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Spitfire Studio Woodwinds - Coming Soon

Mark Schmieder

Senior Member
Thanks, last time I checked a couple of years ago, I couldn't find (m)any user manuals at their site. I'll try again shortly.

Update: I see that I did download some a few years back (some of which I think were removed later during a website restructuring). I forgot I had them, because I installed them separately from the libraries in order to protected against possible erasure during library updates. I'm used to looking for my manuals in my Kontakt library folders.

I am out of date though, so will see if I can find user manuals for the newer libraries, which I did search for at the time but maybe it was too early as I usually do the pre-orders and rarely visit the website.

It does look like the very newest libraries are installing documentation folders, so probably the woodwinds will as well.

I should also check for updated user manuals for some of the older products.

Part of the confusion was likely caused by the frequent restructuring of product ranges, so documents and the like might not have made it during some of the strange stitching we had to do to "transform" our older libraries into new versions that used different naming and organizational schemes. It looks like I had more manuals installed than I thought though.

OK, now I see that I drew a false conclusion based on some cherry-picking of desperately needed manuals that STILL are not there. Combining that with frequent statements about video tutorials being better than user manuals (not for me they aren't), I probably falsely assumed that actual user manuals (such as for Ricotti Mallets, which I just checked again right now) remained a "work in progress", when actually a fair number of libraries have manuals and have kept them up to date.
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Mark Schmieder

Senior Member
Installation is complete! It's missing the user manual, but I found that on the website and downloaded it just now, with a quick skim to familiarize myself with the available articulations and how they're handled.

I like how the swells can be adjusted in length via a control vs. having to select one of many swell variation patches. It's not a huge articulation list, but I'm about to play with it now and see what all can be done to expand from the core list, which in itself seems sufficient as it covers overblowing and trills as well as dealing with the different "character" of softly played notes.

Mark Schmieder

Senior Member
The oboe and cor anglais alone, are worth the price of admission! I think these are now going to be my favourite choices for the upper double reeds.

I did not find a direct statement in the manual about which mics were used for the close work, although other mics are named. They are valve mics, and C2 is said to be for a "leader", which I guess means "section leader" or maybe for solos only. Whatever the case, I much prefer it to C1, which is the default, as the C1 mic is just a bit too warm and pastoral for most of my projects.

There are a huge number of articulations, and lot of user-friendly control.

As VSL doesn't have CC-based vibrato control, I'm always picking specialized vibrato patches and switching them, or using other tricks to get more realistic overall vibrato within a phrase. regrettably, I deleted all of my vibrato CC's from earlier sound source renditions, so I'd probably have to replay those parts using my Yamaha WX5 wind controller, to take advantage of Spitfire's vibrato control.

I need to get deep on this library, as it may well replace VSL in my template, for most of the winds (where there's overlap; VSL is more extensive in its coverage).

The only instrument I don't like is the clarinet, which doesn't sound right to me, with any setting or mic mix, like there's some weird resonance thing going on there. Possibly the player is using a Boosey & Hawkes instrument vs. a Buffet (or even Selmer), as those have long been popular in British orchestras (they're no longer made). I tried one a few years ago and found it a bit honky overall.

The bass clarinet fared a bit better, but I'd need more time with it to be sure. Certainly it has the most realistic lower-velocity response of any I've tried. But I own seven members of the clarinet family (Bass, Alto, G, A, Bb, C, and Eb), so I do all of those parts myself anyway.

I had barely had time to get into the Brass library when this came out, but already over the holiday week I was finding it likely that I would start swapping in this library for Horns. Now I'm eager to see how the Brass and Woodwinds blend together on harmonically reinforced parts, or even contrapuntal parts. With VSL, I often find that bassoon doesn't stack well with the brass.


Winter <3
I bought them and have made them the go-to winds in my template. But previously I was making do with a hodgepodge of Albion 1+3 and Berlin Orchestra Inspire (such is life for an LA assistant - you get asked to take winds out more often than you get asked to put winds in) so it wasn't hard to consider these an upgrade. Doing some quick comparisons with EastWest Hollywood Winds (which I have through CCloud but haven't used much) also clarifies that these are some nice, well sampled winds without obvious flaws and hiccups. At the current price it's surely hard to say no to at least the Core edition. I think these winds cover almost all the bases except romantic, soulful solos. In typical Spitfire/OT fashion, there's a classical/symphonic attitude permeating all these performances and if you try to go "full Hollywood" with your woodwind solos you won't find that extra yard in this library. But everything else here is solid, consistent, musical, responsive and usable. I'm surprised people compare these to VSL. Dry as they are, they do sound like tree recordings of a real orchestra. VSL will always have that "close recordings re-played in a space" sound to it which I strongly dislike. I wasn't tempted at all by Studio Strings, and Studio Brass lost out to CSB in my view, but this woodwind library is a solid entry into an undersampled space.

