10 great cinematic percussion instruments to add to your collection
By The Article Master on
Thunderous toms? Check. Ear splitting crashes? Yep. Organic ethnic rhythms? Of course. We've got you covered in our list of 10 cracking cinematic percussion libraries and instruments you should check out. All the tools you need to elevate your cues to epic proportions on any budget.
Tom Holkenborg's Percussion gives you the triple-A composer's very own drum collection—the exact same drums you heard in Mad Max: Fury Road, Zack Snyder's Justice League, and Godzilla vs. Kong. And the exact same drums Tom uses in his template today. Often imitated and now duplicated, these drums offer unique playability, an exhaustive dynamic range, and insane volume.
This is not your regular orchestral percussion. Tap into a unique collection of instruments assembled over the course of more than 7 years. It's an eclectic mix of Tom's own drum kits, plus surdos, tupans, and custom-built drums. The library also includes special patches like the Quad Toms—4 kits playing in parallel for a massive sound. Most drums are provided in a variety of sizes and a choice of tunings.
The sound is rich, detailed, and up-front—mix-ready straight out of the box. Fine-tune your mix with 4 mic positions. All drums were recorded and processed by Tom in exactly the same way, so any combination of instruments will yield a cohesive sound.
This library is designed to be played. For sketching, capturing ideas, and above all for live playing, Tom Holkenborg's Percussion includes a custom patch for pad controllers—a selection of drums put together as a kit for your MPC, Maschine, or electronic drums.
- Works with Orchestral Tools' SINE Player—NOTE: Very latest version required.
- Almost 10 GB of samples (ca. 5 GB SINEarc compressed).
- 24-bit / 48 kHz patches.
- System requirements SINE:
- Mac OS 10.13, i5, 4 GB RAM (16+ GB recommended).
- Windows 10, Intel Core i5 or similar (Windows 7 is not officially supported).
- Interfaces: VST, AU.
UJAM is lucky to count Hans Zimmer—one of the world's great film composers—as one of its co-founders. Hans generously gave them access to his legendary recordings, amassed over decades, for use in DRUMS.
DRUMS puts Hans Zimmer's personal collection of percussive samples and phrases at your fingertips. Tried and tested in Hollywood, this rhythmic companion to STRIIINGS makes cinematic drums accessible for anyone.
The UJAM performance engine provides ready-made sequences and creative controls. Arranging, recording or even programming this type of drumming is usually very costly and time consuming. With DRUMS it's fast and easy; instantly synced to your DAW's tempo.
DRUMS features 53 Styles with 23 ready-made phrases each, for a total of 1219 phrases. On top of that, every Style comes with 5 one-shot Hits and Metals, for a total of 265 one-shots.
The custom-made Finisher effect section is a one-knob sound design delight. Transform the character of your DRUMS track to match any genre or mood.
Perform your drum tracks with the crossfader. DRUMS is made up from two independent low and high sections. Seamlessly blend between them, or add subtle variations by automating.
- An extensive collection of world-class drum samples and sequences.
- Ready to rumble: creative performance and sound design engine.
- 53 playing Styles, 300 sound designer presets.
- Recorded at Hans Zimmer's Remote Control Studios, produced by Boris Salchow.
- Orchestral Bass Drums.
- Orchestral Toms.
- Field Drums.
Asteroid is a creative tool for developing powerful, rhythmic and evolving sequences, percussions, transitions, effects and more. Load up 7 sample layers with an incredible collection of sounds from a wide range of sources including orchestral percussion, effects, electronic and acoustic drums, foley, and found sounds. A deeply-configurable editor allows you sculpt each sound, mix spatially, add multi-fx, master eq and dynamics, and create rich and evolving sequenced sounds with 128 steps of velocity, pan, pitch, decay, reverb, and delay, discretely per-track.
With a fast and intuitive workflow, deep sound library, and a huge selection of inspiring presets, Asteroid is a rewarding and powerful tool for composers, sound designers and musicians alike.
Deep, easy to use, massively editable, and absolutely crammed with professionally designed sounds and presets, Asteroid delivers an endless source of sound design inspiration, from nuanced transitions to epic cinematic percussion, drums, and effects.
- Create powerful, cinematic rhythm and effects for film, games, music and more.
