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Spitfire Studio Woodwinds - Coming Soon

I have all three — the so-called professional versions — and I'm sorry to have to say: both the musician and the Spitfire-fan in me are abyssopelagically disappointed in this set. (Sorry, Luke.) It was the fact that, on paper, the Studio Series contains exactly the sort of libraries that I have been waiting for, combined with the many very satisfying experiences I've had with Spitfire in the past, plus, to a lesser extent, Paul's shrewdly luring walkthroughs, that made me want to see for myself what the Studio Series is all about.

Having now spent some time with these libraries however, I not only understand why all the demos done with them sound so unconvincing — the reason is simple: these are seriously flawed sample libraries — but I'm also filled with a sort of dread when contemplating if this is going to be the new standard of quality for Spitfire products from now on. Because, if it is, the increasingly misfiring outfit will instantly drop in my list of most respected and favoured orchestral library developers, from the top spot (which it shares with one or two other developers) to somewhere far, far below the average, if not the very bottom.

I could go into detail about what it is that puts me off so much in these libraries — musically and technically —, but it would become a very long-winded post during the writing of which I'm not sure I'll be able to contain my disillusionment and not start writing some rather unpleasant and unfriendly sentences, as is my wont when upset.

Let me just say that, in my opinion (and all of this is just my opinion of course), this material is neither worthy of the name Spitfire and most certainly not of the tag 'professional'. Not even close. Not even when the meaning of the word 'professional' is stretched to also include 'semi-'. All three libraries are severely under-sampled — as a consequence of which the programmers had to resort to some very questionable solutions trying, but failing, to mask the void —, many of the instruments don't sound convincing at all to my ears (there are couple of reasonably good ones, sure, but most of them seem to beg to be described as 'disturbingly average' or worse), the instruments are capable of only a very limited range of performances and expressions, and there's an all-pervading and very un-Spitfire-ish superficiality and sloppyness affecting this set which makes working with it a constant struggle and source of frustration and irritation. And whatever you do with these libraries, it'll always scream 'sampled', 'unnatural' and 'fake', as all the demos do, as all my own experiments with them do, and as Rhye's in-every-other-respect-very-impressive-and-applause-deserving piece does.

Not the worst, but certainly the saddest purchase I've ever made in nearly 2 decades of buying sample libraries. I can't for the life of me understand how whoever is in charge these days at Spitfire ever gave their fiat for this inferior product to be released. A veto would have been a decision far more in line and in character with the uncompromising and high-quality past achievements of the company.

_
Thanks for you honest assessment. I wish I would have had this info earlier since I bought the Studio Orchestra core late yesterday. I haven't had a chance to really work with them yet but I too was very skeptical about what I heard in the demos. I was going to upgrade to the pro if I liked what I heard so I'm even more curious now... mixed with a lot apprehension. It's a shame if what you say is true, Spitfire's brand and reputation is what prompted me to purchase even with the concerns I had after viewing their demos. At least my wallet wasn't totally depleted by starting with the core.
 

AlexanderSchiborr

Senior Member
If you read around you’ll see folks have severe issues with Berlin woodwinds as well.
Thats true, no library is without flaws. So I
If you haven't yet done so, give Piet's audio examples a listen.

Also, Cinematic Studio Winds is aiming to release by the end of 2019 and possibly even as early as this summer, according to Alex. Personally, I have BWW Legacy and can probably just make do until CSW is out.

One more thought. It might be good to differentiate between using using winds for more lyrical solos, or in context in a full orchestra. When I read people's opinions, I wonder which they are looking to get. @markleake had an interesting post in this regard. In a way, they can be opposite goals, since you want the soloists to have character that makes them stand out, but in context you want things to be uniform so they blend more convincingly.
Can you post a direct link maybe?
 

sostenuto

Big NKS Fan !
Thanks for you honest assessment. I wish I would have had this info earlier since I bought the Studio Orchestra core late yesterday. ***** At least my wallet wasn't totally depleted by starting with the core.
Was very close to same decision. Not put-off, just delayed now. Perfection never expected, yet level of flawed content experienced thus far is perplexing.
When experienced spanner tweakers are concerned, I am best advised to step back, watch and learn. :barefoot:
 

miket

Senior Member
But other people are evidently finding success with it, even with the Core version, and finding the limitations manageable That needs to be remembered too.
Get out of here with this common sense. It is now time for everyone to get on board with the prettily-written critique.

