Spitfire Symphonic Series Opinions?

Henu

Senior Member
Interesting, very interesting. and what was that part? What libraries have you tried/tested?
Unfortunately I can't post it due to NDA's (it's work-related stuff) but basically 125 bpm 8th notes (with some staccatissimos included) in front of longer notes, played very freaking loud/ cuivre dynamics. Imagine this, but a bit higher and only with the horns, repeated a couple of times. I'm looking for a rather "old school sound" here, so I wanted to go with SSB first to get that honk I needed.

I tried to build a patch which utilizes staccato overlay, but that sounded even more weird. And many times within quick articulation switching, there was some serious release- bugs and whatnot in the samples, throwing the stereo picture around like a madman. So, I admitted the bitter defeat (really wanted to go with SSB here for the sound) and tried other ones.

(like SSB), Cinebrass were having troubles with the inconsistencies of articulation volumes/ attacks. But at least there was a sustained note with sharp attack. Samplemodeling was....well, samplemodeling. Maybe next time, haha! And Adventure Horns just sounds so not what I want, so I had to ditch that too even though it nailed the part articulation-wise (unsurprisingly, like the SM brass).

Strezov on the other hand, as a black horse, almost got it right. I just thought it lacked a bit punch but was ready to go with that one. After all, it also has quite an "old school" tone. But then I caved in and started to fiddle around with CSB, using all the articulations....until I realized to just hit the marcato + rep. overlay. BOOM, that one went to even more aggressive that I even needed. :D Mission accomplished in 5 minutes what took me two hours on other libraries and not even as well.

However, at the end I decided to go with the CSB solo horn layered 50/50 with the SSB Horns a6, because that was a compromise between the articulation "punch" and the sound. Which is good, because now I can finally move on to the next instruments, haha!

But way too many horn libraries just don't have a strong marcato attack on their long articulations. Even the SSB's "cuivre" patch has a swell in it, and for some reason it's sampled with a much smaller range than the rest. Maybe they thought it would be unrealistic to go that high/ low with the blasting horns, who knows.

EDIT: Just to point out, my biggest annoyement in general in sample libraries are the sustained attacks, which are almost always the thing which screams "samples!" to me when hearing mockups if they suck and swell like there's no tomorrow. For me, it's one of the most crucial part of the mockup sounding realistic. So my quest for finding libraries which have those realistic- sounding attacks is almost psychotic in a way- your mileage may naturally vary. :D
 
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OP
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5Lives

Senior Member
If no one had been surgically dissecting these in the forum, I bet you would have never noticed ;)
Probably right :) But when spending money I prefer to rely on the knowledge of the crowd vs. adopting the ignorance is bliss approach.
 

markleake

Recovering sale addict
If no one had been surgically dissecting these in the forum, I bet you would have never noticed ;)
One thing though, in Daniel's first video this was very noticable. It wasn't because someone said it here on VIC that I realised it. I suspect most people would notice the same. Whether it matters much in a final rendering, I don't know.
 

markleake

Recovering sale addict
I agree with you @Henu, the leading part of the longs can be a problem, and it affects SSO like many other libraries. I think they record it this way to give some movement to the sound, so probably it's a compromise for working in VI land. I do love SSS though and use it all the time still (in my hobbyist capacity).

And totally understand your frustration with the SSO brass. I find the same, the various shorts often seem to be exactly what you don't want. I sometimes think they didn't put enough thought into what they recorded. Add realease issues into the mix and it can make a mess out of an exposed articulate line I want to write, depending a lot on what I am writing of course. I find I have to jump between the different patches or instruments to get what I'm aiming for.

I don't have CSB yet, but thinking it should be on my Black Friday radar. I just love the SSO Brass tone so much though.
 

jbuhler

Senior Member
And totally understand your frustration with the SSO brass. I find the same, the various shorts often seem to be exactly what you don't want.
I rather like SSB brass and mostly they suit what I want to write. I find the staccatos to be uniformly good and they match reasonably well to the longs/legato once you figure out the velocity. That said, the marcatos are more problematic and somewhat harder to match to the longs/legato, but with sufficient massaging I can usually get them to work ok (though they don't really sound why I think marcato brass sounds like). But I always have issues with the tenuto. It rarely seems useful, and again doesn't really fit with what I think tenuto brass sounds like.
 

markleake

Recovering sale addict
I rather like SSB brass and mostly they suit what I want to write. I find the staccatos to be uniformly good and they match reasonably well to the longs/legato once you figure out the velocity. That said, the marcatos are more problematic and somewhat harder to match to the longs/legato, but with sufficient massaging I can usually get them to work ok (though they don't really sound why I think marcato brass sounds like). But I always have issues with the tenuto. It rarely seems useful, and again doesn't really fit with what I think tenuto brass sounds like.
Yes, like you, I find the longs and staccatos I find are fine, except highest velocity staccatos do tend to stand out a bit too much from the velocity one step below. Minor complaint though.

