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Spitfire Studio Brass

Mark Schmieder

Senior Member
Spitfire Studio Brass bounced to the top of my list last night, after finally realizing (with egg on my face) that my problems with it stemmed from not realizing that Spitfire uses the Dynamic control as the main dynamic layer switcher, as opposed to being a "limiter" for available dynamic range (as in some other products). I found the latest user manual, and it is described fairly clearly there.

Up until that pivotal moment, I was ready to bounce back to VSL Brass (and Dimension Brass), as I didn't quite get the dynamic range out of Chris Hein Orchestral Brass after a lot of work (probably ALSO user error, even though I've read that user manual in depth countless times).

Now that I know to use the Dynamic control dynamically as opposed to a static setting that I thought determined the scaling of dynamics from Note On Velocity (apparently not how Spitfire works), I found that I was able to create the widest palette of sounds of any brass ensemble library that I own (solo brass is another matter and will be deal with separately). I am able to get a timbral range from VSL to Chris Hein and everything in between.

Furthermore, the mic blend options from Spitfire are marvelous, so until VSL does a Synchron Brass library, I think this is going to be my top choice, just as it recently took over from VSL in my primary template for Orchestral String Ensembles (especially with its divisi flexibility).

As there are now 42 pages to this thread, I don't have the time during working hours to skim back over what was written before (perhaps I even contributed to the thread earlier as well), to determine whether those who have trashed this library mercilessly, perhaps had the same misunderstanding that I did about how Spitfire uses Note On Velocity, Expression, and Dynamics (CC1) in these libraries.
 

Mark Schmieder

Senior Member
The next thing I plan to do, tonight or later this week, is explore the new articulation matrix that Spitfire is trying to standardize across all products and even other companies. I didn't really quite comprehend from the drop-list in the GUI what was meant by those choices, and had not previously read that part of the newer user manuals. So as long as the articulations load instantly (or can be flagged to pre-load, as in VSL Synchron Player), for real-time playing and rendering, I have even more reason to start emphasizing Spitfire in my templates and workflow.

It's interesting to watch how Spitfire and VSL are sort of converging in many ways, with the Synchron Player from VSL and the GUI evolution of Spitfire's libraries over the past few years.
 

Apostate

Member
@Parsifal666: As i know you own and love the BHCT library: is the brass quality of the Studio series on par with the quality of the brass in BHCT, you think?
I would say so, sure. It's a different tone on some patches, though. For instance, when you line up the four horns from SStB with the 8 horn patch in BHCT it doesn't sound particularly like a logical doubling up of the instruments...they both sound like the ensembles specified, however the SStBs can be more crisp and bright. That said, I suppose a somewhat darker sound is to be expected (and probably even desired) from a library with Bernard Herrmann's name on it.
 

Mark Schmieder

Senior Member
I have played with the UACC feature tonight, and do not care for it overall. There are many reasons for this.
  1. It is nothing like a Preset for VSL or Synchron Player, in that only articulations that are loaded for a specific Spitfire preset are available, and this of course means you have to pre-load them all to see what's in them
  2. The naming conventions are inconsistent; for example staccatissimo in the GUI maps to spiccato in the UACC spec, so this leads to further disconnects and opportunity for error (i.e. no samples loaded)
  3. Unless one is working only with libraries that implement UACC, one has to start from scratch rather than quickly map key switches between different vendors when comparing and/or doubling
  4. Neither the CC32 approach, not the UACC key switch approach in conjunction with Note On Velocity, lends itself well either to live playing (lack of tactile precision) nor to quick editing in a DAW
It's an interesting concept though, and at least the Appendix E for the UACC spec in the latest user documents, does give us a quick overview of which articulations wed might expect to find SOMEWHERE in each library.

I am instead going to look at advanced patches that combine different articulations that aren't in the main default patches, as this is a bit more like VSL's Matrix setups at least, so may prove useful.

Possibly the UACC approach is a substitute for offering a true equivalent to the VSL Preset or the demand-load based Synchron Player Preset, so that one doesn't have to re-map the key switches if changing to another advanced patch.
 
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BezO

The Artisan
Being new to Spitfire, I realize I have a lot to learn. Great info (& opinions) in this thread!
 

Mark Schmieder

Senior Member
A bit annoying that there's no Legato articulation in the Basic Set, once you go to the Advanced patches directory. Luckily, for section work vs. solo work, I don't necessarily need a lot of articulations, so I'm back to the main preset for the Horns and Trombones.

The Legato articulation(s) is/are on their own. It was too late at night for me to have the energy to figure out whether that specific preset includes ALL of the Legato patches, or just one (as in the main preset). The pop-up help seemed to indicate that it collects several Legatos, even with just one icon for manual selection, but I didn't see additional key switches; maybe it's done via Note On Velocity for the key switch itself, as in the KS versions of UACC.

I may find the Extended Set (or whatever it's called; I'm doing this from memory with no access to any sources to look at), useful for some upcoming work. The thing is, I rarely use this stuff in isolation, and I do NOT want to set up Multi's in Kontakt and have more than one note track per part -- that's how I used to do things before I got more adept at VSL's more advanced techniques.
 

Sarah Mancuso

Esselfortium
If the pop-up help is mentioning more legato articulations that you're not seeing anywhere, I think that would be an oversight. The same UI and help system are used in a lot of other Spitfire libraries, some of which do have more legato artics that can be switched between.
 

