Review: 8DIO Majestica
The power of the world's largest sampled orchestra at your fingertips translates into truly epic sound with amazing sample quality. Ability to link articulations in the interface.
No solo instruments, choir. Inconsistent articulations from one instrument to the next and fewer articulations than many ensemble libraries. Articulations spread across multiple instruments instead of consolidated.
Go BIG or go home! That is certainly the premise behind the largest orchestra ever sampled. Majestica is powerful, bombastic, expressive and can even be smooth and silky. Make no mistake about it; this library is a power house!
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Jump to the Videos of 8DIO Majestica
Jump to the Videos of 8DIO Majestica
At the time of posting this instrument was on sale at 40% OFF for $360.00 (reg $599) until 8/31/2016 as part of 8Dio‘s 5th Anniversary Sale.
Use promo code 8DIO40 at check out: 8dio.com
Review 8DIO Majestica
Majestica has been on the scene for a little over six months, and as such there has been ample time for the debate on the question “Which is the better ensemble orchestral library?” to percolate. I’m not going to bore you by regurgitating stated hyperbole and I’m not going to answer that specific question – that is for you, the composer to decide. What I am going to do is provide you with my thoughts and the facts. There is a specific tool required for each compositional challenge and I will leave you to assess your own personal needs. Now, moving on from my philosophy lesson…..
Majestica is the largest orchestra ever sampled. A 240 piece orchestra consisting of a 100 piece string section, a 60 piece brass section, a 60 piece woodwind section and a 20 piece percussion ensemble. The lineage of Majestica comes from 8DIO’s exclusive V8P sample libraries. It is the masterwork of Troels Foelmann (8DIO Founder, Composer) & award winning composer Colin O’Malley. Majestica was recorded in the same facilities as those used to produce the 8DIO’s V8P, CAGE and AGE orchestral series libraries.
The first thing that impressed me about Majestica was the sheer powerful sound of it. It is at the same time both beautiful and overwhelming. The power of the ensembles is like nothing you have heard before. You can stack patches in other libraries to create bigger sound, but it will never sound the same as having that many musicians in the same physical space playing at the same time with the room dynamics and resonances. This is something special about Majestica and I believe a singular claim as it has never been done before so nothing else sounds quite like it.
The first thing that impressed me about Majestica was the sheer powerful sound of it.
If you are composing film trailers, scores for film or video games, there is something in Majestica that you are going to love that takes your project to the next level. Don’t let me get you carried away simply on power here. You can coax out the feelings that you want from it – yes – apocalyptic and bombastic but also suspenseful, passionate, eerie and dare I say even a measured level of smoothness and grace.
A couple of things you are not going to find in Majestica – solo instruments, extensive articulations found in more purpose built libraries like a “strings or brass only” package or piano and choir patches. It was designed to be driven at the ensemble level and provide that sound. To summarize, this will probably not be the only orchestral library in your toolkit but it will be a great one with a great big sound.
A couple of things you are not going to find in Majestica – solo instruments, extensive articulations and choir patches.
Let’s dive into the interface….
Being a long-time fan of 8DIO and knowing the history of their usual graphical presentations, I was a bit taken back by the Majestica interface at first. I wondered if I forgot to copy pictures to my Kontakt directory after install. The answer was “no” – this is a new interface designed from the ground up. It soon became clear that this look & feel reminded me of some 8U rack-mount vintage studio gear, perhaps a compressor or an equalizer. After you see the Mixer page below, this will make even more sense. The interface has this very analog feel and earthy quality to it and frankly is pretty simple and straight forward. If you are familiar with 8DIO, the concept will come easily.
The interface has this very analog feel and earthy quality to it and frankly is pretty simple and straight forward.
The instrument patches are broken up into 5 groups as you would expect: Strings, Brass, Low Woodwinds High Woodwinds and Percussion. Every articulation is not represented here, but most of the important ones are. 8DIO has a complete graph of all of the articulations by instrument type on their webpage that I have linked to above and below, so I won’t bore you with the full listing here.
