Many orchestral libraries are imbued
with processing to make them sound
larger than life. But when it comes to
sonics, one size rarely fits all. EastWest
addresses this issue in the Hollywood Orchestral
Percussion collection ($598 on
hard drive; $499 download) by providing
realistic, live-sounding instruments with
a studio-oriented degree of customization
that is well-suited to film scoring.
Hollywood Orchestral Percussion
(HOP) loads into Play 4, EastWest’s 32-
and 64-bit sample-playback instrument
(standalone/VST/AU/AAX). I tested the
Diamond Edition on the provided USB3 drive: The
library is ready to play after authorization. East-
West recommends connecting it to a USB3 port,
though it worked fine with my USB2 port.
The included Combo Kits are great for orchestrators
in a hurry. Although they don’t offer the
flexibility of individual instruments, everything is
kept on a single MIDI channel or track. The other
folders—Cymbals, Drums, Metals, and Wood—
hold single instruments, useful for building custom
kits where each instrument has its own track
and MIDI channel.
The Cymbals folder includes pairs and suspended
instruments, with rolls and crescendos
dominating the latter group. The Drums folder
holds snares, bass drums, tambourines, toms, and
timpani. A keyswitched combination accesses
multiple articulations, such as flams, rolls, and
crescendos without loading them individually.
In addition to crotales, finger cymbals, a mark
tree, and vibraphones, the highlight of the Metals
folder is an aggregation of hits on brake drum and
anvils. The Wood folder has marimba, xylophone,
wood blocks, claves, and much more.
All of the instruments have a sweet, natural
ambience. Opening additional mic positions on
the vibes and marimba, in particular, added great
depth to the instruments. You can further enhance
the sound using the Spaces convolution reverb
and Stereo Doubler effects.
The range of sounds in Hollywood Orchestral
Percussion is comprehensive, and the documentation
is excellent, providing useful orchestration
strategies. If you are looking to build a library of
orchestral percussion, this is an excellent place to