Released in late 2016, Tundra is the fifth edition of the excellent Albion series from Spitfire and is a kontakt sample library. Boasting an orchestra of 100 musicians and advertised as sound at the edge of silence, Tundra is very good at particular things but is not at all a general orchestral sound library. In fact, this library is an excellent pool of resaurces that are full of character and the unusual and limited techniques that are featured here are the stength of the product for a composer who already has the so-called standard orchestral sounds they like.
Tundra excells at slower tempi and at creating soft and gentle music. This is the opposite of the bombastic libraries one often finds, relishing in delicate timbres and subtle changes.
One of the great things about the Albion series in general are the microphone options, where for each patch there is a close, tree, ambient, and outrigger mic array to mix from. It should be noted that the close mic does not sound as close and dry as a similar setting in an East-West or Native Instruments library would sound, however, I do whole-heartedly think that the sound quality on thew Spitfire libraries in general is on a level all its own. Furthermore, the built-in reverb, a relatively new feature for Spitfire, sounds quite good if you want to just load up an instrument and sound good right away. The full set of features and patches can be seen on the Spitfire Website.
The example tracks belw should give some idea about how this library sounds. Note that these pieces were made using only the effects and setting built into the sample libraries with the exception of a limiter at the very end of the chain.
Example Track 1: Delicate Orchestral Beauty
In my opinon, some of the most convincing instruments in the Tundra library are the "silken con sord" patches for the strings. I have often felt like the sordino patches in sample libraries are lacking and don't really convey the quality that muted strings have in a live setting. This is not true for Tundra, and the con sordino patches, of which there are a few, all sound fantastic.
Example Track 2: Pushing for Hope
The second example features a darker tone, written in a minor key and focusing on exploring the lower ranges of the instruments in the Tubra library. Like in the previous track, many different instruments from the Tundra library are used. One of the more interesting instruments is the "string ricochet," for which on selects either a major or minor triad and there is a quasi-random tremolo effect that is played, which adds a wonderful sense of realism and activity to the music.
Example Track 3: Anti Gravity Rise
This third example used the Vral Grid exclusively to create a kind of ambient soundscape sound and relies heavily on the type of evolving sound that the patch features.
The layout of the Vral Grid patch is shown here, where you can select different sound types in different ranges. The die-shaped button at the top of the grid is a randomizer, which is a wonderful time saver and great way to explore the different sounds on offer. While not quite as useful as the various other grid instruments put out by Spitfire, this patch still offers great possibilities.
Verdict: Recommend highly, but with an asterisk
Tundra is a very special set of orchstral tools that are perfect for certain styles and complimenting more traditional orchestral libraries. I would not reccomend this as a first orchestral library, but is perfect in combination with the more general orchestral libraries or even the earlier Albion releases. The Sound quality is incredible with great mic and mix options, but there is no extremely dry close mic.