Imagine if developers would just offer demos. No more need for some to float back and forth on the winds of VI-Control opinion.
 
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sostenuto

Big NKS Fan !
Get out of here with this common sense. It is now time for everyone to get on board with the prettily-written critique.

Imagine if developers would just offer demos. No more need to float back and forth on the winds of VI-Control opinion.
Really !! Several top providers provide 'limited' demos now (e.g. u-he, Pianoteq, RedRoomAudio) with satisfactory self-protection.
Large Libs can surely be cut down to practical size with adequate demo content.

Always open to instruction if I am poorly informed.
 

robgb

I was young once
The Studio series to me seems to be low cost libraries meant to have lots of bang for the buck. Maybe not even meant for top pros like Piet.
If true, I'm not sure I understand this sentiment. What's the point in targeting only middle-line pros or hobbyists?
 

miket

Senior Member
Really !! Several top providers provide 'limited' demos now (e.g. u-he, Pianoteq, RedRoomAudio) with satisfactory self-protection.
Large Libs can surely be cut down to practical size with adequate demo content.

Always open to instruction if I am poorly informed.
Well, there are significant financial reasons not to do it, of course.

Think about the trajectory that many, if not most, VI experiences follow:

- hear demos and walkthroughs; it's great

- start using it yourself; there are some issues

- why isn't this perfect? unusable. want money back

- remember that these are all fake Frankenstein's monster instruments in one way or another

- learn to live with the limitations and make great music

If you give people the chance to jump ship in the third phase, many will.
 

jbuhler

Senior Member
Berlin Woodwinds has issues but it sounds far, and by a huge margin, musical to my ears (and I own it, including all expansions). It is possible to get convincing passages written using Berlin.
I don't doubt it. I imagine people will get very convincing passages writing using the Studio series woodwinds too along with many unconvincing passages because these are sample libraries. I imagine, however, the expressive range of the Berlin woodwinds is quite different from that of the Studio series (they are optimized to do different things and the Berlin series is designed to be more comprehensive), and I remember someone complaining that the Berlin winds are sometimes too expressive and so less than ideal for ensemble playing.

My recollection is that the main complaint against Berlin is that there are too many inconsistencies across the library, not being matched in terms of articulations or even available mics positions. I don't have any of the Berlin woodwind libraries, so this is solely by memory of what I've read.
 

ism

Senior Member
With all respect to re-peat’s Uber hyper high-end demands of sample libraries, and the decades of skill and experience that it takes to ascend to this level of connoisseurship, for a $150 wind library this sounds completely unbeatable to me.

And the context I read this insinuation of terrible criticque is that utter savaging he gave the studio strings - which I have - was ultimately unhelpful and made very little sense to me in that a) I usually can’t even audibly reproduce most of the reported horrendous ‘issues’, and even when I can, b) they’re more niggles that death spirals of suckitude that they escalated into within vi-c discourse.



Which is why Corey’s review was so good - it’s not uncritical he doen’t hides the flaws/limitations , it’s that he elucidates what the library actually is - which is not all things to all people. But a rather wonderful library judged by the standard of understanding just what kind of library it it.


So I certainly respect that this is maybe a bit entry level for some people (remember that SSW combines years of sampling across 4 separate libraries) and also that there’s a clear design choice of depth of sonority over depth of sampling here’s - ie CSS, for instance, is more deeply sampled (4 dynamic layers vs 2, 4 legatos vs 2) but has far fewer articulations that’s SStS, and a much more homogeneous sound palette. And that different libraries and approaches to sampling of course serve different people in different ways at different times.


That said, I hope we can keep the discussion here aware of what SStW *is* and not descend into savaging it for something it isn’t (and was never designed to be).

Of course, it’s valid and helpful critical discourse to point out what’s it isn’t and what it’s limitations are.

But as we’ve seen over and over in these pages, buyer’s remorse very often gives editorial cartoon like expressions of bitterness rather than helpful critical discussion. Not saying it is isn’t valid emotionally, just saying it not ultimately all that helpful.

