Best Strings VST in 2022 (Reviews and Comparison)

  • James Parker
  • January 21, 2022

No matter what kind of music you produce, you will most likely want to incorporate string sounds at some point. Strings are enormously popular in soundtrack music, but they can also be a great tool to have in your pocket for pop, hip hop, electronic, rock, or any other style of music that interests you. That’s why it is so important to have a great string VST at your disposal for whenever you decide your track could use that extra orchestral element. 

While searching for individual samples and plugging them into a sampler can offer great control over your composition’s sound, a dedicated VST is often more efficient and can provide better functionality. A VST, which stands for virtual studio technology, is a plugin for your DAW that performs a specific function. Plugins that create a certain sound like strings are often called virtual instruments, and they provide a great deal of functionality and versatility. In the case of strings, using a string VST is more efficient than searching for samples in most cases. In this article, we will compare five excellent strings VSTs that will elevate your production game. 

COMPARISON CHART

IMAGE PRODUCT
spitfire 1. Spitfire Chamber Strings
  • Huge variety of samples
  • World-class recording and playing
  • Realistic, intimate sound
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Steinberg 2. Steinberg HALion 6
  • Feature-rich
  • Relatively affordable
  • Complex tools for library creation, sampling, and sound design
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3. Chris Hein Solo Strings EX
  • High quality samples
  • Great control over sound/articulation
  • Can be bought as a whole or as individual instruments
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Steinberg Groove 4. Steinberg Groove Agent 5
  • Robust drum software
  • Affordable
  • Good set of tools for samples of all kinds
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berlin 5. Orchestral Tools Berlin Symphonic Strings
  • Great sound quality and tone
  • Many articulations – 3 kinds of legato
  • SINE player allows for purchasing individual instruments
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1. Spitfire Chamber Strings

spitfire

Specification

System Requirements161.80 GB DISK SPACE REQUIRED DURING INSTALL

MAC SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS
Mac OS X 10.10 or later, Intel Core 2 Duo

PC SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS
Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 10 (latest Service Pack, 32/64-bit) Intel Core 2 Duo or AMD Athlon 64 X2
KONTAKT VERSION REQUIREMENTS
Kontakt Player 5.6.8 or higher required

Spitfire Chamber Strings is a fantastic strings plugin, and you should definitely consider it if you are looking for a high quality sample library that is fully dedicated to strings. Spitfire Audio, known for other products such as their free LABS plugins, has a great track record of recording high quality samples for their VSTs. Chamber Strings is no deviation. The more than 70,000 samples included were recorded in London at George Martin’s AIR Studios, and feature real,  world class string players. This is a plugin that knows how to create realistic sounds, which many string plugins have trouble with. One of its greatest strengths is its ability to capture orchestral sounds that are close or subdued; many string plugins are good at producing huge, epic-sounding string sections, but come up short for more intimate sounds. 

PROS

  • Huge variety of samples
  • World-class recording and playing
  • Realistic, intimate sound

CONS

  • Expensive
  • Strings only 
  • Professional version with all mic positions comes at a higher price point

Overall, if it fits in your budget, Spitfire’s Chamber strings is one of the best string VSTs available on the market today. If you are looking for a way to produce realistic strings sounds and you want a powerful and diverse plugin to do the job, then look no further.

2. Steinberg HALion 6

Steinberg

Specification

System RequirementsSupported Operating Systems
Windows 7 SP1
Windows 8.1
Windows 10
macOS 10.11
macOS 10.12

Memory Requirement Windows, Mac:
4 GB (8 GB Recommended)
Storage Requirement Windows, Mac:
30 GB 
90 GB (Temporary Files) 

CPU Requirement
Mac: Intel  
Windows:Intel Dual-Core, AMD Dual-Core  

Display Resolution Requirement: 1366 x 768 (1920 x 1080 Recommended)

Steinberg’s HALion 6 is another powerful software for creating string sounds in your music. Unlike Spitfire’s offering, however, HALion is not limited to only strings. Instead, it is a complex suite of sound design tools and sample libraries. One of its various features is its studio strings collection, which has quite a diverse array of strings samples and controls for manipulating and shaping them.

PROS

  • Feature-rich
  • Relatively affordable 
  • Complex tools for library creation, sampling, and sound design

CONS

  • Strings library is not as robust as other dedicated strings VSTs
  • Has a steep learning curve

If you are on the hunt for a VST that will allow you to add strings to your music, but you also don/t want to limit yourself to just strings, then Steinberg HALion 6 might be perfect for you. Cheaper than Spitfire’s Chamber Strings, it also has many more features. The trade off here is that HALion’s studio strings section is not going to provide the same depth and realism as Spitfire’s dedicated plugin. But if having the very best strings sound you can get isn’t your only goal, there is a ton of value here. HALion gives you a ton of tools for sound design, recording your own samples and creating your own sample libraries, creating synthesizer sounds, and much more. It is an excellent all around software that does many things well, rather than doing just strings.

