5th Symphonic Demo Using Free BBC SO Discover

I've been tinkering with BBC SO Discover for almost two years now and I love trying to get the most out of it. It's a free plugin, but pairing it with other free audio plugins has made this sound much more realistic. This is a quick mockup of a cinematic-style audio piece made with completely, absolutely, positively free plugins (effects too) alongside BBC SO Discover. I love pushing free plugins to their limits (even used GarageBand to push the "free" tools limitation) and its challenges.

I do this challenge because I know that musicians starting out composing music with just free tools seems incredibly difficult, especially when trying to recreate the sound of more expensive plugins. But, thanks to BBC SO Discover & LABS (and a few others), composers starting out composing for media have great tools at their disposal to get them started (and achieve that "cinematic" style sound).

Let me know what you think about the demo 😁


  • Very impressive work (and I'd be impressed if you hadn't told me what libraries you used, now you have I feel a bit insecure🤢) Well done!

    Do feel very free to come join in the fun on our Community Composer Challenge thread (elsewhere on the forum - shouldn't be hard to find)- the more the merrier - there's a chap called Taron who would I think be very interested in this!).

  • Thanks for your thoughts on it! I checked out your SoundCloud and YouTube channels, you've got great tracks too! (Really liked your demo track for The Stack & Hans Zimmer Percussion on YouTube, very good use of atmosphere.) I haven't bought any libraries yet (from any company), but I try to make the most of what I can with what I have. I'll definitely check out that Community Composer Challenge, I haven't really checked it out before.

    Thanks again 😄

  • Ah, so you're the one: ) Glad you liked that Stack demo - I always meant to develop that into something MUCH longer than 2 minutes - but I got distracted and now I'd have to figure out the chords from the piano roll - although I seem to remember the first bit is just 1 minute of a D minor chord so that shouldn't take long🙄 I definitely need to dig out Aperture again (there may be a free demo of that somewhere on the SF site if you don't have it already- there used to be).

    Only thing I'm going to say, if you are thinking about putting your hand in your pocket, is never pay full price for a sample library - e.g. Spitfire seem to have a sale almost every other month - and that's the time to snap things up.

    Hope to see you over on the challenge thread - I think we'd be lucky bears if you came! It's a brand new idea launched about a week ago, and meant to be a bit of fun/diversion...

  • PS. am pinging @Taron to come have a listen - I think this is some pretty cool work with free libraries: )

  • Totally agree on the waiting for sales tip, waiting for the Spring season to come along 😉

  • This is a video version of the demo showing all of the plugins and workspace.

  • Oh, this is GREAT! Love what you've done, Sigma, just excellent!

    That duduk (World Colors) sounds really nice, adding a fantastic "texture" to the feel of the sound. Beautiful mix, too. I must hunt down the free stuff you've found, haha, sweet!

    Thanks @Retroblueman for pinging me on this!

  • Really...Really good.

    Looks like I'll have to up my game somewhat before I dare post anything here.........

  • Thanks for the feedback @jamesnic7 😄 We're all here to support each other's musical work. I'm sure everyone here on this forum would love to hear what you're got! 👍🏼 In fact, give me a ping when you make your first share with us, I'd love to have a listen

  • Hi @jamesnic7 - I second sigma's point. Would love to hear your stuff, wherever you are on this journey (that we are all on).

    Speaking for myself - those times where I have just gone, "right, I'm sticking this on the Spitfire forum in 10 days whatever it sounds like" are the times where I've dug that little bit deeper and moved that little bit further forward - and everyone's been very kind and helpful here (I wouldn't say I've put any true stinkers up, but I will say there are some things I posted in my early days that I would do... "differently" today😁).

    Also, the great thing about music is something simple done well, or even just genuinely, can often be the thing that slays everyone else's efforts...

  • @jamesnic7 Totally agree with @Retroblueman , I have plenty of tracks I've never posted because I didn't feel like they were good enough yet, but posted the ones I felt I did my best on... still have a folder full of tracks I never did anything with tho (all those "incomplete" GarageBand/Logic Projects) 😂 But, we all keep improving our composing/library programming skills and post better and better work over time.

  • Thanks all for the encouragement.

    I am working on my first (mostly BBSCO) track and as soon as I have something I'll put it up.

    I get the feeling this forum has a good vibe. 👍️

  • Ah! Seems like I found a fellow SINEFactory user! I really liked the piece overall!

    I still remember layering SINE's Helix, BBCSO strings shorts and LABS strings short. It layers VERY well. Helix has that short and expressive attack on the notes, BBCSO give it more depth, and LABS give it an intimate feel. It was a nice combination.

    What's your favorite SINEFactory instrument?

    Just like Taron, I will also hunt down the other free things I missed there. 😁

  • Thanks, @Londoneye330 😁 SINEfactory has been an absolute goldmine! Helix's long patch samples have a major disadvantage over BBC SO Discover though. The samples have very a slow attack, so it's hard to string together some sort of "legato" effect. But the string patches from BBC SO layered over it give it the needed improvement in attack while adding a bit more of a close mic effect too. On the other hand, Helix's spiccatos have round robins, so that adds realism and mostly eliminates that "machine-gun effect" from repetitive samples in BBC SO Discover.

    Overall, I think my favorite SINEfactory libraries right now are tied between Helix & Ratio (Grand Piano).

    Hunting the best free audio libraries is something I've done since I started composing. I haven't purchased any libraries yet (waiting for sales to come along), but I think the limitations on searching for and making the most of free samples have allowed me to get better at improving my composing skills and forced me to get creative with making free samples sound as realistic as possible. I actually think every musician should master programming and get the most from free sample libraries first before investing in a full, paid library. But that's just my opinion, we all learn differently. 🤷🏻‍♂️

  • I agree. It encourages the composer to play each libraries to its strength. Also yes, I find that the strings long in Helix has a slow attack and also quite a thin sound sometimes. I use it for chords, if I'm looking for anything that's thin.

    Have you tried ProjectSam Free Orchestra yet? It has some neat orchestral percussions, some clusters, some choir, all sorts of creative things.

    Sometimes I also use Ferrum - which is free trailer percussion.

  • Yes, I've found out about ProjectSam a couple of years ago, I think I still have a demo on my YouTube channel where I made a demo using the Con Sordino patches. Also, thanks for telling me about Ferrum, never heard of it until now.

    There is seriously no better feeling as a musician than finding an awesome audio library that's free! I'm working on a new track working in a different style I've never done before (hopefully it'll be fun 😁) and found a brushed drum set library over at the pianobook. Don't know if you've heard of it, but @Christian Henson's got a great website at pianobook.co.uk that's loaded with community samples and libraries; you've got to check it out if you haven't yet!

  • Yeah, Pianobook is fantastic! Too bad I only have the free version of Kontakt.