BBC SO core wants me to buy it!

I know I’ve tended to be a bit dismissive of the Spitfire BBC symphony Orchestra Discover as it seems to be so lacking in patches as to be not really suitable for serious work. On the other hand the Pro version has about 17 more microphone positions than you really need and takes up rather a lot of real estate and system resources. The Core, on the other hand, is very different in sound and choice of articulations from my VSL Special Edition and they have just started another (brief) sale which makes it almost irresistibly good value for money.

This version is still pretty new and I know there have one or two comments dotted around but I’d appreciate how users find it in Dorico 3.5. Are there any serious issues using it with Dorico which have cropped up in the couple of months since release? Particularly interested is whether the legato patch functions in notation software as seamlessly as in the DAW demos with shorter notes and any other practical matters/issues which have been discovered. Is anyone disappointed with the purchase or is everyone delighted?

I’ve of course already been through the videos and walkthrough so have a fairly good idea what to expect – in theory. With Discover, the dynamics seemed a bit all over the place but unless there’s some fundamental issue, I imagine I’ll sort out that sort of thing in the Expression Map

many thanks!

Perhaps one person well versed in this is John B, whom you should be able to contact via
discoverdorico (at) steinberg (dot) de

He has done a Dorico playback template for Discover and is working on one for Core.

Poking around the BBCSO product page they do not provide a list of all included instruments in the Core version. Neither does the manual(!!). From watching Christian Henson’s video it appears that Core includes solo woodwinds and brass, but not the string section leaders (solos). Am I seeing this correctly?

Thanks for tipping me off to this sale. It is definitely appealing given that John Barron has created a BBCSO Expression Map for Dorico, and he said he was soon releasing an improved version of it. 'Twould be nice to piggyback on that work rather than work on one’s own EM, as with VSL.

One thing I like is the pretty long list of articulations even in the Core version.

August 2nd expiration on the sale, you’ve got me noodling on it, dko22.

Appendix B in the manual lists all the instruments. Compared to Pro, it’s missing the section leaders and one or two primarily lower instruments, particularly in the woodwind but you can always borrow those from VSL if needed. The important thing is no articulations are lost compared to the Pro version which rather surprised me.

I’ve already installed and looked John’s playback template (i.e the Expression Map). I’ll no doubt make my own adjustments but it should save some time.

Thanks for the heads up, I must have missed Appendix B!

Missing the strings section leaders is not trivial, but there is an eventual upgrade path. The bang for your buck at the sale price is awfully impressive.

I did a String piece with BBCSO Core here:

And as well, one with winds, brass percussion here:

I think it has promise. I will probably edit the expression maps a bit, too.

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Sounds good giwro.

I’m a little concerned about the BBC SO brass based on a video I found on VI Control and the comments that followed.

Anyone who has it care to comment on the brass?

Edited to add:

See Daniel James’ review of the brass in the BBC SO Pro version He complains that it sounds like a budget library. He points out the lack of quality transitions at time when cross-fading between dynamic layers. He demonstrates that you have to hit the keys REALLY hard to get a strong result. The Core version uses the same sounds and has the same number of layers.

Food for thought. Really interested now in more comments.

I’d have to say that so far the strings are the strongest for me… percussion is pretty good, and I like the woodwinds. Brass…?

That might be the weak spot. I’ll need to play with it some more. For me, Core was worth it for the strings… don’t know if I’ll go for the full version or not.

If you can an leave some feedback here, that would be greatly appreciated.

thanks for your examples, Jonathan! I can see from Daniel’s video that certain dynamic transitions in the brass are not the most subtle yet any library where they are all really smooth is probably beyond my budget and hardware capabilities. I had no end of problems with VSL VI in that department though Synchron has certainly helped things somewhat. What I’m looking for is a somewhat smooth and rich sound – in other words the opposite to what I already have. I’m curious whether you can run a full orchestra on 16Gb RAM (not that putting in another 16 would be an issue if necessary).

I should try a short excerpt for full orchestra - I’m on an old i7 with 24gb (it’s still pretty fast) I may have some tome to try that out this weekend.


I saw from one of your posts in another thread that you went ahead and bought BBC SO Core. Also saw you are on vacation, but when you get back I’ll be interested in your thoughts on the library after you get a chance to use it.

I was too skittish about the brass to make the purchase, figuring I’d get more information and, if reviews are roundly positive, see if it’s at a good price on Black Friday.