3. Chris Hein Solo Strings EX

Specification

System RequirementsSupported Operating Systems
Windows 7
Windows 8.1
Windows 10
macOS 10.12
macOS 10.11
macOS 10.1

Memory Requirement Windows, Mac: 4 GB (6 GB Recommended)

Storage Requirement Windows, Mac: 1 GB 

CPU Requirement
Windows: Intel Core 2 Duo and Faster, AMD Athlon 64 X2 and Faster  
Mac: Intel Core 2 Duo and Faster

Chris Hein Solo Strings is an interesting plugin with a lot going for it. For one, it is focused on, as the name suggests, solo strings, rather than ensembles like the previous two plugins. While it is a very focused plugin, it does what it sets out to do extremely well. The virtual instruments are realistic and playable, and it provides you with an outstanding number of different articulations for each instrument, allowing for great control over the sound you’re getting. Another great feature of this VST is that it can be purchased as a unit, or as individual instruments, meaning you only have to pay for what you want.

PROS

  • High quality samples
  • Great control over sound/articulation
  • Can be bought as a whole or as individual instruments

CONS

  • Expensive
  • Focused on solo strings
  • Interface is a bit dated looking (but maybe that’s just us)

Chris Hein Solo Strings is a fantastic plugin for what it does. It has high quality sounds all around, and gives you unprecedented control over them. With all the articulations at your disposal and the options for tweaking the sound, this plugin is a great bet for getting just the right sound for your composition. While it is a bit expensive, the option to only buy the individual instrument you need is great to have.

4. Steinberg Groove Agent 5

Steinberg Groove

Specification

System RequirementsOperating systems (Windows)
Windows 10 (64-bit), Windows 7 (64-bit), Windows 8.1 (64-bit)
Operating systems (Mac)
macOS High Sierra, macOS Sierra, macOS Mojave, macOS Catalina, macOS Big Sur
Apple silicon–based Mac Rosetta 2 App
Display resolution minimum
1366 x 768
Display resolution recommended
1920 x 1080

CPU minimum
64-bit Intel or AMD multi-core
CPU recommended
Intel i5 or faster

RAM minimum
4 GB
RAM recommended
8 GB

Hard disk free space
35 GB

Internet connection for
license activation, installer download, account sign up and product registration

Groove Agent 5 from Steinberg is different from the others on this list in that it is not actually a string VST at all. Instead, Groove Agent 5 is a nice drum beat making software that has some useful tools for sampling and sound design. While it will not provide you with a vast library of string samples, it can be used in conjunction with your own samples to create great sounds.

PROS

  • Robust drum software
  • Affordable
  • Good set of tools for samples of all kinds

CONS

  • Limited set of non-drum samples
  • No string-specific tools

Groove Agent 5 is an excellent software for a drum-focused producer who wants to be able to incorporate strings sounds into their music. One of its great features is called decompose, which allows you to separate the tonal part of a drum sound from the “noise.” This feature provides great versatility for tweaking the tonality of your drums. Its sampler can be used with any kind of sample you bring to the table, allowing for dynamic drums that fit with the rest of your track.

5. Orchestral Tools Berlin Symphonic Strings

berlin

Specification

System RequirementsCPU: intel i3 or similar

Ram: 8GB

Operating System: Mac OS 10.13 and up, Windows 10

Finally, we have Orchestral Tools’ Berlin Symphonic Strings. This is a plugin designed around large-scale orchestral sounds. The opposite of Chris Hein Solo Strings, this should be a go-to option for creating big, epic sounds. With samples recorded in Berlin by world-class players, the sound you get from this plugin is outstanding.

Technical Specifications

PROS

  • Great sound quality and tone
  • Many articulations – 3 kinds of legato
  • SINE player allows for purchasing individual instruments

CONS

  • Expensive
  • Requires Windows 10 for SINE player
  • Focused on cinematic strings

Berlin Symphonic Strings is an incredibly solid option when it comes to big, dramatic strings. The ensembles sound great, as would be expected from the playing and recording behind them. While it is quite expensive, the SINE player in which it runs allows for buying of individual instruments, which is a big plus as well. If this is the kind of sound you are going for, then Berlin Symphonic strings should have everything you need. With its great array of articulations to accompany its great samples, it is a very solid package.

Conclusion

Each one of these VSTs is great for what it sets out to do. We purposefully included ultra-focused options alongside sprawling plugins that do a bit of everything. No matter your needs and your budget, one of these should be perfect for the strings sound you want.