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8DIO Century Brass

The Darris

Senior Member
I've finally been able to catch up on current news. I listened to all of these alpha demos on here and I have to say I am not overly impressed. Okay, yes, they are "alpha." But, I am certain that one aspect that won't change to much is the character of the sound. I just feel like l've heard this sound in sampled brass before. Where I am hoping to be surprised is by the features and functionality.

I've been working on my next review of Chris Hein's Orchestral Brass library. I am not going to get into my thoughts other than mention the functionality of that library. Chris has integrated dynamic articulations into the fray that allow you to intuitively switch back and forth between them and other straight sounding samples. It just brings life into your performances without the use of CC curves that exploit the major issues of sampled brass, the differences in timbre in the low and high dynamic ranges of each instrument. This problem is found heavily in CineBrass, BML Brass, as well as most other brass libraries. The best way to confront this is with "swell" and "crescendo" samples that other developers have been including in their libraries for a while now. The hardest part is sequencing them. Finding a simple and easy way to integrate them into more performance friendly environment would certainly live up to any major hype developers use on their products.

Now to completely contradict myself. I have a lot of libraries that I have both bought and received for review. I can honestly say that there isn't ONE library that can do it all. I believe Century Brass isn't immune to this and there will be some really awesome aspects of it but also some really bland ones as well. A few years back, I used to be a developer fan boy and sought to just own their orchestra palette and realized that I was limiting myself to just one sound and character in my music. Having expanded outward, I've found a mix of libraries that work well for me and the sound I want.
 

Rodney Money

On V.I. avoiding work.
It just brings life into your performances without the use of CC curves that exploit the major issues of sampled brass, the differences in timbre in the low and high dynamic ranges of each instrument. This problem is found heavily in CineBrass, BML Brass, as well as most other brass libraries.
Not really following you, my friend. Those timbre changes are there because people who use samples for renderings want to hear that bright, piercing laser tone when they reach fortissimo and a mellow tone in the lower dynamics. (The "curse" of the epic sound?) Are you saying you want the dynamics of brass be like CineBrass Core's trumpet solo where it stays soft then barely reaching a mf? If you want the timbre to stay constant, why not just adjust volume and not mess with cc1? I am a brass player, and I can play loud but with a mellow sound, but I noticed most people working in media are not familiar with that warm but full sound. For example, we are playing loud but still warm here:
Maybe with brass libraries regular patches, they need warm patches that stay dark and warm without becoming bright and strident in the 127 CC1 dynamic range?
 

Rodney Money

On V.I. avoiding work.
Speaking of warm brass, I wish that a developer would make this patch called "conical warm brass." It would be an ensemble from top to bottom: tubas, euphoniums, alto horns, and flugelhorns that could play gorgeous warm chords, beautiful mournful hymns, or very touching melodies in legato passages. Yes I know Spitfire has a patch with euphoniums and horns mixed but horns still have an edge "buzz" to the sound and this conical warm brass would be simply breath taking and almost choir-like.
 
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prodigalson

Senior Member
I think he's talking more about the sudden shifts in timbre and phasing that can happen when transitioning into the dynamic layers of sampled brass. Not necessarily saying that he doesn't want those timbres at all.
 

gjelul

Active Member
Umm, I think he was agreeing with me that it doesn't sound good at all.
:)

IMO, issue with 8Dio is that they just talk too much... and not let the product do the talking. It would be more beneficial if so. Just try to watch one of the 'walkthroughs'... a never ending monologue. However, I have purchased a lot of their stuff... maybe because of that 'too much talk' :)
 

The Darris

Senior Member
@Rodney Money; As @prodigalson mentioned, I am speaking about how the timbre and tone of a Brass instrument changes when playing from pianissimo to fortissimo. You get a significant change in timbre which is hard to pull off in dynamic cross-fades that most developers use. CineBrass really suffers from this in their ensemble patches. You get to around 30-40 tilt on CC1 and you have this blend of brassy and soft brass which just doesn't sound good. There is a reason the 8Dio demos only show their brass playing at one dynamic range without any automation, they simply don't have the feature programmed yet or they haven't figured out how to address this inherent issue. The best way to fight this issue is with properly recorded swells and crescendo samples. It isn't about a "constant timbre" it is about getting the transition from timbres to actually sound right. Because, after all, that is how brass instruments work. This issue is really prominent in saxophones as their timbre and color change dramatically. That is why the majority of saxophone libraries on the market sound bad.

