NFO Alternative Chamber Strings

Chamber strings longs and drones recorded by the Northern Film Orchestra...

The story

In the middle of April 2021, I had booked a 3 hour slot part of a shared recording session offered by Manchester based Northern Film Orchestra, in order to record a few ambient, textural chamber strings cues for a short film I had been scoring.
As the players were so incredibly brilliant, the recordings were wrapped up halfway through the session, and I had previously asked Jack Hughes, director of the NFO, whether I could capture a few samples of the chamber strings ensemble, with the objective of making a sample library. Jack had happily agreed to that , so we went ahead and started sampling both long and short notes, starting from the lowest C0 and going up in 5ths to F6.The long samples were recorded twice, whereas the short ones were recorded four times. I had time to record only a single dynamic layer, which I decided to be mezzoforte.
In the end, I was sent about 3 gigabytes of samples, and I decided to use the Close, Stereo Pair, Outriggers, and Room ones, therefore, for this reason, the library features four mic positions.
Also, I obtained a few IR samples from my fellow peer Dora Kmezic, who recorded them at “The Friary” in Liverpool, formerly a church known as St. Mary of the Angels and now home of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir, and decided to include them as a reverb for the library.
This bundle includes a Longs patch, as well as two Drone patches. There will be more bundles released in the future.
These samples are intended to be used more as a sound design tool, rather than a regular strings library, so feel free to mangle and destroy them to your heart’s content!


Leave a review to let others know what you thought of the instrument!

  • I like it

    It does what it does very well. inspiring to play. It has that magical quality that draws you in and encourages the need to compose. Lots of knobs and toys to play with if that's your thing. Well worth getting.

    Ray20 October 2021
  • Straight and warm sound of strings

    Just very nice and beautiful!! I appreciate for creating this library. Simple and warm sound of chamber strings would be useful for many music.

    Asuka Amane20 October 2021
  • String Wizardry

    Hat's off to Marco the Musical Wizard for putting this together. Some lovely sounds especially the high longs that really benefit from some extra reverb. I've paid for a lot worse sounding libraries in the past

    Jim Sanger17 October 2021
  • A Really Solid String Package!

    Thank you Marco for releasing this pack, it's such a solid bundle! The stand out feature of this instrument, is how much flexibility you have at your fingertips - Specifically, the inclusion of the micing and ADSR panel! This pack would be fantastic when used in string layering. Definitely a pack you should try out. Overall, solid job!

    Jake17 October 2021
  • A unique "synthy" string library with a couple of issues

    What a cool string ensemble with a synthy vibe. I think it would be a useful alternative to a more "classical" or "realistic" sounding string library. There are a lot of options in the GUI which increase the library's versatility. The main issue I have with the library is the clicking which occurs frequently at the start of notes, I'm sure this could be fixed with a bit of tweaking to the samples, however.

    Kalaish Stanley16 October 2021
  • Lots to like about this! But a few issues.

    This is exactly the kind of library a lot of the up-and-comers will love! This makes the exact kinds of sounds you'll likely hear on short films in the independent film world. There's a lot of content in this for a free library. You can create great textures with this library but also throw it through some FX to mangle the sound and go nuts with it. Especially with the drones! ---- EDIT: After sitting with the library a bit longer and having just read Stephen Scholz's review, I have to agree with him about programming to the mod wheel instead of velocity. But I'm nitpicking.

    R.Treves16 October 2021
  • Deep lush strings

    Truly a marvel that such quality can be had for free, thank you for this! The standard "strings long" is very good to use in the backgrounds of songs, were they shine being quite lush and quick to change the note when pressed down. The "low drone" and "lower drone", however, is where the real character of this library shines, as they provide very deep and mysterious sounds which can easily fit into any kind of dark ambient track. The only downside I have with this sample instrument is the fact that it seems heavily velocity sensitive, meaning I feel like I have to press down the keys a lot for there to even be any sound. Couple this with the mod wheel controlling the filter cutoff, which also is a little bit weird to me. I would like to have velocity volume mapped to the mod wheel, and no velocity sensitivity for my keys. This way I could easily record more expression into the string segments right away. But thanks anyway for this gift!

    FAAIFFP15 October 2021
  • I'd pay for this!

    First word that came into my head upon first playing this pack: "Steal!". Favourite chord to play with this pack: F# Minor. As the title says, I would have happily paid for these longs, they sounds fabulous and to have 4 mic options is so good. This pack seems to have captured a sound which you only seem to get with bands in 'The North'. As soon as I started playing I was instantly reminded of the Scottish Ensemble. I don't feel I have much use for the low drones but I certainly had fun with the main longs patch. I think the general attack time of the samples could be a touch faster but other than that, well done and thank you!

    Ryan Kearsey15 October 2021
  • Why is that free?

    I love this sound. 4 Mic Positions. Great Room tone. You have to tweak it a little than it shines. The only think I can't stand is velocity based playing. Thats personal taste, but please put that on the modwheel and ditch the filter. The drone is also very great but the low drone not so much.

    Stephan Scholz14 October 2021
  • Lovely Strings longs with a little tweak

    I really love the sound of this library, especially if you connect the mod-wheel with the "Resonance". Otherwise it would sound a little lifeless.

    Quetzal13 October 2021
  • Good, but could be better

    There are some very good and interesting things about this instrument but it comes with some problems. The good things first: The strings sound very good, especially if the mod wheel, which handles the cut-off filter, is all the way up. Unfortunately the filter makes it sound weird and very synthish, which I don't personally prefer when it comes to realistic recordings. There are tons of options to play around though, such as mic positions, reverb, delay, saturation and a very interesting gate-sequencer for the drone patches which I absolutely loved and inspired me to play more. With that said, sadly there is a major problem that occures very often. I noticed that sometimes the notes don't match the timing, resulting in a terrible mess.

    Alex Raptakis13 October 2021
  • New to me but I like the sound

    New to me but I like the sound

    PressPlay13 October 2021
  • I-magine!

    A longs slow drive through the streets of SF to the bay. Bernard is by your side humming a foreboding melody for strings. You turn the wheel and pitch down each chordal hill; inducing a feeling of vertigo. And finally, at waters edge, like the taste of a Madeleine you load a shorter patch for diving in.

    Nostalgiasmith14 October 2021
  • Perfect for manipulation

    These strings are beautifully recorded and if you need your run of the mill long strings, the longs patch will do. Things get a lot more interesting to me at the low and lower drones - they are perfect for twisting and manipulating! The gate sequencer offered on those patches are also a very good addition, you can get some pulses going pretty quickly and they sound great! I recommend experimenting with some distortion as well as these drones seem to respond perfectly to it. Awesome stuff!

    Gustavo Coutinho13 October 2021
  • Stringing me on for sure

    As someone who plays around with string samples a lot in my music production while also being someone on a shoestring budget sorry this is a fantastic addition to my collection - thank you so much for providing this wonderful resource! The space this was recorded in has character without being overwhelming or limiting in application and lends the sample good room for playing with or mashing around.

    Dillon13 October 2021
  • One of the best amateur string libraries I've used.

    I will definitely use this again and again...Very Rich low end and a beautiful and lush high end...Holy Smokes I love it. Thanks for this gem of a library.

    Mฮ›RK12 October 2021
  • An Amazing Gift For The Community

    This is a fantastically generous offering from Marco. As always my star markings are based on my personal tastes. Its not totally my kind of vibe but I have no doubt some of you will really enjoy this very unique sounding chamber band if you're looking for an original sound. NB with attack fully down at zero you get a few little sparky clicks worth upping to 2.1ms.

    Christian Henson11 October 2021