Critically acclaimed UK soundware developers, Spitfire Audio, have a wide scope of product ranges from their Signature and Definitive product lines to the British Modular Libraries (BML) and Producer Portfolio, to name a few. We understand that it can be tricky sometimes to decide which libraries will fulfil your own musical needs so, in conjunction with Spitfire, we’ve put the first in a series of Buyer’s Guides together to help you make the decision. First up, we take a look at the Albion range…
Which ALBION is the one for you?
The Spitfire Albion range offers one stop solutions to create cinematic music in an instant across a broad selection of genres. They’re designed to spring out of the box and just work regardless of your knowledge of orchestras, orchestration and music theory. They can give you both everything you may ever need orchestrally, or can be an entry level to further orchestral adventures and exploration with deeper sampled modular libraries like our BML (British Modular Library) range. A great ‘base module’ if you will. They can also plug the gaps in your arsenal, and for composers with bigger orchestral palettes often offer an incredibly quick sketch tool, or something ideal for laptop use on the redeye from New York to LA.
Spitfire currently offer four different volumes giving four distinct solutions. However, the unifying theme for the entire range is that the orchestral and percussive elements are all recorded to tape in the hall at Air-Studios, London. They are recorded in ensembles not sections which make them incredibly easy to use but also lends a sonic homogony and inter resonance between players that is impossible to replicate with the more common “overdubbing” sampling technique. Whilst Albion adopts a “broad brush stroke” approach to working, each volume comes with a series of mic options so that you can tweak the mix to suit your project or application.
Let’s start with Albion ONE, Spitfire’s best selling volume which has earned a number of platinum and 10/10 plaudits and awards. This edition offers what Spitfire believe to be a one stop shop for creating epic cinematic music. Centering around a huge 109 piece orchestra, including a 74 piece symphonic string section, massive and rousing brass, biting and beautiful woodwind and a thunderous ‘cinematic’ percussion ensemble, Albion ONE is for anyone wanting to sound epic, widescreen and blockbuster. You’ll find a selection of complimentary and infinitely tweak-able synth sounds hosted on the company’s eDNA engine alongside a huge selection of dynamically cross-fade-able loops specifically designed for use alongside orchestral material.
Albion can be heard on everything from major blockbuster action movies to nature documentaries, on records by stadium acts to hybrid dance. It is used extensively from TV factual entertainment to major movie trailers to AAA games releases. Albion ONE was recently revamped from the ground up to give it even more bite and remain at the centre of the zeitgeist and so it continues to be the best selling line.
It is an ideal entry into first forays into orchestral music, a one stop shop for all your orchestral needs or indeed is a brilliant ‘base module’ from which to build a larger, more detailed and advance orchestral palette. It is also incredibly popular with composers with larger orchestral arsenals as a no-nonsense sketching and writing aid. Something that is often used on laptops or “home rigs”.
Albion TWO – Loegria (pron’ log-ear) also offers an entry into orchestral music, but provided you’re looking for a slightly more understated and beautiful indie style chamber orchestra (smaller than symphonic) of 30 string players accompanied by some delicious but very esoteric brass and woodwind ensembles. Alongside this is a library of gorgeous organic synth patches designed to sit perfectly in drama and alongside the orchestral material. It is also accompanied by some very eccentric mellotron style loops, and some stunning orchestral percussion.
We think it is the ideal library if you were looking to create music along the lines of Thomas Newman, Cliff Martinez, Clint Mansell, Arvo Part, and Jon Brion. Concentrating on the quieter, more sweeping beauty including amazing achingly moving sul tasto and flautando samples, Loegria is also ideal for romance and period use. But like Albion ONE it is immensely easy to use, an entry point for the more independently minded. Moreover composers with larger sounding orchestral libraries have found this an excellent one tool for a slightly reduced aperture or a fresh font of inspiration. The flautando strings really have to be heard to be believed!
Albion 3 – Iceni (pron’ eye-see-knee) where One and Two offer excellent entries into the delights of orchestral and cinematic sampling, Three and Four are definitely tools designed to enhance and enrich existing palettes of sounds with once-in-a-generation historic recordings. Iceni caters to the needs of base-heads the world over. A never-before assembled phalanx of 24 cellos (yes, 24!) and 8 basses, enormous rasping brass and woodwind sections accompanied by some driving low cinematic percussion, super fat bass synths and edgy loops created by leading producers. This edition of Albion is a total one off.
We wouldn’t recommend it as an entry level into orchestral music unless top lines aren’t your thing! Spitfire have found that people who already have large palettes but are looking for a simple way with just a few tracks, create earth shuddering impact without tracking and hacking their existing libraries. This library has proven very popular with Hybrid and Dance acts, blockbuster and action composers, trailer makers and AAA games composers.
Albion 4 – Uist (pron’ you-issed) often (wrongly) referred to as aleatoric effects, these areas of orchestral sampling tend to be an afterthought, a ‘bonus’ section of any given library. So the Spitfire crew decided to decamp to the hall for weeks to go deeper and further than has been gone before to create a one-stop and definitive library nay encyclopaedia(!) of atonal effects, additional techniques and innovative orchestration approaches. With the eminently classy orchestrator and taste-master Ben Foskett, Spitfire are jutifiably very proud of this detailed study of unusual orchestral techniques, from playable eerie string lines to immense tutti glissandi, with many of the sounds dynamically cross-fade-able.
The woodwinds are a particular treat, with their totally unique textures. Composers find this library incredibly useful to write orchestral music that is impossible to mockup with traditional samples. Especially suited to horror and thrillers, this library also proves itself as a brilliant one-stop addition to anyone writing action, trailer / hybrid music all the way to contemporary avant garde concert music. Games composers and sound designers have found this to be a treasure trove of delights with the multitude of choice and cross-fade-able dynamics offering extraordinary adaptive possibilities.
So, in conclusion, the Albion series is everything you’d need to create modern cinematic orchestral music. Albion ONE – big and broad, Albion Two – small and beautiful, Albion Three – thundering low and enormous, and finally Four – challenging, tense and scary. All with an array of the finest musicians playing the finest instruments, comprehensively sampled in ensembles, at Air-Studios London via the finest signal path to 2” tape. Spitfire Audio are proud to be a major contributor to the British music industry – all musicians earn royalties from every copy sold.