The Best Cello VST Plugins

The Best Cello VST Plugins

There are some magical qualities to the sound of the cello that make it stand out in any production. That warm bottom and emotional mids could embellish any track in any given style, from acoustic folk to the heaviest metal. But hiring a professional cellist most of the time will provide a challenge. So a more convenient option would be to use a virtual one. That is why we’ve prepared a list of the best cello VSTs to help you choose the right one.

Top 7 Best Cello VST

  1. Cello Textures: Double Espresso Bundle
  2. Best Service Emotional Cello
  3. Tina Guo Acoustic Cello
  4. EastWest Hollywood Solo Cello
  5. Audio Modeling SWAM Solo Strings
  6. Chris Hein Solo Cello
  7. Virharmonic Bohemian Cello

Cello VST Buying Guide

The cello has been a part of our musical lives since the early 1500’s. It started as a supporting instrument that was needed to fill the range between the viola and the double bass. As time went by, the cello started to play a more prominent role within the arrangement of classical music. More and more composers started to use the cello as a solo instrument, and in the early 20th century, it reached the peak of its popularity and stayed on it to this day.

As rock music became more and more popular, rock musicians started to incorporate cello into their songs’ arrangements. The best example probably would be Yesterday by The Beatles. Later, many rock musicians who worked with the heavier styles of this genre noticed that the cello fits very well with the spirit of heavy metal. So bands such as Apocalyptica emerged, whose lineup consists exclusively of cellos.

As we established before, only the luckiest of audio producers could afford to hire a professional cellist on a frequent basis. And without the wonders of modern digital technologies, the rest of us could not be able to enjoy the magnificence of this instrument. But since the cello is an acoustic instrument with a very distinctive timbre and complicated dynamics, it wouldn’t be easy to recreate the full range of its capabilities digitally. In other words, let’s see what we may be lacking.

Important features

Firstly, we have to establish that not all of the virtual cello instruments have legato articulation. And without it would be hard to create emotional and dramatic melodies convincingly. The number of other articulations also may vary, so it would be better if you had known how you would use it in advance.

Secondly, all of the libraries have a very different sound. Some of them could be placed in the center of attention of your track without any repercussions. But others, although they might have a superior approach to articulations, should be blended in the mix more carefully. So without further ado, let’s see which best cello VSTs we prepared for you.

Best Cello VST Reviews

Cello Textures: Double Espresso Bundle

Cello Textures: Double Espresso Bundle

Pros
  • Over 1100 samples
  • Sleek GUI
Cons
  • Does not work in a free KONTAKT player
See price @ Plugin Boutique
Best features and specs

Cello Textures: Double Espresso Bundle is a library made for Native Instruments KONTAKT that consists of different sonic textures and soundscapes made from acoustic cello. So as you can see, it is not a traditional virtual cello but rather a layering tool for cinematic compositions. It contains several different patches, which provide a gradually increasing level of processing applied to the initial samples.

User impressions

Users are quite impressed with Cello Textures: Double Espresso Bundle for the quality and variety of the sounds that are a perfect addition to the cinematic scores.

What we think

The coolest part about Cello Textures: Double Espresso Bundle is that it has a very creative and sleek GUI. The whole GUI consists of one cup of double espresso and two sugar bricks. And since guys from Haveinstruments clearly are concerned about our health, the sugar is brown. In each patch, two sugars and a cup control different parameters that let you customize the sound further.

Bottomline

Cello Textures: Double Espresso Bundle may not be your first choice if you are looking for a traditional cello library with lots of articulations. But considering how low it is priced and how many sonic variations you can achieve with it, you definitely should check it out. Be warned though it does not work in a free KONTAKT player. A full version is required.

Best Service Emotional Cello

Best Service Emotional Cello

Pros
  • 3 true-legato patches
  • 4 round-robins
  • Over 100 articulations
  • Works in a free KONTAKT player
  • 16 different playing styles
Cons
  • None, really
See price @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

Best Service Emotional Cello is a virtual cello KONTAKT library with more than 100 different articulations and a jaw-dropping legato. It is extremely playable and sounds shockingly expressive with very little additional programming involved. All you have to do is choose an articulation with a key switch and operate the dynamics with the mod wheel. Very clever scripts under the hood will do the rest.