Mark Schmieder

Senior Member
It's possible that the brass only have one legato available. I was looking at the UACC list to try to get an overview of what all is likely to be available. I'll see if I can find consolidated and library-specific articulation lists in the user docs, and if not there, on the web (not my preference while doing work, as browsers are resource-heavy). I've really been spoiled by focusing mostly on VSL for so long. :)
 

Mark Schmieder

Senior Member
I haven't tried the solo brass yet; I'll be doing that this weekend. I'm wrapping up final rendering of ensemble and section work first, as that's where I felt VSL was a bit weak in terms of realism of phrasing (though probably it's just my incompetence). I am astounded at the quality of legatos even in the brass sections in this Spitfire library, so I look forward to trying the Solo Trumpet legato!
 

LowweeK

Loïc D
  • The naming conventions are inconsistent; for example staccatissimo in the GUI maps to spiccato in the UACC spec, so this leads to further disconnects and opportunity for error (i.e. no samples loaded)
  • Unless one is working only with libraries that implement UACC, one has to start from scratch rather than quickly map key switches between different vendors when comparing and/or doubling
For what it's worth, I partially covered those points in this thread that features my UACC reworked list provided you use Logic Pro X.
https://vi-control.net/community/threads/logic-pro-x-my-spitfire-uacc-all-articulations-plist-link-to-dl.81945/#post-4386986

SStB has one type of legato for each instrument. Generally, for each instruments, I did a separate Kontakt instance featuring Legato + Core + Decorative techniques triggered by UACC KS.
Still I get annoyed sometimes by having 2 patches playing even after choosing 1 artic (typically, the legato patch plays along another artic). I'm far from expert in Kontakt & Logic Pro X.
I found out that clicking on the small <-CC-> symbol bottom left of the interface fixes the unwanted legato.
Besides, my system runs at the edge of possible performance, with saturated RAM & heavy CPU work (due to saturated RAM...). So my glitches might come from overall performance issue.
 

Mark Schmieder

Senior Member
Cool; I missed that thread the first time around (probably not understanding its title at the time, or maybe because I don't use Logic except for certain MIDI conversion functions such as Note On Velocity to MIDI CC, and for Alchemy access).

I'll take a look at it tonight or this weekend anyway though. I'm terrible at Logic (I use DP, and also own S1 and Cubase but rarely use those two either). But I might be able to gain some insight and useful lessons from what you did nonetheless.

And yes, I also discovered the utility of the small "<-CC->" button last night. :)
 

Mark Schmieder

Senior Member
Good call-out on the "bells up" articulation, which I hadn't noticed until it was mentioned here. I tried it a couple of nights ago on the Horn Section, but it was well past midnight and I was using monitors at super-low volume vs. headphones. I was surprised by the subtlety of the difference, but I'll try that articulation on other brass soon, and at higher volume (and or stronger dynamic layer).
 

sevensuns

New Member
Don't mean to necro this thread, but I was wondering if anyone here uses Spitfire Studio Brass as their core brass library? I have Studio Strings (core version, not pro) and they are pretty nice, for the price especially. I am in need of brass, and dont have a big budget. I have seen a lot of bashing of Spitfire Studio Brass on here and Cory was also not too optimistic about it in his review, so I am hesitating to get it. Do you guys think the core version of SStB could make for a good core brass library?
 

Wolfie2112

Senior Member
Do you guys think the core version of SStB could make for a good core brass library?
Definitely not. It is very limited in that regard (even the pro version). It's really good for flourishes and embellishments, but that's pretty much it. As a core library, I would look at something like Hollywood Brass Gold or Cinematic Studio Brass.
 

sevensuns

New Member
Definitely not. It is very limited in that regard (even the pro version). It's really good for flourishes and embellishments, but that's pretty much it. As a core library, I would look at something like Hollywood Brass Gold or Cinematic Studio Brass.
I see. Could you give me a TLDR of why that is? Does it not handle the basic articulations well? Or a problem with dynamics?
 

jbuhler

Senior Member
I see. Could you give me a TLDR of why that is? Does it not handle the basic articulations well? Or a problem with dynamics?
I find Studio Brass very quirky (I have the pro version). Poorly matched levels between shorts and sustains (a general issue with the Studio series), the sustain and legato patches have very bumpy transitions between dynamic layers (much more so than the strings or woodwinds), sour notes here and there, and I personally dislike the sound of both of the solo horns. I bought the library as a supplement to SSB (since Studio Brass Pro has articulations (especially mutes) and some additional instruments not included in SSB), and for that purpose it works well. But compared to other libraries I think Studio Brass would take a lot of work to use as a base library.
 

sevensuns

New Member
I find Studio Brass very quirky (I have the pro version). Poorly matched levels between shorts and sustains (a general issue with the Studio series), the sustain and legato patches have very bumpy transitions between dynamic layers (much more so than the strings or woodwinds), sour notes here and there, and I personally dislike the sound of both of the solo horns. I bought the library as a supplement to SSB (since Studio Brass Pro has articulations (especially mutes) and some additional instruments not included in SSB), and for that purpose it works well. But compared to other libraries I think Studio Brass would take a lot of work to use as a base library.
Thanks, that's good to know. I think I will skip out on it then. I have the strings I find them to be quite alright and they have a lot of articulations (even the core version, which I have). Do you make good use of the strings or woodwinds from the studio series, if you happen to have those?
 

paulthomson

New Member
If you are interested in seeing it working in context Sevensuns, have a look here:


Also this month's Sound on Sound has a useful overview of the whole Studio line.
 

jbuhler

Senior Member
Thanks, that's good to know. I think I will skip out on it then. I have the strings I find them to be quite alright and they have a lot of articulations (even the core version, which I have). Do you make good use of the strings or woodwinds from the studio series, if you happen to have those?
I don't have the woodwinds but do have the strings. I've been pleasantly surprised by the strings. Picked them up only because they were part of a big discount package when SF did their May wishlist sale but have found them a good addition to my string libraries. I have a similar issue in matching shorts and longs (which I mostly dealt with by going into Kontakt and modifying the keyboard response curve on the shorts).
 
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