- What is LABS?
- System Requirements
- Quick Start Guide
- Folder Structure
- Common Errors and Why They Occur
- Full Articulation and FX List (by Gregoryd)
What is LABS?
An infinite series of free software instruments, made by musicians and sampling experts in London, for anyone, anywhere. Presented in our own plug-in, they are easy to use, and compatible with any DAW. And in case you missed it — they're all free.
- Mac OSX 10.10 - Mac OS 11
- 4GB of RAM
- 64bit DAW required
- Compatible with Apple Silicon (M1) Click here to learn now to install Spitfire Audio Plugins on M1
- Windows 7 - Windows 10
- 4GB of RAM
- 64bit DAW required
- It is recommended to store samples on an External SSD Drive
- LABS cannot be currently used on a shared hard drive between two devices
Quick Start Guide
To install LABS, you first need to create a Spitfire Audio Account and also download the Spitfire Audio App. Click here to for the link to the App page.
A video guide can be found below which explains the installation process. Although it shows how to open the library in Logic, LABS can work with most other major DAWs by loading via the VST/ Instruments menu.
- Each LABS instrument must be downloaded and installed to the same LABS folder on your system. It is not possible to spread the libraries across multiple install locations.
- When you download a library, the plug-in will automatically download to your AU, VST, and AAX install locations.
- If you use a custom VST location, this can be set in the Spitfire Audio App > Settings > VST2
Each instrument will contain Patches, Presets, and Samples, that should be visible in the folder structure as seen below:
If Patches or Presets for a library you have downloaded a missing, but the samples folder is present. You should Repair All LABS. Make sure when you repair, you select the correct LABS folder on your system.
If your samples folder is missing for a particular library, you will need to redownload that library.
The LABS User Interface Explained
- LED - when this is flashing red and green, samples are loading in. You should wait until the LED is solid green before attempting to play with the library. If your load time is slow, this might indicate that the disk you have installed the library on is too slow.
- CPU - this indicates how much processing power the LABS plugin is using. If you find this peaks towards 100% in your session, try increasing your sample buffer rate.
- Disk - this indicates the amount of processing power your disk is using where the library contents is stored. If you find this peaks towards 100%, the disk you have stored the library on might be: incorrectly formatted, not suitable (e.g. flash drive), or be using a port that is not powerful enough (e.g. USB2, or USB unpowered hub)
- Memory - this indicates the amount of RAM/ Memory the single instance of LABS you have open is using. It will not calculate the overall LABS memory use in your session.
- Voices - this indicates the amount of samples or audio files being played when you are using the library. You can lower or increase the overall voice count in the Setting Menu (13)
- Refresh - the refresh button allows you to refresh the current plugin you have open. This is good to use if the audio for the plugin has become stuck/ frozen.
- Reverb - this dropdown menu allows you to control the type of reverb associated to the reverb FX in the FX Menu. Click on the text next to Reverb: to bring up the menu.
- MIDI Channel - this allows you to select the MIDI channel you wish to associate to the specific instance of LABS you have open. This is helpful if you are using multiple keyboards in a live session, and wish to associate only one instrument to each keyboard.
If you just use one MIDI keyboard, and perhaps an additional MIDI device to control affects, you should keep this on Any.
- Tune Knob - this allows you to change the tuning of the instrument up and down 3 octaves. Double click on the knob to turn it back to the default (0), and use shift + drag to fine tune.
- Pan Knob - this allows you to change the balance of the stereo output to the left and right channel. Double click on the knob to turn it back to the default (0), and use shift + drag to fine tune.
- Master Volume - this allows you to turn up or down the master volume. We recommend keeping the volume slider in the default position, as increasing above the set amount might lead to high dB distortion which can damage your audio equipment and ears.
- Volume Metre - a visual representation of the dB level of the instrument. If it enters the red zone, the instrument could clip.
- Plugin Settings - the plugin settings menu allows you to change:
- The Maximum Voices: the amount of samples that can be heard simultaneously
- Preload Buffer Size: The minimum number of sample values preloaded into memory for each audio recording. Increase for slower hard drives.
- Steam Buffer Size: The number of sample values kept in memory for each audio recording stream. Increase for slower hard drives.
- Master Tuning: by default this is set to 440Hz = A.
We recommend keeping your settings at the default values shown below.
