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Music Composers Unite!

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If you fill out a questionnaire Spitfire says they will send you a free download for a 33 piece orchestra.

Alternately you may purchase the library for 49.00 right away.

Of course this is a leader to see if you might be interested in stepping up to their larger libraries. You are under no obligation to purchase more.

The discover library is 200mb. Restrictions include no solo instruments and less articulations than the core version.  Works in any DAW.

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Update- Spitfire sent me a link to this library which I promptly downloaded. So far I am very impressed with the offerings here. 

I hesitate to say this because I think the best way to compose on the computer in an organized way is to stay in one "system" and then learn it well.....such as VL and their player. 

Having said that I can't help but think adding a few of these types of free starter libraries from different companies could be very effective, especially if you invest a little in some decent solo instruments. I'm thinking that mainly you would run everything thing "dry" as in no reverb at all and then add something like Exponential audio's Phoenix or Nimbus reverbs...or if spending more money the 2C Audio plugins.

I have to admit interest in the BBCSO. It has a different sound from the Vienna Philharmonic and is a top class orchestra. Aside from the problem of money it means another huge learning issue just to have the alternative. I can't imagine mixing it with VSL so I have enough USB slots for an SSD (I don't fancy downloading the set) I just unplug my VSL set.

I'm unlikely to dld this free offer though because it's too limiting. 

I didn't like their AI thing! Probably more geared to the dabbler than a composer. Everything was Wow and fantabulous according to the demonstrator. I was looking for a hype button to click off! Future of the Symphony? That's been just a word since Bruckner and Mahler.  But good all the same if it encourages people to make music even if they never learn musical skills.

Nice share, Timothy.

Thank you.

Thanks Timothy!

Just a question.  What type of files they deliver in this free version?  Can I use them with

MuseSCORE directly (.sf3 files?) or with CakeWalk (VST plugins)  ?

Thank you very much.


Hi Ali,

BBCSO is a vst that will insert in Cakewalk ( or any DAW that handles vst ) as an instrument track. You can point the files to where ever you want them to be located. In my case, this was a separate drive. 

There are smaller groups of all instrument types, brass, woodwinds, etc. Each group has different articulations which surprised me this being a starter library. All instruments are positioned in the proper places on the "stage" The vst has a collective reverb than may be increased or decreased. 

A few guys at Cakewalk made template for the orchestra. I have not attempted to download it yet. You may check this out HERE.  One of those guys had the full orchestra and he stripped the template down for this version of it as I am understanding it.

Dane- I guess we all have different ways of working. I only suggested using different  libraries from different makers because that's basically what I have :) For my way of working It doesn't seem difficult. I would simply throw several into the same project and mix them together, I know this is a slight over simplification but should not be too awfully difficult IMHO.

If one only wants the canned Vienna "sound", which is quite good, then by all means you might as well stick with it. It sounds realistic, you don't need worry about positions or sound yeah, if it works for you I'm not attempting to change your mind :)

 I attempted to edit to show the simple discover template HERE. The other template is for the full orchestra.

I think what happens for a lot of users, is that they start out with something easy and basic, like Garritan. Then add another better library. and another, always buying entry-level collections, to save money. In the long run, it would be better to find the highest quality out there, and stay with it, as Dane is doing. 

But this also locks you into one set of sounds. I did it the first way. And there are instruments I prefer from my various libraries. I like GPO's flute, oboe and clarinet. EWSO's bassoon and french horn. Vienn's English horn. and so on. And, since I use only one reverb, and utilize "sends" from the various synths or vsti's, I can blend the different libraries fairly well. Also, having a wide palate available, I can usually find something for those difficult spots. sometimes I mix the same inst. from two or even three libraries, especially with strings. that is a common practice.

Still, I often wish I had just one super library, which would always have just the sound I need at every point. And it would all be placed better, with the same impulses, especially if you use something like Mir. 

But the final point is, you can get good results both ways. The most important thing by far is knowing how to use what you have. For me, it's an endless learning curve.

 I agree nothing wrong with either way. Templates can be made in a DAW using multiple libraries. FWIW though I have several entry level collections like this, I have augmented with high end collections and instruments, so this is another option.In the long run I've probably spent less than some more traditional upgrade paths. This seems similar to the way you have done it Michael. 

FYI, the BBC Discover Orchestra has two more upgrade paths. The next step up from Discover is CORE which is 449.00 US. The next step up is Professional which is 999.00 US. Discover is only 200mb and sounds pretty good. CORE is 23 gb and very high quality...will probably go on sale in the future to registered users of Discover. In terms of size both of those libraries are small in comparison to Professional which I think weighs in somewhere around point being that one could easily stay in the BBC ecosystem and upgrade the same way that people stay in the VSL ecosystem. 

Hi, Timothy,

Well, I'm pretty open minded. I have another set of samples - those I started out with and which I 'tamed' with a lot of work. Even then they weren't wonderful - sampled at an interval of 3 semitones - but adequate for a primitive 'mock up'. I still mix those in. So I suppose picking a few instruments from the BBCSO to mix with VSL and these older chaps isn't out of the question.

I've tended to go Michael's way. 'Go for it' if one's going at all! The VSL special edition was my entry level thing - to try it, see if I could make it work as it seemed frightfully complicated. From that I built it up as money and sales-prices permitted and am still in the process of refining its use. As others and me have said, its manuals aren't always helpful (and I'm in the midst of struggling with a new player version which, on my set up, appears only glancingly like the manual screenshots. It's going to take another day just to get a few admin problems sorted out).

If I had a spare £1000 I'd buy the BBCSO - like the Vienna Philharmonic, one of the world's finest orchestras. But it's also contingent on learning time. The good side is that if I struggle to learn it and am desperate to compose I can revert to VSL. 

