Revising my view on BBC orchestra

A few weeks ago I posted a review of BBC orchestra by Spitfire. My conclusion was sort of “meh.” I certainly thought it was a worthy library alongside other top symphonic libraries such as CineSamples, EastWest Hollywood, Berlin, Vienna, etc. but it was “just another library” and not equal to Spitfire’s overheated hype.

That’s probably still true. It’s not overall better than other libraries. It’s not some kind of step forward. It’s well recorded of course and has all the normal articulations. It’s a good library, but that’s all it is.

However, I want to update a little. I have come to see BBC strings as my main go-to strings. I was a big believer in EastWest Hollywood (who have a new orchestra coming in the fall that I’m excited for), but BBC has supplanted EastWest as my anchor string library, based on the simple fact that I think they sound a little sweeter in a mix.

I’m currently doing elaborate mockups of a big project discussed elsewhere on these boards, and I have used both BBC and EW in this project, but at this point the verdict is in. They really sound terrific.

Now, they don’t do everything well. I recently had to replace BBC on a flowing viola ostinato because I just couldn’t get them to phrase right. CSS came in for a heroic rescue there. And I still use Eastwest for really high parts because Spitfire tends to maddeningly give you a needlessly limited range for many instruments, including violins.

But these strings overall are the best sounding strings I own. So I’m very glad I have BBC ‘s orchestra.

I also prefer its celeste to any other I have.

So it has worked its way into being an important part of my toolkit.

See you all later!


Hello Everett, I missed you in here, how are you doing on your music journey? :slight_smile:
Thank you for sharing your updated perspective. And good timing for me as I am very close to getting the Core edition. It will be my “introduction” to Spitfire commercial libraries, and I hope it will serve me well.


Hey man! So yes, I’m slammed. It’s more work than I ever imagined. 17 compositions, 17 very complicated mockups—and then live players to come. I’m in over my head, completely overwhelmed.

But it will have been worth it when it’s done. Probably 2-3 months to go.

Fortunately, other aspects of the YouTube production are also taking a long time, so I will be ok.

Meanwhile, another director, whose film I thought would not be ready until fall, wrote me to say “let’s finish in one month!” And I started to freak out. “I’ll send you half the finished film tomorrow!” he said. 5 days later, I still don’t have it. So everything takes longer than you think! I’ll survive!


Well I’m glad you are getting work in these troubled times, and I am very much longing to see/listen to the end result of your project. :slight_smile:

Don’t take water over your head my friend (not sure if that expression works in English).

When comparing Core to Pro, would you miss the microphone positions? I know I miss out the first chairs and some low woodwinds etc. but I can deal with that.

1 Like

I have not used any alternate/special mic positions.

I seldom go outside the regular “mix” setting.

However, with Berlin winds I have started to use more close mic positions—a first for me.


Also, Mike, I can share a short snippet with you if you want to hear a moment of these BBC strings. I want to keep the project mostly under wraps until done, but I can run off a 15-20-second excerpt…

1 Like

Yes, please do. At the standard mic position, as that is the same in the core version.

1 Like

Oh you meant from your actual project? Well PM me the music link if you want to keep it private.


I’ve PM’d you a link. It’s just like 30 seconds long, but you can really hear the BBC strings in a good orchestral context. They’re very light and sweet. This is a love theme setting, but I find they work great in fast action contexts too.

I’ll share the link with others if requested. I just don’t want to be very public with this project until it’s done.

1 Like

Loved it! It all blended very well together. How is the vibrato cross-fading and strength overall (not only strings) in BBCSO?

I haven’t used a lot of that. I’m pretty sure what you’re hearing is full-vibrato. That’s the default setting, and I don’t think I changed it. If you want a “molto vibrato” that goes further, I don’t think it exists. But no matter, these strings have the lightness I was after.

1 Like

On strings I feel you don’t often need to change vibrato as much, as they pretty much need some vibrato all the time to get the sound I want at least. But for woodwinds I always make vibrato curves. :slight_smile:

Pretty sure you just choose a vibrato style with Berlin, no cross-fading. But they sound great.

My winds will mostly be replaced by live players anyway.

1 Like