User impressions

Users like Best Service Emotional Cello for its warm and sweet sound. This virtual instrument is carefully recorded and sampled with plenty of articulations. The intuitive and user-friendly GUI helps greatly with unraveling a lot of editing possibilities. Its versatility makes it possible to use this virtual cello in songwriting, pop music, classical music, and film scores.

What we think

The most impressive part about Best Service Emotional Cello is its legato patches. There are 3 different types of transitions that you control by changing the velocity of the keys. That makes it extremely playable, and you do not have to worry about anything else but a musical and emotional performance. The sound of this virtual instrument has a very classical feel to it, almost academic at times.

Bottomline

Best Service Emotional Cello is a perfect choice for someone who is looking for a very playable and expressive cello library and does not want to be involved in a lot of additional programming. It has all of the articulations that are traditionally used on cellos with a few very unique additions. In our opinion, the harmonic legato alone is worth the money spent.

Tina Guo Acoustic Cello

Tina Guo Acoustic Cello

Pros
  • Works in a free KONTAKT player
  • 16 patches
Cons
  • None that we know of
See price @ Native Instruments
Best features and specs

Tina Guo is one of the most prominent cello virtuosos who is in great demand. And since this virtual cello library for KONTAKT player was produced by Tina Guo personally, the results could not be anything else except perfect. Tina Guo Acoustic Cello has an impressive range of articulations that are widely used by said virtuoso and a very expressive legato.

User impressions

Users say that Tina Guo Acoustic Cello is unbelievably realistic and has a very distinctive sound. Users keep praising that the sampled virtual cello has the spirit of Tina’s playing. The GUI is very intuitive and user-friendly. It’s a good choice for those who seek the highly emotional cello that can be used in composing cinematic scores or classical music.

What we think

Since we enjoy Tina Guo’s music very much and especially her work on the Inception soundtrack, it is very nice to have her signature sound at our disposal. Tina Guo Acoustic Cello is quite an impressive library with a very modern and very contained sound. But if you want that sound to be more cinematic or even experimental, there are built-in tools that will let you do exactly that.

Bottomline

Tina Guo Acoustic Cello is a perfect choice for someone who is looking for great playability with lots of articulations to choose from but prefers a slightly more modern approach to the sonic characteristics. It is worth noting that this library works in a free KONTAKT player as most virtual instruments produced by NI would. If Tina Guo did not hesitate to put her name on this library, then it, at the very least, is worth checking out.

EastWest Hollywood Solo Cello

EastWest Hollywood Solo Cello

Pros
  • Multiple articulations
  • Standalone application
Cons
  • iLok required
See price @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

EastWest Hollywood Solo Cello is a virtual cello instrument designed to work in a PLAY sample player with many articulations, including pretty interesting legato patches. Although it was created to blend with the EastWest Hollywood Orchestra, it is most definitely possible to use it with orchestral libraries from other developers. Some patches may take up to 1 GB of RAM per microphone position, but light patches are also available for less powerful PCs.

User impressions

Users say EastWest Hollywood Solo Cello has very detailed and carefully sampled sound. Its most likable feature is that this virtual cello blends easily with the rest of the instruments from the Hollywood Orchestra. Other than that, users are not quite in favor of this virtual cello as it is said that it sounds lifeless and unplayable.

What we think

At times, EastWest Hollywood Solo Cello may sound a bit artificial. But if it is blended properly with other orchestral samples, it sounds pretty convincing. We, personally, found that short articulations are far more usable than legato patches in a more general context. In other words, short articulations could be used in other than orchestral music styles pretty convincingly.

Bottomline

EastWest Hollywood Solo Cello is a very reasonably priced solo cello library that was designed to complement the Hollywood Orchestra series of virtual instruments. So if you already own a Hollywood Orchestra, it is pretty straightforward from here. If you do not own virtual instruments from EastWest Hollywood Orchestra, you might as well be better off with virtual cellos from their competitors.

Audio Modeling SWAM Solo Strings

Audio Modeling SWAM Solo Strings

Pros
  • Standalone application
  • Highly customizable sound
Cons
  • None that we know of
See price @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

Whenever you get by a virtual instrument, it is always expected that said instrument would have some limits. But guys from Audio Modelling found a way to overcome most of the limitations of virtual instruments by implementing a technology which is called physical modeling. So the SWAM Solo Strings were made. As all of the instruments from Audio Modelling are programmed with a shocking amount of control, the sound of said SWAM Solo Strings is as realistic and detailed as possible. With some additional programming, the sound of this instrument is barely distinguishable from the real thing.

