Possibly the biggest orchestral plugin news ever (BBCSO by Spitfire Audio)

So some of you may have seen spitfire audios keynote earlier this evening, some of you may not have.

If your not familiar with Spitfire, they like to collaborate and make epic libraries based on other composer techniques, or even sample techniques.

This evening they announced that they have made a sampled version of the BBC session Orchestra. This is possibly the biggest news to date regarding sample libraries and from the sound of it in the keynote, it could be the most realistic orchestral library to date. It sounds huge and at a very very veeeery good intro price. It comes out in October so it’s still in beta but I’ll leave you make your mind up about it. Can you tell I’m excited :wink:

Here’s the keynote link —> Spitfire key note announcement link


What a title, how can I NOT click it!? :wink:
Wow, this can be the time I finally get into Spitfire libraries then, I have resisted so far since it seem to be a bit of a money hole because of how many libraries they have (and all seem great) :stuck_out_tongue:

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It sounds great indeed, but there are things that turn me off:

  • The product announcement was overhyped
  • This is another orchestral library and they have made many similar products, which makes it confusing to buyers by the end of the day.
  • 600Gb is huge, wish it was smaller
  • It doesn’t offer a Kontakt version as an option (I’m always worried about using different players after having had issues with both PLAY and Best Service Engine.)
  • Although minimalistic, I’m not a fan of the user interface. The icons aren’t intuitive and can barely be seen, there are too much empty spaces and no text that specifies what the 2 sliders and big knob do.

Good things:

  • It sounds fantastic, the demo was also really well written
  • If it was the only library a composer would use, it could be great indeed for session sharing when working with assistants for example
  • Price is really good

Spitfire has great products and I use some of their libraries, but this one isn’t for me.


Great points Medhat,

  • I agree on many of them. All-tough, I have to say personally I am glad Kontakt might finally get some real competition. OT has a new sample player too.

I love the stability of Kontakt, but hate how it looks. Cluttered, tiny, and not scalable. When will plugin makers learn that we have super high resolution screens now, and I personally sit 1+ meter away with my eyes.

I hope this new library has a scalable UI. I love minimalistic design, but I agree that they did not do this GUI as focused and clear. The contrast makes it hard to see things. Why no use of color to guide my eyes?

Now as far as for the actual sound, features and playability: It’s hard to say from this video, but it does seem very promising. Yes, the size will be an issue, I hope they have better RAM management and disc streaming (like Omnisphere does so well) than Kontakt.

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Totally with you @medhathanbali,

for me it’s just another orchestral library, nothing special I could find about it, even 600GB don’t impress me…most of content are the mics… (Eastwest had it already years ago). In my opinion not the size and 1000s mic-positions are important, it’s about the flexibly first of all. What I really found interesting was the concept of “Sonokinetic”. They have lot’s of libraries as well, but each library focus on different musical aspects. For example: runs / fx etc. yes, other libraries has runs & fx as well, but it’s a library which basically has them all and you can combine basically “anything with everything” (super flexibly construction kit). The only point is, that like Spitfire, Sonokinetic has so many different libraries, you are “overwhelmed” and then when you buy something, you are like…“Oh, I need this as well…because this one doesn’t have this FX I want…”.

As a composer I would love to have this:

• I want to have one big library (everything recorded in one room, mic positions can be upgraded as you want)
• I want that it contains everything of everything (Orchestral instruments, fx, runs, solo-instruments etc. it would be a lot of content, it SHOULD be a lot of content!
• Because of that huge amount of samples, it will be super big and expensive (that’s ok), but -->
• I want to have the possibility to buy for example the “starter pack”, and always be flexible to get the upgrades as I do have money
• I want that this library stays like it is for years to come, and if the recording / production team decides to do something new, they should update the library content and not produce just another “library” called “The best orchestral library we have ever build 2.0”…

Don’t get me wrong…Spitfire is great, I have Albion One and I deeply love it, actually it was the first library where I was stunned by the sound, but you pay like 500$ to get this one, then they record a new one “XY” and you like “maaaan, I want to have it”, because of this this this, but that strings, brass what ever, you already have it and you buy another one for 500$ just because of “the super-true-legato-feature”??? For me it’s non-sense.

They should build a library, which is like a construction kit and you can always upgrade as everything else we do in life. At the moment the politics are like Apple and Co…we know that the next month we have a new iPhone…I like Apple, don’t get me wrong once again, but I know a lot of people, who think the same way “It’s just another phone, we don’t need”…it’s nothing special anymore, because everyone can have it, even 10 year old boys in school have it. The same I see with Spitfire and Co. for years. You have tons of libraries, and by the end of the day, they are basically the same (only different sound).

