with the capability of playing well through Dorico, I presume.

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Not personally, as I’ve been focusing on chamber music. I think that the instruments would sound good in that sort of context (i.e., a violin or viola concerto) but might need a fair bit of editing. In particular, I’m finding it difficult to make fast legato runs sound good. All the shorts, on the other hand, I think sound quite good, from staccato all the way to saltando.

A couple of other points, it doesn’t do much in the way of extended techniques; sul pont. really only works for longs. Vibrato is simulated, but you have very good control over it. I haven’t figured out how to automate con sord., which is a bit of a nuisance. Instrument ranges are reasonable, harmonics sound good. On the whole, I find the instruments to have a fairly aggressive character, which works well for the music I’m writing.


I’ve bought it last month and adapted Thurisaz’ expression maps in order to have a fully working playback template (with Stage and Space settings), let me know if you want me to post it — again, most credit for it goes to Thurisaz.
I’m satisfied with this library, it’s money well spent (especially at 200€. I wouldn’t have spent 400€)


I normally use the library standalone for quartets. But, they sound really nice with EW Steinway D and Bosendorfer as well – you just have to manage the reverb yourself.

If it’s 50% off, you can’t go wrong.