Review – Spitfire Audio Hans Zimmer Percussion – HZ01, HZ02, HZ03
Having won countless awards including Oscars, his scores for films including Gladiator, Inception, Interstellar, The Dark Knight and Dunkirk he is considered one of the greatest living film composers. Hans has defined not only a compositional style, but also a production approach and sonic innovation that has influenced a generation of composers. Spitfire Audio are delighted and honoured to present this library in conjunction with him and his team of GRAMMY-winning engineers, musicians and technicians. Herein lies not an emulation or synthesis of his approach, but a recreation; the same studio, musicians, instruments, signal chain and talented engineers, sitting alongside a decade of experience, innovation and refinement, overseen in every detail by Hans himself; the same excruciating attention to detail and perfection but, most importantly, the endless choice for customisation you’d expect from Spitfire. London Ensembles and Solos Hans Zimmer Percussion combines the output from two extraordinary recording blocks.
Hans Zimmer Percussion
The line is currently comprised of three volumes: HZ01 — London Ensembles approx. Each of the three Kontakt Player libraries is available for download at SpitfireAudio. Note that the library runs on either the free Kontakt Player or full Kontakt, starting with version 4. This review was written using HZ01 version 1. Should I Check Out the Library? Right out of the gate, the library has a lot going for it.
First of all, Hans Zimmer is undisputedly one of the most well-known composers in Hollywood, both for his compositions and for his sound, with the huge percussion often being cited as a signature element. This library gets as close to his sound as you can get without hiring him. But boy did HZ02 prove me wrong for having doubted it. All three volumes of the library sound fantastic. I cannot find anything negative to say about the sound. Basically, unless you want a drier sound, this library can dish out most of the huge sounds a composer could want.
How Does It Work? With HZ01 and HZ03, the biggest sound comes out of the library when you use a lot of tracks: I have 33 in my template HZ01 and HZ03 combined template to get access to each instrument quickly, and I have several cues where they the majority are playing at once. There are some huge percussion instruments that can sound great on their own and this is a library that wants to give you that level of control as opposed to given you lots of pre-fabricated combos that layer even more instruments together for you — the All In One Patches allow you to switch between all the different instruments in the volume, one at a time, but do not map them all next to each other on the keyboard for concurrent performance.
The three bonus instruments are Bass Drum, Surdos and Toms. The library is huge and covers some extended percussion that is difficult to find in other libraries but a large part of the libraries scope comes from the many, many different mix options available. HZ03 has the most straightforward patch organization: These patches provide a more detailed, individual take on some of the instruments covered in an ensemble fashion in HZ01 where they were often only available layered with others.
This time around there are no sub-folders for individual patches since the main patches are already individual patches or for Punch COG versions. There also no stereo mix folders — that makes a certain level of sense since those purchasing HZ03 are most likely looking for more hands-on control anyway.
You can read up on the instruments offered more specifically at SpitfireAudio. Most of the patches exempting the timpani, rock kit and a few others are played entirely using the white keys, and the starting note for the overwhelming majority is the same, making it relatively easy to sequence a part for one percussion instrument and then bring it over to another track.
I found this very useful when writing layered parts and quickly organized my template so that the handful of instruments that did not use the same starting note were put elsewhere. I cannot emphasize enough just what a big deal the options are, both from a composer perspective and from my background as a mixing engineer.
The library is divided into several folders: I simply cannot give enough kudos here. At the same time, the Steve Lipson Mix and Stereo Mixes folders provide instant gratification and a variety of colors.
You get four different stereo mixes from four different people for each of the patches in the percussion ensemble, each of which will emphasize very different parts of the percussion section. There are mixes by Hans Zimmer, Alan Meyerson, Geoff Foster and Steve Lipsom and switching between them can totally change the feel of your composition. You can just pick one up and be ready to go at once without having to deal with mic balancing at all.
On the other hand, I took things a step further by routing a different stereo pair out of Kontakt for each stereo mix on every instrument, and then sent each of those outputs to a different aux in my DAW. Once I had that setup in my template, I could easily switch between the four different mixes for every instrument in my template at once by soloing one aux at a time.
