Orchestral Tools Metropolis Ark 1 Review – Pure Triple-Forte Orchestral Power

Picture_OT_MetropolisARK1_1Being the fathers of Berlin Woodwinds, Orchestral Tools are loved by many music producers worldwide. This time around, they have proudly presented a new beast in the sample library collection: Metropolis Ark 1. And what a beast it is! Packed with 160GB (yeah, what the hell?) of samples, it has a very classically cinematic and huge orchestra sound; a majestic, bold and powerful vibe to each and every aspect of it.
If you want some very bold and mighty sounding orchestral weapons added to your sonic arsenal, you might very well be looking at the right thing here.

Quick overview

  • €549 (+VAT if applicable)75GB (160GB uncompressed!)
  • Orchestra, Choir, Epic Percussion, Band
  • True legato, extensive Articulation sets
  • Spot, Close, Tree, Surround and A/B mic positions
  • Fully integrated in CAPSULE for Kontakt
  • Shining, big and mighty sound
  • Dynamic range from mf – ffff

A new beast from Orchestral Tools
Metropolis Ark 1 is truly a beast of sample juiciness. It has most of what you need to make big and powerful sounding orchestral tracks, featuring unconventional ensembles such as 4 contrabassoons, 3 cimbassi, 9 horns, 3 tubas, and much more crazy and epic instrumentations. It was recorded and built to emulate a classic, massive and emotional sounding orchestra ready to be used in any big sounding production. It works perfectly on its own as it includes most of the range of the orchestra; high and low strings and brass, percussion and some low/mid woodwinds, a friggin’ awesome high and low choir, distorted guitars and bass, a drum set and some other things.
Just listen to this amazing demo by Sascha Knorr:

The sound in this demo is exactly how the patches sound. No dress-up or mixing tricks – just straight up Metropolis Ark 1 splendor. And I love it! The patches are intuitive and easy to use with OT’s CAPSULE engine inside of Kontakt – play around a bit with them and you’ll get the hang of it quickly.

What is included in Metropolis Ark 1?
For the recording of Metropolis Ark 1, Orchestral Tools used a large and unique instrumentation; 14 violins, 12 violas, 8 celli, 12 basses, 9 and 3 horns, 4 trumpets, 3 bass trombones, 3 cimbassi, 3 tubas, 4 bassoons, 4 contrabassoons, a male & female choir, drum set, guitar solo and ensemble, different percussion, a bass and a piano.
The massive 75GB (compressed) library is made up of 4 “Districts”, and you have the options of mixing the different mic positions (mic positions vary with some patches) to your liking.

In all the folders for the various instrumentations there are a bunch of articulations including legato, portato, shorts and longs, glissandos, swells, and a lot more.


The library is categorized in two major folders: Multi Articulations and Single Articulations. The Multi Articulations patches allow for control over different articulations inside one patch, such as all the articulations for the low strings in one patch. The Single Articulations lets you load single patches for each articulation, should you wish to do that.

The sound of Metropolis Ark 1
The vibe, or sound, that Orchestral Tools have tried to emulate this time around is inspired by “a cinematic monument from 1927 – The first ever epic science fiction motion picture of our time”. What they created sounds bold, rich and mighty and is extremely useful for a quick and easy mockup or enrichment of cinematic cues. My primary use of this library has been for my trailer music cues, and I am currently using it in another big cinematic soundtrack for a martial arts TV-show.
I also really like the sound of the guitars, bass and drum set because they blend perfectly into the orchestral, percussive and choral content of the library. You have the ability to use dry samples as well which further adds to the usefulness.
What I love about this library is that it just shines when you use it for the big stuff. It will not work as well for the quieter, softer side of scoring which I will rely on other libraries to help me with. As an example, the dynamic range of the low strings legato is from f to fff. While the a3 horns go from mp-fff, I’d still say this library is not suited for quiet stuff – it simply wants to roar orchestral glory!
The brass are raspy, powerful and just ominous when played on the high to highest dynamic – this and the choirs is where my favorite patches from this library lie. Compared to Cinebrass, this has a classier and more natural vibe to it. The strings have a potent and romantic power to them, quite unlike most other libraries – the closest similarity I’d say lies somewhere in Spitfire Audio’s strings range.
So – if you’re looking for something more in the lines of concert size instrumentation, or a detailed smaller sound, look elsewhere. This is all about the grandiose and the boldly massive cinematic sound.

The library is hosted in Native Instrument’s Kontakt, wrapped up in Orchestral Tools very own Kontakt-scripted engine CAPSULE. Check the video below to see a more detailed description of what CAPSULE is.

This revamped engine makes working with Metropolis Ark 1 quite a customisable experience with articulations, mic positions, routing outputs and more – but if you simply want to load up a patch and get to playing, Metropolis Ark 1 is designed exactly for that end. It’s a really simple and fun library!

Metropolis Ark 1 is truly a beast of sample juiciness

Overall, Metropolis Ark 1 blew me away. It’s hard for me to find anything to complain about – it just sounds so great and is easy to use, has a lot of articulations and provides me with so much sample content to choose from for my own sound palette. The sound is massive and bold, the instrumentation is unique and creative, and it blends well with most productions that need this big and mighty sound.
The choirs get their own bravo as they are just so juicy. Legatos are smooth and seamless, and staccatos are neatly scripted.
I simply cannot wait for the next Metropolis Ark release from OT, as this one goes to my Sample Library Favourites list. Orchestral Tools, you guys hit it out of the park with this one!

Pricing and availability
Metropolis Ark 1 is available from Orchestral Tools for 549 EUR.

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