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Cinematic Samples Cinematic Strings 2 review

  • £375
Cinematic Samples Cinematic Strings 2 sounds simply gorgeous.

Our Verdict

Overall a phenomenal package for the money.


  • Beautiful, distinctive sounds and simple functionality.


  • No solo instruments; some samples exhibit a bit of (easily concealed) background noise; a few more ensemble patches wouldn't go amiss.

Professional string libraries can be intimidating beasts, but Cinematic Strings 2 aims to make programming realistic orchestral strings as easy as it ought to be in this day and age.

A fully scripted library for Kontakt/Kontakt Player 5, CS2 divides an orchestra's worth of strings into five sections: Violins 1 (x12) and 2 (x8), Violas (x7), Cellos (x7) and Basses (x6). The articulations (each containing four dynamic layers) are easily loaded using the switches in the middle of the GUI, and they can be key-assigned via MIDI Learn.

A built-in mixer is used to load and set the levels of the four captured mic channels: Close, Stage, Room and Mixed. Throw in two different staccato lengths (Staccato and Staccatissimo) and you have the essence of CS2.

Sampled transitions with scripted envelope control keep legato performances smooth and convincing, while short notes can have their envelopes shaped in the Advanced page.

All five sections also feature both High and Low position samples for two distinct 'global' tones, and the Live mode throws slightly 'wobbly' samples into fast passages in order to introduce human timing and tuning variations. The Arco articulation features a punchy staccato layer at velocities of 60+, and vibrato intensity throughout can be modulated via MIDI CC.

CS2's 22GB library sounds stunning. The three discrete mic channels blend beautifully, and the sound is big, rich and a little edgier than some such libraries.

Achieving the articulations and nuances you want is a snap, with no significant compromise in terms of functionality and depth.