I am not trying to call any developer out directly but just mention the inherent issues in sampling brass. Strings aren't as hard because their timbre and color doesn't dramatically change when playing pp or fff. So, in my open and honest opinion, the issue of how to control dynamics with Brass samples so that you don't hear the dodgy blend of timbres is what developers should be focusing their energy on. Fixing that issue will truly be ground breaking. This applies to many other instruments as well.
 

stonzthro

Senior Member
Not hearing the love over here either. No reason to buy it yet...

Christoper (@The Darris) - I think Sample Modeling is as close to what you are describing as there is on the market. Have you had a chance to play with the new Horns lib from SM? Fantastic and very flexible!
 

The Darris

Senior Member
Not hearing the love over here either. No reason to buy it yet...

Christoper (@The Darris) - I think Sample Modeling is as close to what you are describing as there is on the market. Have you had a chance to play with the new Horns lib from SM? Fantastic and very flexible!
Personally, I am not a big fan of Sample Modelling. I own the trumpet and I rarely use it. I know quite a few composers who can use their libraries insanely well but I am not one of them, hahah. I do agree that they have answered that issue but with modelling versus sampling which is quite a different beast. There is a level of user friendliness that I am not getting with SM's stuff, I feel like I am spending more time sequencing and tweaking than I am writing. Chris Hein's Brass has made some advancements in this department which I will cover more in my review [I can't give any spoilers]. But, my point is that the issue developers face when sampling brass instruments in large spaces is this timbre issue. It's a beast to figure out.
 
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higgs

boson
That all being said, the fact that only a non-released, speculated library is making me consider not using Hollywood Brass as my main brass is pretty crazy.
Is it just me, or does the brass in Ark not quell any concerns about the quality or likelihood of a speculated library's release? I mean what they do have for brass in Ark sounds good enough for me to be excited about a complete standalone brass library from OT :)
 

chibear

Active Member
Those timbre changes are there because people who use samples for renderings want to hear that bright, piercing laser tone when they reach fortissimo and a mellow tone in the lower dynamics. (The "curse" of the epic sound?) .......... I am a brass player, and I can play loud but with a mellow sound, but I noticed most people working in media are not familiar with that warm but full sound. .....
Or will not even admit it is possible. Right on Rodney

This is a bit off-topic, long, and an industry wide problem, so not to focus on 8Dio. Therefore to all an apology.

HOWEVER

There is a general misconception in the sample industry that in brass instruments sound color is a function of volume as seen in velocity layers or modwheel-volume-color adjustments. This can be true but is not always true. Fact of the matter is the performer has a LOT more control over brightness (edge, razzle) than for some reason developers want to admit.

Let us first look at how edge and volume interact and if there is a firm relationship between the two. In amateur and poor players there definitely is because they know no better. However once players begin post-secondary training they find (depending on the teacher) this is no longer true nor acceptable. Various methods have been developed to overcome this. I am most familiar with the work of Arnold Jacobs as I studied with him for more than a decade and incorporated his pedagogy into the university curriculum I taught.

One of his studies was how&what actually happened to the sound when edge was introduced. First of all edge is distortion. It is produced either by overblowing the instrument or distorting the embouchure (cuivre in French music). Neither of these are very efficient tone production and can be injurious over the long term. Now for an experiment you can duplicate: Seat a horn player (good player, not a hack)in a large room and stand 10 to 15 meters away with a decible meter. Have the player go from soft to loud, maintaining a round warm tone, watching the meter. Now do the same introducing edge in the upper dynamics. You will find that once the edge is introduced the projected resonance actually drops. (Underline the fact this isn't my work or the result of a Google search, but a result of a study done by Arnold Jacobs with many horn players of which I was one). Probably documented somewhere. So this introduced edge only really works when there is a mic less than 3 meters from you (results varied with instruments, being more pronounced in the nickel-silver Conn 8Ds favored in Hollywood & New York and less so in brass horns like Geyers or Yamahas. Point being, tying edge to volume is NOT real in a real performance scenario and a sample industry which is obsessed by realism should take note.

At this point more than one person are going to point to videos they've seen which demonstrates just the opposite. One is an interview with a horn player who (a little too) diplomatically states that horn players prefer a "noble forte" which is interpreted as "See the timbre changes with volume" by some, somehow. Another example often used is a poor bass clarinet player doing a crescendo to distortion who if she played like that in a 'real' orchestra would be fired soon after. SO why play like that? Because they are asked to and more importantly paid to, not because of the inherit characteristics of their instruments. Same goes for the edgy example from 8Dio posted above: While it may get by or even sound 'wonderful' in the epic realm, it won't fly in the concert hall.

