Pop Brass Sample Libraries: A Buyers Guide
Pop Brass Sample Libraries: A Buyers Guide Pop Horns Published January By Dave Stewart Our in-depth buyers guide takes you through the world of brass sample libraries and virtual instruments aimed at pop and rock production. The two styles use different instrumentation:
Review: 8Dio Century Brass Kontakt (VST) Instrument
Pop Brass Sample Libraries: A Buyers Guide Pop Horns Published January By Dave Stewart Our in-depth buyers guide takes you through the world of brass sample libraries and virtual instruments aimed at pop and rock production.
The two styles use different instrumentation: Introducing the reedy, slightly raspy timbre of the saxophone technically a woodwind rather than a brass-family instrument has a marked effect on overall timbre, and the small sections generally used in pop also have a more informal, close-up sound than the massed ranks of orchestral brass, which sometimes number as many as 20 players.
Such styles require their own horn-playing techniques and a gutsy, uninhibited attitude not normally represented in conventional orchestral libraries, and the same goes for jazz and big-band horns. Also included are products that feature pop brass along with other instruments, and a selection of solo instrument titles. A Smart Voice Split auto-arrange feature intelligently allocates each note of a chord to the corresponding brass instrument, while the Animator turns played chords into authentic, oven-ready brass phrases in a variety of styles; these phrases sync to your host tempo, and can track chord changes.
New articulations include vibrato sustains and grace notes, growls, slow doits, sax trills and additional tuba short notes. The Smart Chord chord generator allows user-definable preset chord shapes to be triggered by a single key press: AMG founder Matt Wilkinson describes it thus: Though weighing in at less than a gigabyte, the drily recorded mono samples cover a good range of styles, including expressive and vibrato sustains, slurs, semitone slides, rips, falls, different lengths of swell, trills, shakes and dramatic ending notes culminating in a fall.
Pre-programmed ensembles feature typical horn voicings such as trumpet an octave above trombone and saxes, making it easy to create authentic stylings. Player software that works both as a plug-in and stand-alone is included. Chris Hein Horns Vol. All the sections in Vols. At the other end of the scale, Chris Hein Horns Compact, featuring the solo instruments playing five articulations each, is easier on the pocket. Despite its relative antiquity, this product holds its place as one of the best on the market.
No keys or tempos are listed for these phrases, so experimentation is the order of the day. Bright, perky saxophones, fat-sounding, engaging trumpet and trombone, a very decent flugelhorn and a moody, film-noir Harmon-mute trumpet are all highly usable, and the flutes which play some nice falls add a cool, jazzy flavour.
All instruments play keyswitchable long and short notes, stabs, falls and swells, and the brass and saxes have an additional sforzando style. Boasting a large line-up of trumpet, piccolo trumpet, trombone, bass trombone, flugelhorn, soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxes and clarinet, this is one of the most intensively programmed and well thought-out brass libraries in the known universe.
The articulation list varies for each instrument, but includes all the styles needed for the above-mentioned genres: These are spelled out in the excellent printed manual a welcome bonus: Big-band brass uses a variety of mutes rarely featured in classical pieces, and the playing styles are like chalk and cheese: At the heart of the library is a set of solo instruments trumpet, trombone, soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxes, clarinet benefiting from true legato samples, a great asset for creating smooth, flowing big-band harmonised melody lines.
A separate second instrument is provided for the trumpet, alto and tenor saxes, and 21 additional instruments, including drum kit, stand-up bass, banjo, xylophone and Latin percussion, are also included so you can create full big-band arrangements in the box. All instruments were recorded in a neutral studio acoustic, mostly in mono.
This library is big make that very big on keyswitches: Beginners may find the elaborate keyswitch menu daunting, but if you take the time, read the manual and learn the ropes, the musical results can be fabulous.
Designed for exacting, high-end studio work, the full library is not cheap; a less pricey Broadway Lites version offers the principal brass and winds, slightly fewer articulations and a single microphone setup. At the time of writing, a spiffed-up v2. A large range of engaging and colourful velocity-controlled styles includes sfz crescendo, slides, grace notes, glissandi, falls, rips and chromatic octave runs.
True-legato intervals are also included for the big-band ensemble and solo mute trumpet with a cup mute adding a nice vintage effect to the latter , along with a set of played chords performed by the sax section and big-band ensemble.
Supporting the brass and winds is a rhythm section of brushed jazz drum kit, and electric and acoustic bass; the line-up is further expanded by nylon-strung guitar, Manouche Django Reinhardt gipsy-style and pedal-steel guitars, ukulele, accordion, harmonica, toy piano and, er, whistling. As you can probably tell from the last two entries, this is not a heavy-duty, hot-horns-from-hell affair, but a set of timbres designed with lighter jazz and film scoring in mind.
