Applied Acoustic Systems String Studio VS-1

By modeling the physical properties of various stringed
instruments, Applied Acoustic Systems’ String Studio can
sound organic or alien — or both.
The String Studio VS-1 from Applied Acoustic Systems is a sophisticated synthesizer that generates tones by modeling the physical properties of vibrating strings. It runs as an RTAS plug-in on all current Pro Tools systems.

String Studio shares some traits with such physical-modeling instruments as Logic’s Sculpture and various Reaktor devices, but its closest cousin seems to be Applied Acoustic Systems’ own Tassman. Yet while Tassman emulates all manner of struck, plucked, bowed, and blown objects, VS-1 focuses strictly on the string thing.

Which isn’t to say it’s not versatile. String Studio lets you exert fine control over numerous properties of plucked and bowed strings, generating sounds that evoke guitars, pianos, violins, lutes, harpsichords, clavichords, violins, cellos, basses, and countless curious hybrids.

In fact, it’s these mutant tones that are the plug-in’s strongest suit. While String Studio probably can’t sound exactly like, say, a ’63 Strat or an 18-piece string section, it excels at crafting new timbres that share properties with such instruments. And because String Studio models so many aspects of stringed instruments — body mass, damping mechanism, string, virtual pickups, and much more — these tones tend to have the subtlety, response, and detail of real instruments. Even at their most alien-sounding, these patches feel organic. The result: startling new sounds with enough texture and touch variation to hold your attention for a long time.

In addition to its modeling controls, String Studio includes time-sync’able chorus, delay, and reverb effects; arpeggiation, distortion, and vibrato; and full-featured filter and EQ sections. The interface boasts an intuitive, two-screen layout, with the modeling parameters corralled into one view and the effects and modulation settings into another. There’s a simple but effective MIDI learn mode and an integrated browser with access to hundreds of cool presets.

String Studio is available as a standalone plug-in or as part of the AAS Modeling Collection bundle, which includes three other modeling instruments: Tassman, the Lounge Lizard electric piano, and the Ultra Analog virtual synthesizer. Check out the audio examples at