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Review : Berlin Inspire by Orchestral Tools

RogiervG

ppp to fff thinker
tip: When doing these videos, i would take into consideration driving dynamics and such more real time. It gives a better understanding about the livelyness of the instruments. Playing mostly on one dynamic making it sound stiff.
 
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bfreepro

bfreepro

Infinite Musical Possibilites
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Nice review! I bought Inspire 1 and 2 during a Native sale. Great value, great sound. Would recommend to anyone :)
For sure! This, in my opinion, is the best “all in one” library on the market today, along with possibly Audio Imperia’s Nucleus (don’t have that one but heard great things...)
 

river angler

Active Member
For sure! This, in my opinion, is the best “all in one” library on the market today, along with possibly Audio Imperia’s Nucleus (don’t have that one but heard great things...)

Absolutely! I've had the Inspire series a year now and I have yet to find it weak in any areas for my core orchestral tools (pun completely intended!) for professional work! And it is indeed musically and ergonomically "Inspiring" to work with to boot!

I was about to spend thousands last year on vast sectional libraries but the Berlin Orchestra Inspire 1 & 2 has such intelligently organised instrumentation and just the right balance of articulations to make pro mockups and high fidelity realistic finished productions a breeze to arrange in classical, film score, trailer, pop music and even electronica requiring orchestral flavour!

BOI is the most overlooked orchestral library series IMO by those who think they need every instrument and articulation under the sun contained in libraries 10 x the gb size of Inspire!

There's more libraries out there to distract a composer from using his original imagination than to truly enhance it! Having too much choice of instruments is detrimental to workflow and actually steers the composer away from the possibility of stretching that imagination to make the best of the tools he already has in front of him!

For main symphonic and chamber orchestral production I believe Orchestral Tools Berlin Orchestra Inspire series is the only orchestral library you'll ever really need!
 
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2chris

Active Member
Inspire 2 is great, and I think it sounds better than 1. It has this fantastic character that is more emotional, and it permeates each instrument. The soft piano included in inspire 2 is phenomenal and warm. I thought I would just skip past that, I mean who really cares when you’re buying a sketching type library, but I cant get over the fact that it’s fantastic. I only wish they had less overlap between 1 and 2. I need to spend more time with both, and so far my only complaint is that I wish it had more velocity layers and variety. I wish it had more patches because what is there is so good. It’s efficient in what it is, and I’m a big fan of both, but much prefer Inspire 2.
 

river angler

Active Member
Inspire 2 is great, and I think it sounds better than 1. It has this fantastic character that is more emotional, and it permeates each instrument. The soft piano included in inspire 2 is phenomenal and warm. I thought I would just skip past that, I mean who really cares when you’re buying a sketching type library, but I cant get over the fact that it’s fantastic. I only wish they had less overlap between 1 and 2. I need to spend more time with both, and so far my only complaint is that I wish it had more velocity layers and variety. I wish it had more patches because what is there is so good. It’s efficient in what it is, and I’m a big fan of both, but much prefer Inspire 2.

Fidelity wise I think both libraries are of the same excellent quality.

Overlap...? I don't see this actually. You've kind of said it yourself: 2 is indeed more gentle- its flautando strings being an absolute highlight of this! But there is where the difference is at least between the string libraries where Inspire 1 has a more standard straight forward bowing style of strings Inspire 2 has that more subtle lulling flavour. Both have their uses... and lets not forget the other individual gems in each library!

More velocity layers? sure! one could always do with more v layers and RRs for that matter! But are Inspires tally of these really limiting for any compositional style? I don't think so.. and that's coming from a composer who plays Inspire live on stage too! In fact one of the main reasons I went for the Inspire series as opposed to any Spitfireaudio main orchestral libraries is because OT allow dynamics to be played in with key velocity even on their long sustain samples- in fact every instrument in Inspire gives you this option which is fundamental for the live performer let alone when playing in parts while composing.
 

2chris

Active Member
Fidelity wise I think both libraries are of the same excellent quality.

Overlap...? I don't see this actually. You've kind of said it yourself: 2 is indeed more gentle- its flautando strings being an absolute highlight of this! But there is where the difference is at least between the string libraries where Inspire 1 has a more standard straight forward bowing style of strings Inspire 2 has that more subtle lulling flavour. Both have their uses... and lets not forget the other individual gems in each library!

