Review: Spitfire Audio LABS – an Essential and FREE Sample Library Plugin

Known for their industry-leading sample libraries, Spitfire Audio recently introduced LABS, a collection of free sample instruments for the Windows and Mac platforms. Check out our reviews of BT Phobos and Hans Zimmer Percussion to get a feel for Spitfire’s work. We mentioned Spitfire Audio LABS in passing in a previous TabMuse Synth News Digest, so here’s our full review.

Spitfire Audio LABS Features

  • Free Sample Library Plugin
  • First Two Instruments include Soft Piano and Strings
  • Simple Interface with Minimal Controls
  • Stunning Sound Quality
  • Support for Most Popular Plugin Formats (Windows, Mac)
  • Available as a Free Download from Spitfire Audio

If you have any interest in high quality sample libraries for your productions, you need to download Spitfire Audio LABS. Simply put, it’s a great sound at a great place. Read on for more details.

The Spitfire Audio LABS Plugin

Since Spitfire plans on LABS being an “infinite series of software instruments” you download the container plugin before the instruments themselves. It’s a simple process; especially if you already possess a Spitfire Audio account and their download management app. Download the LABS plugin using that app, followed by the instruments that interest you.


Spitfire Audio LABS Soft Piano is a top notch sampled instrument. Photo copyright Spitfire Audio.

Most popular plugin formats for the Windows and Mac platforms are supported. These include VST2, VST3, AAX and AU. Standalone operation isn’t an option.

A Soft Piano for You and You and You

I downloaded Soft Piano first. This instrument uses a sampled piano with a strip of felt between the hammers and the strings. The effect is a great, with the percussive aspect of the piano only noticeable at the higher octaves.

The overall sound quality is superior, as expected with Spitfire Audio. I plan on using it whenever a special need for an effected piano arises. It’s a unique sound quite in vogue with some music producers.

The simple interface includes two faders to control expression (essentially the volume within the plugin) and dynamics. A subtle reverb is managed using a cool-looking spiral control. Operation is a piece of cake.

Unfortunately, the tracking for the new Church of Hed album, Sandstoned, recently completed. I imagined a few spots Soft Piano would have worked better than the piano I used. Spitfire Audio’s new sample instrument now resides at the front of my mind for the next time!

Spitfire Audio Strings

The Strings sample instrument is the result of a recording session featuring a small chamber group and a collection of vintage microphones. Once again, the stunning sound quality shocked me. My poor man’s Charles Ives tone clusters sounded great, as did a ham-fisted attempt at Eleanor Rigby.

The instrument uses three separate patches; one suitable for short notes and one for sustained playing. An ensemble patch combines the two approaches. This provides some flexibility depending on the needs of your project.

A similar interface to Soft Piano lets you manage the expression and dynamics of the patch. The spiral control is for reverb as well, with an extra setting to let you control the tightness of the samples using the short patch – a subtle but useful effect.

Frankly, you need to stop wasting time and head over to download Spitfire Audio LABS as well as the Soft Piano and Strings instruments. We are already waiting for the next sample instrument! We give LABS our highest recommendation.


  1. […] to raise the game when it comes to high-quality sample libraries. We are currently in love with their free LABS sample plugin, and the company recently introduced Solo Strings, the latest edition of their classical instrument […]