Mark Schmieder

Senior Member
I'm personally comparing them to VSL only because that's the library I am by far the deepest on, and my go-to for almost everything. But lack of vibrato control is a real killer, and some of the instruments have that Vienna timbre that isn't my first choice (including when I buy classical recordings). So I'm always open to other stuff, with Chris Hein's recent foray the first to really pull me away from VSL (and likewise pretty dry if you turn off a bunch of built-in defaults).

The Spitfire Studio series isn't really dry like those other two, and is a bit closer to VSL's new Synchron series if you pull down some of that one's defaults. I've only partially switched some stuff here and there (such as pianos) to Synchron.

I go very light on reverb in final production, but do feel that one can get a bit more natural air from original mics, depending on how things were recorded and how they are blended. The problem often is in competing images, especially if taking a grow-your-own approach to section positioning.

MIR Pro alleviates some of this, but I haven't had time to go as deep on it as I'd like, so I often find myself using Vienna Suite's various hybrid reverbs and convolution as well as the dumbed down version of MIR. I rarely use Altiverb anymore except for soundscape stuff.

The type of projects where I see myself possibly switching over to the new Spitfire Studio series, are ones that are not symphonic in nature but have a lot of orchestral instruments augmenting synths, rock instruments, jazz, world instruments, etc. And I also want to try it on some Broadway style arrangements (which I've done over 100 of, over the years), as I do find VSL too dry for that stuff.


Senior Member
I haven't compared 8DIO to Spitfire Studio Woodwinds yet in terms of total articulation sets; the comparison was to VSL. But the workflow is the main thing. I did put a lot of time into it, but others may have spent more time than I did and found a way to access every single articulation from the same VI instance and MIDI track.

I'm only 2/3 done downloading Spitfire Woods, so I have a feeling I won't get a chance to try it out tonight, as installation will take a while also.

I hope they have a user manual this time; my biggest annoyance with that developer is the dependance on browser-hosted videos, which run against my workflow in terms of maximizing CPU and memory efficiency as well as available screen real estate when doing production work.

Also, videos aren't exactly random access, unless they have a gazillion labeled markers and can be pre-buffered.

I often lack confidence in my assumptions about what stuff does in Spitfire libs, depending on my ears to be the judge but noticing inconsistencies between libraries that make me wonder if I guessed correctly. The situation has been improving a good deal with recent releases.
Sorry, I thought you were replying to my post about 8Dio's offerings. Because I thought they had a decent enough articulation set to create some pretty good mockups.

Mark Schmieder

Senior Member
Sorry, I thought you were replying to my post about 8Dio's offerings. Because I thought they had a decent enough articulation set to create some pretty good mockups.
Actually, I was indeed replying to the 8DIO discussion. If you have found a way to access all of the Claire articulations from one MIDI track, is it something you can summarize easily? It might help compare the workflow vs. Spitfire Studio Woodwinds, for those on the fence.

Mark Schmieder

Senior Member
I owned the EWI for a while and couldn't get on with it, as the mouthpiece is a hard plastic tube with no flexibility, so doesn't even feel like an oboe (an instrument I have played a bit, but don't currently own, and certainly never mastered as with clarinet and hopefully eventually flute).

The other thing I couldn't adjust to, was the electrical impulse trigger, vs. physical keys, as trained wind players prep their key changes in advance and that causes false triggers on the EWI. And yet Michael Brecker swore by it, and I had some discussions with him in the mid to late 80's about various playing techniques to get around its approach (I didn't actually buy one until the 2000's, when the new series came out).

I have been following specialty forum discussions on the Roland controller, and it seems to hold out some hope for eventually being a good replacement for the Yamaha WX-series. Due to Euro laws, the WX-5 can no longer be sold, unfortunately, and Yamaha seems to have given up on that market and gone instead for super-beginner models (recently) and the "Silent Violin/Trumpet/etc." approach (those are extremely expensive and designed for schools so students can practice without bothering neighbours, vs. oriented towards MIDI musicians).

