Review - Spitfire Audio - Hans Zimmer Strings - Special Event

Spitfire Audio - Special Event
Air Studios, Hampstead
Wed 28th February 2017


In the world of film, TV and media composition Spitfire Audio have established themselves as one of the market leaders producing exceptional and inspiration sample libraries. Alongside their products the company have an outstanding online presence with tutorials, interviews and Christian Henson’s vlog channel which have all contributed to an ‘Apple-esque’ hysteria surrounding the company. With this in mind, it was no surprise that when Spitfire announced that they were holding a ‘special event’ at Air Studios in London that tickets sold out almost immediately despite no one really knowing what they had purchased tickets for!

Spitfire Audio - Special Event

As the mystery regarding the event continued in the build up to the big day rumours were circulating online: Was this going to be the launch of the long awaited choir library? Was long term collaborator Olafur Arnalds involved? (he had posted from Air and Abbey Road Studios in the days leading up to the event), and would the event even go ahead given the UK was experiencing a snow induced standstill?

Air Studios, Hampstead

My own journey began at 9am when I picked up what turned out to be one of the only trains of the day that made it from Glasgow, through Cumbria where I boarded at Oxenholme Lake District to London. On arrival at the snow covered Air Studios the evening began with a drinks reception followed by a performance by the LCO. As the event began live streaming to an army of dedicated followers, Christian and Paul took to the stage to reflect on what they have achieved over the last 10 years before making 2 significant announcements.

The Evenings Events

The first announcement ‘Hans Zimmer Strings’ sees Spitfire tackle their largest and most ambitious sampling project to date. The recordings include 344 musicians all recorded at Air Studios, it took over a year to complete, and most notably sees a collaboration with design agency UsTwo to create a dedicated plugin for the product. The latter point signals a move away from the Kontakt interface and NKS format so it will be interesting to see if this is something the Spitfire will implement on future product launches. After the main presentation, smaller workshops with composer Homay Schmitz gave us a chance to hear some of the articulations in a new composition and take a closer look at the new interface. On a first listen I was most intrigued by the depth of the bass and the intricacies of the softer performances, while the interface appears intuitive and unobtrusive to navigate leaving the composer to concentrate on writing.

Christian and Paul - In Action

The second announcement was the revamp of the companies ‘LABS’ series, an initiative that has seen some wonderful and quirky sample instruments sold for a small charity donation. This aspect of the Spitfire product line is shortly to be relaunched, again using its own dedicated plugin and it promises to include some old favourites alongside new creations updated over time. Perhaps most notably here is that the LABS range will be free with Spitfire donating 1% of gross income to charity partners.

Recording Hans Zimmer Strings

The evening was a huge success, it was a great occasion to meet fellow composers, spend some time in the beautiful Air Studios, chat to the Spitfire team and grab some free merchandise on the way out.