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Which Spitfire Libraries besides the main orchestra are worth it?

jbuhler

Senior Member
Nice, I don't do Facebook. Guessing thats kinda redundant with OT Arks?
GAS really doesn't like comments like this.

There are enough differences that it can be worth owning both. These days I tend to use Albion One, along with Masse brass and woodwinds, SCS ensemble patch, vln 1 and cello legato, as a sketching library, since Albion One has legatos and Masse has full sections loaded in a single patch. It's pretty easy then to swap in instruments from SSO and SCS as needed. Many of the Ark instruments, by contrast, are in my main template.

Albion One is also pretty resource friendly, more so than the Arks, which are far more detailed. Its Easter Island hits are pretty great and it has the steamband and Brunel loops, like all the Albions. But if you have the Arks and you are ok with not having the upper winds (or you have other libraries to cover you there) and you don't care about the steamband and the Brunel loops, Albion One may not get much use.
 

Parsifal666

I don't even own a DAW, I'm just a troll.
Whiskers might have at least partly meant that, if you're wanting an ensemble library and don't mind it nice and wet, then Met Arks I and II might be preferable to Albion One. I completely agree with that statement.

You have some really good points re: A1 @jbuhler

But Albion One (besides EVO 1) remains the biggest SA disappointment for me. I ended up only really liking the Spicc/Stacc patch, otherwise I almost never use it.

The Arks, on the others hand...huge love for, and if you have even just the first 2 then imo you have it all over A1, whether you have the (in some ways better) Albion Legacy on top of the latter or not.

There are too many trouble patches for me in A1 as opposed to Met Arks, and to be completely forthright I've actually gotten the Arks to sit right with drier libs like EWH, BHCT and the Hein instruments. I can't say that about A1...in fact I regret the large chunks of time I spent trying to integrate dry instruments into projects with the latter. Once I got the Arks I was pretty much all set.

Finally, the Arks just plain sound better to me.

Just my opinion.
 

Mark Schmieder

Senior Member
I place Spitfire Harp in the middle of my long list of harp libraries (yes, I'm a harp freak as I play the celtic version of the instrument but not the concert pedal harp). And as long as that list is (or perhaps due to its length), I never got around to CineHarp or some others that are loved around here. Mostly because the two VSL Harps pretty much get used in everything, so I wonder why I bothered buying any others! They are so different from each other that a lot of ground is covered.

Here's my current ranking order for harp libraries that I own:
  1. Vienna Instruments — two models available
  2. Soundiron Elysium Harp (Kontakt) — Lyon & Healy Brass Concert Harp (47 strings)
  3. Chocolate Audio Glissando Harps (Kontakt) — Camac (47 strings), Salvi (47 strings)
  4. Garritan Harps (ARIA) — Lyon & Healy, Salvi, and Venus
  5. Sonokinetic Arpeggio Concert Harp (Kontakt)
  6. OTS Angelic Harp (Kontakt)
  7. Spitfire Harp (Kontakt)
  8. Xsample Library (Kontakt)
  9. Miroslav Philharmonik (SampleTank)
  10. Audio Wonder Wonder Harp (Kontakt) — Elysium
  11. Modartt Pianoteq **PM** — Salvi Concert Grand Harp (47 strings)
  12. UVI IRCAM Solo Instruments (Falcon)
  13. Rapture Pro
  14. EW Symphonic Orchestra (Play)
  15. EW Goliath (Play)
The rankings are based on timbre, multiple models available, articulations, and whether it cuts through a mix. Note that I don't care for glissando style playing very much, except as an occasional flourish. I'm more inclined to do arpeggios and/or simultaneous contrapuntal parts. So I did not consider glissando handling in my rankings.

Everything on my list (except maybe the bottom three) is quite good. I would say the most significant break on my list is VSL (Vienna Instruments) above everything else, just as with their Concert Guitar. Very crisp and articulate, but can also be cold and harsh if you want/need it that way. Incredibly versatile!

I haven't updated this list using my more recent annotation style, and there might be a couple of errors, such as Audio Wonder being an Elysium Harp as that is also the name of Soundiron's library but not the brand they sampled.
 
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jbuhler

Senior Member
Whiskers might have at least partly meant that, if you're wanting an ensemble library and don't mind it nice and wet, then Met Arks I and II might be preferable to Albion One. I completely agree with that statement.