By the way…the demo is nice, but I do believe they could have done it better (production-wise)…for example: in the beginning you hear the violins-triols, or ensemble doesn’t matter…for me it sounds sloppy, I have to guess what they play, because the samples don’t get synced well to the tempo, that’s what I hear. The brass is excellent, especially the low end. The production lacks dynamics as well. The composition is super great, but the production is not the same level, you see the screen as well, no plugins, sound muddy, lacks definition…a couple of colours, so nobody is lost. At times it sounds really “midi” for my ears. I remember when I heard some samples from “Orchestral Tools” on their site, I was stunned. Everything was on point, they said “we had this in mind”, and when you heard the tracks you are like “Hell yes! Superb stuff!”. If you present your new product and you say it sounds great from the beginning, when you press the first key on your keys, it’s not right. It will never be like this. Why? Take a professional cellist and give him a sheet music. He would need some time to learn it and play it as you want, even if he is a professional, it means he has experience and everything will be faster. The same with production. If you put more time in it, mix it / master it, it will be cleaner, better, livelier. As I know Spitfire, I think they’ve rushed with this one. What’s the point to present something, when it’s not done yet? For me it’s just like sending a demo to a client and say “Dude, this is what I’ve done…”, but to be honest, I’ve just invested 5 hours in it, but I know I need 3 days to finish it more or less.

Take care guys,
Alexey (JLX)


All good points gus. A lot of them have crossed my mind too. Over the evening here are some of the conclusions I’ve come to.

• I personally like the simplistic UI and have no issue about it not being part of Konakt, I think they’ve done this because slaving kontakt along with the plugin would be unnecicary CPU use. Plus after using there ready made Labs plugins which are free and use a very similar interface I’d say that was a step in the right direction (just for me personally that is)

• the size puts me off a bit too, when they said 600gb my tongue dropped a bit. Though I have a friend who they’ve actually let use this plugin (found out last night) and he says those extra bleed mics really make all the difference.

• I understand that white text on black is the BBCs main logo design but I xo agree, it’s going to take some getting used to as I couldn’t really see it very well either.

• for me the appeal regarding spitfire isn’t just the samples, it’s the room sound. Which is why I buy there plugins. Like some of you have said, I love that if you have spitfire libraries then most of them seamlessly blend with eachother. But there’s a catch… all of your compositions sound similar, they get that “spitfire S1 signature sound”. So recently when I seen that they’ve started to make more libraries in different rooms, and add dryer libraries too, I got more excited. Because the sample to me has become only 50% of the sound. Just like a lot of SF users I mix the mic positions as my music progresses. So I’m actaually not looking at this as “another orchestral library”. I’m looking at it as another room option with the scope for more versatility.

• this does have a minus though and spitfire have clocked into it exceptionally well. They held a keynote which I bet was mainly just aimed at die hard spitfire users. So I think it’s more a case of if you love SF products then you’ll love this.

• another huge factor in how many people will like this is Christian Henderson himself. He has made himself the face of the community and speaks openly about his process and what he likes and dislikes about his products.

• this lead me to ask a personal question, “am I just a spitfire groupie”. Tough question to ask myself but id have to say 100% yes. I don’t use all spitfire products and I think in some areas other libraries do some things better but simply because of the room thing I love being able to open a spitfire template and everything just working. It’s the ease of use I love. I think this is probably down to having experience with most of the Albion series which are essentially spitfires composer starter kits… they are meant to be expanded. Albion one is your basic palet… it does everything very well but there’s limitations in some expressions… and some of the percussion is slightly less usable IMO. A2 is aimed at soft articulations and is a smaller chamber orchestra, it’s very detailed where A1is very lush. A3 is Huuuuuge sounding library with a lot of attack. A4 is a collaboration who’s I’m not overly fond of as it’s a phrase library and generally that’s not how I work… but again they’re plugging holes in the range. A5 is by far my favourite and pushes the idea of sampling every instrument to the point of silence. These libraries are meant to work together as they are a broken up series.

Then there’s the composer libraries that aim to give you a flavour of the style of the greats… the zimmer stuff and BHerman libraries etc… personally love them but I don’t own them… only used them a handful of times Olin other studios.

Then your going into the premium area and it really shows in sound quality… but that’s actually where spitfire started… they’ve become so much more affordable as they’ve grown.