I'd certainly go along with anyone wanting to try it, to go with this free offer. For orchestral tone, for "general purpose use"  they could hardly do better.

Actually I need about £3000 to afford the Spitfire choir, the BBCSO, Dorico and two larger SSDs. My Vienna set now takes up 800Gb!

I truly appreciate your bringing this offer to light. Though I probably won't get the cut down version it keeps me in touch with the Spitfire site. 

Timothy Smith said:

Dane- I guess we all have different ways of working. I only suggested using different  libraries from different makers because that's basically what I have :) For my way of working It doesn't seem difficult. I would simply throw several into the same project and mix them together, I know this is a slight over simplification but should not be too awfully difficult IMHO.

If one only wants the canned Vienna "sound", which is quite good, then by all means you might as well stick with it. It sounds realistic, you don't need worry about positions or sound yeah, if it works for you I'm not attempting to change your mind :)

 I totally get where you're coming from Dane. Since I have the VSL Big Bang Orchestra and the syncron player I now get periodic sales emails from them. They just had a few I was very tempted to buy but didn't. I might very well buy some of their libraries in the future. For me, I have the nagging feeling that I could probably make what I have now sound pretty good with the right articulation programming. So far I mostly play with the pre programmed patches which either may or may not fit my needs at the time. Those patches are often of a more generic nature.

With the introduction of Studio One 5 , we now have the ability to add midi articulation cc key switches info right into the midi lane in the same way a person can insert midi into the "piano roll" view. In the past I mostly recorded this live using the mod wheel or key switches.......say you have a horn part and want to add staccato. Simply place the key switch commands where you want them. Since not all instruments have the same KS commands, there's a little ledger where you can customize them. Of course, this has been in Cubase for awhile I think?? and any DAW can be set up, it's just that now with this new work flow it's a lot easier. I think articulations are the real secret sauce over sample libraries. In my opinion even a basic well made library such as  Amadeus can be made to sound very realistic using them. If writing to notation , simply dragging an articulation over in the notation produces it in the music in SO5.

My future concerns are that these independent vst instrument shells such as VSL and BBCSO  are putting more and more of that control "in house" and less of it as an independent thing that can be programmed. IOW relying more on AI programming. People mostly won't care because if it sounds realistic for their purposes, that's all that matters to them.

It's odd to me how different geographical areas seem to cater to certain kinds of programs. In the UK people seem to be all about VSL. In the US Spitfire or Native Instruments new offerings like Metropolis seems to be bigger here. I guess lots of people bought Albion One and stayed in that circle? I don't really know. Funny because Spitfire is a UK company. My perceptions are probably way off. Just the way it looks to me from here.

And then of course you have East West's Composers Cloud ("It's not an instrument, it's all of them"). I can't imagine trying to work while having to choose among many thousands of sounds. I would think a lifetime might just suffice to audition them all. How in God's name do you deal with something like that?

One of the thing that keeps me from splurging on something like the BBC collection is that I would immediately want to remix all my music, to make it "finally sound the way I want." Of course this is a never-ending quest. There will always be another collection to get. and learn. and then redo your music with yet again. 

I'm going to stick with my current setup until I am feeling OK about my pieces. Then I might upgrade to BBC or something similar, but it would be to do new pieces. At some point you have to say "finished" and move on. This has always been hard for me. Like Durufle, I am a perfectionist. He only published about a dozen pieces. But one of them was the Requiem. Now, if I could only be like him with respect to results, and not just the tortured process of getting them...

I know you take your work very serious Michael in reading some of your other posts. I guess we all do. I tend to leave things alone after awhile no matter how bad they seem. As a person who has a full time job on the side what I find most frustrating is getting into a good workflow. I begin to feel the confidence that comes when things are clicking well. I'm making what feels like progress to me. Then life happens and I have to pull away from it for a few days. When I come back it takes the entire time to re-acclimate, re- adjust to what I was doing. Almost without fail there are distractions of one kind or the other demanding I get up go tend to whatever it is. I never get the feeling I can just do this for any length of time. Since I have a very one tracked mind you might understand how frustrating this can be at times. Usually I feel like I'm trading something valuable to go into the studio. Usually it's sleep which I end up paying dearly for later on.

I find if I can keep some kind of on and off momentum going over the course of a few days or a week I end up with "something" I can call a work. If not, it ends up as an idea on my hard drive that will never see the light of day.

I imagined how it must have been for composers in the 1700's . They had a lot more to do than we probably do, yet they still somehow found the time. Travel took much longer. There were no thermostats only wood stoves or fireplaces. No dish washers or washing machines...all of it was done by hand. The grocery store  was nothing like today if there even was one. I guess I should feel fortunate to be able to do it and realize maybe it isn't so bad after all.

Well, Tim, i'm retired, but do I have more time? Not so much. since we live in a house which is essentially in a forest, which is continually asserting itself in the form of the constant debris it rains down on us; not to mention the damage that the Maine winters inflict; I find much of my time is taken up in just defending ourselves from this mindless nature (at least I think it's mindless, but now and then I wonder) just outside the door, patiently waiting for us to abandon our futile attempt to tame it. 

And now, having said what I did in my previous post, I am preparing to download the free version of BBC. You got me when you said that Core will probably go on sale soon. I have promised myself I will just use this to supplement my current palate, for those spots where I just can't seem to get the right touch. Maybe a short flute passage, something like that. but if I am sufficiently impressed with the sound, who knows? you can never have too many choices when it comes to this stuff. although I draw the line at "Composers Cloud." that way lies madness. Although come to think of it, madness lies many others ways, too.

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