The bigger issue is as you say, the other shorts I find harder. And they vary a lot in how they are played between instruments also. I'm still learning the library though.
 

TGV

Senior Member
It's the scripting (releases, volumes, etc) and the attacks in the sustains which is my biggest annoyement.
But you're saying that the strings are the worst, and the woodwinds the best of SSO?
 

jbuhler

Senior Member
Yes, like you, I find the longs and staccatos I find are fine, except highest velocity staccatos do tend to stand out a bit too much from the velocity one step below. Minor complaint though.

The bigger issue is as you say, the other shorts I find harder. And they vary a lot in how they are played between instruments also. I'm still learning the library though.
Yes, a lack of consistency between instruments is my biggest complaint with SSO. It’s one reason I might switch to something else if I could find another library or set of libraries where I liked the sound to the same extent but that was more consistent so the programming was more straightforward.
 

jbuhler

Senior Member
I see, thanks. I'm pleased with the SSO strings (apart from fast lines), so that's quite a recommendation, IMO.
I’m not fond of SSS and tend to use SCS instead. Even when I want the heft of SSS I tend to layer them with SCS because that solves a lot of problems I have when trying to use SSS alone. And SSS and SCS can usually utilize the same midi in layering.
 

Henu

Senior Member
Yep, SCS is the way to go here as well. I tend to layer 2RR's myself, which usually is enough.
(On my current project, I'm planning to double it with Adventure Strings to get a bit more drier and romantic vibe on top of that, and I'm eagerly to hear how it works.)
 

dzilizzi

I just hang around pretending I know something
Yes, a lack of consistency between instruments is my biggest complaint with SSO. It’s one reason I might switch to something else if I could find another library or set of libraries where I liked the sound to the same extent but that was more consistent so the programming was more straightforward.
This is the problem I'm having. Well not actually having, since my writing is not great. But trying to start with a good library that doesn't require a lot of massaging because I can barely write orchestral let alone figure out why it isn't sounding like it should. And everyone here has their favorites, but even the favorites have a lot of issues. Makes you want to buy them all, resample/fix the sound and combine the best into a new Kontakt instrument that is all fixed and perfect.

And in 10 years, I will be ready to write music with my fancy new player that has been superceded by a bunch of new libraries that almost work slightly more than what I've cobbled together.
 
OP
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5Lives

Senior Member
Sigh...inconsistent recording and editing is now starting to seem like Spitfire’s standard operating procedure it seems sadly (and I say this as a loyal customer of SCS, HZP, the Albions, and a few others). Makes me hesitant to invest further with them given the many other options out there these days.
 

dzilizzi

I just hang around pretending I know something
But does anyone have a library with consistent recording and editing that sounds good? And doesn't cost $20,000?

I'm actually curious. Because I start looking at all these libraries and there a a lot of complaints on each of them. Or they just do one thing well.
 
OP
5

5Lives

Senior Member
CSS / CSB reviews are generally quite positive about the consistency? And Aaron Venture’s Infinite Series if you’re into that.
 

dzilizzi

I just hang around pretending I know something
CSS / CSB reviews are generally quite positive about the consistency? And Aaron Venture’s Infinite Series if you’re into that.
But they aren't complete orchestras. And much as I want to like either of them, most of the demos sound a little synthy to me. But some of the user pieces for CSS do sound decent. I haven't seen much for AV's stuff. And I do hear complaints, just maybe not as many.

I also like the sound of Air. Though OT's Teledex is nice also. I just don't know if I have the machine to handle it (OT). :)
 

muk

Senior Member
From my experience the Cinematic Studio Series and the VSL VI Series are very very good in that regard. Consistent recordings and programming. They just work.

At the other end of the spectrum, again in my personal experience, are 8dio. They don't have a quality control that deserves that name in my opinion. From Orchestral Tools I only have the Berlin Strings First Chairs. Alas, these are horribly inconsistent as well, even after a large update. Inconsistent concept, inconsistent recordings, inconsistent programming. Makes the library hard to use. And a pity that is, as most of the sounds are beautiful.

Apart from the big names there are a few smaller sample developers who have quality products. Light & Sound Chamber Strings fall into this category for me. Sonokinetic as well (disclaimer, I am currently a beta tester for Sonokinetic). Fluffy Audio and Embertone too if user feedback is to be trusted (I don't own any of their products, so no firsthand knowledge here).
 

tomosane

New Member
I don't own SSS, but have issues with the programming/consistency in many of Spitfire's products. Still, I'm pretty heavily invested in them because their libraries tend to very close to what I want purely in terms of sound. And honestly, I own several random libraries from other developers and in my estimation *many* of them tend to have similar issues.

The only libraries I have that I have absolutely no qualms about in terms of usability are the ones that are very limited in terms of articulations and scope, such as Adventure Brass. And while focusing on such libraries can seem like an attractive path, you'll likely soon find yourself with a template that is an absolute mess in terms of different room/hall sounds.

Reading the continuous praise for the Cinemating Studio series with regards to usability makes me really, really wish I could appreciate the sound of CSS. But alas.