Spitfire Audio is one of the big players in the sample content industry. Founded back in 2007 by Paul Thomson and Christian Henson, it has grown from a small company producing elite bespoke libraries for almost every A-list composer in Hollywood and beyond, to a commercial big player with the release of Albion in 2011. One of their latest releases is The Grange, a multi sampled drum library played by A-list drummers like Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Roger Taylor (Queen), and Andy Gangadeen (Massive Attack and others).
- 6 Multi Sampled drum kits played by Chad Smith, Roger Taylor and Andy Gangadeen
- 4 Different Mixes: Tight, Mid, Epic, Super Tight (Andy’s kit only)
- 4 Kit Mics: Kick, Snare, HiHat, Toms
- 4 Stereo Perspectives: Tight Ambient Mics, Ground Floor Ambient Mics, 1st Floor Ambient Mics, 2nd Floor Ambient Mics
- 4 Different Kind of Drumkit Types:
- Easy Tweaks – Mixed stems that allow you instantly tweak the sound.
- Kit Mics – These are your close mics, use these to create your finely tweaked multi tracks.
- Mixes – These are your sublime, spring-out-of-the-box mixes.
- Stereos – Different ambient signals which should be used in conjunction with kit mics to create an individual sound.
- 55.12 GB/38557 samples (uncompressed 32bit wav)
- Price Tag: £199 (plus VAT for EU customers)
After having purchased the library, you install the Spitfire Library Manager (currently in beta test). The Library Manager takes care of the whole download and installation process. Afterwards, The Grange needs to be activated via the Native Instruments Service Centre, as it will appear on the Kontat Library Tab, and is therefore available for both the full version of Kontakt and the free Kontakt Player.
The Story Of The Grange
The name of the library is obviously taken from the Headley Grange, a recording and rehearsal venue where bands like Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, Genesis, and others composed and/or recorded their legendary albums, back in the 60s and 70s. Unfortunately, it was closed in the mid 70s, and for the last 40 years, no recording sessions have taken place there.
Through the kind invitation of the Headly Grange owners, Spitfire Audio was allowed to enter those famous rooms again. Armed with a two-inch 24-track Studer multitrack recorder, a combination of the finest and rarest classic mics, preamps, and tons of other equipment, Spitfire Audio have created a modern-sounding and versatile set of sampled drum kits, played by top notch drummers like Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Roger Taylor (Queen), and Andy Gangadeen (Massive Attack and others).
Spitfire Audio are known for their well structured and easy to use GUIs, which are coded by Blake Robinson whose Kontakt KSP code skills always set the measure higher in KSP programing with every release.
With The Grange, Spitfire Audio introduces the new so-called Kickstart percussion script engine, with an integrated help system, which also powers Spitfire Percussion v05 and HZ02. Just have a look for the little i, and you will get more detailed information about the usabilty of the GUI and the features of the library.
By clicking the instrument on the GUI, you can select and customize all individual settings, and so customize the patch for your convenience.
The Drum Kits
The Grange opens with four different instrument folders.
- Instruments Easy Tweak – Mixed stems that allow you instantly tweak the sound.
- Instruments Kit Mics – These are your close mics, use these to create your finely tweaked multi tracks.
- Instruments Mixes – These are your sublime, spring-out-of-the-box mixes.
- Instruments Stereos – Different ambient signals which should be used in conjunction with kit mics to create an individual sound.
Each main instrument has different subfolders, which then again contain the sampeled artist drum kits, in mapped and unmapped versions. The Instrument Easy Tweak and Instrument Mixes also contain a folder with sampeled audio loops.
Each kit definitely has its own character, which of course is influenced by its player. The sound of all three kits is absolutely high end. Below is a short basic rock drum demo I created that shows the Instruments Mixes patch. All sounds are straight out of the box. No EQ, no compression – nothing. Also the MIDI information has not been edited after I played it. I just wanted to check how different the kits will sound with the same MIDI information.
As you can hear – an absolutely brilliant sound. Especially the Roger Taylor kit; it has this Led Zepplin kind of feeling – those weighted heavy drums as John Bonham himself would have played them.
What I find a bit unlucky, so to speak, is that the different drum kits’ mapping is inconsistent. As I used on the same MIDI information on all three kits above, I expected they would all would have the same mapping. But the Roger Taylor kit, for instance, doesn’t have a single crash cymbal – they are only available with bass drum hits. But those aren’t available on the Chad Smith kit. As a result, you would not be able to compare the kits “on the fly” to see what best matches your track. The recorded tom rolls don’t match on every tempo either. In addition, the volume balance doesn’t seem to be the same on all three, which means that “out of the box”, as advertised by Spitfire Audio, is a relative term. Consequently, you will need to do a bit of tweaking to directly compare which kit works best.
The Grange also comes with a number of pre-recorded loops that can immediately be incorporated into your productions. These loops are audio only, have their own pre-recorded measures and tempi, and do not sync to your host tempo. Roger Taylor‘s loops particularly don’t seem to loop well, perhaps due to his slightly laid back playing style.
Below, I have also created a small audio demo with some loops from each kit.
I know that the loops are neither the focus nor the aim of The Grange – but I would like to see host sync compatibility in the future, as I find that this is standard nowadays – at least in most of the libraries that I know. Some drum libraries also feature the ability to play MIDI files internally through Kontakt, and have them available to be dragged and dropped into your DAW. This would be a welcome feature for this library to have: pre-programmed drum loops in MIDI – standard rock grooves. I am sure this would make a composer’s life much easier.
If you enjoy and are in need of classic sounding rock drums, The Grange is the library to go for. The kits really sound outstanding, and they’re definitely full of character, sampled the Spitfire Audio way.
The library is not perfect, and has its flaws that can always be improved in updates, as we’ve become used to from Spitfire. But the sound of the kits alone is well worth the money.