The instrumentation includes no fewer than 11 different types of saxophone including the mothership-like subcontrabass sax, five woodwind and five brass instruments the latter featuring several types of mute , augmented by vibraphone, harmonica, accordion, upright, fretted and fretless basses, brushed and sticked drum kit, Latin percussion and an array of electric and acoustic guitars and keyboards.
All wind instruments were recorded in mono in a dry acoustic and performed at one dynamic level with no vibrato. As well as special hats, this musical style requires a specialised instrumentation which the assiduous Gary Garritan has sampled in depth, providing a total of 14 brass instruments, nine woodwinds, the saxophone family from soprano down to bass, and a rare sax-like instrument called the sarrusophone. Non-standard items such as cornet, mellophone, tenor horn, euphonium, baritone horn, sousaphone and helicon give the library its distinctive brass flavours; also included are drums and percussion from the Tapspace Virtual Drumline 2 library, providing the bass-drum thump and high-pitched, papery, clattery sound of marching snare drum ensembles.
To bring you the authentic American sports-event ambience, a full brass ensemble of 85 players was recorded simultaneously outdoors in a football stadium, while smaller sections of three to six instruments were studio-recorded from three mic positions.
Fulfilling their mission to blur the line between music and sound design, Sample Logic have created a large, alternative menu of morphed timbres from the traditional acoustic instrument samples. Also available from VSL are Trumpet in Bb which has a separate version played with a classical straight mute and Flugelhorn, both suitable for softer jazz stylings.
Instruments include Vienna Instruments player software, featuring a large, user-configurable patch-switching matrix and intelligent performance detection of legato intervals, note repetitions and playing speed. Complex, under-the-bonnet legato and modulation scripting ensure this instrument sounds as smooth, supple and expressive as nature intended, with mod-wheel and MIDI CC11 expression used to add a realistic, variable-speed vibrato to the straight sustains.
Sax Supreme requires the full version of Kontakt 4. The slinky sax which requires the full version of Kontakt 4. Ribald humour apart, the instrument is very usable, and a bargain to boot. Created by musician Vladimir Kuznetsov and collectively known as SaxBand, the library comprises solo soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxes playing keyswitchable legato, staccato, marcato, swell, rips, runs, flutter, trill, vibrato and slide articulations with an average of four velocity layers and three round robins.
Modelled Solo Instruments As mentioned in our recent round-up of orchestral brass products, software-modelled instruments can sound extremely realistic, and also have the advantage of consuming far less disk space and RAM than their sampled equivalents. The European company Sample Modeling have an excellent track record with modelled solo winds and brass, starting with The Trumpet in ; now in its third revision, this remarkably lifelike monophonic instrument offers a good range of playing styles and mutes.
A generous set of extras cornet, piccolo trumpet, flugelhorn and three alternative trumpets , all natural-sounding and highly playable, provide subtle tonal contrasts with the pure, fat and bright-sounding main trumpet. The modellers followed up with The Trombone, featuring two types of tenor trombone, a valve trombone and a fat, fruity bass trombone playing a gobsmacking variety of keyswitchable articulations: Supplied with Kontakt Player software and compatible with the full version of Kontakt see company web site for the versions required , these modelled brass instruments are staggeringly accurate emulations of their real-life counterparts, with a wealth of timbral and performance options enabling them to sound convincing in any musical style regardless of tempo.
See the box below for links to both reviews. Played in a choice of five different tempos, the sax-and-trumpet phrases are augmented by solo performances played on straight and muted trumpet, flugelhorn and saxophone. Buying sample libraries used to be a lottery; with only hyperbolic advertising blurb and press reviews to go on, deciding on a product always involved an element of guesswork. Thankfully, things have moved on since the first brass sample library crawled from the primeval seas, and we can now listen to online demos and in some cases watch video walkthroughs which lay bare the details of the library in question.
We hope the above information will be helpful in clarifying some of these questions and giving you an insight into which is the best library for your music — but as ever, the bare samples will only take you so far.
The important thing is to metaphorically get your hands dirty, get creatively engaged, use your musical imagination and have fun working with these great sounds!
Brass Stats The figures below show the vital statistics of our selected libraries. Small horn sections.
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VIDEO: Review: 8Dio Century Brass Kontakt (VST) Instrument • ProducerSpot
I finally felt it was time to showcase some of what they are doing over there. The company is Studiolinked VST and the product is Hip Hop Brass. a hint of funk perfect to layer over beats and create funky hip hop tracks! lay some of the brass instruments into some funky glitch hop tracks and watch Tarantino Bass also comes with 22 Kontakt patches – including 60’s. Grab the best Free Hip Hop Sample Packs available from the largest Drum Loops, Drum One Shots, Horns Brass & Woodwind, Basses, Guitars, Vocals.