- Deeply editable 7-layer architecture with multi-FX and 6 sequencer lanes per part.
- Massive library includes hundreds of kits and sequenced presets.
Cerberus is an innovative drum library with a wide range of options that will take you from individual cinematic drum kit to epic ensemble powerhouse. Recorded on the same recording stage as our flagship orchestral library Jaeger, Cerberus delivers an easy way to build larger-than-life drum ensembles with a brand new stacking system. You can transform the hard-hitting drummer trio we used during the sessions (which gave the library its name) into an army of players, ready to crush anything standing in their way. To make the library even more flexible we recorded an individual drum kit with cymbals as well as a thundering Gran Cassa Ensemble.
- Tight and punchy drums/percussion trio.
- Made for the free Kontakt Player, Version 6.3.2 or higher.
- NKS compatible.
- 7 mic positions, 2 ready-to-go mixes and 3 fantastic sounding epic mixes.
- Hits, Sustained Rolls and Crescendo Rolls.
- Loops and Sound Design.
- Approximately 19.51 GB installed (NCW format).
Orchestral Percussion SDX, a sound library expansion for Superior Drummer 3 featuring an extensive collection of orchestral percussion instruments. Also available as of today is the Superior Drummer 3 Orchestral Edition, a bundle featuring the full Superior Drummer 3 software and core library as well as the full Orchestral Percussion SDX.
Captured in the same room, with the same scrutiny for detail and the same 11.1 microphone positioning philosophy as the Superior Drummer 3 core library, the Orchestral Percussion SDX is not just the perfect complement to the Superior line of sounds, it's a revelation in terms of flexibility and playability within the Superior Drummer 3 framework. This is not just a sound library, it's arguably the most all-encompassing and carefully captured collection of handpicked orchestral percussion instruments on the market. Welcome to the Orchestral Percussion SDX for Superior Drummer 3.
The Orchestral Percussion SDX covers the entire tonal range from majestic to subtle. You'll find everything from the quintessential timpani, the thunderous bass drums, the traditional taiko and the classic marching snares to the subtle hand cymbals, triangles and wood blocks. In the Orchestral Percussion SDX, you'll literally have all the options you need on both ends of the extremes.
Given the range and sheer volume of content, the Orchestral Percussion SDX comes configured as a factory bundle of two separate SDX libraries, both available directly upon installation from the drop-down menu in Superior Drummer 3. The first volume includes the more fundamental or leading instruments, such as timpani, bass drums, taikos, snares and toms, while the second volume covers the triangles, wood blocks, various shakers, chimes and other instruments often used as effects or to embellish or accentuate arrangements.
- More than 120 individual instruments.
- Recorded at the same studio as the Superior Drummer 3 core sound library.
- A complete immersive experience.
- Playback in stereo up to 11-channel surround systems.
- Sampled with extreme attention to detail and articulation.
- Optional tools available for selected instruments.
- A comprehensive collection of MIDI.
- Comes as a factory bundle including two SDX configurations.
Built in collaboration with Dame Evelyn Glennie—one of history's most influential percussionists—Resonate unlocks the other-worldly mystery, magic, and tension of orchestral percussion. Tuned and untuned instruments collide across fourteen signals, then spin out toward new frontiers of texture, tone, and dimension. There, hits, strikes, and spine-tingling scrapes give way to essential cinematic reverberations, captured at Hollywood's most celebrated recording hall—AIR Studios.
Resonate combines with traditional percussion libraries, but it also confronts them. It shakes them loose and sets them free. Rather than replicate common concert sounds or repeat overused trailer hits, Resonate explores and unlocks the boundless potential of orchestral percussion—from first strike to final reverberation.
- Featuring the following instruments as resonators; Water Tank, Thundersheet, Timpani—played like never before, and Barrell.
- Over 45 different instrumental articulations.
- 7 Unique mic perspectives such as placed underwater, contact mics attached to resonating chambers, boundary mics spread through the hall.
- Stretch feature: Available solely for long sustained sounds this feature allows you to choose the playback speed of the sample.
- Warp features: With 5 individual FX chains that add character to each sample, ranging from a gritty, textural, yet organic sound, to an endlessly resonating reverb.
