Overpriced Spitfire products

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lfm
KVRAF
5234 posts since 22 Jan, 2005 from Sweden

Post Fri Jan 10, 2020 10:58 am

Since I ditched everything Kontakt almost 10 years ago - I only looked at those they have own plugins for.

So far bought Whitacre choir - and seems fine to me. I have not used it that much yet, but initial tests seemed good. Got it on their hdd service which is brilliant, I think.

I was tempted to go for Hanz Zimmer strings now they had 40% off - but got hold of myself. Maybe I did good - seeing there are mixed feelings about them - and will test Whitacre fully before proceeding.

Don't know if there are issues with versions of Kontakt how they work, and if made for player having issues with full version.

Mr Arkadin
KVRAF
1590 posts since 11 Mar, 2003

Re: Overpriced Spitfire products

Post Fri Jan 10, 2020 1:13 pm

lfm wrote:
Fri Jan 10, 2020 10:58 am
I was tempted to go for Hanz Zimmer strings now they had 40% off - but got hold of myself. Maybe I did good - seeing there are mixed feelings about them - and will test Whitacre fully before proceeding.
Don't forget a lot of the comments on the HZS library were made before the 60GB recently added (for free). Best to check new reviews. However if I had that kind of money I would get BBCSO first (when on sale of course).

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AngelCityOutlaw
Banned
216 posts since 4 Dec, 2017

Re: Overpriced Spitfire products

Post Fri Jan 10, 2020 2:49 pm

koolkeys wrote:
Thu Jan 09, 2020 9:54 pm
My point was that saying something is overpriced just because something cheaper can get similar results is just missing the point, and missing the fact that while there can be similar results, you can also push some libraries further that cost more. YOU or anyone else here can't possibly define what is useful or sufficient for orchestral work. This should go without saying.
Look man, I don't know about you, but I want the stuff I bought so that I could make music with it able to actually play the music I write.

You really think people can't say what's "sufficient" for orchestral work? How about "something that can actually play orchestral music"?

I think that's pretty simple, obvious, agreeable criteria.

I've already explained the problems with Cinesamples, which, if you buy at regular price, strings + winds + brass will run you 1500 USD. For roughly the same amount of money, you can buy the Cinematic Studio Series by Alex Wallbank; a lot better, a lot more musically capable.

I'm not sure why you choose to defend the likes of Cinesamples in light of that. Especially where I live, most people who are not boomers are not able to simply throw around 1500 USD or more. Many people I know are working two jobs just to afford rent. So if they, especially beginners to samples, spend 1500 US on something that markets itself as a great orchestral library for film scoring, they better be getting what they're paying for. Especially considering that you'll need above-average computer specs, a monitor, a desk, chair, internet, etc. This stuff is not cheap.

Look at how Albion One markets itself

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3UAS6KqJPk

Now, nichts gegen diese Frau, Homay ist süß and all, BUT that is a pretty-damn boring and unimpressive piece. Certainly not "everything you need to make film music in one box."

But I'm not necessarily blaming her because ALL of the Albion One demos sound equally boring. Great sound quality, though!

So, most people would assume it's just the composer and not the tools. After all it is, "everything you need to make film music in one box." So I'll just write different music with it! I recall a similar complaint being leveled at Hans Zimmer strings, where people said it sucks at playing fast. So Christian Henson "debunked" this claim by making a video of it playing slow as a turtle on a codeine bender.

So, good luck. You've just pissed away $500 if you were hoping to elevate your writing beyond ostinatos, pads and overused legato. You could've got "The Orchestra", NotePerformer 3 or even Berlin Inspire and had much better luck, and for approximately the same price.

It's "buyer beware" out there, and the best way for buyers to beware is to scrutinize what is being played with the tools.

koolkeys
KVRAF
16117 posts since 2 Dec, 2003 from Nashville, TN

Re: Overpriced Spitfire products

Post Fri Jan 10, 2020 10:03 pm

AngelCityOutlaw wrote:
Fri Jan 10, 2020 2:49 pm

Look man, I don't know about you, but I want the stuff I bought so that I could make music with it able to actually play the music I write.
So do I. And I have libraries in all price range. I don't know what your writing style is, or your workflow, but I can assure you that the "overpriced" libraries you speak of can absolutely play the music that many people write. They do it every single day. Suggesting that they aren't as capable is just silly.
You really think people can't say what's "sufficient" for orchestral work? How about "something that can actually play orchestral music"?

