ALBION: a dream come true with a bitter-sweet aftertaste
I’ve had several orchestral libraries before I’ve finally got my hands on famous Albion I. This includes Miroslav Philharmonik, Garritan Personal Orchestra and East West Symphonic Orchestra. And I’ve hardly ever used them. The lack of “great sound and feel straight out of the box” was the biggest issue for me, but also the fact that you’ve had to do everything from scratch. Broad-stroke libraries like Albion on the other hand, include many tried and working orchestral combinations and sonorities. The accessibility of these elements has greatly simplified the composing and orchestrating process and made it much more intuitive and immediate for us who are not classically trained.
Ever since I’ve learned of Albion, I knew I just had to get this someday. Somehow. Back in 2011. I’ve thought this was never going to happen. Not only that I’ve just started building my personal studio and never had too much funds at my disposal but also because I’ve never spent such a large amount of money on a single piece of software until then. I know well enough that creating quality music software is a complicated and expensive process that sometimes justifies the price that frequently surpasses the one of a quality physical product. This is nowadays more and more the case with music equipment. But where I come from, throwing so much money on something you can’t literary touch is generally considered a sacrilege by many. My family, who were always supportive, felt that way for a long while. Because all of that, I’ve finally took the plunge several years later, in May of 2015. And let me tell you, this had turned out to be the worst time ever to purchase Albion I, at least for me.
Back then, Spitfire Audio had charged for their products in pound sterling exclusively, which was always one of the most expensive foreign currencies in my country. Croatia had just entered the EU two years earlier, so I’ve became the victim of the dreaded VAT as well, which was from then on applied to the price of all products purchased from EU countries. On top of this, not long before I’ve finally decided to purchase Albion, VAT wasn’t charged when you’ve bought a software product that was in a digital form only. Another thing: VAT is being calculated in the seller’s currency (GBP in this case) at the rate dictated by the country of the buyer (here in Croatia, the VAT rate is a whopping 25%). Well, you do the math… Wait, it’s not over yet… Only a few months later, in fall of 2015. Spitfire Audio, out of the blue, decided it was time to put their most successful product ever to pasture, only to be re-released as the “brand new” library: Albion One. And the difference was not only in One word; it was supposed to be a product vastly superior to the legendary Albion I which I had finally purchased only a few months before. On top of it all, they’ve been selling their “outdated” product at a fraction of its original price before it had disappeared from the store completely. And Albion I was the most successful release of Spitfire Audio since the company inception in 2007. and was used in music of numerous films over the years.
So you can imagine how I’ve felt back then. It may sound childish, but this had drove me away so far from upgrading my Albion I to Albion One, even when the price of upgrade was as little as 99€. I must say though that I understand the motives of Spitfire Audio for this move even if I didn’t back then. Albion I was one of the first broad-stroke and all-in-one orchestral libraries available, and it had also has a stellar audio quality. Although Albion I was known as the “epic composer’s tools”, in truth it is much more delicate and chamber-sounding in nature and simply wasn’t fit enough for the most popular and sought for type of orchestral music these days: trailer music. Personally, I’m not into this, so joining of my Albion I with Albion II: Loegria and finally, Albion V: Tundra was the way to go for me. Even now, I can’t believe I had eventually bought three Spitfire Audio Albion libraries! I must mention that I’ve managed to realize this thanks to the generous discounts from Spitfire Audio in the last two years (something they weren’t prone to for a long, long time). It seems some dreams do come true in the end. :)