Gear Of The Year 2017 – The Best Orchestral Instrument

Having an orchestra at your disposal has yet to lose its impact. Yet, amongst all the stellar releases, one in particular claims the prize of best orchestral instrument…

Winner – Spitfire Audio Symphony Orchestra

Price £1,599 + vat
Contact Spitfire Audio via website


This brand-new category was almost forced upon us by the vast number of different orchestral libraries and instruments that have been released over the last 12 months. The last decade has seen a huge growth in what you might call orchestral recreation and a lot of that comes down to Spitfire, a company founded by a couple of composers, and because they know what they want as composers, they release great collections for composers.

Within Spitfire Audio Symphony Orchestra, you get three main sections for Strings, Brass and Woodwind – no Percussion – and our orchestral correspondent Dave Gale was impressed by all three.

“As a brass player myself,” he noted, “I continually find brass samples falling very short, but this is about the best I have heard to date.” Dave also loved the Woodwind selection, noting it to be about as comprehensive as it could be and was equally impressed with the Strings.

He was also impressed with an all-new Masse, an ‘instantaneous en masse ensemble instrument’ that offers some huge sounds… fast.

“This is an excellent collection for all your non-percussive orchestral needs,” Dave concluded. “It really does represent excellent value. All orchestral libraries are expensive to produce, and as I’ve found out to my own cost, you get what you pay for – and what you’re paying for here is one of the best that you can currently buy.”

Highly Commended Orchestral Instrument – Orchestral Tools Metropolis Ark 2


Price €599 + vat
Contact Orchestral Tools +49 (0) 7665 939 8678

Metropolis Ark volume 1 was a MusicTech award-winning title from Orchestral Tools and volume 2 is equally as successful, but quite a different beast, as OT told us during its recording: “We recorded everything from pianissimo to mezzoforte, yet Metropolis Ark 2 is not just for quiet and lovely sounds. It’s still a workhorse to create epic music, but at low dynamics. ‘Low dynamic epicness’ describes it.” Dave Gale was impressed with the results: “Metropolis Ark 2 oozes quality and variation in equal amounts, so go get yourself something dark and epic – and it possibly might just change the way you score your music into the bargain.”