I think that's pretty simple, obvious, agreeable criteria.
Yet you fail to realize that most of the more costly libraries actually do an excellent job at that. No, they don't write every voicing and dynamic for you. If you want to just play a chord and get a full-fledged orchestra, you won't find that. Even with the ensemble products. It does take work. But you seem to have a different definition of what "play orchestral music" actually means.
I've already explained the problems with Cinesamples, which, if you buy at regular price, strings + winds + brass will run you 1500 USD. For roughly the same amount of money, you can buy the Cinematic Studio Series by Alex Wallbank; a lot better, a lot more musically capable.

I'm not sure why you choose to defend the likes of Cinesamples in light of that. Especially where I live, most people who are not boomers are not able to simply throw around 1500 USD or more. Many people I know are working two jobs just to afford rent. So if they, especially beginners to samples, spend 1500 US on something that markets itself as a great orchestral library for film scoring, they better be getting what they're paying for. Especially considering that you'll need above-average computer specs, a monitor, a desk, chair, internet, etc. This stuff is not cheap.
I don't believe I've said anything about Cinesamples, did I? Though they have some excellent products, and Cinebrass is widely believed by many to be one of the better brass libraries out there.

Whether somebody can afford a library makes no difference in how capable it is, and not being able to afford it doesn't make it overpriced. And anyone spending that much should certainly do their own research. There are hundreds of Youtube videos and reviews of virtually every major library out there. I really don't buy into the idea that a lot of people struggling to pay rent are plunking down $1,500 for an orchestral library.
Look at how Albion One markets itself

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3UAS6KqJPk

Now, nichts gegen diese Frau, Homay ist süß and all, BUT that is a pretty-damn boring and unimpressive piece. Certainly not "everything you need to make film music in one box."

But I'm not necessarily blaming her because ALL of the Albion One demos sound equally boring. Great sound quality, though!
I don't own any Albion libraries, and won't pretend that marketing departments are ever 100% indisputable in their claims. But I do know there are a LOT of people that use the Albion libraries, including on top-tier projects. So for those people, the library is worth every penny, even if it does lack depth. But again, I have never used any of the Albion libraries to comment much.
So, most people would assume it's just the composer and not the tools. After all it is, "everything you need to make film music in one box." So I'll just write different music with it! I recall a similar complaint being leveled at Hans Zimmer strings, where people said it sucks at playing fast. So Christian Henson "debunked" this claim by making a video of it playing slow as a turtle on a codeine bender.
Hanz Zimmer Strings did have some issues in that area, but they have added 60GB of shorts and other samples, and improved the legato further. So it might be better now. I have it but haven't downloaded the update yet, so I can't say.

But that doesn't mean HZ Strings is overpriced. It's actually a fantastic and deep library with a ton of microphone positions, and if you need that especially large, soaring soundtrack string sound, it's phenomenal. Plenty of people are happy with their purchase of HZ, and the price wasn't a problem. It's not meant to be an all-encompassing string library though. It's a specialty piece, and a luxury library. But what it does (which is quite a lot, but just designed around a particular sound), it does very well. I love playing the HZ Strings personally.
So, good luck. You've just pissed away $500 if you were hoping to elevate your writing beyond ostinatos, pads and overused legato. You could've got "The Orchestra", NotePerformer 3 or even Berlin Inspire and had much better luck, and for approximately the same price.
Please don't make yourself look bad by suggesting that HZ Strings can't get better string results than those. It's a whole different beast entirely. I own two of the three (I don't have Inspire), and The Orchestra, while a very fun and cool instrument capable of great things, just simply doesn't pass as a realistic orchestra when compared to most larger libraries. It's made for easy writing, but lacks a boatload of details that prevent it from doing more dynamic orchestral writing.

And as stated, NotePerformer 3 is excellent, but it's not a library like the others being discussed. It's a playback tool with sounds designed to interpret musical notation INSIDE one of the three big notation editors. I really wish they WOULD release it as a "library" or plugin to use in a DAW (which they kind of did with WIVI years ago, which NP3 is based on, but it lacked half the orchestra). But at the moment, it's not a replacement for orchestral libraries unless you ONLY use your notation editor to create fully-finished scores. And most people don't do that.

In the end, nobody is saying that the more expensive libraries have to work for YOU, or the way you write, or the specific results that you want to get. But for every library you've criticized, I can show you dozens of people who praise them and use them with great success. We could go on and on and on about how you think the expensive libraries aren't worth it, but that's simply nothing more than personal opinion. There is no standard or facts that support that (just as there are no standards or facts to support them being worth it- it's all preference and personal need).

