Issue 87

Spitfire Audio Hans Zimmer Percussion – Sample Library


20 May 2019

Hans Zimmer is the godfather of modern Hollywood film scoring. With a seemingly bottomless creative wellspring, Zimmer is renown for his emotive and dramatic scores that weave sound to sight with the bombast of a floor-to-ceiling tapestry. If his name is attached to something, you know it’s going to be big, bold and dramatic.

Hans Zimmer Percussion Library is exactly that. Given just how big a role percussion plays in the majority of Zimmer’s scores — even assembling his own league of 12 extraordinary drummers for the Man of Steel soundtrack — a percussion-focused pack is a welcome addition.

Hans has previously teamed up with UK-based sampled instrument developer Spitfire Audio to release Hans Zimmer Piano and HZ02 (Jason Bonham playing his DW Vistalite kits at legendary locations in LA). The Percussion Library is essentially a re-release, combining HZ01 and HZ03 inside a redesigned GUI with extra manipulation options.

All samples (nearly 50GB of them) were recorded through 96 microphones from AIR Studios’ arsenal, with up to 60 used at any given point. These fed into a Neve 88R console then into HDX and Prism converters at 192k.

The range of sounds are truly exotic. You’ll find darbukas, tombeks, dhols, boobams, tamtams, surdos and more. There’s plenty of ‘standard’ stuff too, like epic cymbal hits and snare rolls. Each is sampled with up to nine round robins. There’s a clarity and intentionality in each hit from the softest to the loudest velocity.

The reverb is gigantic and lush — no wimpy room verbs here. Between the mic positioning and the reverb amount you can finely control the width and size of each sample; so while you might have it sounding cavernous for cinematic passages, there’s nothing stopping you from winding it back and throwing a darbuka or surdo on that folk acoustic song you’re working on.

After having this library at my disposal for several months, it has found its way onto every track I’ve produced without fail. Yes, its sweetspot is cinematic scoring, but those beautiful samples excel in seasoning virtually any music with striking percussive elements, be it subtle or overt. This is one I’ll recommend without a moment’s hesitation.





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  1. Would be nice if there was a much smaller and cheaper starter pack, for amateur producers just starting to experiment with such sound banks. Something with more loops and less individuals. I know I would have been more keen to take that first step in buying such a product, when I first started production.

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