Native Instruments Action Strings Puts ‘Blockbuster Sound’ Into A Virtual Instrument

Native Instruments has introduced Action Strings – a phrase-based instrument, featuring a 60-piece string orchestra, that’s designed to let you create ‘epic, blockbuster sound’.

Performed by the FILMharmonic Orchestra Prague, Action Strings offers with over 14GB of musical phrases. The orchestra is made up of a high ensemble featuring 22 violins, eight violas and six cellos, as well as a low ensemble containing ten violas, eight cellos and six basses. The phrases range from basic rhythmic patterns to intricate melodies, each recorded live in every key, and in two dynamic levels.

Action Strings allows for blending between dynamic levels via the mod wheel, and simple switching of the harmonic patterns to minor or major via velocity level.

All of the over 150 phrases are organized into themes of five, with five additional custom slots available. All slots can be assigned or changed easily via the phrase browser, with every phrase being playable in all keys. The phrases are selectable via keyswitch and can be played in trigger mode or synced to the ‘1’ of a host software’s tempo. Utilizing KONTAKT’s Time-Machine Pro time stretching algorithm, tempo can be adjusted in real time, allowing for the creative use of effects such as Ritardando or Rallentando.

Here’s a preview of Action Strings:

Action Strings is available now for $339 / 299 € / 33800 ¥.

12 thoughts on “Native Instruments Action Strings Puts ‘Blockbuster Sound’ Into A Virtual Instrument

  1. It sounds impressive. It can be a wonderfull complement to other orchestra libraries

    I like it that you see the written notes. I wonder how much patterns you can choose from in order to deliver somethings that remains original.

    The thing is though that composers who will use this wel reckognize the phrases from other productions that uses this library.

    None the less i think it is an interesting orchestra sketch tool.

    1. Well, this thing sits in Kontakt 5 which to me somewhat implies that you’ll always have several options for (re)configuration (provided you’re not using the free player).

  2. I don’t get it, it’s sampled phrases you can pitch shift?
    This is like what a dj does. I guess soon the discussion about dj’s being musicians or not will become redundant, because musicians will do the same stuff in the end.

    1. This sample pack is to utilize the vast amount of percussive things you can do to a violin string (“hammered” notes,”carried” notes, “thrown” bow, rapid up-down bows, etc x 1000…) which is selected by your left hand while you play the melody with your right.

  3. Far too easy. What percentage of these very nicely CANNED phrases can you use before you have to wear the Faker hat? IMO, more than about 10% of these for punctuation or bridges would say to me that the player is lacking in ideas. When I use sampled orchestral sounds, I labor over those passages like mad, by hand. I also back away from things I cannot render in real-time. It just would not feel right to me if I didn’t. I’m all for “faking it” in the name of a good piece of music, but it would be all too easy to let the Box do the real work here. Its seductive in a “bad” way. When people complain of synths being artificial, here’s one good example of why. I encourage people to follow the paths that wow them, please understand, but make sure you don’t let the machines do so much that the presence of human sweat fades into the background. I can hear that both when its present and when its lacking, can’t you?

  4. Yes, indeed they sound nice, but – they are just pre-recorded phases. It is certainly not a bad thing to partially use a construction kit (although virtual instrument sounds nicer), but whenever possible I try to create things by myself. IMO, buying pre-recorded phases for around 300 EUR is way off limits, no matter how good they sound.

  5. I totally agree with many of the above comments about the “canned” nature of this stuff. But… honestly, orchestral stuff in movies all sounds pretty much the same these days to me, and I’m a musician. To non-musicians it’s more binary… orchestra or no orchestra. I bet you could use this library for 10 years before any average listener at a movie or player of a game would notice.

Leave a Reply