If we can't agree on that, then this conversation is pretty much useless.

Brent
My host is better than your host

koolkeys
KVRAF
16117 posts since 2 Dec, 2003 from Nashville, TN

Re: Overpriced Spitfire products

Post Fri Jan 10, 2020 10:06 pm

Whew. That was long. Sorry about that. I'm done most likely with the back and forth. Honestly, keeping up with it all is a pain, lol. To each his or her own, and buy what you believe works for your music, and realize that your needs don't represent others. A library might not be what YOU need or value, but that has no bearing on whether it does for other people. Good luck.

Brent
My host is better than your host

fairlyclose
KVRist
342 posts since 4 Jul, 2019

Re: Overpriced Spitfire products

Post Sat Jan 11, 2020 12:39 am

Spitfire doesn't allow license transfer so you have to buy them based on their marketing. Maybe they exaggerate maybe they dont but there is no control over marketing at all. I am reluctant to buy from people who dont allow resale unless they have a great reputation, very fair walkthroughs, and a unique product. I bought one Spitfire product quite a while ago. It is okay.

lfm
KVRAF
5234 posts since 22 Jan, 2005 from Sweden

Re: Overpriced Spitfire products

Post Sat Jan 11, 2020 1:41 am

AngelCityOutlaw wrote:
Fri Jan 10, 2020 2:49 pm

But I'm not necessarily blaming her because ALL of the Albion One demos sound equally boring. Great sound quality, though!
Could it be that some are too focused on gear and sound - and less about the art of music? ;)

One thing that is compelling about Spitfire Audio is they target video score - and at least the ones I asked about Whitacre choir and Zimmer Strings with their own plugin - are 48 k samples on disk. So running a project for video, usually 48k, you get no overhead doing realtime resampling to project sample rate. Large projects - it start to matter.

epiphaneia
KVRian
736 posts since 29 May, 2011 from Germany

Re: Overpriced Spitfire products

Post Sat Jan 11, 2020 3:16 am

While Spitfire are now marketing to the "advanced hobbyist" market, they originally started with doing libraries for professional composers with million-$-projects. Even now, a large part of their clientele seems to be small-to-medium professional media composers, trailer composers, library music composers.

For such people, time often is money, and when an hour is worth $250 (for individuals) or occasionally thousands of $ (for groups of people / studio time), noone goes "with a few hours of editing, I can just save myself these $500". I usually prefer saving money by editing stuff myself, but even so I recently bought BFD just for a single remix. Could I have achieved myself what BFD did for me out of the box? Sure. In a day? No.

On a related note, long ago, when Project Sam´s Symphobia was still in the $1.000 price region, I once helped a friend do a TV ad track of 20 seconds. It basically consisted of 4 Symphobia notes (one of the since overused full orch patches) and a synth chord. Got him $2.500. Back then, many people called Symphobia overpriced, but it sure paid for itself in a day.

lfm
KVRAF
5234 posts since 22 Jan, 2005 from Sweden

Re: Overpriced Spitfire products

Post Sat Jan 11, 2020 7:20 am

epiphaneia wrote:
Sat Jan 11, 2020 3:16 am
While Spitfire are now marketing to the "advanced hobbyist" market, they originally started with doing libraries for professional composers with million-$-projects. Even now, a large part of their clientele seems to be small-to-medium professional media composers, trailer composers, library music composers.
Do you even have to mark target audience at all - price says it all.
Haven't Waves been doing this now since 7-8 years or so - just dropping prices in campaigns and those that can afford that go for it.

I jumped on Gold bundle 2013 - if it was $249 or similar, and thought it was ok - 30+ plugins and all.

Since then it's been on campaign at $99 at Waves and even less at retailers.

Step by step they went lower each year on campaign - and sucked up any interest at that price range.

Now that they swing that all the way to everybody - they just release v10 - so old customers had to do WUP to be up to date - start caching in on older sold possibly. Was that 2 years ago or so - and if it was v11 already at some stuff now, not sure, read something like that.

I have nothing bad really to say about Waves - always helpful and top notch support. Bought everything I wanted 2013-2014 and been fine since. And did not have any WUP since 2014.

What Waves did was maybe the way to go - these huge million dollar studios paying anything becoming less - and home studios rise through the ceiling.

Maybe Spitfire Audio should go the same route. But if every product 0.5 TB maybe that does not help - it become an obstacle using up so much space. If something is doing good enough job with 1-5 GB.

What Waves offer does not have that problem.