One feature I really like is the ability to link articulations. As an example, linking Spiccato and Marcato on the Short String patch allows you to create an interesting nuance on a fast passage. Clicking the double gear options link next to each articulation will provide you with info on keyswitch and CC# info as well.
One feature I really like is the ability to link articulations.
There are a couple of articulations that I really would like to have seen included, namely a Legato Brass patch to pair with the Strings and an FX patch for the High Winds. The other note about the articulations is that while many libraries allow you to choose between all of the available articulations on a single interface page for a patch, 8DIO chose to deliver them across several patches, i.e. Longs, Shorts, FX and Legato (Strings only). The only ensemble that has a combo patch is a Percussion master patch.
So, now the interface comparison to vintage gear might make more sense? If you look closely at the mixer rack, it looks like the old channel slots. It’s quite charming somehow. The EQ Presence lets you modify both presence and width of stereo field along with pan, solo and mute by Mic type. You have essentially Decca and Far plus the mix-down of both as a third option. With Majestica more mic positions loaded equals most aggressive power – at the cost of memory and the results can be quite bombastic on Percussion, Low Brass and Low Winds.
The effects rack is somewhat a staple to all of the newer 8DIO libraries and provides a suitable compliment of effects for shaping your sound with Filter, 3 band EQ, Degrader and Delay. As a rule, I prefer to mix using various premium plugins and route all of my instruments into the same room.
The Options page allows you to select the type of and shape the Velocity Curve. In addition to setting the Offset, Release Trigger and Attack time, you also control the Dynamics and Expression here. If you pay careful attention to the link icon between them, you will see that you can also link them in the same way that you can link the articulations The clean interface design means you will see the same icons and controls throughout the library.
Majestica also comes with an Articulation Sequencer, Arpeggiator, Polyphonic Step Sequencer and the ability to control things like your tuning and round robins. I spent a fair amount of time with Majestica and I like it now more than I did when I first heard it. It has some short comings in the articulations that I mentioned and perhaps even the way that they are delivered in separate patches but I also know that I have been around long enough to know that nothing is perfect! There is more to love than critique: the epic sound, the quality of the sampling, the sheer vibrant power you can coax from the whole orchestra and the way that each section can cut through a mix and still sound relevant on its own.
There is more to love than critique: the epic sound, the quality of the sampling, the sheer vibrant power you can coax from the whole orchestra.
Majestica stands on it’s own in the sample library landscape with it’s monster sound. Although there are competitive libraries that focus on “epic orchestras”, 8Dio have pushed the limits in the most traditional yet unexplored way with giant sections! And although there are a few things I would have liked to have seen in the articulations and engine, I am awarding Majestica the GAME SHAKER award which we designate as important solo achievements in library development, pushing the envelope in new and unique ways.
At the time of publishing this review 8Dio‘s 5th Anniversary sale. As with all of my reviews, please watch and listen to the product demos, read the fine print and make sure that this product is right for you. Until next time…..
Majestica downloads at 24GB and requires the full version of Kontakt 5.3 or higher and is scampled from a 100 piece Strings section contains 30 Bass, 30 Cello, 20 Violas and 20 Violins, 60 piece Brass section contains 10 Cimbasso, 10 Bass Trombone, 30 French Horns, 10 Trumpets, 60 piece Woodwind section contains 15 Bass Clarinet, 15 Contrabassoon, 10 flutes, 10 piccolo, 10 alto flutes
20 piece Percussion ensemble contains everything from Tom-Toms, Tam-Tams, Gran Cassas, Tympanis, Snares, Gongs & Anvils to Sticks, Tambourines and Cymbals.
All samples recorded at 96 KHz using Decca and Far Mic positions plus a Mixed option Articulation Preset Browser, Articulation Sequencer, Arpeggiator, Polyphonic Step Sequencer, Mixer, Effects Rack, Dynamics and Expression Control, Tuning and Round Robin Control. The instrument contains 16 instrument patches: Strings (Shorts, Longs, Legato, FX), Brass (Shorts, Longs, FX), Low Winds (Shorts, Longs, FX), High Winds (Shorts, Longs), Percussion (Low, High, Cymbals, Master)
*see the 8DIO product page for articulations by patch