But I really do hear some quite brilliant music being made by this library, and with a sonority I don’t think I wuite hear from anything else. And I’d like to hear it discussed more. (Also, I don’t think I have the energy for another death spiral of a thread like the studio strings which amplified re-peat’s criticisms far beyond what I believe he even intended dominating mostly of thread)

I guess the point is that it’s easy to savage *any* sample library, especially when you bought it wanting it to be a different library. But there’s a point at which this become is the sample library reviewing equivalent of an editorial cartoon - grotesquely charicaturing a deficiency or limitation of a libary rather than a helpful critical discourse towards understanding what the library actually is.

(Same thing with the Spitfire strings - i7ts a hard library to figure out, but understood for what it is, it’s a uniquely brilliant library. Unless you bought it think it was the Tina Guo cello, in which case it’s uniquely awful - and vice versa)

So, with this caveat, looking forward to more constructively critical discussion.
 

ism

Senior Member
Berlin Woodwinds has issues but it sounds far, and by a huge margin, musical to my ears (and I own it, including all expansions). It is possible to get convincing passages written using Berlin.
There’s a lot to love about Berlin. Where SSW (and I think SStW) differ is, to my ear, the approach lyrical dimension.

I find main line BWW sound a bit flat compare to SSW, when exposed. Which is of course by design, since Exp B & C give you wonderfully lyrical lines.

And on the whole, apart from how much I love the Spitfire sound in general, I think SSW hits a very nice, and very fine balance between lyricality and that ability to blend in an ensemble.

Contrast this to 8dio Claire - which are wonderful for hyper-lyrical moments. but outside those hyper lyrical moments, I find them badly behaved prima donnas who just won’t play well with others - both because of the mics and the sound engineering and because of the baked in dynamics arcs - wonderful for soloists, horrendous for ensembles, or even in some contrapuntal settings.

I’m seriously considering the Belin exp B though. Which to my ear adds a ‘restrained lyricism’ that you don’t get from either spitifre or Claire - though at the cost of arcs baked in on a single dynamic layer. With is a limitation that becalmed pronounced, for insance, when you contrast the Berlin Exp C bass clarinet with SSW (and SStW?) - which has a lovely lyricism in the vibrato, but which also brings a much larger dynamic range to its lyricism than the Berlin expansions single dynamic layer is capable of.

If there’s a weakness in SSW, it’s how lyrical the solo clarinet, and to a lesser extent the oboe, can go. Which is why I’ve been looking towards Berlin B and the Claire instruments.

That said, there are are a few passage in SStW demos in which the clarinet sounds really great. The walkthrough doesn’t really do justice to what it can do, so i’m Interested to learn more about this dimensional of expressiveness.

So much great stuff out there.
 

Robert_G

It really is just an expensive hobby for me
Contrast this to 8dio Claire - which are wonderful for hyper-lyrical moments. but outside those hyper lyrical moments, I find them badly behaved prima donnas who just won’t play well with others - both because of the mics and the sound engineering and because of the baked in dynamics arcs - wonderful for soloists, horrendous for ensembles, or even in some contrapuntal settings.
Claire was designed for solo concerto....I wouldnt even try them in essembles. As for solo, imho claire is the best there is. The clarinet is really nice and stands out. So i agree. Claire doesnt play nice with others....but it doesnt need to. 8dio CSW will probably be phenominal if it takes after CSS and CSB
 

muk

Senior Member
From what I have heard of Spitfire Studio Woodwinds, I personally think that for about the same price you will be better off with VSL Woodwinds SE and SE+.
 

rottoy

Plebeian
Claire was designed for solo concerto....I wouldnt even try them in essembles. As for solo, imho claire is the best there is. The clarinet is really nice and stands out. So i agree. Claire doesnt play nice with others....but it doesnt need to. 8dio CSW will probably be phenominal if it takes after CSS and CSB
It's funny that you mention the Claire clarinet as a standout, I've always found it to be the weakest of the lineup.
The shorts, arcs and general articulations are lovely, but I've always found the legato patch to be a tad pitchy in the transitions.
 

Robert_G

It really is just an expensive hobby for me
It's funny that you mention the Claire clarinet as a standout, I've always found it to be the weakest of the lineup.
The shorts, arcs and general articulations are lovely, but I've always found the legato patch to be a tad pitchy in the transitions.
Probably because the clarinet is the hardest ww to sample. I struggle to find a clarinet that i like...and 8dio made a good attempt on theirs. Minor pitch issues can be worked around in most cases.
 
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