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TRUE STRIKE by ProjectSAM Review
Today we’ll be having a look at a classic orchestral percussion library released by Project SAM over a decade ago, and seeing how it holds up to its peer libraries today.
Project SAM is a long-standing sample provider that specializes in orchestral and cinematic libraries for Native Instruments’ Kontakt Player. They’ve garnered quite a reputation over time, releasing ground-breaking and critically acclaimed libraries such as Symphobia 1 & 2, as well as the much loved Orchestral Brass Classic, all of which have been used on many film scores and trailers.
True Strike is a comprehensive orchestral percussion library featuring all the standard percussive needs as well as a host of extras. Included are concert bass drums, snares (including an excellent snare ensemble), concert toms and roto toms, timpani set, Piatti and suspended cymbals and gongs for the standard line-up. Auxiliary percussion is covered with congas and bongos, woodblocks and temple blocks, chimes, timbales, tambourines and shaker, triangle, and brakes/anvils. For melodic percussion, we get a celeste, marimba, glockenspiel, xylophone, vibraphones, crotales and tubular bells. To round the collection out we’re also provided with body percussion, claps and snaps, various toys (like guiro, ratchet and sleigh bells) and even a motor siren.
All these sounds are presented in a concert hall environment with 3 mic positions – close, stage and far – for easy mixing into dry or wet compositions.
Installation is a breeze, as the library is downloaded and extracted to your folder of choice via Project SAM’s simple download tool, while licensing is handled via a serial number entered into NI’s Native Access program which can be easily downloaded and installed.
The first thing you’ll notice about True Strike is its bold and rich sound – all of the instruments have been recorded with a clear precision which gives them a natural yet polished sound that drops right into the mix with ease. The drums are punchy and full of life, with no muddiness or transient sharpness that many other percussion libraries can suffer from. This is especially true with the timpani set – more than a decade has passed and True Strike’s timpani sound still stands as possibly the most balanced, genuine and robust available in a library to date.
But my personal favorite has to be True Strike’s snare ensemble. Not every percussion library sports a snare ensemble, and even the ones that do will have a hard time matching the wonderful crispness and presence that True Strike’s snare ensemble has. It really is a highlight of the library.
Likewise, the melodic percussion and auxiliary percussion benefit from the same consistent quality of sound throughout the library. The marimba is punchy and full of body, the xylophone is clear and succinct, and the glockenspiel and Celeste are bright and charming.
User interface & Usability
The interface for True Strike is simple. A 3 microphone mixer with a handy slider lets you dial in the tone you want quickly. Simple controls for attack and release, reverb, limiter and release triggers make the patches a breeze to work with. All you need to focus on is your performance.
As far as usability goes, the question arises – for a more than decade-old library, does it hold up against modern orchestral percussion libraries in performance? Well, the answer to that would be simply – yes, absolutely! Project SAM really put their all into this library when it was first recorded, and all the functionality one would expect from a modern percussion library is there – multiple articulations for drums and cymbals including mod wheel controlled rolls with release samples, crescendos and decrescendos, experimental articulations for the timpani set and other nifty additions that will handle almost anything you throw at it – and all recorded with enough velocity layers and round robins to perform with confidence.
Rating: Five out of five stars
True Strike doesn’t just hold up – it’s still a top contender in the orchestral percussion market after so many years… and with many happy users who will jump at the chance to say they still own and use True Strike religiously to this day (just go on any VI forum and ask), it’s hard to call this percussive collection anything less than a masterpiece.