Hello friends

I'm sure a lot of folks here already know about this, but for those who don't, and who, like me, might be favourably inclined in general to free plug-ins and apps whenever they make themselves available, you might want to check this out: Spitfire Audio, makers of the acclaimed orchestral libraries like Albion One (& etc.) have an extensive free section on their site.  All you have to do is register an account, download the free Spitfire Audio plug-in app, and then pick and choose whichever of the free apps listed in their LABS series strikes your fancy. This morning I was surfing their site daydreaming about when, in the distant future, I might have developed my formal orchestration skills enough that I might want to take the dive into purchasing one of their premium apps, which can get pricey. But while doing so I stumbled upon the LABS offering and went a bit nuts, dowloading all 58 of their packs, resulting in a 30GB bite out of my available PC storage. I haven't had the chance yet to do anything but the most superficial of demos of just a few of the sounds. I expect some will be of interest, some will not and I can always just delete whatever I don't like.  But it looks to me like Spitfire Audio have done musicians like us a great service in offering such an extensive array of free stuff, if for no other reason that to provide us a motivation to kick the tires on the rest of their offering.

If you want more info you can find it on their site page here: https://www.spitfireaudio.com/pages/free-instruments

And more specifically here: https://labs.spitfireaudio.com/?sortBy=prod_products_labs_latest




You need to be a member of Composers' Forum to add comments!

Join Composers' Forum

Email me when people reply –


  • Sorry, the name is Frank not Framl, LOL. Can't type when I'm excited.

  • Hi Framl,

    Ir looks like you need to move your typing chair one inch to the left



    • Thanks Sebh, that is good advice indeed :-)



    Even so, some good tips there. I've never been happy with Spitfire BBCSO simply because you can't switch the reverb off. The recordings include it along with the placement of the instruments. But among their labs are good stuff, given they're free. Like you, I'll end up with a capacity problem but may explore what I can on another portable drive.

  • In addition, in case you haven't noticed, for those who have a bit of money to spend, all Spitfire libraries over €49 (other than the most recent) are half price in a flash sale until the end of today, UK time. Although it's full of bugs and oddities, nevertheless for a full orchestra, I'd strongly recommend the BBC SO Core at that price because it's so much warmer and more involving than the VSL budget offerings for instance and give more of the feeling of a cohesive orchestra. I had briefly considered the Sacconi solo strings, which is among the better options for string quartet (they are few and far between) but in the end didn't.

    Among the other big vendors, Orchestral Tools also have quite a few free libraries but in general, you get what you pay for...

    • This sounds like good advice to me - thanks David!

      Then there's the Hans Zimmer Collection - that'll be 14 billion GBP please, LOL.

    • I didn't get on with the BBCSO. It sounded warm, fine, but I can't switch off the reverb and pass it out through my own plugins. That was the point with the VSL VI series being "raw". Samples are recorded dry so it's up to composers how they process them. I can place instruments where I want them, not having to adopt the BBC layout. A work I wrote for about 14 string solos, string ensemble and contralto would have been impossible.

      I also found the articulations were less adequate than VSL for some instruments (double basses for instance, which Spitfire insists must be doubled an octave below the cellos for most things. I can't remember if a solo DB is available in any form. VSL has much missing but we can't expect every possible need to be provided. On the other hand, VSL lets me set my own CC controls and, well, has the slot rack crossfade so I can invent my own articulations! 

      However, I also use some very old samples that arrived in WAV format, had to be split and set up in Reaper's internal VST along with a fair bit of work to tame them. I still use them occaionally but the absence of keyswitches means multiple tracks per instrument.

      • A work I wrote for about 14 string solos, string ensemble and contralto would have been impossible

        Correct -- the BBC SO is designed for the full romantic orchestral sound. If you want smaller arrangements or individual instruments, I'd not use it and the full VSL instruments certainly have more articulations (as do the Berlin Collection from Orchestral Tools, arguably the market leaders these days) .Indeed I find the VSL Special Edition works very nicely for chamber arrangements when you don't need particularly advanced articulations. Not sure where you get the idea the BBC SO double basses should be doubled below the celli, though.

        • Well, if one is really after a conventional layout and good orchestral sound then the BBCSO does offer good value compared to the alternitves except EW's Hollywood Opus.(that seems to comprise a former series of separates more expensive than Opus itself). It also comes with its instant orchestrator (perish the thought. Bash a few semibreves in, press a button and, LO! Your very own instant Epic.)

          So I'll concede on that. VSL's new Synchron stuff is horrendously expensive - not something for my pocket given I doubt I'd do anything different. I'd have to learn the Synchron player from scratch. I still haven't learn all there is from the VI-pro player.

          As for the Double Bass thing. I can't find it now. There was a page where all the articulations were listed including the soloists from each section. The site has changed. Anyway, it was a bit of an offput. I did explore Discover and realised it wasn't for me: the persistent reverb; unable to assign CC controls; to place instruments and on. The samples themselves were fine...to be expected of the BBC's flagship orchestra.

  • Dane, I think the key thing I'm learning from you is that due diligence is definitely required before plunking down the dollars/quid before selecting an orchestral library; which, I suppose, is not that surprising, given how many of them there are out there right now and the range of costs.  Thanks again for the great advice.  Cheers.

This reply was deleted.