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Spitfire Audio Hans Zimmer Strings His Name Is Maximus! GEORGE SHILLING gets orchestrally epic with this “most ambitious library”

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pitfire was established over 10 years ago, gradually expanding from their private bespoke sample libraries to a comprehensive selection of commercially available instrument libraries, most notably the Albion series that first appeared in 2010. With award-winning composers Christian Henson and Paul Thompson running the show, standards have always been high, with many libraries recorded at AIR Lyndhurst’s fabulous sounding Hall by the likes of Jake Jackson [Resolution V10.6] and (in this case) Geoff Foster, utilising top-grade professional musicians. Hans Zimmer is one of the best-known movie composers of the last 40 years with multiple awards for soundtracks including The Lion King, The Dark Knight, Gladiator, Inception and Interstellar. Described as Spitfire’s most ambitious library yet, Hans Zimmer Strings was recorded using 344 players at AIR Studios. This is clearly pushing boundaries and Zimmer has stated that the mission here is to “create the impossible”. Many of Spitfire’s instruments use Native Instruments’ Kontakt for sample playback but this is a new self-contained plug-in, developed with the help of design and user-experience agency UsTwo. This supports VST, AU and AAX, Mac OS 10.10 onwards and Windows 7 onwards. The installer (and required disk space) is over 183 GB, available as a download or via a hard drive delivered for a small extra cost. Uncompressed, the component WAVs are 424GB although only 200GB disk space is required. With a fast fibre connection I set about downloading using Spitfire’s new app, choosing a directory on an external drive for the library, but I had to resume on another day. In theory, this should continue from where you left off, but mine somehow restarted from scratch and seemed to have forgotten about my external drive. I may not have been paying close enough attention but it all ended up on my system drive. With a looming deadline I left it going overnight, and on return it had successfully merged the files and installed itself with no additional input required or dialogue boxes — marvellous. The user interface developed with UsTwo makes for a stylish and polished user 30 / Digital • April 2018

experience. It looks uncluttered with a few large controls taking centre stage and always visible, while the lower section switches between three screens for different functions. You can resize easily by dragging the bottom corner, or you can collapse things with a button to reduce the window to the essentials. This clutter-free look does come at the expense of easily legible text — at my normal screen resolution I was sometimes squinting to read it. At the top is a strip (‘Top Menu’) with system related information and master controls: on the left are a disk load status LED, CPU and disk use percentage readouts, memory and voice usage. Towards the right are controls for MIDI channel, Tune, Pan, Volume and buttons for a mini pop-up menu of MIDI settings related to Velocity and CC, and Settings for more general setup in a new window that opens up overlaying the plug-in window. Immediately below this is another narrow strip for Preset management — more on that later. A vast main area below that contains just two fader controls — Expression (volume) and Dynamics, and a big knob, often controlling Reverb level by default. (The reverb provided is a beautiful sounding hall effect, but cannot be edited.) The knob can be repurposed to control Release, Tightness or to crossfade to Vibrato samples as appropriate. Tightness is a useful setting for adjusting the starts of short sounds — with such huge numbers of players there will inevitably be something of a blurry start to notes, but you can cut into the note to add a bit more attack when playing parts in if so desired. Of course you can later loosen things and drag notes slightly earlier for more realism. The lower section can be switched between Signal Mixer, Technique Selector and Controllers on different tabs or pages. Beneath

/ Col Legno: “hit with the wood”

Resolution v17-D Digital April 2018  

Audio for broadcast, post, recording and media production

Resolution v17-D Digital April 2018  

Audio for broadcast, post, recording and media production