The community has good things to say about String Studio. Here are some excerpts…
String Studio delivers a variety of convincing stringed-instruments emulations, but that's not its real charm. It offers a huge sound palette, as its generous preset library attests. The library is spread across 17 categories, most named after stringed instruments, but the presets in those categories range from emulations to strange instrument hybrids to unstable sounds that you won't find in nature.
[String Studio] VS-1 is an exciting and powerful tool that goes beyond the realistic simulation of string instruments and puts forth a new approach to sound design by giving new meaning to the word virtual.
Being able to create the kind of unique sounds String Studio produces will more then justify the bucks to people who like the sonic equivalent of white-water rafting. I give a lot of points to software capable of creating sounds that cause heads to turn.
With practice, String Studio can provide some incredibly realistic virtual versions when we have to play in the parts via MIDI, but for me its most exciting aspect is the ability to create new monophonic and polyphonic stringed instruments that sound believable, react to your playing technique like acoustic equivalents, and can be pushed in directions that no other synth can emulate.
You could download the demo version, skim through its presets and not be particularly impressed, but once you start playing this instrument seriously and experience the realistic way it responds to your performance (and particularly once you involve MIDI controllers), you'll be hooked. This is a unique synth that sounds like nothing else on the market.
I think String Studio is a great way to bring Physical Modeling to the masses. It gives you enough options to get creative fast, but not so many you wind up losing your girlfriend and your social life! Eric sent me the beta, I tweaked a clavichord patch—which captures the "key release" sound of a real clavichord with surprising accuracy—and immediately played it onto a new Britney Spears tune I'm currently producing.
There's just something about the way physical models like these behave under your fingers—how they respond to variations in dynamics and so forth—that's really special. You feel as if your playing is really shaping what you hear in the unique moment of performance. Cleverly crossfaded sample programs, even with gigabytes of ram, never feel quite like this—although, of course, they have their uses.
I think that the String Studio is a big step forward in the field of physically modeled musical instruments.
As a simple example: when you hit a guitar string softly, the string doesn't bounce on the fret. But when you hit it harder, it does, which causes that typical side-effect sound that you hear when a guitarist is playing. There are real interactions between the different parts of a stringed instrument, and with String Studio you can simulate those string scattering-phenomena!
I also want to mention the string behavior in relation to the excitation (picks, bows, and hammers). With String Studio, you can't set the number of vibration modes, like in Tassman. But this is simply not necessary because the settings of the excitation (stiffness, damping, velocity, etc.) make the modes of vibrations—as in the real world!
To keep it short, String Studio allows you to play and feel an instrument instead of triggering the right sample at the right moment. It's difficult to look into the future. But it won't surprise me that there will be a moment where our instrument collection includes a Brass Studio, a Woodwind Studio, a Percussion Studio…
Virtual-instrument developer Applied Acoustics Systems has made tremendous contributions to the field of physical-modeling software, beginning with Tassman, its flagship modular synth. In 2005, the Canadian company introduced String Studio VS-1, a multiformat plug-in and standalone synth that simulates practically any instrument with strings: violins, guitars, basses, pianos, clavs, harps, sitars, shamiens, and even a few that don't exist in the real world. Among hundreds of included presets are unique pads, unusual sound effects, and amazing digital-synth arpeggios that other software can't touch. The sound is so organic that you might never know you were listening to a software instrument.
Want to pluck piano strings mounted on a violin body with pickups and then process the sound through chorus and distortion? Now you can do that. String Studio VS-1 reproduces all the acoustical nuances of vibrating strings, soundboards, pickups, frets, and all the other details that make up stringed instruments, giving you control over parameters such as intonation, vibrato, body type, damper type, and whether motion is initiated by a bow, pick, or hammer. You also get effects such as chorus and delay, an arpeggiator with programmable patterns, and an audio recorder to capture your performances. Put all the elements together, and String Studio VS-1 delivers a timbral palette and advanced capabilities you won't find anywhere else.
An expressive synth with a well designed and easy-to-learn interface. String Studio VS-1 is at its best generating organic synth sounds that bring lead and bass lines to life.
Well, just when I thought these guys couldn't out do themselves, they go and do it! From analogue Solina style strings to completely new and original sounds, they are all to be found under the bonnet of String Studio! Another great product from a great software company.
String Studio inspires to write new music for new times. I am particularly happy about the marriage between intricate modeling detail and regular synth-control features, like filters and arpeggiators. And while it is a wonderful replicator of sounds of traditional string instruments, the real potential in my view are the unlimited possibilities of creating "impossible string sounds"—render the sound of your imagination into sonic reality.
I'm very impressed with String Studio. For me, the most interesting part of it is the ability to create unique sounds, instruments, and fx in a non-traditional way. It's much more than something to make clavichord, harp, or guitar sounds. The models allow you to push any of the parameters further than you probably could in the real world. This allows you to make unreal, unworldly sounds, ones you won't get from a regular subtractive synth or sampler. Also, the ability to assign any of the parameters to be controlled by MIDI modulation sources adds to the playability of the instruments you create. I've only scratched the surface of this instrument so far but I see the potential this has for making some wild sounds.
Although AAS’ String Studio VS-1 can produce lots of realistic traditional stringed instruments, you can also persuade it to play ethereal pads, unusual textures, and lots of other-worldly sounds, all with subtle expressive abilities that you couldn't get from any sample+synth based instrument.