You have some really good points re: A1 @jbuhler

But Albion One (besides EVO 1) remains the biggest SA disappointment for me. I ended up only really liking the Spicc/Stacc patch, otherwise I almost never use it.

The Arks, on the others hand...huge love for, and if you have even just the first 2 then imo you have it all over A1, whether you have the (in some ways better) Albion Legacy on top of the latter or not.

There are too many trouble patches for me in A1 as opposed to Met Arks, and to be completely forthright I've actually gotten the Arks to sit right with drier libs like EWH, BHCT and the Hein instruments. I can't say that about A1...in fact I regret the large chunks of time I spent trying to integrate dry instruments into projects with the latter. Once I got the Arks I was pretty much all set.

Finally, the Arks just plain sound better to me.

Just my opinion.
TBH, I'm not especially fond of the strings in Albion One (and I didn't especially like the strings in legacy either), though I like them better than the strings in Ark 1 for most things. I agree the shorts in A1 are better than the longs. If I have to write something quickly and it's mostly in the medium to loud volume range, I can do it and get a credible if not great recording just using Albion One with little fuss. It takes quite a lot more work to do it with the Arks, though the results are more detailed, and I like many of the Ark instruments. Many of them are indeed part of my main template—that's not true of Albion One except the Easter Island hits. So, yes, I agree that the Arks on the whole sound better to me as well.

For purposes of sketching, I'm know there are ensemble style libraries out there for brass at least that sound better to me, but those in Albion One and Masse are good enough if I'm just sketching, and SSB and the brass I use from Iceni and the Arks layer and replace them relatively easily, so that's a real workflow advantage—when I'm working from sketch. It's a similar issue with woodwinds, and the Arks don't cover the upper winds unless you have Ark 4, and those are a bit peculiar. The Albion One upper wind legato patch is pretty decent too if you want that winds in unison sound.

I'll add that in the rare times when I compose on my laptop these days, I almost always use Albion One as the main library just because I find it so efficient with the limited RAM I have in that situation.
 

Parsifal666

I don't even own a DAW, I'm just a troll.
TBH, I'm not especially fond of the strings in Albion One (and I didn't especially like the strings in legacy either), though I like them better than the strings in Ark 1 for most things. I agree the shorts in A1 are better than the longs. If I have to write something quickly and it's mostly in the medium to loud volume range, I can do it and get a credible if not great recording just using Albion One with little fuss. It takes quite a lot more work to do it with the Arks, though the results are more detailed, and I like many of the Ark instruments. Many of them are indeed part of my main template—that's not true of Albion One except the Easter Island hits. So, yes, I agree that the Arks on the whole sound better to me as well.

For purposes of sketching, I'm know there are ensemble style libraries out there for brass at least that sound better to me, but those in Albion One and Masse are good enough if I'm just sketching, and SSB and the brass I use from Iceni and the Arks layer and replace them relatively easily, so that's a real workflow advantage—when I'm working from sketch. It's a similar issue with woodwinds, and the Arks don't cover the upper winds unless you have Ark 4, and those are a bit peculiar. The Albion One upper wind legato patch is pretty decent too if you want that winds in unison sound.

I'll add that in the rare times when I compose on my laptop these days, I almost always use Albion One as the main library just because I find it so efficient with the limited RAM I have in that situation.
It's definitely handy in that respect. And I should mention I feel the strings in both Ark 1 and the "Ones" are truly are the weak point, which is why I replace them with either EWH or Iceni whenever necessary.

I'm probably being too hard on A1...it's just that I was so excited when it came out (I was a major enthusiast of Legacy, and still like it), and to me it just wasn't that much more special. I could have just stayed with Legacy and been happy.

That said, I like the Darwin stuff in both One and Iceni, and I probably should give those darn woodwinds another try.
 

constaneum

Senior Member
I place Spitfire Harp in the middle of my long list of harp libraries (yes, I'm a harp freak as I play the celtic version of the instrument but not the concert pedal harp). And as long as that list is (or perhaps due to its length), I never got around to CineHarp or some others that are loved around here. Mostly because the two VSL Harps pretty much get used in everything, so I wonder why I bothered buying any others! They are so different from each other that a lot of ground is covered.

