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No self-respecting cinematic samples library would be complete without this idiosyncratic Eastern European instrument. The large hammered Grand Cimbalom played by Greg Knowles.

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The cimbalom has been used in many film scores over the years: famously, John Barry used it in the title theme for the film The Ipcress File, as well as in the main theme of the 1971 TV series The Persuaders. But it's most famous (and coolest) use was probably on the 1994 Portishead track "Sour Times". An example of how the instrument can be used as a mournful exotic sound not just it's often stereotypical use against East European backdrops, spy intrigue and cold war thrillers. Aside from being an amazing featured or solo instrument. It is also great as a textural element; doubling pianos and other tuned percussion instruments. It is particularly interesting in unison with pizzicato passages. A fantastic new colour for your palette and with this level of detailed sampling, something that can sit proud and exposed in your mixes and honestly and realistically express the emotion of your composition.


Greg is an exceptional musician, having worked with artists as diverse as Roger Norrington, Michael Nyman, Hans Zimmer, Mark Anthony Turnage, Pierre Boulez, John Taverner, Harrison Birtwhistle, and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. He has performed on film scores including Harry Potter, Lord Of The Rings trilogy, Spy Game, Band of Brothers, and Borat. He has held the role of principle percussionist in a number of internationally renowned orchestras.

Spitfire’s Definitive Range aims to offer the world a one-stop shop for classic and esoteric instruments played by the greats. As all these instruments are recorded in situ, in the same room, they’re designed to lock together sonically whether it be some timpani from the percussion range coupled with your Sable libraries. Or indeed a more curious band made up of the Hg20, a plucked piano and a harp, it is designed to sound like they’re together in the same room.

We provide a series of detailed mixing options that allow you to dry the sound up or make it more ambient, whilst preserving the acoustic integrity and perspective of a consistent microphone set up and room configuration. The instruments are all sampled in great detail but designed to play easily out-of-the-box, with simple integration into larger arrangements and templates without risk of demanding too much from your system resources.

Recorded by Jake Jackson at Lyndhurst Hall – Air Studios, on one of the finest scoring stages in the world, through an array of vintage microphones via Neve “Montserrat” pre-amps, to a beautifully serviced Studer 2” tape machine and then into digital at 96k via Prism AD converters: this is an unparalleled signal chain.


The cimbalom is a concert hammered dulcimer: a type of chordophone composed of a large, trapezoidal box with metal strings stretched across its top. It is a musical instrument popularized in Hungary and commonly found throughout central and eastern Europe. The cimbalom is played by striking two beaters against the strings. The steel treble strings are arranged in groups of 4 and are tuned in unison. The bass strings which are over-spun with copper, are arranged in groups of 3 and are also tuned in unison.

Spitfire are delighted to present Greg Knowles playing his Grand Cimbalom in the hall at Air Studios, London, one of the greatest recording studios in the world. Sampled with 4 round robins and 2 dynamics as single hits, and of course the characteristic tremolando. (Its not a massively dynamic instrument but we have smoothly enabled you to make it as dynamic or not as you wish, via front panel velocity map.) Options exist to use 'Piano' sustain pedal style, or the reverse authentic 'Cimbalom' style (where pedal up is the ringing out sustained sound). Recorded through vintage ribbon and valve mics via exclusive Neve "Montserrat" Pre-Amps and Prism AD converters. The Spitfire Cimbalom joins our Harpsichord and Harp as the definitive VI in its class.

The library is presented with four microphone positions which you can not only mix and blend to fit the application you’re working on, but also automate for dramatic shifts in focus and depth. They're also fully output assignable for surround and 5.1 use. As mentioned before the definitive range is designed to fit in with Spitfire's entire orchestral canon, including Albion, BML and some of the Signature Range as if they're in the same room performing at the same time.


The Overview Panel

Gives you a quick and easy way to access, view and load the different articulations, mic mixes and essential controller functions which you can then re-assign to suit your workflow.

General Controls Panel

A deeper but still simple UI panel that allows you to tweak the general settings. How many round robins you would like and how you would like them to behave. How would you like memory to be organised alongside pitch options and how velocity works.

The Ostinatum

Quite simply a little inspiration machine. Not quite an arpegiattor, not quite a sequencer. This intuitive device allows you to build up complex patterns that react to your playing to achieve wild systems results tantalising Zimmeresque tension beds or cheeky multi-tonguing effects!

Presets / Articulations / Mics / Mixes

Presets / Articulations

Main Patches

  • Cimbalom - main
  • Cimbalom - Legacy
  • Cimbalom - Performance (Inverted pedal)
  • Cimbalom - Performance
  • Cimbalom - The Punch COG

Individual patches:

  • Cimbalom - Pedal down
  • Cimbalom - Pedal up
  • Cimbalom - Tremolo

Mics & Mixes


  • Close
  • Tree
  • Ambient
  • Outrigger