I came to the conclusion Spark was a phase in the Arturia company where they were feeling out if there was a market for hardware/software integration. They’ve clearly found their niche, but not on the analog drum machine side. I don’t know if its because their TAE tech doesn’t play as nicely with 808’s as it does with Moogs, but I thought the Spark 808 patches were bland.
@bozmillar or @ikmultimedia may have some thoughts on this, but I believe we’ve gotten pretty accustomed to hearing the plugin makers idea of what they anticipate the user ‘wanting’ the emulation to sound like, more so than being dead on true to what the emulation ‘does’ sound like. A good example is that 9/10 people will probably prefer XLN addictive to BFD3, because the snares and kicks appear enormous, strait off the cuff when you load them. When you unload the FX, and account for the compression that was committed to the Addictive sample, I believe Addictive and BFD are dead equal. Except for the fact that BFD has a much larger and far more diverse set of add ons. But it takes a little longer to get the BFD sound processed and production ready.
I’m going off on a tangent here, but for sample replacement, the question isn’t XLN vs Fxpansion. The question is: ‘who sampled the kit piece closest to the one I need to sample replace?’. Beyond that, its down to interface. Its a different question for the 808, because there’s only one sample set in question to begin with (opposed to a selecting from a variety of kit pieces). So to me, it then comes down to which one gets you up and running the fastest.