I mention 'epic' because that's where this trend seems to have started big time, made popular by big name composers who don't really understand the characteristics of the instruments they are writing for, rather just acoustical extensions of their electronic concepts.


There is also another factor that should be considered and that's the effect this type of sample writing is having on students of the instruments you are writing for. Shortly before I retired a student played well-known excerpt for me that was the edgiest, ugliest thing I had ever heard. I asked him what the %^&* he called that and he said "Heard it in a movie" Samples with volume attached to edge I found out later. When I did the Bleeding Fingers competition I rerecorded Zimmer's horn stem so it sounded like horns. I'm sure he appreciated it :grin: I should also thank him and some of his cronies for setting horn pedagogy back a generation.

So what is the purpose of edge? It is an expressive tool like volume and vibrato to be used tastefully by the performer, not in an algorithm 'cause that ain't realistic. This was underlined in my studies with Dale Clevenger when he suggested I put a bit of 'razzle' in the sound here and remove it there.

How to incorporate this into sample libraries is actually quite simple: Just assign edge a CC# and let the performers put it in where and when they think it's right. The only library I've encountered so far that addresses it in this manner (albeit imperfectly) is Kirk Hunter's Concert Brass 2 with his Mod Bright option.

End of rant. If you made it this far thank you for your patience.
 

Lawson.

Senior Member
Is it just me, or does the brass in Ark not quell any concerns about the quality or likelihood of a speculated library's release? I mean what they do have for brass in Ark sounds good enough for me to be excited about a complete standalone brass library from OT :)
Oh true; I forgot about that! And of course there's also BBR Exp. C (Horn FX) from a while ago that is quite possibly the nicest sampled horns I've ever heard. I KNEW there was a reason this mystical library was luring me in!
 

The Darris

Senior Member
Right on @chibear

Basically everything you said is what I am concerned about. As you mentioned, the fact is that developers attach the brightness/brassiness to louder dynamics and then fail at giving you a proper sounding transition from the warm to harsh sound. This is the biggest problem I have with virtually every brass library I own that offers dynamic xfade control. I am hoping 8Dio and Orchestral Tools are addressing this issue as they seem to have the "big" releases coming up this year for Brass libraries.

Cheers,

Chris
 

Ian Dorsch

Senior Member
How to incorporate this into sample libraries is actually quite simple: Just assign edge a CC# and let the performers put it in where and when they think it's right. The only library I've encountered so far that addresses it in this manner (albeit imperfectly) is Kirk Hunter's Concert Brass 2 with his Mod Bright option.
I almost hate to bring it up, but they also tried to approach the horns in GPO like that, with a separate overlay instrument for edge.
 

chibear

Active Member
I almost hate to bring it up, but they also tried to approach the horns in GPO like that, with a separate overlay instrument for edge.
They never seem to share their UI so can't say for sure. Garritan never seems to be short of good ideas, thinking specifically of the old solo violin that Dan Kury did the mockup of the Thais Meditation with. Always, though they seem to fall short in the final product, like they get tired of working on it with great sounds mixed with gawdaweful ones. I'm hoping someone else will run with the idea.
 

Ian Dorsch

Senior Member
In the first edition of GPO, back when it was a Kontakt lib, you had to load the horns and the edge overlay separately--two individual Kontakt instruments. I haven't used it since the first edition, so I have no idea how they do things these days.
 

procreative

Senior Member
I think these type of discussions hinge on your approach.

Either you are a classically trained composer looking to recreate pieces using samples and require an orchestral approach with classical techniques performed accurately.

Or you use whatever tools you have to create a piece and use orchestral instruments but not necessarily in an accurate or orchestral way, but a simulation of this.

If you are in the former camp, then you will be looking for a library that best emulates what players do in [most] traditional orchestral settings. However you will probably be the hardest to please as nothing is quite like the real thing (when played well and recorded well).

I do sometimes think we need to remember how far things have come. I remember being blown away by my JV-880 with its strings patches like "Soaring Strings" and "Marcato Strings" that utilised a few PCM samples spread over the range.

I guess developers need to concentrate on the "Epic" and "Hybrid" market because thats where their main market is. We must remember there are many composers that still write with a Piano and Score with their imagination with the end goal of it being performed by a real orchestra, they probably do not need fully blown samples or 100% accuracy.
 

erica-grace

Senior Member
Here's the newest teaser:
Ok, that sounds pretty good. But it's too center. Needs to be off to the left more. I know you can pan, but if you do that, you pan the ambience as well, which generally rally is not a good thing. I guess they did not record the horns in position?
 
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