NI Symphony Series Percussion £239
Just like Heavyocity, Sonuscore (the partner company behind this new Kontakt-based percussion library) has collaborated on a number of products with Native Instruments. This time their skill is turned toward creating a percussion library geared with the orchestral end of the spectrum in mind – though there should be something here for other genres as well.
The library consists of 55 instruments recorded at Studio 22 in Budapest (and home of the well-regarded Budapest Film Orchestra). Each instrument (and kit) makes use of the clear interface, making it easy to see sound and key-switch mapping. The headline innovation in this collection is Drum Head Resonance Simulation (DHRS), which purports to enhance realism beyond simple round robin-triggering. This was tested by loading the Timpani preset and proceeding to play at varying speeds and velocities. The results were excellent with a fantastic sense of realism. The added flexibility afforded by the ability to mix five different microphone configurations also makes a massive difference as this feature allows you to create both large and very intimate sound fields.
If the full product is out of your price bracket, or is too detailed for your needs, then the Essentials version (at £89) may be more appropriate – the instrument count is reduced to 18, and only stereo mic mix versions are included. However, the ability to mix mics and positions is winner in my book, so it would perhaps be a shame to lose its flexibility. Bruce Aisher www.native-instruments.com