Review: Albion ONE 10th Anniversary Edition by Spitfire Audio

by

Albion One is an all-in-one workhorse for composers blending orchestral instruments with modern sound design and electronics. The 10th Anniversary update adds hundreds of new presets and sound sources, cementing this package’s place as one of the most versatile and value-packed single products on the market.

Jump to the Demos of Albion ONE 10th Anniversary Edition

Jump to the Videos of Albion ONE 10th Anniversary Edition

Review: Albion ONE 10th Anniversary Edition by Spitfire Audio

It’s hard to find a composer these days who doesn’t already have Albion One. This package of orchestra, percussion, and electronic sound design has been an extremely popular part of Spitfire Audio’s product range, and the recently added 10th Anniversary Update has expanded its usefulness even more. With hundreds of new presets and additional sound sources and a reworked UI, Albion One is back on the forefront of the sampling industry.

Albion ONE 10th Anniversary Edition sells for $449 from Spitfire Audio

At the tiem of posting the instrument was on the special introductory price of $349 at Spitfire Audio

 

Thoughts

With Albion One’s 10th Anniversary update, the user interface has been redesigned. While the functionality of the original is still retained, everything fits on a smaller panel with a couple of additional features.

The main panel on the orchestral patches is now much simpler. The easy mix area shows the orchestral seating arrangement and uses a simple fader that goes from “Close” to “Far” rather than the 4 mic mixer. There are also dynamics, vibrato, reverb, and expression faders along the top to keep the most basic and useful features in one panel. For the multi-articulation patches, the articulations are lined along the bottom.

Clicking the wrench icon reveals the more detailed controls. Here we have the traditional 4 mic mixer, as well as several toggles for Purge Unused, Transpose, CC mapped vel, and others. The complete set of faders is available on the right, including release and tightness. This panel provides everything the first one does, but it’s a little more densely packed with more intimate functionality. This is where those of us who like to tweak the details will feel most comfortable.

The Ostinatum is back and works the same as it did before. This is where you can create patterns with whole notes, 64th notes, and everything in between. This tempo locked ostinato machine lets you set up single-key loops and handles chords in a few different ways. It’s essentially an arpeggiator for the orchestra rather than synths.

Spitfire’s “Kickstart” engine for Albion One’s percussion is back mostly unchanged, but with the 10th anniversary’s signature blue/teal hues in the background.

While the eDNA engine in the Stephenson’s Steam Band and Brunel Loops didn’t go through any changes with the big update, it’s worth noting, for those new to Albion One, the power and sound design potential of this tool. The basic premise of the eDNA engine is detailed control of two sound sources, with an oscillator that can smoothly bounce back and forth between the two sources with crossfades in between. Each side has filters, modulation, envelope, and other basic controls. With the addition of a gate sequencer and a huge FX rack, you can create great pulses, plucks, drones, and weird sound effects.With tempo syncing and MIDI CC learning on top of all of these other functionalities, eDNA becomes a tool that’s easy to use but produces interesting and complex results.

Most of the additional content was from the 10th Anniversary Update was on the eDNA side, but there were 15 orchestral combination patches added to the Albion One orchestral.

These patches combine orchestral instruments in different ways, including both long and short articulations. While this isn’t anything you couldn’t already do with Kontakt and various single patches, it’s a nice little free addition that can inspire ideas for tracks. Sometimes odd things can happen with dynamic levels. For example, in a patch that combines brass and woodwinds shorts, the woodwinds dominate the lower dynamics while the brass completely overtake the winds at higher velocities. While this is realistic, it can be a bit awkward to play when the timbre completely changes if you accidentally hit a key too hard. These patches are worth a quick play through, but they aren’t the main attraction of this update.

With a total of 157 new presets and 141 new sound sources between the Brunel Loops and Stephenson’s Steam Band, there’s a ton of new content to play with here.

Most of the new Brunel Loops uses very organic sound sources.The clinky and plinky metals make for great rhythmic motion in library music, and are primarily percussive in nature. There’s an overall tendency in these new additions to really push the grungy and edgy electronic sound, despite the organic sound sources. Heavy use of tape saturation and distortion drive make for some really nasty and dirty final products that range from loops to leads and bass sounds and even heavenly and majestic pads. Preset browsing through the new content could (and has) lead to several new ideas for tracks right away. As a side note, the preset names are great – snarky, cheeky, and generally descriptive. For example – “Awesome Bass – MW is low pass filter”

It’s worth noting that the 10th anniversary update also added some new content to the Easter Island percussion hits, and fixed some phasing issues in the Darwin Percussion ensembles that have plagued the library since release. These minor changes are welcome as always, rounding out Albion One as one of the best packages for new composers to invest in.

 

Facts

Albion One contains 47,233 samples with the 10th anniversary update included, and takes up 56 GB of disk space installed. Orchestral patches utilize 4 mic positions and encompass a variety of combinations and orchestral ensembles, covering strings, brass, woodwinds, and percussion. Brunel Loops and Stephenson Steam patches utilize Spitfire’s eDNA engine.

The 10th Anniversary Update includes 67 new presets for the Steam Synth, 90 new Brunel Loops Presets, 15 new Orchestral Combination patches, remixed percussion to reduce phasing issues, a reworked user interface, and NKS compatibility.

Albion One 10th Anniversary Edition works with the free Kontakt Player in version 5.5 or higher, and is available for $449 from Spitfire Audio

At the tiem of posting the instrument was on the special introductory price of $349 at Spitfire Audio

Demos of Albion ONE 10th Anniversary Edition

 

Videos of Albion ONE 10th Anniversary Edition