[REVIEW] Spitfire Audio - Mural vol. 1

Discussion in 'Software Reviews and Tutorials' started by Andrew, Feb 19, 2014.

  1. Andrew

    Andrew AudioSEX Maestro Staff Member

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    Spitfire Audio - BML Mural vol. 1

    Prologue
    Spitfire did it again! This time with symphonic strings, featuring full ensemble of 60 players. Everything meticulously recorded at 48kHz 24bit as usual, with plenty of round robins and 5 mic positions.

    Introduction
    Detail is everything. Full musical enjoyment requires adequate player performance, skilled orchestrators, and high sonic quality.
    Detail was always a priority for Spitfire, which is why I still love their libraries, and have no reason to stop.
    Mural was introduced on 27th January, and is the first installment of full ensemble libraries.

    Layout & Specs

    No need to introduce Spitfire anymore, the GUI is very similar to all its libraries, and nearly identical to the Flute Consort.
    Everything is exactly where you want it to be.

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    Fig. 1 - The usual GUI for Spitfire libs
    Every patch opens up with the Controllers screen, to get to the more advanced settings, click the spanner on the left.
    Mural comes with few new sliders,
    Release - controls the length of release tail for long notes, very useful for slow moving phrases
    Tightness - This functionality cuts the start of each sample, before the resin touches the string. The sound remains natural throughout the whole path.
    Intensity - Dial it all the way up for a more pronounced emotional start to each note, dial it back for a more
    transparent transition.

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    Fig. 2 - Articulations

    As with Sable, plenty of articulations are to be found on each patch, including rare ones, like Sul Pont or Flautando.
    Though us esoterics would need to wait for second volume, to get full potential from strings.

    The instruments works extremely well with Sable, combining those two, you'll get 74-player ensemble.
    Sable provides the detail, emotion and iridescence of small section and Mural adds the earthy core to the sound.
    Together, those two libraries are unbeatable, at least for me.

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    Fig. 3 - Vibrato slider
    Though they promised you vibrato crossfade, the slider still acts like a switch, with CC21 values under 63 for OFF and over 64 as ON.

    As mentioned before the sound is to die for. It's simply amazing, words can't describe it, you have to try it for yourself.

    In Mural, Spitfire introduced one new mic position - Lead.
    Lead microphone was placed near the principal player of each section and is precisely positioned in the stereo field. Together with Outrigger, they form a indispensable combo, featuring wide and rich sound.
    Close, in contrast with Lead, captures the entire section instead of the principal player. Think of Close as wider Lead.
    Though all mics in Spitfire libs are important, and if you have enough space, I advise you not to remove any.
    I'll shoot special video focused on mixing Spitfire Libs some time (though I 'owe' you still that headphone tutorial and CinePerc vid :rofl:)

    Problems & Recommendations
    There are no problems with the sound, other than getting yourself out of the trans caused by it. In that case, pinch yourself, worked for me. :rofl:

    • Round robin for Pizzicato cannot be safely modified. Once you decrease the value, it stays that way forever, even if you bring it up, the RRs won't trigger.
    • Unfortunately Spitfire still didn't fix the Presets, so don't touch that for now.
    • Sustain pedal does not work with Longs (reason unknown)

    Original Product Video
    Spitfire covered the basis very well, in this video you'll hear the sound of each articulation.
    In the auxiliary video, I'll just run through the basics and point out some small bugs.


    Auxiliary & Demonstrational Video



    This demo was done using Mural only (one of my tracks :thumbsup: ):
    http://soundcloud.com/andrew479/first-draft-for-ascension


    Conclusion
    Yes Spitfire did it again! I just cannot be disappointed by their stuff. It's exceptional, every piece of it.
    Mural is a huge advancement in sonic quality for symphonic strings, there are very few products on the market that can match it.
    Apart from a few bugs, the Sandbox engine is very stable and CPU efficient.
    Mural is best used with Sable, for effective balance between esoteric detail and full "woody" sound. Albion 2 strings are valuable addition to the string family as well.
    Just use what works for you and what sounds best, or combine all three together for 89-player ensemble!
    As for me, I'd only highly recommend Mural. Definitely worth of 33GB of space! Get it, and if you like it, buy it.


    Reviewer's rating:
    9 out of 10 stars
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    Thanks for reading!
     
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  3. oxidius

    oxidius Newbie

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    Thanks for the review, that was quick! :beg: :thumbsup:

    I'm having weird responses from the legato articulations. The legato transitions are very quiet compared to the sustains (I'm not even sure I can hear them).

    It makes it pretty unpleasant, but since I seem to be the only one with the problem I'll try to figure out what's going on :dunno:
     
  4. phloopy

    phloopy Audiosexual

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    Great review as usual Andrew :wink:

    Im glad you dont have to review me ...... :rofl:

    Thumbs up - period!
     
  5. mrmusic

    mrmusic Newbie

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    the sustain pedal seems to do nothing! no sustain with longs. Is that how it works?
     
