BBC Symphony Orchestra or Abbey Road One?

I've been looking to buy an all-rounder orchestral library for a while now, and I want something that has all I need to compose orchestral pieces. I was wondering if it's better to to do so with individual sections (BBC SO, also has more articulations) or with grouped ensembles (Abbey Road One, more dynamic layers and fuller sound(I believe)).

What do you think? Any help is welcome.


  • I personally love BBCSO over other ensemble libraries for several reasons.

    1) You can orchestrate the sections yourself. You know what instrument plays what line at what time, and it's much easier to translate to a real orchestra.

    2) Working with individual voices is much easier than chords, especially when looking for a realistic sound.

    3) If you want solo instruments, BBC SO (especially Pro) has all the section leaders.

    I use the Originals libraries as quick and dirty sketching tools, then I go over to BBC SO to break things down into their sections.

    I think it's up to your writing style. If you're like me and greatly prefer thinking about individual voices and how sections play off each other, BBC SO is for you. If you don't like orchestrating and prefer using block chords or find it easier to program synths, then use Abbey Road One or Albion. Both styles of writing can lead to some incredible music, it's just up to you to find which method is better for you.

    I'd recommend as sort of a trial using both the Originals libraries to write something and BBC SO Discover to write something. If you like using the Originals better, then go for Abbey Road One. If you like BBC SO better, then consider Core or Pro!

  • Sarah
    Sarah admin
    10 Comments 25 Likes First Answer Spitfire Employee

    Hi @[email protected] that's a tough choice to make!

    Everything @zmiller_music pointed out is spot on, in my opinion. I would also add that BBC SO and Abbey Road ONE were recorded in very different spaces giving them both a unique sound. If you haven't already, I would highly recommend listening through the demos and walkthrough videos of both to see which sound inspires you the most! :)

  • Thanks for the answers guys! :)

    I am still torn but I will definitely take your posts into account, I do believe that with the additional articulations that BBC SO has, plus more freedom with the orchestration gives a more realistic sound. I'm just worried whether I, as a beginner, can work with BBC SO or whether I should stay away from it, considering I've heard it doesn't sound as good out of the box.

  • @[email protected] Because it's pre-orchestrated, Abbey Road One, Albion, and the Originals ranges will sound like what you're used to hearing which is a huge and full sound. If you like that sound and that's what you're going for, then by all means. However, BBC SO does allow for the user to orchestrate and arrange to their own will. You do need more knowledge than baseline to get a huge and full sound, but it's worth it for what you learn by orchestrating yourself.

    As @Christian always says, you absolutely have to find your own voice if you want to get out of the noise. A fantastic way of doing that is making yourself uncomfortable. Perhaps with buying BBC SO and being limited by the lack of pre-orchestration, you'd find ways of using each voice that nobody else would have dreamed of doing. That has incredible potential of leading somewhere incredibly cool. Don't get me wrong, Albion and Abbey Road are fantastic choices, but there's something incredibly special about the unforgiving nature of BBC SO.

    Again, try out Discover and Originals. Whatever path makes you happiest and lets you move at the speed of creativity without sacrificing musicality, go down that path. Anyone else's opinion be damned.

  • @zmiller_music Alright, I think you've sold me on BBC SO! I feel like the long term pay off will be greater by using it and getting out of my comfort zone. I'll go for it once it goes on sale, thanks for the help.