Orchestral Swarm by Spitfire Audio Review
Spitfire Audio is a hyped company, they do however also have excellent sounding libraries for Kontakt. One is Orchestral Swarm which is reviewed today it includes numerous string, brass, and woodwind ensembles recorded and mixed as a section, some mixed instrument recordings are included.
Orchestral Swarm is a powerful orchestra library in terms of sound quality, usability, and versatility.
Kontakt users are spoiled when it comes to good ensemble recordings. Many developers have recorded ensembles in the past with different approaches, some are very inexpensive or even free. Spitfire Audio has different approaches to ensemble recordings, they release different types of ensembles with varying price points.
Orchestral Swarm Installation
You download and if needed update the library through spitfire’s download tool. Around 60GB of Disk Space is required when you install the library. It works with Kontakt or Kontakt Player 5.6.8 or higher software in your DAW.
Orchestral Swarm Sound
Spitfire did release in the past other swarm libraries, including Mandolin Swarm, HARP SWARM, and Marimba Swarm. Like the other swarm libraries, this library is mainly for film and television composers – and works for certain producers as well. I produce a record that was using this library.
Orchestral Swarm performs a swarm effect similar to the buzzing of a swarm of beetles or waves in the ocean – instead of nature producing the sounds it is all created by orchestral instruments. It gives you a wider repertoire for all kinds of cinematic and artistic styles.
Orchestral Swarm is very symphonic, with different sections of the orchestra playing swarm articulations. You can think of it as an instrument – like for example a horn section. This library works great when you want to combine your orchestral with modern ensemble sounds, electronic ensemble sounds, or any other sort of sound that doesn’t fit the traditional orchestra. For example, combining Orchestral Swarm with a bass drop or a dub step drop in your song can lead to interesting results.
The expression behind a swarm is very delicate and the attack of each note must be carefully adjusted. Spitfire has done an excellent job when it comes to this type of performance. The expression is quite musical and a very good balance is achieved between the envelope of each swarm part.
Spitfire included a “performance mode” that enables you to play back more articulations with just one single attack per note. This does have an effect on expression, velocity response, and naturalness. If you want to experience this library as soon as possible I recommend you to use the performance mode.
It is one of Spitfire’s best ensemble recordings, there are a few other string ensembles that come close but Orchestral Swarm takes the trophy home. The quality of this library is still amazing after a couple of years, and users expect a lot from Spitfire when it comes to ensemble work.
Spitfire produced a phrase library that is playable, included are Strings, Woods, Horns, Bones & Tubas, and Brass. There are many articulations available for you. Using this library I was very impressed and touched by the waves and swells included.
Overall this library has many applications, besides including it in your score you could also see this as a tool to an intuitive, fast and easy approach to create movement in your score. There are some libraries out which can give you the vibe this one can produce. These are products from Heavyocity which you need to look as well like Heavyocity NOVO Modern Strings, Intimate Textures Novo Pack 1, and NOVO PACK 02 – Rhythmic Textures. Or even the different EVOs or Symphonic Strings Evolutions from Spitfire Audio. The library works also well with Sound Dust different products, Gothic Instruments DRONAR Live Strings and lets not forget Thill from NI.
Spitfire included an arp function, they call it Ostinatum. You can create a pattern in a sequencer and triggers different keys. It supports up to eight patterns, there are not presets which is uncommon and missing. It works on short articulations only.
User interface & Usability
Spitfire Audio has found a standard UI that while it was slightly updated is used across all products, as you may have some spitfire products in your library you will feel right at home, if you are new to Spitfire Audio products and this is the first time you use their UI you learning curve will be ok and you will appreciate the flexibility and support from it.
Spitfire always delivers when it comes to documenting their libraries. You can access all of the necessary information you need right in Kontakt’s interface, which is great for workflow and finding your way around the library quickly.
Orchestral Swarm by Spitfire Audio is an excellent library that provides users with a wide range of articulations. The sound quality is top-notch and the expression is very musical. The ensemble work is one of the best I have heard, and the Ostinatum arp function is a great addition. The only downside is that there are no presets available for the arp function. Overall, Orchestral Swarm is an amazing library that any composer would love to have in their arsenal.
Spitfire Audio did release an entire collection of Swarm libraries in the past and they sound great. Spitfire Audio has a lot to offer in the orchestral library category, and their prices are sometimes very affordable when you purchase several libraries from them at once.
Rating: Five out of five stars
Orchestral Swarm is in line with other Spitfire Audio suitable lush and moving Orchestra libraries. Orchestral Swarm allows you to play a mare of musical vibes with the unique techniques based on Spitfire’s SWARM technology. It will find many applications in various music genres and sits well in the background in underscore or your main score.