  6. Catalyst

    Catalyst Audiosexual

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    Finally some people that actually use the libraries they download. Anyway thanks Andrew for your brilliant review, I'm eager to try this out and because it's you I know it's quality.:thumbsup: :mates:

    Bravo maestro. :bow:
     
  7. Andrew

    Andrew AudioSEX Maestro Staff Member

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    You're right, I forgot to mention that, it might be fixed in an update. *yes*
    I'll try to find a workaround

    Update: added the sustain problem to drawbacks, added my own demo :grooves:
     
  8. mrmusic

    mrmusic Newbie

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    Yup

    Here's my wallpaper in case you needed one
     

    Attached Files:

  9. Revenant

    Revenant Member

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    Wow Andrew, you never fail to deliver, do you. A+ work, as usual. Nine stars out of ten - looks like Spitfire could simply change their name to Constellation :) Love what these guys have done in/for the industry.
     
  10. toshfox

    toshfox Noisemaker

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    i don't know ..
    for my poor ears, it sounds like sable or loegria

    what i hate about these libs is they could do just one volume with all articulations, but money money

    thanks for the review
     
  11. sayhey1988

    sayhey1988 Member

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    they didn't record the glissando/portamento for that realistic legato sound. not crazy about what they did w/ sable in that respect but the over all tone is an A+... double your parts with a library with good glissando (lass 2 is my fav) and it with sound amazing. that issue is my only problem with mural. cinematic strings 2 has the same issue. anyway, maybe they will fix it but recording sections that large and getting the transition notes to sound correct is a huge task. fingers crossed.
     
  12. uber909

    uber909 Member

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    Hi Andrew,

    Thx for that review !

    Would you consider Mural to be a replacement for Cinematic Strings, please ?


    Regards.
     
  13. Andrew

    Andrew AudioSEX Maestro Staff Member

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    That's a difficult question, it depends on the piece you're working on. CS2 has way different sonic footprint than Mural.
    But in general yes, it's a good replacement.
    Also in my opinion, they'll add a lot of stuff to the vol. 2 like glissandi and portamento, staccato, feathered staccato, etc. *yes*
    So let's wait what they'll come up with

    Not sure what you mean, it's a big advantage that most articulations are normalized, as spiccato well blends together with longs. :dunno:
     
  14. jayhind

    jayhind Member

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    Thank you Andrew for the fast review. I am slowly incorporating more Spitfire stuff in my productions thanks to your recommendation. I don't have Sable yet but after reading the review for Mural I understand it is this library I should be getting instead of Sable as Chamber Strings is not what I want.

    My question to you is, do you feel the rest of the developers should start doing string libraries in divisi style (LASS)? After using LASS, don't you feel very limited with libraries that don't have divisi sections?
     
  15. toshfox

    toshfox Noisemaker

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    i dont know what the volume 2 will contain but I guess it will be extra articulations
    what i meant i wish they stop with volumes and make just one big release
    or the other volumes should be paid like update or DLC ( for video game) and not a full price
     
  16. Millenium

    Millenium Producer

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    It appears that Andrew's review has become an indispensable, in fact a must-read :wink:
     
  17. Andrew

    Andrew AudioSEX Maestro Staff Member

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    The volumes idea is simple. Imagine how much it would cost to have everything in one package, 800 British pounds :wow: . This way, you can buy just the articulations you need. I admit, they could have recorded Violins 2 with the same abundance of articulations as Violins 1, and their prices really are above average.

    And actually, they might as well add the glissandi and portamento to the vol. 2, why not. They did something similar with Sable 3, which needs Sable 1's sustains, but adds three new legato types, Fast, Runs and Tremolo *yes*.

    Thanks tempo! Always a pleasure to help. *yes*
     
  18. whitePhazer

    whitePhazer Newbie

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    Thank you Andrew, you're the best :wink:
     
  19. mrmusic

    mrmusic Newbie

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    Work around for the Sustain Problem:

    Click on the small wrench icon to the left just above BML 308 so the edit window opens

    Click on Instrument Options

    Click on Controller

    Where it states MIDI Controller #64(Sustain Pedal) acts as CC Only

    CHANGE IT TO Pedal + CC

    CLICK CLOSE

    TADA!!!! Sustain!!!!!

    DO THIS FOR ALL THE PATCHES THAT YOU NEED THE SUSTAIN FOR

    TO ENSURE THAT YOU NEVER HAVE TO DO IT AGAIN CLICK ON THE THE FILES MENU WITH THE DISK ICON TO THE TOP OF KONTAKT (NOT THE ONE TO THE LEFT)

    CLICK ON SAVEAS and you should get the prompt for Instrument#1 - (name)

    Then rename it to for example V1 - Long rev1 change it to patch Only NOT patch + samples

    Ok What I decided to do is just rename all the ones that I needed sustain for and they work perfectly!
     
  20. retroboy

    retroboy Ultrasonic

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    I came here just to see if anyone had solved the sustain pedal issue, so thanks very much for the info mrmusic! :mates:

    What a fantastic Library, I've just spent about an hour playing a single patch. My other string libraries are going to be hitting the trash bin. It's a very expensive library but I'm hoping to start using this in my productions and will defo be buying it in the future if thats the case.

    Thanks for the great review andrew and all who made this one possible :mates: :wink:
     
  21. mrmusic

    mrmusic Newbie

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    You are welcome
     
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