The Best Orchestral Libraries Period: Spitfire Audio Symphony Orchestra

As someone who’s devoted my entire life to music, when I hear or see a product come along that completely changes what’s possible I get excited and infatuated. The Spitfire Audio Symphony Orchestra libraries are hands down THE BEST and MOST REALISTIC sounding String, Brass, and Woodwind collections money can buy. These get me PUMPED to hit the studio and start writing and producing new music. These Instrument Libraries blur the line of what was once impossible… To have 100% realistic sounding string, brass and woodwind sections available at your fingertips to use in your own productions. I feel so blessed to be able to call upon these sounds when creating music. Every time I use the Spitfire libraries I feel as though I’m sat inside of AiR Studios in London listening to the Orchestras perform.

Since I’ve already reviewed the Spitfire Symphonic Strings from this package, I’m going to focus on the Woodwinds, Brass and Masse libraries… But I highly encourage you to check out my review of the Strings HERE.

OVERVIEW

World-class woodwinds, brass and strings exhaustively sampled at Air Studios in the Hall by an award winning team over the last 5 years with a single core aim and approach. Formerly the platinum and 10 star reviewed “British Modular” range, SSO offers a single truly professional solution for people wanting to make blockbuster symphonic music.

From the root level of our instruments folders, you’ll immediately see a unified and simple approach. Offering up a pre-curated set of playing styles (or articulations) in a way that is easy to access and simple to execute with relatively little orchestral programming experience. You’ll see, as you dig deeper into more adventurous areas of the library, that it will grow with your experience and personal development as an electronic orchestrator.

Each choir (woods, brass, strings) has a huge selection of playing styles, with numerous dynamic layers, release triggers, round robins, true and performance legatos. With unique and comprehensive playing styles, different section sizes (solo, a2 and a6 where appropriate) for the brass and woodwinds, alongside an enormous heart of 60 strings players up front, this band of over 100 players is complimented by some super exclusive orchestration tools for no-nonsense composition at the coalface by the name of “Masse”, only available to owners of SSO.

 

PRODUCTS IN THE COLLECTION

 

SPITFIRE SYMPHONIC STRINGS

If there was a single product that could sum up the foundation of Spitfire’s approach to sampling it would be this. Recorded at the studio that has played host to scores from blockbusters that have grossed billions of dollars, with the same players playing the same instruments. Deep sampled with our usual affluent approach. If you want the blockbuster sound you have to go bold, if you want cinematic you have to go big. The ultimate encyclopaedic compendium of Symphonic strings sampling, recorded in London, with no expense spared. SSS is the ‘Daddy’.

SPITFIRE SYMPHONIC BRASS

Many consider that British Brass players are the best in world. Spitfire Audio has spent the last half decade recording the best of the best at one of the most sought-after locations in the world: The Hall at Air Studios, London for this, a definitive compendium of orchestral brass.

SPITFIRE SYMPHONIC WOODWINDS

Often neglected by modern media composers, the Woods are your secret weapon to add real power to your productions. Spitfire Audio has taken its decade of experience making woodwind instruments and has spent the last five years recording the best of the best at one of the most sought-after locations in the world: The Hall at Air Studios, London for this, a definitive compendium of orchestral woodwinds.

MASSE

We’re proud to present a set of super-exclusive ready-built orchestral patches for composers working at the frontline needing to hit that deadline. Designed by composers for composers, and featuring all three choirs of our symphonic orchestral project (brass, woods, strings), these patches have been carefully re-orchestrated, re-mixed and re-baked into a series of awe-inspiring, straight out-of-the-box mega-tools which are only available as part of the Spitfire Symphony Orchestra collection. Some of the ensembles within contain forces of over 300 players, designed for no-nonsense composers looking to get the job done.

 

 

BACKGROUND

If there is any single product that encompasses the very core concept of Spitfire Audio it is SSO, 10 years in design, 5 years in the making – a new chapter in our history.

SSO is the pinnacle of Spitfire’s achievements over the last decade – after over 50 award-winning orchestral products, it’s an evolution of technique; a codification of our craft. Working closely with A-list composers on AAA productions, and as working composers ourselves, at the coalface. SSO is a culmination of our experience, an encyclopaedia of learning, a bible of knowledge, the Death Star of orchestral packages, one ring to bind us!

Originally starting out as the BML (British Modular Library) and released in volumes over the last 4 years, the key objective was interconnectivity – that each part of the library would lock in with the other. So alongside the ultra-detailed level of samples, articulations, dynamic layers and round robins gathered under the enormous structure of the Hall at Air Studios, we also placed each player in-situ, and mixed 4 years of recordings so that every component of the band has correct position in the sonic field. This isn’t just about panning left to right, if you want someone to sound like they’re behind the violas, and not sitting on their laps, you’ve got to place them there! Over the last half decade we have learned many lessons. We applied techniques learned from brass recording to our woodwinds sessions, and lessons learned had us return to the Hall to update some of our string recordings. By unifying this enormous project into a single collection, we have pooled the acres of knowledge earned into a single experience.