- Library Name - the name of the library currently loaded as well as the preset that is loaded.
- Preset Name - the name of the preset that can be loaded from the preset menu. Double click to load.
- Star - star your favourite presets to make them appear in the Starred Filter (19)
- Preview - press this button to get a quick preview of what the preset sounds like.
- Library Name - the name for the library the preset list relates to.
- Starred Filter - click on this filter and only presets that are starred will show.
- Instrument Filter - clicking on these filters will only show presets that relate to the filter(s) selected.
- Collapse Preset List - Select this button to close the preset list and view the main interface, or just click on the surrounding user interface.
- Load Button - If you click once on a preset name, you can also load it by using this button. Or just double click on the preset name to load.
- Plugin Version - this indicates the plugin version you are currently using.
- Open Preset List - Click this button, or anywhere on the blue preset bar to open the LABS preset list.
- Current Library: Preset - the title in the preset bar indicates the current library and preset within that library that is loaded into the LABS plugin.
- Asterisk - if an asterisk appears around the library and preset name, this means that the preset has been edited by the user. Should you wish to return to the default, simply reopen the preset list and reload the preset.
- Expression - this fader controls the overall volume of the library loaded and is connected to MIDI CC value 11.
- Dynamics - the Dynamics fader has different purpose depending on the LABS library and is connected to MIDI CC value 1 (or the Mod Wheel on most MIDI Keyboards):
- Long Articulations: the dynamics slider will fade between the different dynamic layers. At zero you will hear the quieter dynamics (piano) and at full, the louder dynamics (forte) will be heard.
- Short Articulations: the dynamics will be controlled via velocity. When the dynamics fader is increased to full, you will only be able to play the loudest notes. When the dynamics fader is at zero, you will be able to play the full dynamic range via keyboard velocity.
- Synths: some of the synth patches in LABS are connected to a Low Pass Filter (LFO). At zero dynamics, the filter is closed and will make the instrument sound darker and muffled. At full dynamics, the filter will be open and the instrument will sound brighter and clearer.
- The O - this round knob indicates the amount of FX is being applied- depending on which FX is selected.
- The O Button - the central button in the O will activate the FX Menu.
- The FX Menu - these list the FX available for the preset you have loaded. Not all presets have the same type or amount of FXs. The FX that appears in blue is the FX that is being visually represented on the O. However, you can use multiple effects at once by using MIDI CC (see chart below).
- Octave Toggle - use the upwards and downwards arrows to toggle the keyboard on the interface up and down. This does not transpose the notes on the keyboard, but will allow you to see the lower and upper parts of the keyboard that are not visible by default.
- Pitch Bend - the pitch bend wheel mirrors the position of the pitch bend wheel on your MIDI Keyboard. Note that most of our libraries do not enable Pitch Bend by default, as using this effect can have a negative impact on the sound quality and realism of the samples.
- Mod Wheel - the mod wheel mirrors the position of the mod wheel on your MIDI keyboard.
- Graphic Keyboard - the brighter zone of the keyboard indicates the area where samples for the loaded preset are present, whilst the darker zone will not contain samples. When you depress a key on your keyboard, this will also be indicated on the interface.
- Enlarger - if you hold and drag out the bottom right corner of the interface, you will enlarge the plugin. If you hold and drag the corner area towards the centre of the interface, you will make the interface smaller again.
Full Preset and FX List
List of FX Used
To access the affects, click on the central button within the O.
|FX Name||What it does||MIDI CC Number|
Controls the amount of reverb. The type of reverb used can be selected from the top of the User Interface.
|Variation||This varies the start point of the sample. The higher the variation, the more random the start point of the sample will be.||CC 20|
|Tightness||By increasing the tightness, you will cut into the sample start point more, creating a snappier sound.||CC 18|
|Attack||This controls the speed of which the sample's volume becomes the maximum level.||n/a|
|Decay||This controls the time in which the initial sustain of the note is held for.||n/a|
|Sustain||This controls the time in which the volume level, after the decay, is maintained.||n/a|
|Release||This controls the time in which the volume level of the sample fades out after you release the note.||n/a|
|Speed||The speed of the vibrato on certain presets.||n/a|
|Delay||The amount of delay applied to a preset.|
A full preset list can be found in the link below, courtesy of Forum Member @gregoryd