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Performance Samples Caspian as a first/main brass library - thoughts?

NoamL

Winter <3
Do you guys think it's worth getting Caspian & Angry Brass Pro (for the bity Repetitions) together for 100$ less than CSB?
No, not really.

CSB is the best brass library on the market right now in my view. It's really amazing value at the loyalty discount price ($280) but even at full price ($400) it's the best all-rounder brass library.

The main advantages of CSB are -
  • enough soloists & ensembles for 90% of traditional orchestral writing (I only wish it had a Horns a2 instrument)
  • extremely consistent sampling & programming of all the main articulations you'll need for brass
  • wide dynamic range, including blasting triple-fff
  • beautiful & consistent musicianship across all the instruments

I would easily recommend CSB over Berlin Brass, Hollywood Brass, Cinebrass, and Modern Scoring Brass. Those are just the competitors that leap to mind and in my view CSB can equal or outperform all of them. These other libraries each have their issues like limited dynamic range (especially at the top end), or inconsistent sampling and programming, or the samples just don't feel like top quality musicians. Alex Wallbank took his time with making CSB great and it really shows.

Out of all the competition, if you don't want CSB for whatever reason the one I'd recommend next would be good old Hollywood Brass. It just stands the test of time and is probably EastWest's best single library. There are a lot of annoying little things you have to work around, like the short articulations are very finicky in their transition from mf to f, but the musicianship is decent across the library and the legato remains beautiful and usable, especially in the horns.

Where you might want to supplement CSB is with a "fanfare style" brass library. CSB can play those kinds of lines realistically if you really fiddle with switching between marcato, staccato and stacatissimo articulations, but sometimes you just want a patch that can play-it-in. For that I highly recommend Caspian with Angry Brass Pro as a distant 2nd. Trailer Brass is good for HUGE trailer style writing but it's not a complement to traditional orchestral brass. Adventure Brass is in my view superseded by Caspian because the latter library captured a complete Decca and wide/ambient sound from the brass while AdvBrass is very dry and direct.
 
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AndyP

Active Member
For that I highly recommend Caspian with Angry Brass Pro as a distant 2nd. Trailer Brass is good for HUGE trailer style writing but it's not a complement to traditional orchestral brass. Adventure Brass is in my view superseded by Caspian because the latter library captured a complete Decca and wide/ambient sound from the brass while AdvBrass is very dry and direct.
Take all of them, and you are perfectly equipped.
Caspian and Angry Brass have a lot of space, while Adventure and Trailer brass are very dry. Has both advantages and disadvantages.

Caspian and Adventure Brass sometimes sound as if they have the same sample source. The trumpets are amazingly similar, except for the space portion.
 

Symfoniq

Active Member
Take all of them, and you are perfectly equipped.
Caspian and Angry Brass have a lot of space, while Adventure and Trailer brass are very dry. Has both advantages and disadvantages.
Indeed, I find the Eventide SP2016 positioning method popularized by Alan Meyerson works really well with Adventure and Trailer Brass to add some depth/space.

As to the OP's question, I really love Caspian, but agree with NoamL that if I could only have one brass library, it'd be Cinematic Studio Brass. Caspian is the icing, not the cake.
 

NoamL

Winter <3

Regarding "fanfare" libraries vs “deep sampled” libraries… maybe this example will show why I like CSB ;)

The first example is CSB (in context with the orchestra, then soloed). The other two libraries I won't name, as this is a very uncharitable comparison, but they are the type of "just perform it with no keyswitches" library.

You can compare to real life:


Some obvious problems that library 2 + 3 are running into… they have sampled ensembles not soloists, and they don’t have enough variety of attack types. So you get an accordion sound, and also it sounds sloppy or repetitive and doesn’t have the “takata takata” feeling of live brass.

In the end the truism that "it's easy to make a good library sound bad" applies here. Those last two libraries are very good at other material... However it's also possible to make any library sound GOOD, as long as you write what the samples are good at recreating… and when noodling around it’s natural for the strengths of the samples to guide you in a direction.

The challenge comes when you have a piece of music that you either were inspired to write on piano, or you're a mockup assistant and you get handed a sketch... in that situation I prefer deep sampled libraries.
 
