Compose your own film score with Abbey Road One: Orchestral Foundations

(Image credit: Spitfire Audio)

Spitfire Audio and Abbey Road Studios have created a comprehensive symphony-sized sample library, Abbey Road One: Orchestral Foundations.

Grammy Award-winning engineer Simon Rhodes used all of the same microphones used to track some of the world's most famous film scores to capture the performances of 90-plus musicians. 

Splitting the instruments into strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion, Spitfire Audio promises that the virtual library will be approachable for beginners and an invaluable resource for experienced composers who want to put together a quick scratch track.

All the hard work has been done, with the instruments pre-orchestrated. All this might not turn you into John Williams overnight, but having the performances of elite musicians, captured with the best mics in one of the most hallowed recording locations is a tantalising prospect for budding composers.

Abbey Road Studios has provided the recording setting for some of the most ubiquitous film scores in popular culture. John Williams recorded his Raiders Of The Lost Ark and Return Of The Jedi score there. Howard Shore used Studio One for the Lord Of The Rings Trilogy. 

Steven Price (Gravity), Jerry Goldsmith (Hollow Man), Hans Zimmer (King Arthur) Alexander Desplat (The Shape Of Water) are among the composers who have worked there.

As for the GUI, Abbey Road One: Orchestral Foundations looks reassuringly straightforward, with filters intuitively laid out and help icons to give you more information about a particular sound. 

“The whole idea behind Spitfire Audio was to approach recording samples exactly the same way you would film scores," said Christian Henson, Spitfire Audio's co-founder. "Same place, same microphones, same people, so it’s only natural that we would end up in this iconic location: Abbey Road Studio One."

With film scores, size matters, and Henson believes that Studio One offers a recording environment that is perfect for cinema.

"You can get 200 players in here," he says, "which gives you a lot of scope for that kind of big Hollywood sound, but also it probably has the best microphone cupboard in the world.”

(Image credit: Spitfire Audio)

Mirek Stiles, Abbey Road Studios's head of audio products, described Abbey Road One: Orchestral Foundations as a sketch pad for experienced composers and an "inspirational first taste" for up-and-coming artists from all kinds of musical backgrounds.

“While nothing compares to recording a 90-piece orchestra in Studio One, we wanted to enable aspiring composers and seasoned pros alike to obtain a degree of that magic from the comfort of their own creative spaces," he said.

We wanted to enable aspiring composers and seasoned pros alike to obtain a degree of that magic from the comfort of their own creative spaces

Mirek Stiles

There is more to come from this Abbey Road/Spitfire collaboration, with series of smaller, niche selections culled from Orchestral Foundations in the pipeline. 

The first, Abbey Road One: Film Scoring Selections, is a scheduled for release in early 2021 and available free to Orchestral Foundations users.

Abbey Road One: Orchestral Foundations is available to preorder now as an AAX-, AU-, VST2-, and VST3-compatible, NKS-ready plug-in.

Order before 1 December 2020 to get it at an introductory price of £299/$349/€349 . After that it is priced £399/$449/€449 

See Spitfire Audio for more details.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.