I do however use many libraries because a lot of them have published dry takes which is great for my preferred way of writing and that’s what it boils down to… there’s no right or wrong library… just the ones you like and prefer.

Seriously good points on here that I’ll be considering further. :smiley: you guys are awesome!!

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Apparently the library is 1,4TB but some kind of magic native loss-less “spitfire compression algorithm” it is “only” 600GB on your drive! :wink:

I don’t actually agree this is “yet another sample library”, with no big difference. Having the entire range of the BBC orchestra recorded in the same amazing room, using the same mics, pre-amps, positioning etc. The same player, the same sessions etc. This is the main selling point for me.

An “all-inclusive” super massive orchestral library. That is the reason I am tempted to pick this up myself! :smiley:


I’d have to agree there Michael, excellent point regarding it’s the BBC orchestra in one of the most recognisable sounding spaces in the past 100 years really does give it the edge.

Haha, my eye did twitch when I herd “all inclusive”. And for the money that means even at full price it’s an absolute steal!!

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Well are we sure it is in fact “all-inclusive”…meaning…will there be runs, fx, clusters in there too?

Yeah it’s defini all inclusive. My friend Sam was at the event yesterday and they actually announced it 3 hours earlier to guests and also let people see and hear the sample library in its entirety. It’s essentially the same layout as the Labs stuff (which is free and totally worth getting)


That’s true. I have all of Spitfire Labs (and use them as well). When I saw the livestream yesterday and looked at the interface I mentioned (in their feed) that I looks a lot like LABS. I do not agree with the concerns regarding the interface. I assume if people used LABS they would find this a very easy transition.
BTW the demo song was killer!! :+1::+1:


I think there’s way too much excitement about this library. If you already have several, the only thing this does is sound different (from what I heard, it was nicely recorded) and offer lots of mic positions - but, as I’ve posted elsewhere, this library is actually kind of small. Whereas SSO and Spitfire Percussion together have about 140 GB/mic perspective of articulations, this one has only about 70. So you’d best love the ones it has. But to be fair, you know those other $250 string libraries you bought? It kind of compares to those. Because that is what it is, except with a unified sound between instrument families.

Also: it appears that Spitfire’s desire is to create a standard, at least in academia. QLSO, and maybe Garritan, have occupied that spot before. I can see it being lucrative for them, but not of necessity so great for professional composers who don’t just need a few good recordings of instruments doing a few things.

I don’t respond much to the collaborative push. I find that it’s weird to hand your work to someone and to have them have that much control over it after the fact, so I doubt I’d use it in that way.
Composer A: Do you know why I voiced the strings like that? Composer B: because you have no taste?

I was kind of hoping against an instrument player. This one doesn’t allow multis, which means you are making that in your sequencer or host. It also appears that all instances occupy a common sample pool, which I have doubts about, and it seems like the main reason for that is so the instruments can be aware of each other so mic bleed channels can be used. Super-high voice counts aside, are we saying that that’s been the missing element that has prevented us from making things sound great? I’m going to say nah. I’m also going to say that in the sample-editing game, if you’re editing one stereo pair you may as well be editing twenty in some respects, so having all of these is a kind of value-adding that I won’t find beneficial. Great for Atmos? Maybe. What consumer downstream will ever know? People can’t get 5.1 right in their homes and they want to listen to Atmos on a single soundbar.

Lastly, I think it’s important to differentiate between a composer whose writing you might like and the tools they use - and in this situation, though I have respect for Andy Blaney, I dislike this mix and the muddled feeling of ideas. To be fair, he did it in a hurry with an unfamiliar library, and it sounds like that to me. I also respect his concept of doing library demos with tree mics, but to me the coming and going of envelopes in his demo is irritating, and a little reverb would have helped that. I get the idea of hearing how a library sounds as is, but I’d like to hear it sound as good as it can. And I know he liked the sound of the brass, because it’s super loud. It sounds like what I’ve done in the past when the last thing I did was the loudest in the mix. I’d have liked to have the strings featured a bit more and to hear them and the brass do more legato - there’s some but it isn’t what I’d call sweeping, and for me legatos and spiccatos make or break a library.

And yes, I’m criticizing, but that is literally what demos are for.

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Richard, thank you for providing depth and critique the way it should be done: with intelligence, actual arguments, and by adding perspectives and angles for clarity. Even though several points you bring up don’t concern me personally, I see your points as very valid. It’s easy to be swept away by great marketing hype.

