Albion from Spitfire!
It cost me £349, and through PayPal I paid SGD714.25. This translated to a PayPal exchange rate of 1 SGD to 0.488624 GBP.
Google's currency exchange rate gave me 0.5099775, which should have given me S$648.343. Thus I have let PayPal absorb S$29.90 from the exchange.
Spitfire is using the downloader from Continuata Ltd. The interface is hugely familiar and similar to that of SampleLogic's Morphestra's downloader. However, this downloader is vastly faster than my download speeds with Morphestra.
While Morphestra is 15GB in download size (losslessly compressed from 25.5GB in size), Albion has 19.51GB storage footprint (compressed also losslessly from wav samples totalling 43.28GB).
On Morphestra the maximum speed I could achieve was 800kB/s. I am downloading Albion as I am writing this, and the speeds are fluctuating between 7700 kB/s and 3200 kB/s at peak performance. Of course it took about a minute or two to achieve this every time it starts on a new part. I am using MyRepublic, a fibre network based ISP.
Albion Volume 1 has won numerous awards and acclaims, and is very highly regarded by the music community. The quality of
Spitfire's libraries has well been established way before this commercial release of Albion. Before Albion, they were already creating very high quality virtual instruments and libraries for the award winning films and used by award winning composers. These composers were approached by invitation only. That is why I am so happy that they have made Albion available to the rest of us. :)
What I like about Albion 1 (without having yet played it) is of course, its beautiful sonic and musical quality. Also, I like the fact that it is complete on its own, with all mic positions (5.1 miking to be precise!), and all the sections of the orchestra articulations it has to offer. There is no 'lite edition', or different tiers to stepped-up your levels of ownership, or extra mic positions to upgrade to.
theAudioSpotlight.com that interviews Spitfire on Albion 1, which sheds light on the company beginnings, what drives them, and where they are heading (of course we might also get hints on what good stuff they have for us in the months to come!)
TheAudioSource.com or TAS has lots of great articles and video interviews with artists who are composers, producers and sound designers. Like the Spitfire interview, TAS also interviews companies that develop the tools we use every day.
Following the immense success of Albion 1 from the music community, Albion 2 is in the works and will be released in the near future. There is already 1 demo track out for you folks who are eager to get a taste of what it will sound like.
Besides the Albion series, which aims to provide a complete set of orchestral tools in sections and clusters, Spitfire also has instruments that stand on their own, which they call their 'definitive range' of products. These are single instruments or groups of intruments that are positioned to be the best in their class and future-proofed for a wide range of different musical usage. Examples of these are the solo Harp, an Orchestral Grand Piano, and the Harpsichord.
Spitfire also has a 'Spitfire Laboratories' section where they 'give away' free instruments which are the results of Spitfire's experimentation on various sample techniques that eventually drive their products. They have generously offered these as free, but require a minimum amount of donation to Unicef, the charity organisation that helps to build the world, supplying to needy parts of the world. This is a noble and inspiring cause and it reflects the 'giving-back' attitude of Spitfire.