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ProfoundSilence

Senior Member
it sounds like you drew the playable libraries into your sequencer????

about to sleep but you absolutely have to play those libraries for then to make any sense, I'll post an example when I wake up
 

Saxer

Senior Member
The first example is CSB (in context with the orchestra, then soloed).
Slightly off topic but... How did you use CSB? The two-trumpets-patch for the top voice and two tracks of the solo trumpet for voice 2 and 3? And if so, do you "transpose-trick" the solo trumpet for voice 3?
Same question for the horns... 4-horn-patch on top and 3 x the solo horn? Or how do you combine them? Anyway, sounds very good!
 
Slightly off topic but... How did you use CSB? The two-trumpets-patch for the top voice and two tracks of the solo trumpet for voice 2 and 3? And if so, do you "transpose-trick" the solo trumpet for voice 3?
Same question for the horns... 4-horn-patch on top and 3 x the solo horn? Or how do you combine them? Anyway, sounds very good!
I would also love to hear. I can never make the triad-y stuff sound right but that demo sounded crisp.
 

NoamL

Winter <3
This is how the trumpets look in my sequencer -

A = Repetition
B = Staccatissimo
C = Staccato
D = Sforzando
E = Marcato with Repetition overlay

I use ArticulationID to write my articulations, so no keyswitches.

There are 3 instances of the Solo Trumpet (same thing with the horns and trombones; I didn't use any ensemble instruments). All 3 instruments are written on the same track but the first trumpet is playing on MIDI channel 1, then Trumpet II on 2 and Trumpet III on 3. The modwheel data is written on Midi channel 1 and I have a little script that copies it automatically to 2 and 3.

Screen Shot 2019-09-11 at 12.04.04 PM.png
 

Saxer

Senior Member
Ah, thanks! Interesting! I also like the instrument per voice approach! The only thing that bothers me is switching between 3-voice and unison parts. It works somehow but it needs a kind of inorganic switching between solo and section patches to avoid phasing (when voices spread from unison into chords or vice versa - not in this example). First world problems...
And thanks again for marking all the articulations! Funny to see the solution with different articulations for different voices. Tricky! Switching articulations definitely makes the difference in good mockup phrasing!
 
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This is how the trumpets look in my sequencer -

A = Repetition
B = Staccatissimo
C = Staccato
D = Sforzando
E = Marcato with Repetition overlay

I use ArticulationID to write my articulations, so no keyswitches.

There are 3 instances of the Solo Trumpet (same thing with the horns and trombones; I didn't use any ensemble instruments). All 3 instruments are written on the same track but the first trumpet is playing on MIDI channel 1, then Trumpet II on 2 and Trumpet III on 3. The modwheel data is written on Midi channel 1 and I have a little script that copies it automatically to 2 and 3.

View attachment 22424
Do you always have the top note at a higher velocity than the other 2?
 

NoamL

Winter <3
The only thing that bothers me is switching between 3-voice and unison parts. It works somehow but it needs a kind of inorganic switching between solo and section patches to avoid phasing (when voices spread from unison into chords or vice versa - not in this example). First world problems...
Yep Berlin Brass is better at that kind of thing.

Do you always have the top note at a higher velocity than the other 2?
Good question. For the music I like to write, I keep all three trumpets balanced, but for this kind of music yes you want the lead trumpet to really lead. @CineSamples Tim Starnes has a good explanation in the video below. Another way of thinking about it is that for a lot of the Star Wars score JW's writing is based on melody and then "dropping in" triads and other harmonies below that melody.

 

ProfoundSilence

Senior Member
I don't have either of those libraries set up on speed dial or anything, and I can't play quite as fast as that example, but even 1 take playing in the 3rd and copy pasting the 5th and root with no humanization of the midi(on the same track and everything) and it sounds like this.

I used a little bit of reverb within kontakt, and no processing outside of some IR's from various stuff.

keep in mind, adventure brass atleast also has staccato and staccatissimo, as well as their "regular"(majestic) sustains - and it's very easy to track it in using the adventure patch and simply augment the keyswitches after the fact.

caspian does not have this feature, and also why I tend to suggest adventure brass over caspian(despite loving the bass bones)
 

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