Honestly, I was blown away by the four different colors I could get without changing the MIDI data, switching patches or even dealing with individual mics at all. The Artist Elements folder is grouped into sub-folders by person: The mics available vary depending on which person you choose. By contrast, the Additional Mics folder uses one set of patches, all with the same mics: Once again, I simply cannot give enough kudos here.
The Artist Elements include options from Alan Meyerson, Geoff Foster and Hans Zimmer and the mic options remain largely similar to HZ01 save for the occasional small name differences like Tree vs Room for the same mic. HZ02 is organized a bit differently.
The Hans Zimmer folder is actually just for the modular synth percussion patch. The Alan Meyerson and Geoff Foster folders contain three more sub-folders, one for each of the recording locations: The Kickstarter Kits in HZ02 caught me by surprise by emphasizing a different interface as opposed to different content.
The interface has a taller aspect ratio than the other patches, with a drum kit graphic in the center that you can click on to select what you want to modify the mapping for. There are lots of tool tips, and most of the normal controls are found in the lower left hand corner. If you want to remap the drums for instance, to use drum sequences you wrote for another plug-in this could make it a lot easier. However, since the emphasis of my review was on the sound of the library, I spent less time here than with the other patches.
So Are There Any Downsides? Before I got my current template configured, there were certainly times where I wished I could switch between different stereo mixes for the whole percussion section at once, though in retrospect I can see how difficult this might be to implement.
I know there are also some that would prefer some pre-fabricated mega hits that layer a lot of sounds. And thanks to the fact that the main hit for most percussion instruments is mapped to the same key range, you can always stack a lot of patches if you want anyway. And the size of the library may put it out of the reach of users working on small hard drives. Some users may also be overwhelmed by the sheer scope of the library, since there are so very many possibilities.
Honestly, to any such users I would simply suggest that you pick a single Stereo Mix because that makes it a lot easier and also that you take the time to learn one patch at a time. What about the Competition? If a user just wanted taikos, for instance, I could think of several other libraries that offer them off the top of my head.
But I have not seen any other library the offers the specific combination of percussion instruments employed here and each library is very strongly colored by the sound of its hall, something especially true of percussion instruments.
Thus I find it very difficult to suggest any direct competitor to Hans Zimmer Percussion: Conclusions If you are looking for the biggest cinematic percussion or just want a Hans Zimmer percussion sound, the Hans Zimmer Percussion line should be the very first stop on your journey. The recording quality, mic and mix options are insanely powerful, able to cater to both detail oriented users and those looking for instant gratification.
I have simply never seen any other library go this far in terms of the mics and mixes — it has set the bar very high for all other libraries that follow. You may also be interested in:
Hans Zimmer Percussion does use the same content as HZ01 and HZ03 but they are That means that if you already have HZ01 and/or HZ03 and choose to download Hans How do I Install my Spitfire Audio Product?. Hans Zimmer re-created the techniques used for The Dark Knight and other films when recording and mixing his epic percussion library. Stream Spitfire HZ01 HANS ZIMMER PERCUSSION – demos, a playlist by SPITFIRE AUDIO from desktop or your mobile device.
Does Hans Zimmer Percussion use the same content as HZ01 and HZ03?
Hans Zimmer Percussion is a complete library of drum samples for cinematic percussion. That means, the Professional version adds the possibility of switching between 10 additional microphone positions and contains more mixes made by artists such as Junkie XL, Alan Meyerson, Steve Lipson and Geoff Foster. Another difference is the amount of samples that each library covers.
The line is currently comprised of three volumes: HZ01 — London Ensembles approx. Each of the three Kontakt Player libraries is available for download at SpitfireAudio.
VIDEO REVIEW: Hans Zimmer Percussion
Available for download, the Hans Zimmer Percussion London HZ01 from Spitfire Audio is a performance-oriented virtual musical instrument based on samples. Frequently asked questions about Spitfire Audio Hans Zimmer Percussion. I already own HZ01 and HZ03 and I want Hans Zimmer Percussion, how do I get it ?. Hans Zimmer re-created the techniques used for The Dark Knight and other films when recording and mixing his epic percussion library.