Review: Albion V Tundra by Spitfire Audio

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Albion V delivers subtlety in a powerful way. The sample set is unique, pristine and expressive. conjuring a plethora of emotions when applied with care. This library won’t be right for everyone but just may become THE go-to for many composers working on underscore.

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Referenced in video:
Arvo Pärt, Jean Sibelius and Henryk Gorecki.
Review Evo Grid 3 by Spitfire Audio

Review: Albion V Tundra by Spitfire Audio

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Albion V Tundra is the latest release in the Spitfire Audio Albion range. Spitfire Audio’s Albion Series has long been known as a top-shelf collection of useful orchestral sample libraries. With their latest release in the series, Albion V Tundra, they deliver a vast collection of highly playable, specialty orchestral techniques that are sure to add depth and realism to the workflow of many composers.

Albion V Tundra sells for $449 from Spitfire Audio

 

Thoughts

In a time where “epic” sample libraries seem to dominate the landscape Spitfire Audio’s Albion V Tundra is a refreshing, extensive collection of samples recorded at “the edge of silence”. The performances were inspired by composers such as Arvo Pärt, Jean Sibelius and Henryk Gorecki.

In order to capture the magnificent samples for Albion V, Spitfire Audio assembled a 100 piece orchestra in London’s famous Air Studios and captured a wealth of unusual, dynamic and expressive articulations to analog tape.

100 piece orchestra was captured for a wealth of unusual and expressive orchestral articulations

Those familiar with other Spitfire orchestral libraries will know the Air Studio sound. The developer has tracked many of their orchestral libraries in the room. An obvious plus right out the gate is that owners of previous Spitfire libraries should be able to blend Tundra into their other libraries seamlessly.review-albion-v-tundra-orchinst

The real magic of the library is that the players were instructed to create soft and intimate dynamics during recording. If you haven’t heard the Albion V Tundra demos, check them out and you will really get a sense of what the library has to offer.

Just under half of the orchestral articulations are dedicated to the String section

Just under half of the articulations are dedicated to the String section with a dedicated patch for “MAIN” high and low strings, as well as dedicated patches for high and low “Soft and Wild” string articulations.

Of note here is that Albion V contains 3 legato patches that are really beautiful. The Flautando Legato patch alone is simply wonderful.

 

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Albion V Tundra GUI Overview Panel

A highlight for your humble reviewer was listing to the woodwind articulations including the overblown, slight Benz, and super air. These are the kinds of details in virtual orchestration which can add a new level of expression to a score and easily fool your listener into believing their hearing a live orchestra.

The brass instruments for high and low contain many of the same articulations of the woodlands but also have muted double tongue and granular flutter articulations.

A highlight for your humble reviewer was listing to the Woodwind articulations

The way the main orchestral instrument’s GUI (see Overview Panel images above) is set up it gives users easy access to view and load the articulations, blend between close and far mics, as well as dynamic and expression controller functions.

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Albion V Tundra GUI General Control Panel

The General Controls Panel can be accessed via the “wrench” icon. with controls for round robins, memory, pitch options as well as articulation and dynamic/expression controls.

 

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Albion V Tundra GUI Ostinatum Panel

When short articulations are selected, the library has the option to activate Spitfire’s Ostinatum functionality with the “treble clef” icon. This is Spitfire’s version of an Arpeggiator/Sequencer which  “allows you to build up complex patterns that react to your playing”.

While the Orchestral instruments take center stage for what the library has to offer, Albion V contains even more useful presets.
The Stephenson’s Steam Band folder is a collections of 138 NKI Pads housed in Spitfires eDNA engine.

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Stephenson’s Steam Band Pads in eDNA engine

Stephenson’s Steam Band Pads are a fairly diverse collection of ambiences and pulses that are great for one note wonders and long chordal textures.  I have noted in other reviews that the eDNA engine contains just about every parameter you need in a hybrid library, however, I just have never grown fond of the layout and controls and always feel a bit disconnected from using the instruments in the engine.

Albion V also contains Brunel Loops, a collection of 22 instruments with 52 presets, all tempo-sync’d to your DAW with divisions  across the keyboard for playback of the loops in triplets, 12ths, 8th and 16ths.

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Brunel Loops in eDNA engine

The Brunel loops are a nice bonus addition to the library but just didn’t excite me personally. Perhaps once I get a chance to utilize them in underscore I might think differently.

Albion V comes with a Darwin Percussion instrument. It containing 20 percussive samples in the patch. I found the sounds to be instantly usable as they mimic the spirit of the articulations found in the tonal section of the library.

The percussion reverberate in the room and are quiet, yet powerful during playback. Each hit a mystery when peaking out behind Albion V’s orchestral articulations.

Last, but definitely not least, is the EVO Grid instrument. This is one of the highlights of the library in my opinion. Using the Albion V Tundra orchestral samples – transformed into 32 drones, Spitfire has created an instrument with slowly evolving drones and textures with limitless potential.

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Albion V Tundra Evo Grid instrument

This is the same engine as Spitfire’s Evolution instrument line. If you have seen my reviews of any of Spitfire’s Evolutions instruments you will know I am a huge fan of this engine and with the Albion V Tundra samples this engine really shines. I went into even more detail about the engine when I reviewed Evo Grid 3 earlier this year.

Because of the nature of the sample set, playback of higher frequencies tends to be a little more prominent than that of the low-end tones. Christian Henson addressed the issue saying:

“Lows will always register quieter than the higher pitched registers, so be sure, when scaling through different dynamic layers to venture onto articulations that resonate more, particularly in the proper bass registers… However. I like the ‘close mic’ tip very useful for hyping lows that don’t sing as much as say the silken con sords…”

I think what Albion V delivers could be THE Go-To for many composers working on underscore. The sample set is pristine and has an extensive collection of unique articulations. The eDNA pads and percussion will be very useful and I am betting the EVO-GRID instrument is going to get a lot of use in my scores. Albion V Tundra delivers subtlety in a powerful way and can conjure a plethora of emotions when applied with care.

 

Facts

The library downloads as 44.4 GB and contains 448 NKIs.Albion V Tundra is a Kontakt Player Instrument and is compatible with both the full and free versions of Native Instruments Kontakt loading right into your libraries tab.

Albion V Tundra sells for $449 from Spitfire Audio

Demos of Albion V Tundra

Videos of Albion V Tundra