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Review: “New Epic Taiko Ensemble” by 8Dio


Today I want to have a look at something epic. You guessed it! It’s New Epic Taiko Ensemble by 8DioBut why is it called “New”?

Those of you who have been around for a little longer might remember that there was a Library of the same name a few years back.

This library is a completely remastered, redesigned and reprogrammed edition of 8Dio’s original “Epic Taiko Ensemble”. The “New Epic Taiko Ensemble” contains over 2.900 samples, two microphone positions, built-in articulation browser, internal step-sequencer, front-face FX, textural convolutions and their newest 3.4 Chaos Engine.

“New Epic Taiko Ensemble” features the highly renowned Taiko Ensemble group: “Emeryville Taiko” lead by the master, Susan Horn. The recordings lasted over a week, which allowed 8Dio to capture an unprecedented amount of content.

The library contains four main categories of samples: Multi-sampled Taiko Ensemble (10 round robin for all articulations), Live Loops of the Taiko Ensemble and an assortment of other sounds associated to Taiko (ex. ensemble screams, yells, yell-hits, percussive cannon (Tekkan) and presets.

Epic Taiko Ensemble follows the same principles established in 8Dio’s other epic percussion libraries in terms of articulations, velocity layering, and round robin. Articulations have up to 8 velocity layers and all are sampled at 10 round robins (aka repetitions).

They sampled all the classic Taiko drums from the big sounding, O-Daiko, Nagado Daiko to the smaller and more snare like, Shime. In addition, they also played the drums with hands and alternative stick types – and they got the most comprehensive collection of clacks made with different type of sticks and by hitting the rims of the larger Taiko drums.

In addition, 8Dio also recorded a comprehensive amount of ensemble loops with the Taiko Ensemble. The loops were recorded at 80, 90, 100, 110, 120, 130 and 140 BPM and are intended to be used as stand-alone and/or in combination with the multi-samples. They contain both classic Taiko style rhythms and more contemporary rhythms for film scoring etc.

The library was recorded in the same signature hall used for our Solo Taiko Drum and Epic Frame Drums. I recommend purchasing both Epic Taiko Ensemble and Solo Taiko Drum, since they use the same drums, microphone perspectives and gives you the necessary depth to create completely realistic Taiko performances.

Interface & Usability

New Epic Taiko Ensemble

The interface of New Epic Taiko Ensemble is very user-friendly, and as simple as something with so many features can be. The top third holds something like a browser through which you can navigate to different loops, patches, etc.

Below that sits the modulation sequencer that you might be familiar with from other 8Dio libraries. It’s quite powerful and easy to use, although, I must say that I hardly touched it, while playing with this library.

On the lowest third of the interface are the microphone mix channels, letting us choose the makes of the different microphone positions, the effects panel, and an EQ panel. What I found most interesting here, was what’s hidden behind the transform button on the effects panel. If you click the little orange arrow, you’ll find a selection of convolution delays. These mostly consist not of traditional convolutions, but experimental algorithms, to sort of texturalize, and morph the drum sounds.

In terms of usability this library surprised me. Given that I usually like playing with knobs and parameters, to find out in which ways I can mangle and sculpt the sound, it was unexpected for me to find that I mostly enjoyed playing this library as it is, without altering any sounds and only very slightly using the effects section.

To me, this is a big plus, even though I’m a big fan of 8Dio ‘s Chaos engine and their effects section. The fact that this library is so much fun and so easy to play that you hardly need to look at the interface or any of its functions, and yet everything is there at your fingertips should you ever wish to change anything, is something that few libraries manage.


“New Epic Taiko Ensemble” has a gigantic range of sound. It can do soft and gentle, and it can do big, gigantic, and bombastic, and everything in between. The samples sound wonderful and rich, the audio quality is very high, and the abundance of round robins prevents any unrealism from creeping in.

8Dio New Epic Taiko Ensemble

In this library doesn’t really matter if you prefer playing with loops, or creating your own, or using a conjunction of both since it is abundantly equipped with resources for every possible usage. The provided loops cover traditional Taiko articulations as well as more modern rhythms, commonly found in trailers and modern movies and games.


“New Epic Taiko Ensemble” is a great library, especially if you are working in scoring, are a percussion enthusiast, or just love that big, bombastic sound. While the library isn’t in the low price range, I find myself rather surprised at getting something this good for this “little”.

Like I said before, this library is extremely fun to play, and requires very little fiddling with knobs and parameters, and even if it would, the great user interface would make it a pleasant experience.

As I’m used to from 8Dio, they provide a lot of freedom to create, and design your sound yourself, but give you the highest quality foundation, and tools possible to start with. This library is definitely something that will enrich your collection and is also a great starting point for those starting one. This is, to my knowledge, the most comprehensive and best Taiko library on the market.


  • Price: $199
  • +100.000 lines of custom code for new FX 3.3 system
  • Instant Front-Face FX & Textural Convolution Delay
  • Bonus: Project Midi Demo (Exploding Fist)
  • Product only available as download


  • Multi-sampled Epic Taiko Ensemble
  • Up to 10 velocity layers / 10 repetition pr. layer
  • Loop/phrase sampled Epic Taiko Ensemble
  • Over 3000 Loops from 80-140BPM
  • Assorted Taiko (ex. Ensemble screams, war yells, metal perc)
  • Bonus Presets


  • Full Retail version of Kontakt 5.5.1 or later required
  • Not compatible with Free Kontakt Player
  • 3.9GB HDD (compressed to 1.1GB)
  • Ability to download
  • PC 2.4GZ+, 8GB ram
  • MAC 2.6Ghz, 8GB ram

If you’d like to see it in action and learn a little bit about how to program Taikos you can head over to 8Dio’s Website. They made a great video showing off their new Library.

More Details: New Epic Taiko Ensemble

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