Orchestral Tools’s SINE Player is the only music creation plug-in for DAWs I know of that allows you to achieve results so close to conducting a real-world instrument or orchestra you can’t hear the difference. Their Berlin Series has been expanded with the Berlin Con Sordino Strings collection. It’s a large set of string samples, articulations and modes that were recorded using a mute on the violins, violas, celli and basses. The collection is perfect for musicians and filmmakers.
After 40 years of “experience” listening to classical music recordings on CD and DVD, even I can’t hear a difference in sound between a string concerto played from a CD and playing that same piece with SINE Player, the Berlin Flagship String Ensembles and the Con Sordino Strings. That’s because Orchestral Tools’s collections are of immaculate sound quality and let you set up your sound with many different mic positions and loudness characteristics. The company’s samples are direct recordings of performances at the Teldex Scoring Stage. The orchestra consists of a selection of musicians from the Berlin Philharmonics, Radio Symphony Orchestra and other top performers.
Con sordino is a musical term that means “with mute attached”. A mute is a device that changes the instrument’s tone quality or lowers its volume. Compared to the Berlin Flagship String Ensembles, the Con Sordino Strings sound does not have as long and loud a tail due to the mute on the strings, but does come with a distinct sound quality.
For example, the non-muted violin can sound bold, powerful, and incredibly emotional. All that is more restrained with the mute limiting the vibration of the strings. The result is more precise, more subtle colouring — emotion boiling under the surface as it were. That quality can appeal to deeper levels of emotion than a weeping violin.
The Berlin Con Sordino Strings (and the full Series) are attractive due to many factors, like the orchestra, the availability of music articulations and many mic positions. Articulations include sustain, portato, swells, staccato, pizzicato, doubles, triplets, playable runs, and many more. Mic positions differ per collection but may include Close, Surround, Tree, AB, and others. The Con Sordino collection includes Outrigger and Leader mic positions.
The advantage of having all these different articulations, mics, and legato styles is that you rarely ever need external effects plug-ins. If you want to add crescendo or decrescendo parts, you can do that from selecting the right articulation from the list.
You can even play a part jumping from one articulation and/or instrument from the same or a different collection within the SINE Player plug-in using key switches, CC values, program changes or MIDI channels. That allows for a smooth playing experience.
The only limiting factor is your computer and the memory it has. I’m happy to say, though, that SINE Player is incredibly efficient. Even on my mid-2017 i5/27in iMac, Logic never showed the dreaded “System Overload” warning panel, except when I started playing without saving the project first.
For mid-budget productions, Indie films and documentaries, collections such as the Berlin Series and the Con Sordino variant are a godsend. The Con Sordino Strings collection, then, will work on its own equally well as on a layer in a complex composition where you blend it in with the full string sound of the Berlin Series.
The Berlin Con Sordino Strings collection retails at 499 EUR and is available as a download from Orchestral Tools’s website. It offers six mic positions, modes such as the Louré legato patterns, arpeggios, and 20 articulations.
Here are some sound samples of the Berlin Flagship Series and the Con Sordino Strings collections.