Designed for film and game composers looking to create bombastic and thunderous percussion, Stormdrum 3 delivers. And even when you want subtle, tame, more ambient drums and metal hits, it places all of this and more in your arsenal.
Mickey Hart (of The Grateful Dead) brought his private collection to East West Studio One, in tandem with the Remo company. Nick Phoenix recorded an arsenal of drums, woods and metals hand-selected by one of the world's greatest percussionists over his career. "In SD3, our focus was to capture Mickey's unrivaled percussion collection in the best possible multi-sampled way. It is very flexible. And note that even the close mix comprises the input from 8 microphones. This virtual instrument is his legacy, and mine as well," says producer Nick Phoenix.
- Features the best instruments from the private collection of Mickey Hart.
- Features additional instruments from the Remo private collection, hand picked by Remo himself.
- Played by master percussionists Mickey Hart, Greg Ellis and Chalo Eduardo.
- Produced by Nick Phoenix, "Two Steps From Hell" composer and creator of Stormdrum 1 and 2, epic percussion collections.
- Includes tempo synced percussion performances directed and played by Mickey Hart, with Greg Ellis, Chalo Eduardo and Nick Phoenix.
- Includes 5 user-controllable mic positions for each instrument.
- Recorded in the world famous EastWest Studio 1, the home of major Hollywood soundtracks and television themes.
- Includes new PLAY 5 64-bit software on both MAC and PC, more user control and detail than any other collection.
- The new FX section is included with SD3, and available as an optional upgrade for all other legacy EastWest PLAY virtual instruments.
- The FX section includes a SSL EQ and Dynamics Channel Strip, Transient Shaper, and SSL's legendary Stereo Bus Compressor; plus an upgraded "true stereo" reverb from EastWest plus new features.
Cinematic Percussion brings you the actual instruments used in "Argo," the Academy Awards 2012 Best Picture, "Godzilla" (2014), "Transformers: Age of Extinction," "Iron Man," "Watchmen", "300," "The Underworld" series, "The Matrix" series, "Dawn of the Dead" (2004) and many more. And more than just the sounds, you get original performances by the musician who played on these and over 100 other films: master percussionist, Greg Ellis.
Cinematic Percussion is a producer's dream toolbox loaded with a flexible collection of audio loops recorded at 10 different source tempos, a separate collection of MIDI patterns performed by both Greg and the IK sound design team and course a deep treasure chest of playable single-hit instruments recorded in the SampleTank style using multiple velocities and round robin techniques.
The library was recorded at Ellis' private studio in the Hollywood Hills employing his personal, custom instrument collection that contains over 300 drums from the traditional to the esoteric.
Only the best microphones and preamps were used to capture these one-of-a-kind instruments not only in super-clean high-fidelity but also to preserve and reproduce each piece's unique character and personality.
Cinematic Percussion is designed to work for any style of music where a kinetic, life-like, human groove from a master musician is desired and represents an excellent value for your money.
Also included in:
- SampleTank 4 MAX.
- Total Studio 2 Deluxe.
- Total Studio 2 MAX.
The epic sequel to the iconic original, the epic ensembles recorded at Skywalker Sound feature 860+ gut-punching loops, realistic crescendos, swells, and flourishes courtesy of the MIDI performance tool.
Damage 2 is brimming with over 40,000 samples, and nearly 60 GB's. The Heavyocity team brought in truckloads of drums and percussive elements for the D2 Sessions; an arsenal of 24" to 72" gran casas, 24" to 60" Taikos, huge bass drums, giant snare ensembles, toms, ethnic drums, a myriad of struck found sound elements.
While not strictly a percussion library per se, Backbone ships with an impressive amount of audio content and presets, a lot of which is adapted to cinematic sound design and percussion. This is one for the hardened sound designers and control freaks wanting to squeeze every ounce out of their sample libraries and create something truly unique.
Backbone is an innovative drum designer for single kicks, snares, hi-hats, percussion, rises, hits and more. Layer up to eight samples and shape them with classic subtractive synthesis, decompose samples into tonal and noise elements, re-synthesize samples to manipulate them in unheard ways and apply up to eight effects with two fully routable buses — all with a slick, extremely fast interface. Backbone takes your drums into a whole new era of sound design.