But if it's 50% off on Zimmer Strings next time, I might go for it.

User avatar
kevvvvv
vvvvvvv
2421 posts since 24 Oct, 2000 from skelmersdale, west lancs, uk

Re: Overpriced Spitfire products

Post Sat Jan 11, 2020 7:54 am

OP said
most of the samples are set very, very low volume, some of them are almost inaudible. The user is supposed manually change the volume settings of each of the library instruments, to get them playable.
I wrote to Spitfire with this issue, and their simple answer was they left lots of headroom for mod wheel dynamic volume adjustments.
Member 12, Studio One 4, Avenger 1.5 + 14 xps, Dune 3, XLN Audio XO, Pigments, Arturia 6, Atom & Impact XT, Izotope Neutron & Ozone, Valhalla, Spire, Sasquatch Kick 2, Mongoose, Panagement

epiphaneia
KVRian
736 posts since 29 May, 2011 from Germany

Re: Overpriced Spitfire products

Post Sat Jan 11, 2020 9:02 am

lfm wrote:
Sat Jan 11, 2020 7:20 am
Step by step they went lower each year on campaign - and sucked up any interest at that price range.
[...] 
What Waves did was maybe the way to go - these huge million dollar studios paying anything becoming less - and home studios rise through the ceiling. Maybe Spitfire Audio should go the same route.
Initially Spitfire said that the economy of scales wouldn´t work in their market segment, as the market of professional people who really *need* complex string libraries was too small. I heard something like "cutting the price in half would likely sell 10-20% more in the best case".

Their original target market is simply not very price sensitive: For those who really *need* such a library for a job, it´s business cost + tax writeoff, and noone would *not* buy the best tools for the trailer music he´s hired for just to save a few hundred $ on libraries. Not long ago, Spitfire didn´t even have any sales.

Now that their company has grown quite a bit, they apparently figured out it couldn´t harm to try and address the ambitious "advanced hobbyists" and offer regular 40% off around christmas and occasional flash sales (for those who have budget constraints, like a good bargain and/or can wait). They also offer free instruments that are not bad at all, and started a series of small $29 packages.

I think that´s as low as they´ll go, they´ll rather retire libraries that are too old to sell. They also refuse to go the subscription route - simply because their products sell well enough for them.

It´s just another business model in another market segment than what, for example Waves do, and it seems to work quite well for Spitfire, so more power to them: I´m happy about every music software and sample library company that manages to stay alive in the long run.

koolkeys
KVRAF
16117 posts since 2 Dec, 2003 from Nashville, TN

Re: Overpriced Spitfire products

Post Sat Jan 11, 2020 9:49 am

I think Spitfire definitely understands the market and how it has evolved. And since this thread is about them, I had a couple more thoughts about the idea of them being "overpriced" and how they market things.

First, it's been said, and it's true, that a product's true value is what people will pay for it. And while some might suggest that Spitfire stuff is overpriced, they obviously know what people are paying for their libraries. And they do continue to sell at a very good pace, from what I can tell. If they didn't SELL at those prices, they certainly wouldn't list them at those prices. Yes, they do have sales, and they likely sell more during sales. But they aren't one of the companies that are on constant sale.

So saying they are overpriced is purely opinion, as we know, because they have been pretty successful, and their libraries are pretty widely used these days.

About their marketing, I always hear people criticize marketing campaigns. Albion was mentioned here as somehow being shady by claiming it was "all you need" to make film music. But is that necessarily wrong? Albion One, while I don't personally own it, is a pretty large and robust library. And you can absolutely put together entire film cues from it. Now, does it offer the level of detail that their full libraries do? Of course not. Not everyone NEEDS that level of flexibility. But can it create film music? Absolutely 100%.

Here's the thing. Marketing departments are supposed to show the best of a product. What, do you expect them to say "Albion One will get you close, but might not fill all your needs". That would be a pretty terrible marketing department. But we all market ourselves, whether we have an orchestral library or we're just trying to impress the lady across the room. You're showing your best self, either way.

Nobody can buy a Spitfire library and say that they didn't know what they were getting. I mean, they do boatloads of walkthroughs, demos, full patch lists, and more. Sure, you might hear some patches after you buy and be disappointed, or might feel like the volume could be louder. But you pretty much have everything you possibly could to know what a library sounds like, the structure and interface of the library, and more. So nobody can say they were lied to or fooled into buying something.

I don't really believe that Spitfire is really doing anything wrong on these fronts.