For me personally, since I do not own a single Spitfire library, this is the first one I have been really interested in. Mainly because the unified interface/sound etc. I also am an avid opponent of the Kontakt interface which I find annoyingly cluttered and tiny. I also want to get away from the constant library browsing, especially in the “file manager” of Kontakt for those libraries not even in the library list. So yes, I welcome UVI, Orchestral Tools and Spitfire to give Kontakt some well deserves competition.

I agree with you Mikael on the fact that I really want to get away from kontakt scrolling. It’s actually one thing that I dread doing! I’m actually enjoying a lot of independent plugins more than ones run on kontakt as they’re often a lot more simplistic and easier to load up. I hope one day the consensus will be more geared to more independent vst interfaces than using kontakt.

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Haha, well my dream is having everything in Omnisphere, best browser ever, best sound design capabilities ever, oh yes I am a fanboy. BUT, I think my background using synthesizers for 25 years at least give me some authority to say that the Omnisphere engine is truly the best I’e ever worked with. :wink:

So I wish Spectrasonics comes out with a new version of Omnisphere that supports full deep sampling with velocity levels, round robins, cutting edge scripting etc. And that every sound can be shaped in the Omnisphere steam engine, and found using their amazing and well categorized browser! :stuck_out_tongue:

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Lol, I’ve never actually used omnisphere. Tbh I love massive in. Terms of synthesisers. Though I didn’t know omnisphere was an interface or is that just the dream :stuck_out_tongue:

I think my favourite interface would have to be the CSSS layout. I really love that interface though I’ve only used it a few times. I hope they upgrade it or bring another out with slightly better sampling. They can sometimes sound a little brittle from experience, though that’s my opinnion… ironically I use super fat samples in trailer stuff because I love the sound, an then cut all the low end and upper mids with a high shelf so they sit right :joy: so I’m second guessing my previous statement as we speak :joy::joy:

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I don’t know, honestly… It seems and sounds nice and impressive and all, but I already have their Symphonic libs + Percussion, Chamber Strings, Solo Strings, and Studio Woodwinds Pro. (And a bunch of other orchestras and niche libs.) Planning on getting the other Studio libs (love the many mics!).

I’m more tempted to grab the new pipe organ, actually…! :smiley: And, I would’t mind a Studio Percussion library, if that makes sense. (Overly dry orchestral percussion can be a PITA to mix.)


Don’t really understand the meaning of these “huge” libraries nowadays, maybe my words are stupid but I used to “old” libraries and in fact none of new library will ever replace a real orchestra because these are just samples the sounds which already were not only recorded but compressed. Again you physically cannot “play” with mics cuz you cannot change the mics like in a real studio and even cannot change its positions cuz the only mics you always have are “far”, “close” and something else like “surround”. And why new libraries should be better than old ones? Just because it’s 600 GB weight it doesn’t mean anything in a real composers world they are using libraries for creating their “demos” for Hollywood films. And after all they always use real orchestra for their final mixes of scores. In our world you can have Cinematic Strings 2 for 10 years and live happily ever after lol cuz it’s all how you know your tools and how you work with them. Buying a new library just because it’s a new and a huge one to me it’s stupid. I have some orchestral libraries to imitate orchestra in my music so don’t need anything else. After all it’s better to save some money to hire a real orchestra for your music once in a lifetime than buying every month a new 600, 800, 900 GB and then 1,2,3, TB libraries. For our work Cinematic stirrings 2 is more than enough with Berlin Woodwinds, CinePercs, and CineBrass. :wink:

David my friend, great to finally see you in here, just in time in fact…tomorrow will be the launch of the first composing challenge in this great community! :wink:

Alright on topic: I would feel the same way if I had as many Spitfire libs as you do. But I have none, if you don’t count the LABS stuff. Let’s say you were in my shoes, wouldn’t you be tempted by this all-in-all package? :slight_smile:


Fair points my friend, and yes it might be the we are a bit seducted by the marketing hype haha.

However, I would not say progress has not been made in the last 10 years. Of course not in the actual recording quality. Mics and pre-amps are the same. No, I mean the scripting, programming and especially on the legato front. Some new libs now have many different legato speeds, which makes a huge difference. Also, polyphonic legato on ensemble patches, auto-divisi etc.

And I agree, a sample library can never replace a real orchestra. You can play a single legato transition in millions of ways. The speed, the motion curve and shape, the attack etc.

PS. I also still love Cinematic Strings 2 haha :stuck_out_tongue:

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