A number of us came up with tweaks for the Yamaha WX-5 and WX-7, to improve the responsiveness and overall playability. I haven't used mine in a few years but got it out yesterday to encourage further use. It was a perfect match for the VL70m physically modeled synth module with the improved patch set from Patchman in the ROM replacement chip. But time marches on, and Sample Modeling came along with what I feel results in even better renditions, also receptive to wind controller input.

Roland just came out with a cheaper/smaller version of the Aerophone, but I haven't yet sussed out if it is overly crippled to meet the price point. I still may try one of their models eventually. I don't like breath controllers -- even the better ones. As a trained wind player, I do much better with an actual wind controller. But of course breath controllers are preferred if you're dealing with polyphony.

Mark Schmieder

Senior Member
I forgot to comment on the Alto Flute in the new Spitfire library earlier. This is the first time I have heard an alto flute library that has a warm timbre (maybe the 8DIO Claire as well; I forget as I couldn't get it to match the complex phrasing that I had previously mapped to VSL). I have to do tricks with VSL's Alto Flute to get close to the timbre I want, and to properly seat it with Concert Flute.

Alto Flute is one of my most used instruments. I do a lot of latin jazz, where flute is king, so I often have dual lead lines, weaving in and out of each other, and usually throw the second part (sometimes even the first) to Alto Flute. And I have a nice Pearl Concert Flute and Alto Flute, but haven't yet gotten to where I'm good enough to play my own parts. :) I write in my head vs. at the instrument, in order to not be limited by ability, and often write parts that are a huge challenge to play (even for a full-time pro symphony player) -- on every instrument, not just flute.


I absolutely love Oliver's "Purgatory" track on the Spitfire page. I think it will make me finally cave in and buy it.

(Oliver's "Black Obelisk" was what finally pushed me over the edge with BHCT as well. That man ends up costing me a lot of money!)

Mark Schmieder

Senior Member
The 8DIO Claire series was on sale during Black Friday. It's not as complete a set as this new Spitfire range, but for those who can't yet afford this new one and who keep getting pulled towards the Claire range due to audio demos, reviews, price, etc., I would like to point out that the timbre of those libraries is to my ears one of the finest.

I haven't checked yet to see whether the players are identified, but one of the things I love about living in the SF Bay Area is that the woodwind players in every performance organization whose concerts I attend, to my ears have the most pleasing timbre (dark and warm) of any US city -- a bit closer to what you hear in Europe.

Likewise, I do not yet know whether Spitfire pulled players from one of the London orchestras, other individuals, or perhaps those supporting film and TV work.

It is easy to overlook the importance of the players in a sample library, and not just the miking and other choices. :)


Senior Member
First, I think the NI winds are not good at all...maybe only good for layering way in the background. HW Winds are also their worst library, so wouldn't really count on them at all either, but better than NI. Do you need a new winds library, or are you just looking to replace the two you have?

I have a lot of 8Dio stuff as well, and they hinted at possibly releasing a Century Winds soon. * did does make some really great sounding winds...that also includes a second tone, so that you can blend them together for a larger sound.

Having said that, if you really want the SF winds, definitely get the Pro version while it's on sale...it's worth the extra options I think.

Also, symphonic winds are much more expensive from SF, and unless you have their strings, and brass I think having a more flexible library is a better option.
Thank you for this concise breakdown :)

I would like to replace the ones I have yes, because I also feel the HWW are the weakest of the bunch
NI ones are not properly balanced in number of players either. Most got those for the Ensembles...

I also heard about Century Woodwinds coming and that would really bring me some joy, but alas it could be a couple of years away yet! And you are right those Claire Series ones are nice, but add up in price once you have them all (I have Alto Flute only)

Think I will take the dive and get the Pro Studio Woodwinds. Need to download them at work though HAHAHA

Not going to cut it on my Uncle's 12Mb/s home broadband :(
By the time that finishes Century or Cinematic Studio Woodwinds would be out ;)


Senior Member
I haven't heard any demos showing the Oboe, or Eng. Horn, in a lyrical, emotional, type track, with the Oboe, or Eng. Horn being well exposed in the mix.

Mark Schmieder

Senior Member
Regarding the NI Winds, it's a bit strange that the Symphony Series has a uniform "house look" to it, when a different vendor was used for each orchestra section.

The woodwind section comes from Soundiron, who are the other local-to-me guys who split off from Tonehammer, so there's clearly no association with the 8DIO Claire or Century series, as all of this material came after the split.
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