I decided to really test out the Sychron Elite Strings in one of my favorite pieces for the Little Women musical. I feel like this new library is absolutely stellar, and I really hope we'll get some additional articulations for this library in the future (ponticello, con sordino, etc). But for now, this is probably my favorite library they've released to date! Cheers!
A meticulous and immediately accessible rendition, full of admirable care, craft, empathy and devotion. Bravo!
I was instantly transported back to the Golden Age of American song, even though the singer is not here.
If I may, I'd like to offer some observations on your mix that I hope might help take this rendition even further into the magical aspect of the essence of that Golden Age.
The sophistication, charm and wit of those great American songs hark back, I believe, to the European tradition of the Salon, where the ideals of politeness, civility and honesty were held in highest regard. The salonière (patroness) would encourage and nurture this kind of social ambience in her gatherings, no doubt much assisted by her feminine charm and guile. We could go back even further and perhaps recognize the codified ideals of Italian chivalry in later salon culture across Europe.
Would not this tradition of chivalry have tempered the ideal of honesty - in certain perfectly human, understandable and agreeable ways? Would not the salonière have preferred warm, somewhat subdued lighting and plenty of thick drapes, throws and soft furnishings? And here's my point. Would the sounds in her salon have been clinically bright or romantically soft? We can only try to imagine. I'm inclined to believe the latter.
So for your otherwise very excellent mix I'd suggest the acoustic equivalent of something akin to gas lighting, rather than bright daylight floodlighting. For this I'd try a little strategic EQ (probably no more than -6dB/8ve) to subdue the presence of the strings somewhat, perhaps together with some tactical compression (maybe of the de-esser kind) here and there to discourage HF transients and peaks from getting too far forward. A touch of tape saturation might work wonders too. As for reverb, it's difficult to be sure about this but I wonder if your very dry setting, although maybe objectively relevant for an intimate size of salon, ought be a tad more chivalrous and complimentary? (I'm certainly not suggesting anything like the typically soaking wet mixes of orchestras accompanying the great crooners such as Sinatra et al).
For reference, I also listened to a recording of a fine performance of The Fire Within Me (with singer), on YouTube. I have to say, to my ear, that mix - although technically competent - is too clinical, too bright, even somewhat harshly so in places. It seems to me some of today's mix engineers are not sympatico with the salonières of olden times, by letting digital, scientific objectivity supersede the subjective charms of old-fashioned sound recording and processing, most especially in this wonderful genre of music. To get back to old-world romantic sounds, it appears we must in certain ways deliberately 'flaw' today's technically flawless audio.
But of course all this is just my personal preference - your mix as it stands is not wrong.
A final thought - maybe when (as you suggest) VSL release con sordino Elite Strings, we'll more easily be able to luxuriate subjectively in the intimate warmth and romance of salon style music, if that's our aim.