Help for an Orchestral Newbie - Spitfire Symphony Orchestra Collection Vs. Vienna Special Edition

Discussion in 'SAMPLE Talk' started by husker, Jun 13, 2018.

  1. husker

    husker Senior Member

    Nov 22, 2017
    Greetings - I don't post much, but I read this forum daily, and appreciate all the great information that is proffered here. Hopefully I can rely on the charity of others for some advise.

    I am (relatively) new to home music. I am well full of VST synths, and have a few hardware synths as well, but I and am looking to get more into the orchestral side (classical music is my first love). I currently have Komplete 11 Ultimate, which includes the Symphony Essentials, EWHO (I have never really gotten along well with Play), as well as the older Kirk Hunter Diamond Orchestra. I am looking to purchase one more, how shall I put it, more "classic" or "serious" type orchestra. After reading a ton a VI Control threads, and listening a ton of libraries, I have narrowed it down to three possibilities:

    1. Upgrade to the full NI Symphony Series, currently on sale for $300.
    2. The Spitfire Symphony Bundle (which includes the Strings, Brass, and Woodwinds)
    3. The Vienna Special Edition Complete. I would also probably upgrade to the Pro2 software.

    Though the NI Symphony Series is by far the least expensive, it does not have a great reputation here. I believe I can hear why. I am also not a huge fan of Kontakt (which obviously effects the Spitfire as well).

    I am willing to spend the money to get a "good" orchestra that will last me a long time. The Vienna package is currently on sale until the end of the month, but I have seen the Spitfire on a Wish List sale of somewhat close - so I consider the price between the two to be a wash. I use Cubase, so I already have an E-Licenser, which I believe I should be able to use with Vienna.

    Basically, I am looking to buy into an ecosystem that would allow me to write, learn, and not have to wonder if I should have bought an upgrade. I really just don't want to keep buying libraries - I want to guy a good one, and learn it thoroughly. :)

    I may have a "slight" preference towards Vienna, but would like to get thoughts here.

    Thank you in advance.
    Kevin Fortin likes this.
  2. kimarnesen

    kimarnesen Senior Member

    Feb 12, 2014

    all orchestral libraries are good today, so even if I haven't tried the NI Symphony Series, I'm sure it's good. The biggest difference between Spitfire and Vienna is that Spitfire has a (beautiful) hall reverb and 3-5 microphone positions and recorded as a normal symphony orchestra is placed on the stage, while Vienna is completely dry and all centered. So you need to do some more work with Vienna to make it sound good with panning, depth, early reflections/pre-delay and they need more reverb. They are both great but with different approaches.

    I don't know why you don't like either Play or Kontakt, and perhaps you won't like VSL's player either?
    Kevin Fortin likes this.
  3. MarcelM

    MarcelM Senior Member

    Dec 15, 2014
    composer cloud by east west is always an good option for newcomers and people that dont own much already. you get ALOT of good stuff for a cheap price.
  4. fretti

    fretti Senior Member

    The NI Symphony Series isn't per se bad; but compared to SF or OT it needs a lot of work and polishing from the composer imo
    VSL seems to be still great for many around here; I believe they actually have a 30% sale on the SE versions right now. (A little?) older, and I can't say how they compare to SF in articulations etc., only thing I know is (as mentioned above by @kimarnesen ) that they are completely without any room recorded. So it can be cool, if you want to pan and reverb them yourself, can be quite time consuming and annoying though imho.

    If I had to start over again now, and had the money for one I think I'd either go with the complete Spitfire Orchestra (+Spitfire Chamber Strings) or Orchestral Tools Berlin series, as these are in my eyes right now the ones who offer the most (articulations, mics, legatos, sound quality, engine, playability etc.).
  5. EgM

    EgM Game music!

    Nov 8, 2015
    NB, Canada
    If you go the VSL route, don't forget to get mirX Teldex! :) Saves you a lot of hassle panning and imaging the instruments.
    Kevin Fortin and kimarnesen like this.
  6. OP

    husker Senior Member

    Nov 22, 2017
    Exactly the help I'm seeking, thank you. I like the Orchestral Tools series, but I've set a limit to spend on this, and that is a bit more than I want to spend.
    bigcat1969 and fretti like this.
  7. wcreed51

    wcreed51 Senior Member

    Nov 17, 2011
    Berkshires, MA USA
    What host are you using?
  8. OP

    husker Senior Member

    Nov 22, 2017
    Mentioned in OP, Cubase.
  9. dtcomposer

    dtcomposer Senior Member

    Nov 3, 2011
    Saint James, NY
    If you really don't care about money you should get spitfire (but you might want to have Berlin winds). It sounds better without having to do as much mixing, and the articulation list is excellent as well. If money is really no object you should consider also getting Chamber strings.

    This is all of course IMO.
  10. kimarnesen

    kimarnesen Senior Member

    Feb 12, 2014
    Absolutely a must if you don't know much about creating depth and space and don't want to smash something in anger when you try to move that oboe that plays loudly right into your ear.
  11. OP

    husker Senior Member

    Nov 22, 2017
    Your opinion is what I seek! Thinking through what I've read here, perhaps Spitfire is the better choice. Money is an object (I'm not rich), but I did get a summer bonus that I'd like to spend it on a good orchestra.
  12. joebaggan

    joebaggan Senior Member

    Dec 5, 2017
    The VSL SE editions are the budget version of their products, they are also older and IMO can't match more recent (and expensive) libraries out there like Spitfire, LASS, CSS etc. For example, I have VSL SE strings and woodwinds but find little use for them anymore after purchasing Spitfire, LASS, and CH Winds. The VSL SE editions aren't bad as a starting point if you're on a budget, but you may find you'll grow out of them pretty quickly once you put it head to head against more recent libs and can hear the difference.
    Kevin Fortin likes this.
  13. OP

    husker Senior Member

    Nov 22, 2017
    Thank you! Sounds like Spitfire is the way to go.
  14. JohnG

    JohnG Senior Member

    Nov 13, 2007
    In that case, definitely Spitfire, just because of the multiple microphones positions alone. And the sound is very good.