Here's my current ranking order for harp libraries that I own:
  1. Vienna Instruments — two models available
  2. Soundiron Elysium Harp (Kontakt) — Lyon & Healy Brass Concert Harp (47 strings)
  3. Chocolate Audio Glissando Harps (Kontakt) — Camac (47 strings), Salvi (47 strings)
  4. Garritan Harps (ARIA) — Lyon & Healy, Salvi, and Venus
  5. Sonokinetic Arpeggio Concert Harp (Kontakt)
  6. OTS Angelic Harp (Kontakt)
  7. Spitfire Harp (Kontakt)
  8. Xsample Library (Kontakt)
  9. Miroslav Philharmonik (SampleTank)
  10. Audio Wonder Wonder Harp (Kontakt) — Elysium
  11. Modartt Pianoteq **PM** — Salvi Concert Grand Harp (47 strings)
  12. UVI IRCAM Solo Instruments (Falcon)
  13. Rapture Pro
  14. EW Symphonic Orchestra (Play)
  15. EW Goliath (Play)
The rankings are based on timbre, multiple models available, articulations, and whether it cuts through a mix. Note that I don't care for glissando style playing very much, except as an occasional flourish. I'm more inclined to do arpeggios and/or simultaneous contrapuntal parts. So I did not consider glissando handling in my rankings.

Everything on my list (except maybe the bottom three) is quite good. I would say the most significant break on my list is VSL (Vienna Instruments) above everything else, just as with their Concert Guitar. Very crisp and articulate, but can also be cold and harsh if you want/need it that way. Incredibly versatile!

I haven't updated this list using my more recent annotation style, and there might be a couple of errors, such as Audio Wonder being an Elysium Harp as that is also the name of Soundiron's library but not the brand they sampled.
Which one is better for vsl harp. Is garritsm harp that great ? I bought their jazz band but ended up putting aside coz I'm not getting even close to the demo sound. It sounded awful. Herefore, I'm a bit worried the same faith might happen to garritan harps.

Projectsam has a concert harp which is my current to go for harp and I'm curious where it'll be placed in the list. Hehe
 

dpasdernick

Senior Member
I place Spitfire Harp in the middle of my long list of harp libraries (yes, I'm a harp freak as I play the celtic version of the instrument but not the concert pedal harp). And as long as that list is (or perhaps due to its length), I never got around to CineHarp or some others that are loved around here. Mostly because the two VSL Harps pretty much get used in everything, so I wonder why I bothered buying any others! They are so different from each other that a lot of ground is covered.

Here's my current ranking order for harp libraries that I own:
  1. Vienna Instruments — two models available
  2. Soundiron Elysium Harp (Kontakt) — Lyon & Healy Brass Concert Harp (47 strings)
  3. Chocolate Audio Glissando Harps (Kontakt) — Camac (47 strings), Salvi (47 strings)
  4. Garritan Harps (ARIA) — Lyon & Healy, Salvi, and Venus
  5. Sonokinetic Arpeggio Concert Harp (Kontakt)
  6. OTS Angelic Harp (Kontakt)
  7. Spitfire Harp (Kontakt)
  8. Xsample Library (Kontakt)
  9. Miroslav Philharmonik (SampleTank)
  10. Audio Wonder Wonder Harp (Kontakt) — Elysium
  11. Modartt Pianoteq **PM** — Salvi Concert Grand Harp (47 strings)
  12. UVI IRCAM Solo Instruments (Falcon)
  13. Rapture Pro
  14. EW Symphonic Orchestra (Play)
  15. EW Goliath (Play)
The rankings are based on timbre, multiple models available, articulations, and whether it cuts through a mix. Note that I don't care for glissando style playing very much, except as an occasional flourish. I'm more inclined to do arpeggios and/or simultaneous contrapuntal parts. So I did not consider glissando handling in my rankings.

Everything on my list (except maybe the bottom three) is quite good. I would say the most significant break on my list is VSL (Vienna Instruments) above everything else, just as with their Concert Guitar. Very crisp and articulate, but can also be cold and harsh if you want/need it that way. Incredibly versatile!

I haven't updated this list using my more recent annotation style, and there might be a couple of errors, such as Audio Wonder being an Elysium Harp as that is also the name of Soundiron's library but not the brand they sampled.

Wow! That's a lot of harps but I guess if you're doing a gig with the following playlist you'd be covered...

1) I left my Harp in San Francisco
2) The Harp of the matter
3) Total eclipse of the Harp
4) She broke my Harp so I busted her jaw
5) Turn on your Harp light
6) you gotta have Harp
7) She stuck a dagger in my Harp
8) Harp of gold
9) Bringing on the Harpbreak
10) Harpbreaker
11) Harp shaped box
12) Kickstart my Harp
13) Harpbreak Hotel

Alrighty then... Back to your regular scheduled programming.
 
