Review: Spitfire Symphonic Brass from Spitfire Audio

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 All the great sounding BML Brass samples packed up in one library at a great price point make this library very tempting. But, there are a few things you must know before making the purchase.

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Jump to the Videos of Spitfire Symphony Brass

Jump to the Videos of Spitfire Symphony Brass

Spitfire Symphony Brass is on a special intro price for £399
till October 1, 2016 from Spitfire Audio.

Review: Spitfire Symphonic Brass from Spitfire Audio

First Spitfire discontinued their BML String collection, Sable, consolidating it into the most complete set of articulations available as Spitfire Chamber Strings. Now with the retirement of the BML,  the developer has consolidated all of the entire Brass collection into one package with an extensive amount of articulations.

Spitfire Symphony Brass sells for £499 from Spitfire Audio

 

Thoughts

First off, if you had been eyeing the BML libraries but just couldn’t sell Grandmother’s jewelry to raise the capital, this release will come as a godsend.  The price of the library is a real steal when you compare it to the cost many composers spent on picking up each of the original BML series of libraries.

The library is a Kontakt player instrument meaning it is compatible with both the full and free versions of Native Instrument Kontakt and it downloads as 64 GB (120GB needed for download space). Spitfire Symphonic Brass features a pretty comprehensive collection of solo instruments and small to larger sections for Horns, Trumpets, Trombones, Tubas and Cimbassi.

maininstruments

I personally didn’t have any of the BML libraries prior to this review, and from what I can tell, the new, revamped collection gives you all the same samples from ALL the BLM Brass libraries. Spitfire Symphonic Brass includes two sections ( a2 & a6) of different sized sample sets for Trumpet, Horns,  Trombone. It also contains one ensemble ( a2 )  for Bass Trombone, Tenor Trombone, Cimbasso and solo instruments for everything mentioned as well as Tuba, Contra Tuba & Contra Bass Trombone. All of the solo instruments come with legato NKI’s with the exception of the Solo Tenor Trombone which doesn’t have a legato patch.

hornsa6cta

Horn a6 (six players) in the options page with access to control Close, Tree and Ambient mic positions

The huge highlight is potential of the new Performance Legato NKIs. The performance legato sounds fantastic and makes playing in your parts with expressive and lyrical lines a reality . . . Now I said potential . . . and I get to that in a bit.

trumpetdecorative

An entire folder of “Decorative Technique” instruments

 

I would have liked to have seen more FX instruments as well as a legato muted trumpet.

There is a very nice set of articulations in the library. This sample set is fairly extensive but I would have liked to have seen more FX instruments as well as a legato muted trumpet. Other than that, unless you’re looking for something really out there I have a feeling that this library will deliver for most professional composers.

otherpatches

Extensive Articulations separated in the “Other patches” & “Decortive Techniques” folder

The stand out is the sound of this library. Spitfire Symphonic Brass comes with 3 mic positions. A close, a tree and an ambient mic. The samples were captured in Air Lyndhurst Hall which I think sounds incredible. Many have said they think it can sound a “a bit thick” at times but the mic options let you have some control. On the PRO side, the sound will blend beautifully with Spitfires other orchestral libraries as they were also recorded in the same hall. On the CON side, those who are strictly looking to use dry, close mic samples will have trouble as there is a noticeable bit of tail even in the close mic as the sound of the hall rings on.

hornsa6closefar

Easy Mix on front of the interface allows a Close to Far fader for easy “mixing”

Versions of the library come with an easy mix option which I have become a huge fan of. It is “easy” to get a great sound by balancing between the “Close” and “Far” sample playback.

I have to say this library is great for orchestrators who need to create high-quality mock-ups as the demos (below) really show off what you can do with the sample set.

As with many of the Spitfire libraries, I always feel like they capture the subtle and intimacy of each section and don’t try to get that unnatural “hyped-and-epic” sound so many developers seem to go for nowadays. I have also read a few critics of Spitfires orchestral libraries commenting on the dynamic falling short of the desired intensity. For my two cents, this is one of the best sounding brass libraries around because it sounds so real. The quality of the playback sounds like an amazing brass group in a great sounding hall. This kind of criticism I have read online I personally dismiss as “hyper-brass” bias – when one listens to too many trailer cues and not enough real live orchestra.

All the criticism I read online I personally dismiss as “hyper-brass” bais – – when one listens to too many trailer cues and not enough real live orchestra.

The big CON is that the performance legato instruments have a harsh release sample in what was otherwise a really beautiful instrument. This is so noticeable I did a “batch-resave” just to be sure I didn’t have a corrupted file. Asking around to others working with the library they had the same problem. I even when back to reference Christian Henson’s official demo vid and . . . it’s right there.

NOTE: I have been informed by a programmer that if you are having the release sample issue to contact Spitfire Audio and they have a quick fix available. I have not emailed them myself yet but please comment below or on any of the Review posts to let me know if you have received a fix so we can spread the word.

What really brings down what would have been an incredible sample set is the fact that Spitfire has locked the legato instrument making users unable to get into the back end of Kontakt to adjust the strange, out-of-place release sample and work around the problem. I am a little perplexed as to the thinking on this and praying there is a speedy update from Spitfire.

Now even with the CONS I have listed I am still loving the sound of this brass sample set.

I find the performance legato instruments (with the exception of the release sample) to be even more usable than I found the Sacconi Solo String Quartet (which I really loved). The official demos (below) do a good job of showcasing this collection and users upgrading from BML or jumping into Spitfire Brass for the first time will be able to create some amazing orchestral tracks.

For all the details see the videos below or check out the official Spitfire Symphony Brass page at Spitfire Audio

Spitfire Symphony Brass sells for £499 from Spitfire Audio

 

Special Thanks to Christopher Harris (@TheDarris) for getting me some information from the perspective of a previous BLM Brass library owner. I will be sure to post his review of library as soon as it is released.

 

Facts

Spitfire Symphony Brass comes with 160+ Kontakt instruments. At the time of posting Spitfire has announced additional instruments (Bass Trombone Solo – Legato & Tenor Trombone Solo – Legato_) would be a free update released so to existing owners.

For a complete list of all articulations visit: Spitfire Audio

85479 SAMPLES
102.0 GB UNCOMPRESSED .WAV
60.2 GB DISK SPACE REQUIRED
120.4 GB DISK SPACE REQUIRED DURING INSTALL
FREE KONTAKT PLAYER INCLUDED
DYNAMIC USER MANUAL
APPLY FOR EDUCATIONAL DISCOUNT

 

Demos of Spitfire Symphony Brass

Videos of Official Videos of Spitfire Symphony Brass