Because of this, SSO presents a singular orchestral concept like no other. A long term project that has been rationalised from its modular form into a new singular one readying it for future sampling endeavours. For whilst SSO contains every possible classic nuance, we, as working composers, have also curated playing styles that are very much part of the zeitgeist; something we look forward to writing with in the future.

 

SPITFIRE SYMPHONIC BRASS

 

After a decade of exhaustive sampling, and four years spent capturing our finest brass players, Spitfire are proud to present Symphonic Brass. It is a definitive collection of orchestral brass recorded at Air Studios, London. With a broad selection of different section sizes from solo to large groups of Trumpets, Horns & Trombones to featured instruments; with usual suspects such as Bass Trombones & Tubas, to zeitgeist weaponry such as Cimbassi, Contrabass Trombones and a new Contrabass Tuba.

Originally released in modules as part of the BML (British Modular Library) project, Spitfire Symphonic Brass is a rationalisation of these numerous, deep sampled components, along with many improvements, including a host of new articulations and new instruments. We’ve created a more affordable entry into what we believe to be the finest orchestral brass library available today.To justify these claims we cite this small list of contributing factors:

• British brass players are arguably the best in the world.
• Spitfire has cherry picked the best of the best.
• Recorded to tape at Air Studios via an unparalleled signal path.
• Deepest articulation, dynamic layer, round robin set of brass samples we’ve yet to see
• Produced by an award winning team of composers, producers & engineers.
• Presented in an intuitive interface based on a decade of award-winning sampling experience and a quarter century as working composers.

With playing styles from heart rending choral work to blistering lip bleed material. Whether you’re an aspiring John Williams or a zealous Hans Zimmer-ite we have no doubt that their favourite players will find favour with you!

 

BACKGROUND

From its collieries, through its jazz clubs, amongst the hundreds of pit bands, sitting proudly abreast at the Proms in the Albert Hall, through symphonic concerts to countless chamber spaces; The British Brass tradition runs through our country and culture like spinal fluid. Spitfire set about creating a definitive showcase of British Brass talent, a doomsday time capsule of this fine tradition.

Whilst there are many great orchestras around the world, there’s just something about British brass that keeps composers coming back, sometimes under the cover of darkness to record illicit “overdubbing” sessions in London. It is the rare combination of the colliery, jazz, West End and classical traditions that produce this swaggering melting pot of rarefied individuals.

Having already recorded a full brass choir for the infamous Spitfire ‘bespoke’ range. Paul, Christian, Stanley and the Spitfire team set about a longer term project to capture this spirit, the spine of our musical culture, for the world to share and celebrate.

FEATURES

• A broad band covering solo, chamber, symphonic and cinematic instrument groups
• Traditional to modern ‘zeitgeist’ selection of instruments from Trumpets, Horns & Bones to Cimbassi & Contrabass Instruments
• Super deep sampled, many dynamic layers and round robins
• Most comprehensive selection of articulations, and additional techniques available today
• Entry level core pack has full functionality of BML offering
• Core pack shipped with 3 distinct mic positions C(lose), T(ree), A(mbient)
• New add on pack coming soon with additional mics and mixes

NEW IN SPITFIRE SYMPHONIC BRASS

• In addition to all articulations in BML, new ‘Volume 2’ articulations across the band.
• In addition to all instruments in BML, new members including Contrabass Tuba and solo trombones.
• New, more intuitive interface design
• New rationalised file architecture will allow for improvements and enhancements in the future
• Many tweaks, and performance / musical improvements

 

SPITFIRE SYMPHONIC WOODWINDS

After a decade of exhaustive sampling, and four years spent capturing our finest woodwind players, Spitfire are proud to present Symphonic Woodwinds. It is a definitive collection of orchestral woods recorded and ‘deep sampled’ at Air Studios, London. Featuring multiple dynamics, vibrato control, numerous round robins and a variety of traditional and more esoteric articulations (clarinet flutter tongue? tick!). Not only does SSW feature the usual suspects, our deep sampling has been extended through the extraordinary lesser used areas of the wood choir, alto and bass flutes, contrabass clarinets to name but three!

Originally released in modules as part of the BML (British Modular Library) project, Spitfire Symphonic Woodwinds is a rationalisation of these numerous, deep sampled components, along with many improvements, including a host of new articulations (totalling an additional 30% of content). We’ve created a more affordable entry into what we believe to be the finest orchestral woodwinds library available today.

