Is BBCSO Pro Suitable for String Quartet?

Is BBCSO Pro suitable for writing for a string quartet or am I better served with a dedicated quartet library? What's would the differences be, if any? Would BBCSO be missing anything in terms of articulations and expressions?


  • I've just upgraded from Core to Pro and the Leader patches for all strings do sound like soloists to me - especially the Legato that has multiple styles built in with short notes being well defined as part of the articulation. There is also a real definition to the vibrato on long notes that feels like it increases towards the end of the notes. There are lots of other articulations for the Leaders as well. I think I would struggle to hear the difference between a Solo patch (in another Spitfire library) and a Leader patch in Pro. The different Mic settings and panning will probably help you pull these together as a quartet rather than their normal seating arrangement.

    Pro is very bulky in size (over 600GB compared to 25GB for Core) though you have the option of only downloading for a section (strings, woodwind, perc or Brass). Strings takes up about 250GB. I downloaded all of them so not sure how practical it would be to use Core for everything other than strings - I suspect it would work fine as you can collab with people who have Discover or Core easily enough.

    The other additional benefit of Pro (not obvious until you use it) is that when you switch tracks in your DAW (I use Logic) the Spitfire Editor in Pro also changes the instrument. This doesn't happen in Core and I often amended the wrong track by mistake.

    Might be emperors new clothes for me but the sound of Pro is better than Core without adjusting Mic positions.

    Its a good upgrade and I'm glad I did it - only a week or so in so lots more to discover yet.

  • Thanks for the help Stuart. I think for me the biggest challenge would be to arrange the string leaders to sound like they are seated closer together. Inside pro, there are so many mic positions, it's overwhelming. There is Mono, Leader, Close, CloseW, Stereo, etc... do you know which one is the best one to use for this application?

  • Hi Donovan,

    Just to chime in here - while you may be able to recreate the instrumentation of a string quartet using BBC SO string leaders, it may not have the exact intimacy that a lot of users are after with a string quartet and this essentially has to do with the room it was recorded in. BBC SO may sound a bit 'bigger' than your average quartet. Using closer mics may help bring that intimacy out a little bit.

    As an alternative, we do have an actual quartet library (have a look here) that may interest you.

  • You make a good point about the sound of the room. I am indeed looking for something more intimate sounding. Now, I know you're biased, but what do you think of the new Cremona Quartet by Native Instruments and how that compares to Spitfire's Sacconi Strings Quartet?