Brent
My host is better than your host

Cinebient
KVRAF
4569 posts since 16 Nov, 2014

Re: Overpriced Spitfire products

Post Sat Jan 11, 2020 11:01 am

I have a few libraries from like Albion V, BDT, the full Studio Orchestra, Kepler and a few more (which i also do not use really because of its massive cpu hit and tiny Kontakt GUI).
I much prefer their non Kontakt libraries since they have the worst and tiniest Kontakt GUI from all my libraries. I like HZ and Eric Whitacre Choir.
Overpriced, i find not really but i do not like all their libraries i bought and regret some of them at the end.
They also offer now really good 30 dollar libraries and they will add more of them.
Then there are some really nice free labs on top.
In general i find them now a bit too Apple like. Big hype but at the end you get just another good library but nothing outstanding. I´m quite happy with some of their tools but i really especially like most their more unique libraries like HZ Strings and EWC which are great for sound design and unusual things.
Otherwise i´m more a friend of things like The Orchestra and Elysion which might lack articulations and dynamics (but the engine really can mask that a lot due to clever tricks).
I´m also in general more a friend of using several really dynamic solo instruments and even combine them as little Orchestra. Not the best for a "real" sound but i do not care really and i wonder why so much bother about it since a soundtrack in a movie is anyway nothing which would be "real" in a real situation. I mean i heard a lot songs where some might sound more realistic (also judged by real players of those instruments) when you think of sitting in front of a real orchestra but i liked other examples a lot more, even when they sound not actually realistic (but really organic and dynamic as well). Sometimes unreal is better :D
But i love to have the most dynamic and best sampled instruments to just have the most possibilities to express myself or trying to tell a story.
For me things like Joshua Bell Violin or Emotional Cello (my favorite Violin and Cello as example) are things i really love and thought would never be possible for some years ago to have at my hand.
Even at full price i find them cheap for what the give me.
There are so many Orchestra tools available but i think it lacks still on more really great and playable solo instruments.
I even prefer sometimes some of my iSymphonic sounds from my iPhone over some of my Spitfire and Heavyocity stuff. Sometimes a special articulation with just a few dynamics (or even just one) can be enough. I often even are really happy enough with the stock Logic strings and a good reverb on top.
At the end overpriced is in the eye of the user. If you bought it and not like it or it was not what you expected i can understand that i could feel this way but in general i cannot think of a single sample library i bought where i could say that.

User avatar
Harry_HH
KVRAF
4054 posts since 4 Aug, 2006 from Helsinki

Re: Overpriced Spitfire products

Post Sat Jan 11, 2020 11:14 am

kevvvvv wrote:
Sat Jan 11, 2020 7:54 am
OP said
most of the samples are set very, very low volume, some of them are almost inaudible. The user is supposed manually change the volume settings of each of the library instruments, to get them playable.
I wrote to Spitfire with this issue, and their simple answer was they left lots of headroom for mod wheel dynamic volume adjustments.
I wrote them, too. In fact, before sharing any negative feedback in Forums, I always will give the developer change to give his direct response. I didn't get much add on value to my problem from Spitfire audio.

Mod wheel doesn't solve this issue, although the mod wheel is full "on", the volume is still too low in many samples.

To fresh your memory, the three main reason for my Spitfire Kepler disappointment are:
a. Bad, flimsy UI,
b. Only fraction of the note time values expected, most of the grid value-slots are ”empty”, i. e. no samples (remember, that one of the main points of the library are repetitions in different note time values,
c. Many of the samples much too low in volume.

Mr Arkadin
KVRAF
1590 posts since 11 Mar, 2003

Re: Overpriced Spitfire products

Post Sat Jan 11, 2020 12:12 pm

Harry_HH wrote:
Sat Jan 11, 2020 11:14 am

b. Only fraction of the note time values expected, most of the grid value-slots are ”empty”, i. e. no samples (remember, that one of the main points of the library are repetitions in different note time values,
I see you're disappointed and that's fine, but what led you to 'expect' anything other than what's stated in the manual: duplet, triplet, quintuplet and septuplet. There's a difference between expectation and promises.

If they promised something that wasn't there then that would be false advertising, and they'd have been called out on it. As it is, I'd say that unfortunately you picked the wrong library. I have this library, but it's not where I would have started (and didn't - I started when they first offered and amazing deal on the wonderful Chamber Strings). Kepler feels more like an additional library than a main one to me.

Anyway, in terms of pricing think it's worth mentioning that Spitfire offer 30% discount to students and educators. These guys are not evil or trying to dupe you.

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