Recently I had a look at “Albion ONE” as well as “Sotto“, which are both great libraries and intended to be a little more on the soft side of the sound. Continuing my line of reviews for full orchestra libraries, I have something new and slightly different today: MAJESTICA by 8Dio.
As the name suggests, this library is as big and powerful as it gets. According to 8Dio, it is the biggest orchestra ever sampled to date, it certainly sounds like that, and I can tell you already that they build in a few more goodies besides bombastic sound.
But before we dive into the depths of this library, let me give you a little overview.
“Majestica” is structured into four compartments, strings, brass, woodwinds, and percussion. Each section, of course, contains multiple articulations, arc, and effect patches. Within the interface, that you might be familiar with other 8Dio products, you will also find a powerful effects section, as well as a versatile mixer.
For a library this big, I will not be able to discuss each and every patch and feature, but I will do my best to provide a general overview of everything and point out the highlights, and the differences. And if you’d like to see and hear it in action, just pop over to 8Dio’s Website (link at the end of this review). They have some great walk-through clips over there.
So let’s have a look at the different orchestral sections first…
The strings ensemble in “Majestica” consists of 30 double basses, 30 cello, 20 violas, and 20 violins. That’s 100 strings in total and quite impressive on its own. Almost a surprise to me considering the size of the string section, the patches don’t only do well in the arena of “powerful and huge”, also the soft and gentle sound is convincingly provided – quite typical for 8Dio string libraries actually.
Something that stands out to me is the behavior of the Modulation (CC1 & CC11). It has something like a natural response to it. The increase doesn’t seem to be linear as the mod-wheel gets turned up, but respond in a way that strings sections actually play. It was a little confusing at first, but once used to it, there is a wonderful range of realism I have never been able to archive this effortlessly.
The brass section consists of 10 cimbasso, 10 bass trombones, 30 french horns, and 10 trumpets. 60 brass players can easily produce an extremely massive sound, needed to match the 100 string in a rich orchestral climax. The brass section has a very unique sound and stands out most to me from all the sections in this library. It doesn’t sound like anything else out there but in a very good way.
I expected the brass (especially the lower ranges) to have a more aggressive and ‘brassy’ sound, but they go pretty quiet in the low ranges – which was a very slight “minus” for me, considering the size of this massive ensemble. Aside from that, the sound of this section is just beautiful in all ranges between super soft and complete chaos. The arcs sound very realistic. The high range of the brass is very clear, majestic, and powerful. And the control over the sound as far as mic-position, breath control and effects go is all I could ever want….well, almost, but close.
The woodwind sections feature 15 bass clarinets and 15 contra-bassoons in the low ensemble, and 10 alto flutes, 10 flutes, and 10 piccolo flutes in the high ensemble. This split the instrument into two different sections – something you’ll not find in every Orchestral library.
However, it makes a lot of sense considering the functions of the Instruments. With a total of 60 woodwinds, these two sections together have an almost unreal sound. I mean that in the best way possible. Very realistic and on a broad spectrum from cutting to dreamy sounding. The high winds are penetrating and lustrous, while the low winds are beefy and full of lovely wooden body sound.
Again the implementation of the arcs and also of the clusters is wonderfully done. Extremely playable and in some cases just much more real-sounding than it could be done with MIDI.
The percussion section of “Majestica” is made up of 20 percussion instruments: tom-tom ensemble, gran-casa ensemble, timpani ensemble, small snare ensemble, large snare ensemble, tambourine ensemble, anvil and stick ensemble, cymbals, tam-tam, and gong ensembles. Without diminishing anything else in this library, I find these to be some of the most useful patches contained in “Majestica”– they are incredibly big, powerful, inspiring, and simply awesome.
The master percussion ensembles patch is a great starting point and for many pieces, it might be all you need. The tambourines, anvils, and other higher frequency instrument ensembles sound very very well recorded and cut perfectly through the mix without hurting. And of course, this section provides the necessary boom where you need it.
After spending literally hours upon hours in this library, I feel safe to say that if “majestic” is what you’re looking for, then “Majestica” is what you want to get. The price might be a little steep but it’s well worth what you’re getting for it. The interface is wonderfully simple and easy to understand, yet provides easy access to all important parameters, and with a few more clicks you can dive as deeply into sound shaping and effects as you wish.
Also, as I always mention with 8Dio libraries, these guys really know how to build a comprehensive effects section, and a simple yet powerful mixer, as well as useful time-saving, presets. And the cherry on top, of course, is that most of the extras are something you “can” use if you like.
Out of the box, this package already sounds so inspiring, and sonically pleasing, you will hardly feel the need to adjust anything.
At the same time I think this provides a great opportunity for growth and is a wonderful basic toolbox for people starting out, but won’t be limiting as they grow and learn the fine adjustments of orchestral sound.
- String Ensemble Legato (Natural, Sustain CrosFade, Medium Arc 1 & 2, Strong Arc, Mercato)
- String Ensemble Sustains & Arcs (Sustain MW Crossfade, Dynamic Bowings)
- String Ensemble Short Notes (Spiccato Normal & Fast, Marcato, Col Legno, Bartok)
- Brass Ensemble Sustains & Arcs (Sustain MW Crossfade, Dynamic Bowings)
- Brass Ensemble Short Notes (Staccato, Staccatissimo, Marcato, Marcato Looped & Muted Marcato)
- High Woodwind Ensemble Sustains & Arcs (Sustain MW Crossfade, Dynamic Bowings, Flutter Tongue, Minor & Major Trills)
- High Woodwind Ensemble Short Notes (Staccatissimo, Double Tongue, Marcato & Marcato Looped)
- Low Woodwind Ensemble Sustains & Arcs (Sustain MW Crossfade, Dynamic Bowings, Flutter Tongue, Minor & Major Trills)
- Low Woodwind Ensemble Short Notes (Staccatissimo, Double Tongue, Marcato & Marcato Looped)
- Low Percussion Ensemble (Tom Tom Ens, Gran Casa Ens, Timpani Hits, Rolls & Crescendo Ens)
- High Percussion Ensemble (Small Snare Ens, Big Snare Ens, Tambourine Ens, Anvils Ens, Sticks / Slaps Ens)
- Cymbals Percussion Ensemble (Cymbals Ens, Cymbal Scratches Ens, Tam Tam Ens, Small & Big Gongs Ens)
- Master Percussion Ensemble (all in one mega-patch)
More Details: Majestica by 8Dio