8Dio Majestica Review – An Epic 240 Players Orchestra!


Quick Overview
■23.5 GB (24 Bit / 96 kHz)
■Kontakt (full) 5.3+
■240 piece orchestra (100 Strings, 60 Brass, 60 Woodwinds, 20 Percussion)
■Most of the important articulations (legato, shorts, bends, rips, arcs and more)
■Massive and different sound
■Mixed, Decca, Far mic positions

If you love the epic, massive sound of modern Hollywood blockbusters, this one is for you. Majestica is a new 8Dio sample library (for Kontakt), produced by Academy Award, TEC and G.A.N.G Award Winning Composer and Producer, Troels Folmann and Emmy Nominated Composer and Orchestrator, Colin O’Malley.
8Dio claims Majestica is the largest symphony orchestra ever sampled, and looking at the facts and figures provided, it’s hard to disagree. Majestica features the sound of 240 players; 100 strings, 60 brass, 60 woodwinds and 20 percussion.
If you’re looking for a divisi, close and detailed sound, look somewhere else. This is all about massiveness!

Exploring Majestica
Here’s what you’ll find in Majestica:

  • Strings
    • String Ensemble Legato (Natural, Sustain XFade, Medium Arc 1 & 2, Strong Arc, Marcato)
    • String Ensemble Sustains & Arcs (Sustain MW Xfade, Dynamic Bowings)
    • String Ensemble Short Notes (Spiccato Normal & Fast, Marcato, Col Legno, Bartok)
  • Brass
    • Brass Ensemble Sustains & Arcs (Sustain MW Xfade, Dynamic Bowings)
    • Brass Ensemble Short Notes (Staccato, Staccatissimo, Marcato, Marcato Looped & Muted Marcato)
  • Woodwinds
    • High Woodwind Ensemble Sustains & Arcs (Sustain MW XFade, Dynamic Bowings, Flutter Tongue, Minor & Major Trills)
    • High Woodwind Ensemble Short Notes (Staccatissimo, Double Tongue, Marcato & Marcato Looped)
    • Low Woodwind Ensemble Sustains & Arcs (Sustain MW Xfade, Dynamic Bowings, Flutter Tongue, Minor & Major Trills)
    • Low Woodwind Ensemble Short Notes (Staccatissimo, Double Tongue, Marcato & Marcato Looped)
  • Percussion
    • Low Percussion Ensemble (Tom Tom Ens, Gran Casa Ens, Timpani Hits, Rolls & Crescendo Ens)
    • High Percussion Ensemble (Small Snare Ens, Big Snare Ens, Tambourine Ens, Anvils Ens, Sticks / Slaps Ens)
    • Cymbals Percussion Ensemble (Cymbals Ens, Cymbal Scratches Ens, Tam Tam Ens, Small & Big Gongs Ens)
    • Master Percussion Ensemble (all in one mega-patch)

The Sound of Majestica
First of all, just to get this out of the way, this thing sounds huge. I mean come on, 30 french horns? 10 bass trombones? 100 strings? It’s so ridiculous that it’s insanely cool – I always wondered how a huge ensemble like this would sound sampled.

Let’s get into the sound and content of the individual sections of this library.

The Strings
The strings ensemble consists of 30 double basses, 30 celli, 20 violas and 20 violins. That’s 100 strings! And the patch doesn’t only do powerful and huge, but also pretty soft and silky smooth – very typical 8Dio strings sound actually. I especially like the col legnos – those are absolutely awesome. They will work perfectly in trailer music, and they have a very particular sound when played at low velocities.

When you modulate (CC1) the sustains and legatos of the strings, it has a sort of natural response to it. It doesn’t linearly increase as you turn up the mod wheel, but responds in a way that strings sections actually play. This was a bit tricky to get how to use properly in the beginning, but I got the hang of it pretty quickly.
The Brass
The brass section consists of 10 cimbassi, 10 bass trombones, 30 french horns and 10 trumpets. It has a massive and unique sound. It doesn’t sound like anything else out there. I did think that the brass (especially the lower ranges) would have a more aggressive and ‘brassy’ sound to it, but they go pretty quiet in the low ranges – which was a slight bummer for me considering the size of this massive ensemble. That said, this is a really beautiful sound that works wonderfully in chords – and I like the way the arcs sound so realistic (like p-ff-p and so on). The high range of the brass is very clear, majestic and powerful.

The Woodwinds
The woodwind section features 15 bass clarinets and 15 contrabassoons in the low ensemble, and 10 alto flutes, 10 flutes and 10 piccolo flutes in the high ensemble. This one sounds unique to me – almost unreal. The high winds are penetrating and lustrous, while the low winds are beefy and full of lovely woodwind sound.
The Percussion
The percussion section of Majestica is made up of 20 percussion instruments; tom-tom ens, gran-casa els, timpani ens, small snare ens, large snare ens, tambourine ens, anvil and stick ens, cymbals, tam-tam and gong ensembles. I think these are the most useful patches for me in the library – they are incredibly big, powerful and simply awesome.

I will abuse the master percussion ensembles patch for years. The tambourines and other higher frequency instrument ensembles sound really good too and cut perfectly through the mix!

The User Interface
If you are familiar with 8Dio sample libraries, you will feel at home with Majestica. There are three mic levels to mix from; Decca, Far and the Mix-down of both of these, so essentially two mic setup distances with the option of saving some RAM. You can also turn on and off the articulations of each patch to save even more RAM.
Inside the UI, we find the different pages for the library – the articulation browser, the mic setup page, an arpeggiator, a polyphonic step sequencer, and the effects tab. And you can, of course, MIDI learn and set up the instrument exactly how you want it to be, or just use the assignable controls. The articulation browser also has assignable controls. The UI is straightforward and sleek – play around with it for a while and you’ll quickly get the hang of it.

When I envision the sound of 30 horns, 10 bass trombones and 100 strings, I expect a very massive and spacious sound. Hearing 8Dio’s Majestica, I was surprised of how unique the sound actually was. It wasn’t necessarily ‘bigger’ – just very unique, in a good way! It’s tricky to explain, but one thing is certain: it sounds awesome.

This is, indeed, a unique and emotional library. Thanks to its useful patches and straightforward GUI, Majestica is a great choice for getting that powerful sound, but it can also go quite soft, believe it or not! It will be perfect for my trailer music whenever I need more ‘massiveness’ and bite.

I would really have liked close mic options – that would have been superb, but then again I have other libraries for that. This one is all about the huge, unique and mighty majestic sound!

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