More velocity layers? sure! one could always do with more v layers and RRs for that matter! But are Inspires tally of these really limiting for any compositional style? I don't think so.. and that's coming from a composer who plays Inspire live on stage too! In fact one of the main reasons I went for the Inspire series as opposed to any Spitfireaudio main orchestral libraries is because OT allow dynamics to be played in with key velocity even on their long sustain samples- in fact every instrument in Inspire gives you this option which is fundamental for the live performer let alone when playing in parts while composing.
You make good points, but I’m a believer already. The flautando strings are indeed the show stopper. My first play of those went on for 40 minutes because I was so blown away. I could get away with only inspire 2, so I’m wondering what your favorite patches are for inspire 1. I’m serious, because I will give your suggestions extra playing time if you can point me toward your favorites. I fully admit I need more time with it, and I loved Inspire 2 so much it’s monopolized my time.

OT made great choices for ensembles. When I mentioned velocity layers it’s because of exactly what you said, you can play this library without elaborate key switches. The overall package of great ensembles, a few truly amazing sounds, playability out of the box for expression (top shelf scripting), and a wonderful hall sound - any gripes are minimal compared to what you’re getting.
 

etudes

New Member
More velocity layers? sure! one could always do with more v layers and RRs for that matter! But are Inspires tally of these really limiting for any compositional style? I don't think so.. and that's coming from a composer who plays Inspire live on stage too! In fact one of the main reasons I went for the Inspire series as opposed to any Spitfireaudio main orchestral libraries is because OT allow dynamics to be played in with key velocity even on their long sustain samples- in fact every instrument in Inspire gives you this option which is fundamental for the live performer let alone when playing in parts while composing.

I feel like I might be missing something here. I keep reading everyone saying how great Inspire is, but almost all of the long-articulation patches have only two velocity layers: mp (or p) jumping to FF, which in my experience has made modulating through those layers completely useless. Do I have a bad install, or are people really making use of such blaring velocity changes?
 

river angler

Active Member
I feel like I might be missing something here. I keep reading everyone saying how great Inspire is, but almost all of the long-articulation patches have only two velocity layers: mp (or p) jumping to FF, which in my experience has made modulating through those layers completely useless. Do I have a bad install, or are people really making use of such blaring velocity changes?
Thought I'd instantly respond as you had quoted my enthusiasm which has not waned since I posted!
Re the velocity layers: are you referring to key velocity triggering or using the mod wheel to control dynamics?...

I should have added that I rarely use the mod wheel to control dynamics- I have always found using the mod wheel is an instant giveaway to a "mockup". Sure there are times when one needs to swell after the keys have been triggered but even this needs to be done carefully to avoid it sounding artificial: this being a fine line between sounding so or not! For initial strike of the note just like with a real player including the longs I have always triggered dynamics with key velocity and never found the jumps abrupt.
 

etudes

New Member
Wow, thanks for the quick response @river angler 🙏 I'm definitely referring to mod wheel automation curves.

I've actually never heard that perspective among the composers I've known and worked for; I've always been taught that drawing expression curves is a must, sometimes both for the Modulation (velocity) and Expression (volume) parameters on the same line, for every single line. That's what's proven to yield the most realistic results for me. But not with Inspire, because there are usually only two extremely different layers...

Will have to try note-velocity dynamics system.

Also, we may be talking about different styles of music. I'm talking about melodic lines with any amount of sustained notes.
 

river angler

Active Member
...Also, we may be talking about different styles of music. I'm talking about melodic lines with any amount of sustained notes.

I migrated from the old VSL samples that come with Native Instruments Kontakt which I found mighty frustrating just for the same gripe you seem to be having with Inspire! There would be very obvious jumps when playing in via velocity or mod wheel but as soon as I started using Inspire that was all in the past for me!
I maybe in the minority here but I have always used my hands to play in dynamics except when the odd swells are needed (where I actually prefer to use a volume pedal). Also having been a performing singer songwriter all my life I've always needed to have sounds playable by velocity especially orchestral strings longs and similarly synth pads (think Lyle Mays/Pat Metheny Group!) it never made sense to me to have to use the mod wheel live on stage to play chords progressively in a song or instrumental especially while singing so why shouldn't that performance sound just as natural played into ones DAW?...! When a violinist strikes the strings does he does so as hard or as gentle as he likes where bow meets string- I see no different when playing the keyboards. In fact one of the main reasons I chose Orchestral Tools instruments is because one can indeed choose to control dynamics how you like. I actually looked at Chris Heins instruments which even allow one to do a combination of both through some really clever scripting! In fact I may well go back to look at Chris Heins instruments: he's a superb designer of orchestral libraries. I just find that the Inspire series is so easy to use and quick to mock up what you like.
 

river angler

Active Member
...if you'd like an example of Inspire recorded using velocity have a listen to the very first piece on my website: it's a single movement concerto for alto sax and cello called "Irresistible"
it's 95% Inspire 1 & 2 with the very occasional swells actually from Spitfire Audio Symphonic and Olafur A. Evos (which ironically are unable to respond to key velocity!)
 
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