Well the deeper I dig the more I love IK Multimedia. They have wooed me many a times with their great T-Racks and Amplitube releases including Amplitube 2, 3, Fender, Metal and Ampeg SVX. Every time something new comes out I try it out but every time I keep going back to IK Multimedia. It seems like no matter what comes out IK still has the best sounding stuff hands down and at any price! Well recently I started jumping into some of their Workstation products including Sonik Synth 2 and more recently Miroslav Philharmonik. In all reality though Miroslav Philharmonik is famous in its own right. Miroslav Vitous (a Prague composer, bassist virtuoso, and a founding member of the group Weather Report) is the man responsible for the Miroslave Vitous Symphonic Orchestra and Choir sample collections. From these world renown collections, including extra recordings not released in the original collections, comes IK Multimedia’s Miroslav Philharmonik.
Now lets start with how and where it was recorded. Growing up I played Clarinet and then moved into Classical Guitar. All through elementary school, Jr. & Sr. High I played for any and every musical group I could. In school I played in the Orchestra, Jazz and after school I played in a few Rock bands. My Senior year 5 out of 8 classes were in music. I loved playing and learning music, but my favorite was when we got to travel. I have always had a fascination with sound and loved to hear how we sounded in different places. Gyms, cafeterias, malls, other schools auditoriums each one sounded great and had a sound uniquely their own. My favorite place to play was our auditorium because it had a nice wood background and floor along with brick sides along the stage and part of the audience section and a bright wall and the end of the auditorium. I always thought the strings and choirs sounded great there. Full and bright with just the right amount of reverb, that was til I went to Abravanel Hall where the Utah Symphony Orchestra play here in Salt Lake. If you haven’t heard of Abravanel Hall check it out, it has won many awards for its acoustics and architecture.
Well as this story goes I had a friend who played there with the Utah Symphony Orchestra. He invited me to come hear him one night and I went loving every minute of perfection there. Hearing an Orchestra live is amazing, even more so in an amazing concert hall. It is thick, full, more lively, real, in your face- yet all around you. Some of the best recordings ever recorded have been in concert or church halls for a reason, they sound spectacular! Well the same had been done with IK Multimedia’s Miroslav Philharmonik!
When Miroslav Vitous first started making the Miroslav Vitous Symphonic Orchestra and Choir Sample collections he was making them as a tool for himself, not as a product, but as a tool to help him compose using newer technology. These recordings are a reflection of the musical genius that is Miroslav Vitous. This collection was the first sample set that became widely accepted as the best of the best and quickly became a main stay all over the world especially in the entertainment industry. Some of the best movies soundtracks were done with IK Multimedia’s Miroslav Philharmonic. (After playing through it for a bit it starts to sound familiar, not in a bad way more of a light bulb in your head going off saying “Ahh this is how they do it!”) He started recording it in 1993 in the world famous Dvorák Symphony Hall in Prague. Because of the way it was recorded and layed out you get the sense of being there with real musicians layed out just like a real orchestra would! There is a familiarity in the sense of space, warm, full like it is in front of you yet all around you…just like in Abravanel Hall and that is not something that can be recreated with simple reverb and panning.
In IK Multimedia’s Miroslav Philharmonik you have this award winning and amazing collection of the best musicians, instruments and choirs at your fingertips in one of the worlds best concert halls. Okay, okay, now I’m getting all the DAW users out there saying “We get it, it sounds good, but how well will it work in my DAW? What about effects and layering?”. Well you need not worry about that! Like all of the IK Multimedia workstation series this is based on the SampleTank engine so if you have used it or any of the other workstations there will be a zero learning curve! 16 layer-able parts, each with 4 insert effects, 7 gigs of samples, 3 synth engines with traditional resampling, 20 world class effects including an amazing reverb from IK’s own Classik Studio Reverb and it comes in VST, RTAS and AU working on both Mac and PC platforms. From a feature stand point alone this is a amazing deal your getting! The biggest feature to me though is the great and simple layout. In larger sample collections, much like this one, it is really easy to get lost or not know where to find what your looking for, but not here! Everything is laid out so easily you can navigate through it in a breeze! Want violins, cellos or even odd percussion? They are all easy to find with well named patches, you can even load all of these into SampleTank if you want to stick with that!
Now where I was taken off guard was the quality of samples. I know I was just raving on it, and trust me it is justified, BUT the other instruments you don’t usually hear about included here are amazing! Now my favorite instrument to play has always been classical guitar and the classical guitar here is AMAZING! I mean, not just amazing for a workstation, I mean amazing as a classical guitar…my jaw dropped. Seriously, no joke I was speechless when I heard it. (Not entirely true. I was at first but then, if my recollection serves me correct, the only word uttered at first was “Really?” followed by “Seriously?” which was then followed by “Oh sh*t this rocks!”) The Classical Guitar 2 patch was mellow and full sounding with a certain depth like I was playing a real guitar! Some adjusting of my playing and programming and I might be using this instead of recording in my less than ideal space again! (Compared to Dvorák Symphony Hall that is.) Another sleeper here was the Steinway Concert Piano and the Cathedral Organ which are great, different than what your used to hearing (Again that Dvorák Symphony Hall in action!) in other sample libraries but still very nice. It would depend on the project and sound I wanted to go for in deciding between a few different pianos I have but this is at the top of the list!
Now of course the strings sections, brass, woodwind and choirs were amazing as expected! There is nothing normal or even mediocre about Miroslav Philharmonic. From where and the way it was recorded to how it is laid out, this is a very realistic, full and thick sounding collection that has yet to be surpassed at this or just about any price point. Its so realistic there are even a bunch of patches of musician noises that can be added which included page turning, talking, tuning and warm ups! All that along with amazing IK Multimedia effects like Classik Studio Reverb, EQ’s and Compression from T-Racks and Amplitube and of course the 16 layer-able parts, well you would be a fool to not look into IK Multimedia’s Miroslav Philharmonik if you are doing any kind of orchestral work!