    If you already have Hollywood from EW, you might consider a Spitfire package with the chamber strings instead of the symphonic strings, since the chamber strings sound so different from Hollywood Strings.

    That said, I'm greedy and have both.

    Have fun!!!

    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018
  15. BlackDorito

    BlackDorito Active Member

    Oct 16, 2017
    Since I have both, let me mention a few things:

    Pro-VSL SE

    • if you use notation, it integrates well with Sibelius ... Spitfire does not. [And it is not Spitfire's fault IMO]
    • after awhile, you will come to appreciate the features of the VI-Pro player - stretching and humanization, and the general architectural ability to create new instruments by layering (playing together) or assembling (switching) the patch 'matrices'
    • VSL definitely gives you an 'ecosystem'
    • the SE (and SE Plus) series is a bargain ... even with VI-Pro thrown in
    • also useful when using dry instruments: MIR 24 ... more flexible than MIRx
    • Spitfire SSO by itself has no harp, piano, percussion (if memory serves)

    Pro-Spitfire SSO

    • lusher sound, nicely recorded, gives 'close mic' option. Strings and brass in particular are great IMO
    • playable instruments with modwheel
    • sounds like you are already familiar with Kontakt
    • the Spitfire ecosystem is that many of their libraries were recorded at AIR and thus blend well.
    • Value-wise: Spitfire do a lot of special deals, wish-list, etc. to make acquiring many libraries easier. Upgrading from the VSL SE to their "collections" is expensive.
    My journey is that I first acquired VSL SE piece by piece and got lots done with it. Pure happiness. Then I started hearing the gorgeous results people were getting with Spitfire and picked up the SSO, Chamber, Solo Strings on various special deals. More happiness.

    If I ever get a summer bonus ... it will be the Berlin Woodwinds next.
    Kevin Fortin, PSKLN and MrCambiata like this.
  16. kimarnesen

    kimarnesen Senior Member

    Feb 12, 2014
    For $1999 you get the harp, piano and percussion as well. And Masse which can be great for sketches and layering. I didn’t like this piano though, so I’ve even deleted it from my PC :)
  17. mikeybabes

    mikeybabes Only the good die young....

    Nov 21, 2016
    Yorkshire, U.K.
    Also, be aware of the lost and broken dongle policy of VSL, which might be of particular concern particularly if, like me, you travel.

    If you lose your dongle you have re-purchase your VSL libraries again, (though at a discount of 50%). I fond this totally unacceptable, and as a result the only software I have of theirs is VE Pro, which is inexpensive enough to take a risk on.

    If your dongle fails and your dongle is more than two years old then you have pay an admin fee of 40 euro per library to get your licences re-instated.

    On the plus side they do allow you to resell your libraries.

    They have been promising for a couple of years now that they are looking to change this policy, but nothing has happened as yet.

    Many people have spent money on VSL libraries, only to discover this later on, so it is well worth considering on your way in.....

    I bought the Spitfire Orchestra last year in the Black Friday Sales. If you can, hang on until then as you are - you will almost certainly save a significant amount of money - but it is 5 months away....
    PSKLN likes this.
  18. OP

    husker Senior Member

    Nov 22, 2017
    THANK YOU!! Great information.
  19. OP

    husker Senior Member

    Nov 22, 2017
    I had followed one of the recent threads about this within the last few months. This is also a concern of mine. Thank you
  20. ptram

    ptram Senior Member

    Nov 30, 2013
    NI Symphony Series is more meant for film music. Take for example the huge number of instruments in each section, or the sweetened sound of flute and oboe. I find it (in the Essentials version) great for what it is, but wouldn't use it for something more "classical".

    The other two choices are as good for movie, as they are for classical. Not immediately for "epic" movies, but they can achieve any result.

    Of the two, I would say that the Spitfire Symphony Bundle is the more complete, since VSL Special Edition is a reduced version of the VSL equivalent. Not that the reduced version sounds bad, but there are articulations missing, that you might want to use (check the table of articulations in both products). I don't know if dynamic layers are different, but keep in mind that most VSL SE articulations have only three dynamics layer (sometimes, when masking is effective, only two).

    MIR or MIRx are an absolute need. MIR if you plan to use other libraries, MIRx if you will stay VSL only. A single Room Pack is enough (the other libraries only offer a single room). The one including Teldex is the most versatile, and sounds gorgeous, but you might prefer something else.

    VSL have a dreaded protection policy, but are good in allowing resale. Spitfire is easy on protection, but don't allow resale.

    I personally prefer the sound and logic of VSL to Spitfire, but both are great orchestral libraries, that allow for great results. Since you are comparing a full version to a (slightly) reduced version, I would have troubles deciding.

    Last edited: Jun 14, 2018
    Kevin Fortin and BlackDorito like this.

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