Review: Spitfire Audio HZ02 Hans Zimmer Percussion-Los Angeles

Jason Bonham drum sample library
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Hans Zimmer Percussion captures Jason Bonham playing in three different studios, including the Sony recording stage. EVERY TIME I think I have a surfeit of sampled drum kits, something comes along that tells me “think again.” Spitfire Audio’s HZ02 Hans Zimmer Percussion Los Angeles (£199 or about $327, spitfireaudio.com) captures Jason Bonham playing his DW Vistalite kit in three different studios; Alan Meyerson, Geoff Foster, and Hans Zimmer recorded and mixed the project.

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HZ02 can be used standalone, in Kontakt 5 or Kontakt 5 Player, or as an RTAS/AAX/ AU/VST plug-in. The 23GB download includes samples from a variety of mic perspectives— close, overhead, room, and gated room. You also get a splendid kit derived from Zimmer’s huge analog modular synthesizer.

Apart from Zimmer’s kit, there are subfolders for the three recording locations: Cathedral (Zimmer’s facility); the Sony recording stage; and the Newman stage at 20th Century Fox studios.

While the subfolders contain fully mapped drum kits, the real action lies in creating Multis from individual elements—cymbals, kicks, snares, and toms—whose folders sit alongside the complete kit. Tools to sculpt your sound include Pitch, Boom and Crack (lowpass and highpass filters, respectively), in addition to the mixer where you choose different mic perspectives. I prefer the close-miked kits, which possess a sweet ambience, but it’s nice to have options.

Overall, the kicks are meaty and punchy, with the thunderous Newman bass drum being a cinematic standout. The cymbals sparkle; the Dual Combo cymbal rolls have a realistic attack and generous decay. Round robins for the ride bells keep them lively and pingy, while the hihats are kept from sounding mechanistic. The snares have plenty of snap and presence, and the Gated Room (only available for some snares) can be subtly mixed in for a little sizzle (or way up for some ’80s character). The snares and toms include realistic flams, and some of the crash sounds are accompanied by kicks.

All in all, HZ02 sounds fabulous— bombastic and laden with attitude. They’re perfect for standard and progressive rock as well as hard-edged pop.