User impressions

Users agree that Audio Modeling SWAM Solo Strings are utterly realistic and highly playable. The GUI is very intuitive, user-friendly, and provides quite understandable essential information. This virtual library has authentic vibrato and amazingly fluid legato, which add some natural trills to the audio material. It suits well in all musical styles and depends only on the user’s initial idea.

What we think

Audio Modeling SWAM Solo Strings implements a very interesting technology with a very fresh approach to the virtual instruments. Still, it is very hard to appreciate if you have a fairly simple MIDI keyboard with only a mod wheel. To release this instrument’s full potential, you have to invest in the more sophisticated MIDI controller. Otherwise, all of the parameters should be automated by hand.

Bottomline

Audio Modeling SWAM Solo Strings is a perfect choice for someone looking for the most versatility and control in terms of the cello’s actual sound and performance. Interestingly enough, this virtual instrument, as the name suggests, has more than one string instrument. In addition to the cello, it has double bass, viola, and violin. Each of them has the same shocking amount of control.

Chris Hein Solo Cello

Chris Hein Solo Cello

Pros
  • Over 24,000 Samples
  • 38 articulations
  • 4 different legato transitions
  • 8 velocity layers
Cons
  • None
See price @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

Chris Hein Solo Cello is a virtual sample library for a free NI KONTAKT player that contains two instruments. The first one is a Romantic cello that has a rather warm sound and fits perfectly in orchestral compositions. The other one is a Modern cello, designed for more contemporary styles of music. Like every Chris Hein virtual instrument, this library has the sound of high quality and superior playability.

User impressions

Users like Chris Hein Solo Cello for its detailed and realistic sound. The instruments are top-quality and have an impressive number of articulations and tools to adjust those articulations. The library is very playable and sounds good, and it might not be so emotional as some users think. If you have the time and patience, you can get very impressive results with this one.

What we think

One of Chris Hein Solo Cello’s highlights that we found is that both presented instruments are recorded dry. A built-in convolution engine lets you customize the sound with different reverbs to help you blend it into different environments. With other libraries, even if you leave only a close mic position, it still might not be easy to mix it with libraries recorded in other environments.

Bottomline

Chris Hein Solo Cello is a perfect choice for someone who is looking for great versatility in terms of possible usage of virtual cello. This virtual instrument sounds rather spectacular both in classical orchestral compositions and more modern styles. Although you might feel that the price is rather high for a solo instrument, you are actually getting two different solo cellos in one package.

Virharmonic Bohemian Cello

Virharmonic Bohemian Cello

Pros
  • Over 35,000 samples
  • Works in a free UVI Workstation
  • Very intuitive performance
Cons
  • iLok required
See price @ Virharmonic
Best features and specs

Virharmonic Bohemian Cello is a virtual cello library created for a free UVI Workstation sampler. This library is meticulously sampled with more than 35,000 samples which include various articulations, different bow movements, and dynamic layers. The best part about this library is that it chooses articulations and play style, automatically analyzing your MIDI input in real-time. So depending on how you play, you can have both legato and short articulations in one performance without the need to use different patches.

User impressions

Users say Virharmonic Bohemian Cello has a very emotional, sweet, and warm sound. It’s very realistic and carefully sampled. Applying extreme vibrato sound will add some emotions to your audio material. Also, it is easily compatible with other libraries, which is a plus. It will sound best in classical music and cinematic scores.

What we think

Once you get the hang of it, the Digital Performer of Virharmonic Bohemian Cello makes you wonder why other developers don’t implement the same technology. It takes time to get used to the script doing all the work and become very cautious of your velocity input, but in time you will feel like you are playing the real cello in terms of dynamic capabilities and nuances.

Bottomline

Virharmonic Bohemian Cello is a great choice for someone who is looking for a great performance and extremely convincing and realistic sound. Its Digital Performer technology is by far one of the best scripts for virtual instruments on the market. And, of course, the Digital Performer is highly complimented by the sound quality and character of this virtual cello library.

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