To justify these claims we cite this small list of contributing factors:

  • British woodwind players are arguably the best in the world
  • Spitfire has cherry picked the best of the best
  • Recorded to tape at Air Studios via an unparalleled signal path
  • Deepest articulation, dynamic layer, round robin set of woodwind samples we’ve yet to see
  • Produced by an award winning team of composers, producers & engineers
  • Presented in an intuitive interface based on a decade of award-winning sampling experience and a quarter century as working composers

With playing styles from lyrical solo oboe to thunderous contrabassoon making noises that you get in a room like The Hall at Air Studios. Whether you’re an aspiring John Williams or Alexandre Desplat, we’re sure this compendium of wind will keep you busy for many happy years to come.

 

BACKGROUND

London woodwind players are considered amongst the best in the world. Where film music sessions are concerned it could be argued that you wouldn’t want to go anywhere else. Woodwinds are commonly under-represented in modern orchestral scoring, and yet are an essential part of your orchestral palette. They can add genuine power to your productions.

For the more traditional and ‘popular instruments’ (say oboes, C flutes, clarinets, and bassoons) these fine players have been recorded solo, and two are recorded in unison. They are seated exactly in situ so combine the a2 patches with the solo ones for a slightly larger section whilst maintaining spectral integrity.

But it is also the spirit and diversity of our music scene in London that breeds a diversity of skill sets and broadens our palette beyond the standard symphonic woodwind hegemony. So also to be found within SSW is a colourful palette of bass and contrabass clarinets, alto and bass flutes to enrich your compositions with the diverse zeitgeist being created near the shores and mud-banks of the Thames!

FEATURES

  • A broad band covering both solo, and a2 sections. Combine both and create your a3 sections
  • Traditional piccolos, flutes, oboes, clarinets and bassoons across to modern ‘zeitgeist’ selection of instruments from alto, bass flutes, bass clarinets, contrabass clarinets and a thunderous contrabassoon
  • Super deep sampled, many articulations, dynamic layers and round robins
  • Most comprehensive selection of articulations, and additional techniques available today
  • Entry level core pack has full functionality of BML offering
  • Core pack shipped with 3 distinct mic positions C(lose), T(ree), A(mbient)
  • New add on pack coming soon with additional mics and mixes

NEW IN SPITFIRE SYMPHONIC WOODWINDS

  • In addition to all articulations in BML, new ‘Volume 2’ articulations
  • NKS ready
  • Kontakt Player included, access files via the library pane
  • New, more intuitive interface design
  • New rationalised file architecture will allow for improvements and enhancements in the future
  • Many tweaks, and performance / musical improvements

 

MASSE

A meticulously designed mega-epic instant orchestra created from re-orchestrating the best of our Symphonic Symphony Orchestra. A truly exclusive toolset only available to owners of SSO, this is designed for pros working at their limits needing a super car to get them across the finish line. Arranged and orchestrated by our award-winning composer team as no-nonsense single patches (ie. for two-handed use) with multiple and transformative dynamics controlled via CC#1 (modulation wheel) with particular studious attention to their responsiveness and playability. The ultimate writing tool for composers who don’t hang around, don’t take any prisoners, and don’t get fazed by impossible scheduling demands. This will get the job done.

 

BACKGROUND

By unifying our previously modular orchestral range and combining the three choirs – brass, woods, strings – into a single entity we’ve allowed for some very special treats. We have taken the last half year re-orchestrating, re-sequencing, and re-baking this amazing world class content into a super epic instant orchestral project. Not simply a matter of whacking some instruments together into a multi and auto sampling, this project has been forensically programmed by our award winning team of composers and engineers. Masse is a curated selection of commonly used combinations of choirs, to oft requested cocktails of instruments through to some highly experimental approaches in patch creation. We have been using these presets and patches in anger for months, tweaking their feel, their responsiveness, their bite, so you can plug-in play and create impressive orchestral mayhem effortlessly, whether you’re in your studio, or in a taxi on the way to the airport!

FEATURES

  • An orchestra of over 100 unique players layered to give up to 300+ musicians in a single patch
  • Recorded to tape via sublime signal path at Air Studios, London
  • Meticulously implemented for ultimate playability and responsiveness
  • 37 presets
  • Multi Mic: C(lose), T(ree), A(mbient)
  • Multiple Round Robins
  • Multi and “transformative” dynamics via CC#1 / Modwheel
  • Free Kontakt Player provided
  • NKS Ready for use with Native Instruments Hardware
  • Onboard bespoke lush reverb
  • Exclusive and only available to owners of Spitfire Symphonic Orchestra
Please visit www.SpitfireAudio.com for more information on these fantastic libraries.
– Pete