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whiskers

Perpetual student
don't want to derail the thread to much, but curious on if anyone has both Studio and Symphony series and which they prefer? The Symphony bundle SCS edition would be tempting if all the libs were quality.
 

Mark Schmieder

Senior Member
TBH, I haven't put Garritan Harps to the true test yet as I'm so happy with VSL in every single project that has a Harp (probably at least 15% of my projects). I have only played it solo, and was impressed by the timbre and the range due to the number of harp models included and the quality of the brands chosen. Like I said, VSL towers above the rest, in terms of articulateness and the notes not blurring together when playing more percussively. But I do think that overall most harp choices are at least pretty good; just maybe not all of them quite as versatile for every playing style.
 

Mark Schmieder

Senior Member
The Union Chapel Organ -- I forgot about that one! I bought it when it came out, which from the file system time date stamps looks to be fairly recent -- October 2018? That's probably why I haven't had a chance to put it to a full test yet, other than playing around with it on its own.

Looks like I placed it ever so slightly below Soundiron's Lakeside Pipe Organ (recorded nearby at lake Merritt in Oakland CA) and Garritan's large collection (which I rank high mostly for its academic depth and its breadth of coverage of different eras). VSL of course towers above the rest, due to its incredible recording quality and gigantic number of stops as well as ease of programming and mixing registers (the organ version of that terminology; not music staff version).

As a friend of mine who is a professional pipe organ player said many years ago: the organ is a family of instruments. VSL is NOT the only one I use in my collection, but I'm often pushed towards it when I need certain stops or combinations (registers). I even use Precisionsound's Knutby Church Organ sometimes, as it has a particularly warm timbre without being bright or too "big" sounding. Sonokinetic's Toccata is a bit different too (Bartholomeus Basilica, Netherlands). Too many others too list.

I should get back to the new one from Spitfire this weekend though, as I probably forgot to give it a final pass on some of my more challenging projects where I use 32 or more different stops.
 

jimjazzuk

Member
While I wait for CSW, I'm considering one of the Spitfire woodwind libraries in their sale... worth splashing out for the symphonic woodwinds, or just get the studio basic offering?
 

miket

Senior Member
The Union Chapel Organ -- I forgot about that one! I bought it when it came out, which from the file system time date stamps looks to be fairly recent -- October 2018? That's probably why I haven't had a chance to put it to a full test yet, other than playing around with it on its own.

Looks like I placed it ever so slightly below Soundiron's Lakeside Pipe Organ (recorded nearby at lake Merritt in Oakland CA) and Garritan's large collection (which I rank high mostly for its academic depth and its breadth of coverage of different eras). VSL of course towers above the rest, due to its incredible recording quality and gigantic number of stops as well as ease of programming and mixing registers (the organ version of that terminology; not music staff version).

As a friend of mine who is a professional pipe organ player said many years ago: the organ is a family of instruments. VSL is NOT the only one I use in my collection, but I'm often pushed towards it when I need certain stops or combinations (registers). I even use Precisionsound's Knutby Church Organ sometimes, as it has a particularly warm timbre without being bright or too "big" sounding. Sonokinetic's Toccata is a bit different too (Bartholomeus Basilica, Netherlands). Too many others too list.

I should get back to the new one from Spitfire this weekend though, as I probably forgot to give it a final pass on some of my more challenging projects where I use 32 or more different stops.
I use the Union Chapel library along with a few bits and pieces from Garritan to make it into a "larger" instrument.

Apart from Hauptwerk, which I have avoided because it doesn't seem easy to use in a DAW environment, I think Spitfire has the most satisfying virtual pipe organ, from my perspective as someone familiar with pipe organs. Most others seem very cursory in their execution, and while VSL has something comprehensive, I have too many qualms with VSL in general to use that one.
 

Mark Schmieder

Senior Member
Mike, that's a good suggestion to blend the two -- it's always worth trying. As many organs are "Frankenstein Monsters" anyway, there's nothing wrong with the concept of layering two organ libraries to get all of the necessary stops, if the timbres blend well together.

I'm going to put some time into Union Chapel Organ today -- perhaps on the two parts of my unfinished Mass (on the back burner for a while), as I want a warmer texture there due to blending with voices.
 
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