Tonsturm Spiral Strings [KONTAKT]

Spring Cello VSTi
  • Publisher: Tonsturm
  • Product: Spiral Strings
  • Release: Philos
  • Version: 1.6
  • Requirements: Kontakt 6+

Tonsturm’s Spiral Strings represents a significant advancement in virtual string instrument technology. This Kontakt-based VST is the culmination of years of meticulous development, recording, and engine refinement. Designed to provide composers with an unprecedented level of control and authenticity in string sound production, Spiral Strings combines innovative sampling techniques with a powerful and flexible modulation system, offering a unique tool for modern music composition and sound design.

Key Features

Dual-Layer Architecture

Spiral Strings employs a sophisticated dual-layer system:

  • LAYER A and LAYER B, each with identical functionalities
  • Independent parameter control for each layer, allowing for complex sound design

Advanced Modulation Matrix

The instrument features a comprehensive modulation system:

  • Three LFOs with multiple waveform options
  • Two Step Sequencers for rhythmic modulation
  • Cross-modulation capabilities for intricate sound sculpting
  • Extensive modulation routing options for both Main and Effects parameters

True Stereo Reverb Engine

A standout feature of Spiral Strings is its proprietary reverb system:

  • High-quality Impulse Responses (IRs) sampled from the instrument itself
  • Additional IRs from premium hardware reverb units and characterful rooms
  • True stereo processing for authentic spatial representation

Multiple Play Styles

The instrument offers eight distinct playing techniques:

  • Traditional legato
  • Specialized techniques such as Sul Ponticello
  • Experimental methods including titanium stick articulations

Texture and Phrase Sampling

Spiral Strings incorporates a unique approach to sample organization:

  • “Workable” textures and phrases recorded and mapped to specific key notes
  • Samples aligned to musical scales for intuitive composition

Round Robin and Microphone Positions

To enhance realism and versatility:

  • Three round-robin variations for each sample, with durations of 10-15 seconds
  • Three microphone positions, recorded with a combination of low-noise sound design microphones and vintage/modern high-end equipment

Advanced Effects Processing

The VST includes several high-quality audio processing options:

  • Customizable filter section
  • Distortion unit for adding harmonics and grit
  • Tape saturation emulation for analog warmth

System Requirements and Compatibility

Hardware:

  • Intel CPU i5 or equivalent (higher performance CPU recommended)
  • 6 GB RAM minimum

Operating Systems:

  • macOS 10.12 or later (64-bit)
  • Windows 8/10 (64-bit)

Disk Space:

  • 22.8 GB download size
  • Over 24 GB required during installation

Software Requirements:

  • Native Instruments Kontakt 6 or later (full retail version)
  • Not compatible with the free Kontakt Player

Technical Specifications

Sample Content:

  • Total Sample Count: 4,576
  • Sample Format: 24-bit, 48 kHz WAV files
  • Total Library Size: Approximately 24 GB (uncompressed)

Instrument Structure:

  • Two independent layers (A and B)
  • Eight distinct play styles per layer
  • Three round-robin variations per sample
  • Three microphone positions

Modulation System:

  • LFOs: 3 per layer, with multiple waveform options
  • Step Sequencers: 2 per layer, with variable step count and rate
  • Modulation Matrix: Allows routing of modulators to multiple parameters

Effects Processing:

  • True Stereo Reverb: Convolution-based with custom IR library
  • Filter: Multi-mode with variable cutoff and resonance
  • Distortion: Variable drive and tone controls
  • Tape Saturation: Emulation of analog tape characteristics

Performance Features:

  • Polyphony: Up to 128 voices (CPU dependent)
  • Legato: Monophonic and polyphonic modes with adjustable transition speed
  • Pitch Bend Range: Customizable per layer

Script Features:

  • Custom Kontakt script for advanced parameter control and modulation routing
  • Scale-aware phrase mapping for intuitive melodic composition

User Interface:

  • Custom-designed GUI with separate pages for main controls, modulation, and effects
  • Visual feedback for modulation and effects processing
  • Easy access to layer controls and global parameters

MIDI Implementation:

  • Extensive MIDI CC mapping for real-time control
  • Support for MIDI learn functionality

Spiral Strings demonstrates exceptional sound quality and programming depth. The dual-layer approach, combined with the extensive modulation options, allows for the creation of complex, evolving textures that go beyond traditional string sample libraries.

The True Stereo Reverb engine is particularly noteworthy, providing a level of spatial authenticity rarely found in virtual instruments. The inclusion of custom IRs from both the sampled instrument and high-end hardware units contributes significantly to the overall realism of the produced sound.

CPU performance is generally efficient, considering the complexity of the instrument. However, heavy use of modulation and effects, especially with high polyphony, can lead to increased CPU usage. It’s recommended to use track freezing or bouncing techniques when working with multiple instances in a project.

The variety of play styles and the inclusion of “workable” textures and phrases offer composers a wide palette of creative options. The scale-aware mapping of these elements is an innovative approach that can significantly speed up the composition process for certain types of music.

Tonsturm’s Spiral Strings represents a significant achievement in virtual string instrument design. Its combination of high-quality sampling, advanced modulation capabilities, and innovative features like the True Stereo Reverb and scale-aware phrase mapping position it as a powerful tool for composers and sound designers working across various genres.

The instrument’s strength lies in its ability to produce both traditional and highly experimental string sounds, with a level of control and flexibility that goes beyond many competing products. The attention to detail in areas such as round-robin sampling and multiple microphone positions ensures that Spiral Strings can deliver highly realistic performances when needed.

While the system requirements and need for the full version of Kontakt may be limiting factors for some users, the depth and quality of the instrument justify these requirements for professional users. For composers and producers seeking to expand their sonic palette with a highly versatile and sonically rich string instrument, Spiral Strings offers a comprehensive solution that balances authenticity with creative potential.

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