I am from Poland and my English is poor, sorry for that …

My laptop PC is the 4th generation I7 with 24 GB RAM. I have a BBC SO Core and it works fine on this hardware. My template is each instrument as a separate instrument track and everything works fine. Also I have several instances of KONTAKT PLAYER. I am using CUBASE 10.5.
This setup works fairly smoothly.
But that’s not the problem. I think the sound of the strings is weak. Sounds plastic. I can’t get a clear and natural sound from my strings.
Brass is very weak. I also have the NUCLEUS FULL and the brass is strong and dynamic.
Woodwinds on the BBC are also weak.
I think the lack of microphone position is a weak point.
Every murmur, every click, hum is very audible. It is very disturbing.
Well, I think I need to buy a BBC SO PRO with a full list of microphones or try a different library …

Thanks for your comments, bodek from Poland. Your English was good enough to understand.


If you are using the BBC SO primarily in Cubase, you may also want to post your message on one of the Cubase forums. Although your review is valuable to those of us on this forum using Dorico notation software, you may receive a more comprehensive response from members of the Cubase community.

via Google Translate:

Jeśli używasz BBC SO głównie w Cubase, możesz również zamieścić swoją wiadomość na jednym z forów Cubase. Chociaż twoja recenzja jest cenna dla tych z nas na tym forum przy użyciu oprogramowania do notacji Dorico, możesz otrzymać bardziej wyczerpującą odpowiedź od członków społeczności Cubase.


I just wanted to share information about the quality of the CORE library and that it works with such poor hardware. For me, for the price it could be better for the BBC.
I’m thinking about BBC SO PRO, but I’m afraid that I’ll be disappointed again and won’t get my money back :slight_smile:
Thanks again, I will look for the CUBASE forum and share my insights there.


I should chip in again and say I did decide to buy this library but went off on holiday a couple of days later so can only share first impressions – in a week or two I should have a clearer idea. I was a little worried about my two year old hardware which is 16Gb RAM and a quad core i3 8100 3.6GHz which was regarded as better than the previous gen i5. The processor is not taxed by the Core library but it would probably be of benefit to upgrade to 32Gb RAM.

To bodek I would say immediately that there is not point in upgrading to the Pro version. The articulations are exactly the same as is, I assume, the programming with the exception of all the extra microphone positions which can certainly help to highlight the instruments You also get a few more instruments with the Pro but at over twice the price and 30x the hard rive space, is it really worth it? I didn’t try this in Cubase so far and you’ll probably get better advice there on the Cubase forum as already said though if necessary I could try out things in Elements if there is a specific question you have they can’t answer over there (unlikely).

One core feature with the library is that no intermittent patches of duration between spiccato/staccato and legato are programmed (in strings, anyway). No long and short detaches and the like. This should make the note length feature easier to programme. There is no doubt that the choice of articulations is geared towards atmospheric sounds and in this area is more comprehensive than my VSL SE for instance. Most people admire the string sound and I do find it more expressive than you easily get with the SE which has to be the point of comparison. With demos, the woodwinds sounded indifferent but I find that in certain ranges the legatos can sound rather beautiful though there’s less consistency. The brass have often been maligned but there are some wonderful growls and punchiness lower down. Horns can sound good in legato mode. The preliminary results out of the box are not bad for a native Dorico score but with a musicXML import from Sibelius there is something seriously wrong with the dynamics and it doesn’t even seem to load the patches in full. Will investigate this is due course.

Very early conclusion is that this library ought to be able to produce pretty nice results but it might not be as easy in notation software as one would hope and it does seem clear that there a few areas of lazy programming there. To say that all main sections are weak doesn’t strike me as being correct - at least when auditioning the instruments. They have potentially more expressive power than VSL SE (not necessarily the full packages but that that would be a completely unfair comparison). VSL or even the to my mind weaker EWQL orchestral libraries may be more accurate but are perhaps less involving. Anyway, this is preliminary – will update this when I have a better idea of how to programme it in Dorico.

Thanks dko

Sorry to write again off topic, but I have to share something with you.
If you want to buy BC SO Core, think carefully …
I thought I couldn’t get the string tones right, but that’s not it …
The sound didn’t suit me from the beginning. I couldn’t stand it. Tens of hours spent in rehearsal …
I recently bought Cinematic Studio Strings and?
No plugs, no EQ, nothing - that sounds fantastic.
The sound is clear, deep, realistic and sounds amazing.

I do not regret buying CSS, but I wish I had bought BBC SO Core … The strings in Core are weak, Brass is weak, woodwinds too …
I cannot comment on the Pro version, but Core - I regret it …

I will add that I am not some super player or composer. I play as a hobby and not very professionally, but there’s nothing worse than your library’s poor sound

best regards