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Spitfire Symphony Orchestra

Manufacturer: Spitfire Audio
Disclaimer: The manufacturer provided DigiFreq with a unit of this product for review.
Reviewed by Scott R. Garrigus
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Spitfire Symphony OrchestraSpitfire Audio has relaunched their Spitfire Symphony Orchestra line as a new bundle entitled, Spitfire Symphony Orchestra. The 2024 Spitfire Symphony Orchestra combines all the AIR Lyndhurst libraries into a single package. It features a new interface that utilizes Kontakt 7's latest capabilities, addresses numerous audio sample issues, and introduces new legato scripting developed by Andy Blaney. This new bundle includes: Symphonic Strings, Symphonic Brass, Symphonic Woodwinds, Symphonic Percussion, Orchestral Grand Piano, Harp, and Spitfire Masse Orchestral Ensembles... all at the newly updated bundle price of only $629.00 (when not on sale for an even lower price). In addition, customers who already own some of the previous libraries in this bundle receive a discount, and customers who own all the previous libraries receive this new updated bundle for free.

The recordings for all sections took place at the renowned AIR Lyndhurst Hall, one of the world's largest recording facilities. It has been a venue of choice for numerous famous scores over the past decade, including Gladiator, Harry Potter, and How to Train Your Dragon. By utilizing AIR Studios and engaging the same musicians employed in these blockbuster productions, Spitfire is providing composers with a sample library capable of producing authentic orchestral compositions for film, television, and video games.

Spitfire Symphonic Strings

The string section of this library features performances by 60 of the world's finest string players, including 16 1st violins, 14 2nd violins, 12 violas, 10 cellos, and 8 basses. These skilled musicians have contributed to over 175 articulations, comprising 59 shorts, 94 longs, and 9 legatos meticulously programmed by Andrew Blaney. The library offers multiple dynamic layers and round robins, ensuring expressive and realistic performances. The library also includes an Ostinatum mode for rhythmic patterns and offers five microphone positions: Close, Tree, Ambient, Outriggers, and Leaders, providing flexibility in sound shaping and mixing.

Spitfire Symphonic Brass

The brass section features a comprehensive selection of brass instruments, including French Horns, Trombones (Tenor & Bass), Trumpets, Tuba, Cimbasso, Contrabass Trombone, and Contrabass Tuba. The sections were recorded with flexibility in mind, allowing for solo performances as well as a2 (two players in unison) for most instruments. Additionally, Spitfire Symphonic Brass offers a6 patches for the Horns, Trombones, and Trumpets, providing rich, ensemble sounds. The brass offers four microphone positions: Close, Tree, Ambient, and Outriggers.

Spitfire Symphonic Woodwinds

Spitfire Symphonic Woodwinds presents a thorough ensemble of orchestral woodwind instruments, encompassing flutes (including Piccolo, Alto, and Bass Flute) and clarinets (including Bass and Contrabass Clarinets), in addition to the oboe, cor anglais, bassoon, and contrabassoon. Like the brass section, the woodwind players were recorded individually and in a2 sections for most instruments. These recordings can be combined to create larger sections, such as an a3 ensemble.

Spitfire Masse, Harp, Orchestral Grand Piano, and Percussion

Spitfire Masse brings together layered ensembles from the strings, brass, and woodwind sections of the three libraries, along with a complete tutti ensemble. These ensembles are designed to provide a rich, layered sound that is both expansive and cinematic. Each ensemble consists of multiple "themes," which are combinations of different playing techniques. This approach allows composers to create complex, textured arrangements with ease, adding depth and drama to their compositions.

The percussion, piano, and harp sections offer essential additions to the orchestral palette. Percussion, performed by award-winning percussionist Joby Burgess, encompasses a wide range of instruments, including 9 tuned, 13 drums, 12 'toys', 14 unpitched metal instruments, and 3 unpitched wood instruments. Skaila Kanga, London's leading harpist, delivers a stunning performance, showcasing a comprehensive range of articulations and pedal techniques, complete with glissandos in every key. The Orchestral Grand Piano is crafted to seamlessly integrate into full orchestral arrangements. Mic positions for percussion and harp include Close, Tree, and Ambient. Piano includes those three positions plus Outriggers.

New Interface for Kontakt 7

The new interface is a standout feature that users will immediately notice. Unlike its predecessor, which was functional but compact, the new interface boasts a sleek and modern design that makes excellent use of screen space. Leveraging Kontakt 7's graphic capabilities, it introduces a fresh color scheme and expands to a more comfortable size, making the most important controls easily accessible. At the top of the screen, users will find the three primary controls for dynamics, vibrato, and expression, with additional controls like tightness, release, and variation available depending on the patch. These controls are customizable, allowing users to assign them to various parameters such as CCs or keyswitches. The technique selection is prominently displayed in the center of the screen, while the bottom portion features microphone signals and a range of options for mixing, stereo width, playing response, and round robins, giving users a comprehensive set of tools for shaping their sound.

Articulations and the New Legato Patches

Spitfire Symphony Orchestra provides an exhaustive array of articulations, which are categorized by section in Kontakt 7: Symphonic Brass, Symphonic Percussion, Symphonic Strings, and Symphonic Woodwinds. Three additional folders house patches for special use: Curated Ensembles (formally Masse), Legacy (patches from the previous version), and Individual Techniques (providing individual patches for each single articulation in the entire library).

Of course, the highlights of this updated edition are the Performance Legato patches. Available for strings, brass and woodwinds, the Performance Legato patches adapt to the player's speed, seamlessly switching between articulations and legato techniques. This allows composers to craft entire musical phrases within a single patch, transitioning from short spiccatos to slow, lyrical legato lines. Notably, Spitfire has responded to user feedback by adding an intermediate vibrato layer to the legato patches in this new version of the Symphony Orchestra. This enhancement provides access to the full expressiveness of the recorded samples. Furthermore, the legato transitions have been reworked for smoother crossfades.

Spitfire Symphony Orchestra

Known for its exceptional tone and the beautiful ambience of Lyndhurst Hall, the Spitfire Symphony Orchestra offers an extensive range of articulations. The new performance patches enable composers to create intricate orchestral textures with ease. Whether building a lush, expansive soundscape or crafting delicate, emotive passages, the Spitfire Symphony Orchestra provides a solid foundation for any orchestral composition. The quality and character of the hall ambience further elevate the orchestral palette, adding depth and richness to every musical creation. It's safe to say the Spitfire Symphony Orchestra is one of the best (if not the best) orchestral library in its price range.

For more information, visit: SpitfireAudio.com

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