IK Multimedia Miroslav Philharmonik 2 – Big Band in a Box
Miroslav Philharmonik is a collaboration with jazz bassist Miroslav Vitous (from Weather Report fame) and features nearly 60GB and 2,700 high-definition sampled instruments.
Originally recorded on the Emu hardware samplers, then converted to Tascam’s native Giga format, it had been largely forgotten until IK Multimedia acquired the rights to release it as a VST plugin based on its own SampleTank format. Considering it was one of, if not THE, first fully sample orchestral libraries available at the time, it’s still held up remarkably well against the latest completion.
- Over 58GB of 24-bit / 96kHz high-definition samples
- Includes the complete original Miroslav Philharmonik sound library optimized for more control with articulation switching and enhanced macros
- Recorded and produced by jazz legend Miroslav Vitous
- Over 2,700 stereo instruments cover the complete orchestral spectrum and more
- Multiple articulations per instrument with articulation switching
- Comes with ConvoRoom convolution reverb with 3D GUI
- 34 high-quality studio effects from SampleTank 3
- 4 professional-grade mastering processors from T-RackS
- Multi-channel mixer-like Mix interface with 16 channels and 4 insert effects per channel, 4 stereo effect returns (with 5 insert effects each) and a master channel with 5 insert effects
- Access to the powerful instrument Edit page with 3 sample engines (including formant preserving pitch-shifting and time-stretching engines), 10 filter types and 8 macro controls per instrument for quick multi-parameter editing
- Based on SampleTank 3’s powerful 64-bit engine
- Recorded at CNSO Studios in Prague
Downloading and installation was a breeze, though you’ll need over 100GB of free hard drive space to set it up, considering the scale of the instruments the space requirements are quite frugal. The interface looks smart, if a little dated, but is deeper than it looks at first glance. You get a familiar piano at the bottom of the interface that is playable and shows the key range of the currently selected instrument. Above that live expression, attack, release and cut-off controls – rather unusual for an orchestral instrument, but expected since this is based on IK Multimedia’s SampleTank platform. A three-band EQ and FX page featuring a surprisingly large number of extra EQs, dynamics, reverb, delays and filters – again, very unusual synth-focused FX in a traditional orchestral setting.
Skipping to the top of the screen we can see play, mix and edit buttons. The first shows the patch information for the currently loaded sounds, mix features a well-featured mixing console with AUX sends and master BUS. Finally, the edit screen shows a totally mind-numbing amount of modulation, pitch shifting, and synthesis style filtering controls.
Heading back over to the play screen, patches are split between multi mixes, individual instruments, patterns and live mode. Everything is well laid out and constructing custom orchestral setups is a breeze, though all of the included patch setups sound excellent.
In use, the library required a decent amount of CPU processing and RAM to run the larger patches, though considering the number of instruments loaded, that was to be expected. Loading times for these patches are quite long, so browsing through them takes some time (bring coffee).
In particular, the percussion samples sound excellent, mostly very expressive and convincing in your arrangements. While the strings and woodwinds sound somewhat choked, or perhaps less dynamic than some of the other current orchestral libraries available, this is most likely due to the change in micing and recording techniques over the decades since this was made. While the trade-off is everything sits very well in a large mix and soloists cut through quite well, unfortunately, the entire library is somewhat dwarfed when layered under something more upfront, like ProjectSam’s Orchestral Essentials, for instance.
Miroslav 2 is a deceptively deep and complicated orchestral synth instrument. To extract the most from it you’ll need a fairly good understanding of both traditional orchestral arrangements and scoring styles, plus a good grip of modern subtractive synthesis. Though it’s packaged as a realistic orchestral instrument, really it’s begging to be warped and twisted with the quite literal over-the-top amount of modulation and FXs controls you get.
Interestingly, the samples hold up very well to being mistreated synthetically. Since they are recorded quite flat, almost thin sounding, the synthesis layering doesn’t muddy or over-saturate the results as you’d get trying to do this with another sample library.
This is an excellent collection of well-played and captured instruments. The sandbox-style interface environment is excellent for constructing ensembles, effecting and mixing. The overall sound is excellent, though some processing will be required to obtain that ‘wall of sound’ style for film trailers and game scores. At under $500 USD, there is certainly a lot of band of buck value here.
Full details and purchasing options on the IK Multimedia site http://www.ikmultimedia.com/products/philharmonik2/
Test Machine Specs
Core i5-6500 3.20 Ghz 16gig RAM. The library is installed on a secondary 7200 drive.
Windows 10, 64bit.
Focusrite Scarlett 214 Interface
Presonus Eris E44
Shure SRH940 monitors