Solo Strings or upgrade to Pro from Core?

Looking for some advice. I really want solo string samples to augment BBC Core. I have enough storage and money for either Solo Strings or upgrade to Pro from Core.

Is there much advantage to Solo Strings over BBC Pro version of solo string instruments? Does anyone have both and can you help me decide? I know there are additional benefits to BBC Pro - but I'll make my decision based on the Solo instruments I think (or is that naive)?


  • To my ear, the first parts in BBCSO aren't soloists as much as a close mic'ed parts, so there's still an "in context" quality to the them. That said, I use them like they're 1-to-a-part for chamber writing and for my needs it works just fine. To me, it works.

  • I upgraded from Core to Pro because I wanted more mic positions and a few other instruments such as the Cor Anglais. I’m so glad I did. I feel like I have complete control of the orchestra now and don’t have the feeling of, “I wonder if Pro would allow me to do [insert desired action].”

    I don’t have all the Solo Strings yet, but did pick up the solo violin and solo cello for a project a couple months ago. They sound amazing and are so much fun to play. I’m sure I’ll upgrade to the full Solo Strings sometime fairly soon.

    @Adam Roberts is correct in stating that the BBCSO soloists are more in situ rather than actual solo instruments.

    Associate Professor of Music / The University of Virginia’s College at Wise

    Conductor + Music Director / Winds of the Mountain Empire

  • Sarah
    Sarah admin
    100 Comments 5 Answers 25 Likes First Anniversary
    edited April 2021

    Hi @Stuart, along with the aforementioned experiences of those above, the other benefit of upgrading to Pro over purchasing Spitfire Solo Strings is that these two libraries were recorded in different spaces. We have tips and tricks to blend orchestral samples that were recorded in different spaces, but if this is something that is important to you I thought it was worth a mention!

    BBC Symphony Orchestra was recorded at London’s famous Maida Vale Studios, while Spitfire Solo Strings was recorded in the Hall at AIR Studios (where many of our other libraries were recorded such as Albion ONE), meaning the overall room sound of both libraries will be unique to each other.

  • Thanks all, I've gone with Pro as it gave me a few more options (not sure I need them yet but then I didn't know I needed Core 3 months ago either).

  • My decision is still open. I also need a solo string section to write some pieces for quatuor (piano, violin, viola, cello) and for solo voices in a full orchestral environment. I added alternative solo strings to the opinions which is presently offered at a rebate,

    For the quatuors it does not matter that the recording of the two Kontakt based solo string libraries is probably dryer than the BBCSO leaders. From your comments I understand the BBCSO with close mics still sound as a first in the class rather than a real soloist.

    Any opinion on solo versus alternative solo strings for what I would call classical sounding quatuors.? Solo strings has a lot of classical articulations which the alternative version does not have. Some people have criticized the legato in the alternative version but the special techniques are nice for contemporary pieces.

    One more point. Does anyone know if Spitfire plans to upgrade a solo string library or record a new one as part of e.g an ARO extension using their own plugin? I lack experience with Kontakt and am not a fan of the chaotic NI instrument suites where you have to buy 500 instruments and effects to use maybe 4 or 5.

  • Mario, not sure whether this will help but here was my first stab at using the solo/leader patches in BBCSO Pro with a track. Used Celli Leader Legato at start - no change to Mic setup. at roughly 1.55 there is Violin leader Legato. No articulation changes used for the shorter notes.

  • Thanks Stuart a nice composition catching the spirit of the woods. I particularly like the interval starting at 1.08 with the harp and then the horn picking up the theme. The Cello leader indeed stands out nicely around 1.51 and also in the final bars I think. It is no doubt that the soloists are perfect in the leader role in BBCSO. It depends on the microphone positions I guess if you can also use them in 4 instrument chamber music. In the end I will probably end up with both the solo strings and the BBCSO Pro version if funding permits. I guess there is a slight addictive aspect in sample libraries purchasing😎.

    What is an issue on a MBP is the size of the Pro library. I have only a 500 Gb internal SSD and it is not upgradable. My server has space but it is a HDD. The server small flash drive is already full. Solo strings would still have room on the MBP. I will experiment putting the CORE directory on an external SSD (Samsung X5). This has a Thunderbolt connection so it is probably fast enough.

  • Thanks, I'm a complete newcomer to orchestral composing - but with these sounds its pretty addictive buying the new things coming up and getting inspired to play and compose more. So much to learn - its great fun.

    RE: Space issues - You could choose to only download the strings part of Pro until you have enough space for the rest (its about 250GB on top of Core at 26GB) - you can mix and match Discover, Core and Pro libraries across tracks or pieces so its a compromise you could make until you get another SSD. If you run out of RAM using Pro you can turn off articulations. I also think Pro standard Mic settings are an improvement on Core so your overall sound will improve in other areas outside of solo use. No doubt the Solo libraries will be tighter for small sections.

  • One advantage to BBCSO Pro is that the double bass soloist has legato whereas the Solo Strings double bass does not. BBCSO Pro has on/off vibrato for solo string players whereas Solo Strings has the ability to control vibrato speed at different levels. I don't have Solo Strings, only BBCSO Pro, but I think they both have their relative strengths.

  • I'm in the same situation, and am eyeing Abbey Road Two: Iconic Strings, as I'm not too keen on how the first chairs of BBCSO Pro sound, and I'm also not that interested in the other mics and instruments it adds to the Core.