Rating 4.5/5 Stars
UK producer Trevor Horn was a dominant force in 1980s pop, creating a string of massive hits as long as a Donald Trump charge sheet: ‘Video Killed The Radio Star’, Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s ‘Relax’ and ‘Two Tribes’, ABC’s Lexicon Of Love and Grace Jones’ Slave To The Rhythm, to name but a few. Horn’s productions are underpinned by a solid musicality, bold orchestrations, a deep familiarity with studio equipment and a ruthless focus on achieving the perfect sound for each overdub. All of which is good news for buyers of Jupiter By Trevor Horn, a collaboration with Spitfire Audio which gives users instant access to the maestro’s sound world.
The library (45.59GB downloaded) contains 208 of Horn’s multisampled sounds divided into Drums, Bass, Piano, Synths and FX. From these materials Spitfire fashioned 300 presets housed in their dedicated Solar plug‑in, which utilises the company’s twin‑bay eDNA interface. The presets mostly feature a pair of layered sounds with a built‑in Oscillate Mixer enabling you to crossfade and auto‑pan between them.
Each sound is presented in its raw state along with four burned‑in ‘warps’, which include gated period reverbs, a mangled, worn‑out VHS tape noise and modulation effects created on Roland’s Dimension‑D and ‑C chorus units. The chorusing sounds overdone to me, but that’s not a problem: you can create your own custom treatments by applying the interface’s extensive effects to the unprocessed core samples.
Jupiter’s ultra‑punchy drum and percussion hits were sampled from classic drum machines (Oberheim DMX, a modified Linn 9000, Akai MPC2000XL, E‑mu SP‑1200, Roland TR‑808) and processed with tape, varispeed and outboard effects. Though many are drenched in 1980s‑style gated reverb, some less identifiable dry, crunchy hits would work well for contemporary productions. Accompanying the drums are a superb set of bass guitars from Trevor Horn’s personal collection and a very decent, eminently playable Bösendorfer grand piano.
Spitfire’s presets are colourful, imaginative and highly varied, ranging from beautiful soft pads to rich, mobile sound tapestries...
The heart of the library is its synth sounds, captured from collectors’ items such as a Roland Jupiter‑8, Juno‑106 and JX‑8P, Oberheim Matrix, Novation Bass Station and Solina string synth. Spitfire’s presets are colourful, imaginative and highly varied, ranging from beautiful soft pads to rich, mobile sound tapestries such as ‘Epic Pad’, which features some distinctly non‑vintage orchestral strings. The FX samples (some of which have a mad sci‑fi flavour) are equally ear‑grabbing.
Pro users will likely want to isolate individual synth sounds for programming purposes, and that’s where things get difficult. The synth sounds are not listed alphabetically, forcing you to scroll endlessly through 123 randomly‑organised names to find the sound you want, while the space‑wasting interface design introduces new levels of squinting to browser navigation. This takes nothing away from Jupiter’s musical content, which should open up new paths of creativity for its users — welcome to the pleasuredome, indeed.