Review: EastWest Hollywood Orchestral Percussion

Customizable Instrument Library Collection
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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 start.