Sampled trombones...


Senior Member
Is it just me, or does it seem like sampled trombones have never hit the mark the same way any of the other standard sampled orchestral brass instruments have? I mean, of course it's never the real thing and so on and so on, but to my ears it seems at least trumpets, horns, and to a lesser degree tubas at least sound like the instrument in question. I have yet to hear an example of sampled trombones that actually sounded like a trombone anywhere above the middle of the bass clef staff. It's not even a programming or scripting thing, but the very tone of the instrument that seems to be always either very pinched or boxy or both, and with multiple of them incredibly synthy.

Are they just really difficult to get right, or maybe they've been neglected at that range simply because it seems a lot of contemporary film scores seem to just use trombones for low "bwong"s and "blat"s. Maybe it's the opposite, and a lot of composers use them for those sounds because that's all samples can give them? Maybe I'm just getting too spoiled with how good brass libraries sound these days.


realised I can type here
I’m of a similar mind. I find bone samples generally lack the warmth and depth of in person playing. FWIW the nicest in my collection are probably from Forzo. All my opinion of course.


Active Member
I play trombone - not well, but I do play. For me SM trombones are incredibly realistic and sound like trombones. It's not just the tone, it's the little imperfections in pitch and tone that seem to happen randomly.


Active Member
Being a pro trombone player too, and having played in every genre of music possible, and having the benefit of hearing and knowing what the trombone can sound like..

some notes and observations:

- it's hard, if not impossible, for any sample library to totally capture the true essence of a trombone actually being played by a human being who's been playing for years. There are just too many variables....attacks, tonguing techniques, legato (different kinds), 'across-the-grain' legato vs. 'same-harmonic-series' legatos, etc. etc.
(mind you, some players can sound very 'robotic' and sterile, if that's what you want)

- hey!!!.... make friends with a good trombone player to overdub some real sound!!!!!!!!!!!!

*So, the best you can hope for is the 'sound'.
And many libraries have captured awesome trombone sounds!

(...I'd say that most sample libraries have only focused on, and can really only focus on, 'orchestral' type playing. And, sadly, most media composers are basically focusing on trying to create music in the current 'style-du-jour', or trying to mimic or re-create what's current on the big-screen or in video games or, luckily for them, "orchestral-epic" is the easiest to sample and re-create.)

On that note, hell....some day, an AI robot will sound and play 'epic-orchestra' trombone loud sustains and attacks better than any human...they don't have lungs!....they'll have to be programmed to take a breath if they're to sound human.

But I own and like these libraries, which inspire my ears:
- CineSamples Core Brass (orchestral, studio film style music ...with sounds played by some of the world's finest trombone players to boot!...they sound 'live' and 'organic' to me... my life-long model of great trombone players)
- Kirk Hunter Diamond (orchestral, and I like these when trombones are in a music mix specifically for big outdoor venues...some 'oldies-but-goodies'!....and awesome trumpet sounds too)
- Chris Hein Horns - (very versatile...orchestral-pop style, pop-rock mixes, with a nice selection of really different trombones and their slightly different sounds)
- Kontakt Factory horns - there are some real gems here...VSL, plus some other trombones that sound great for different contexts....many possible uses)
- Kontakt Studio Brass collection...nice!!
- East-West Hollywood and Gold Brass - wow...again, awesome good as anything out there....great 'epic' nature
- need a ballsy bass trombone? ....good old Garrittan PS) has a nice one to mix with other libraries.

There are others!!!! (....many, many I don't many good libraries....Spitfire, Berlin, etc. etc.)

***The musical styles that can't be captured, or are really pretty impossible to capture in a library:
- jazz, Latin, pop, funk, ....basically the 'non-orchestral' musical styles.

You need real, live, breathing musicians to do justice to any jazz, pop, Latin, etc. styles of music. Unless, you want to sound just plain 'wrong' and sound like someone trying to fit epic-sounding trombones into a pop sound... that's just sacrilegious!

But, that really goes for any style of music.
In the end, sample libraries are an approximation of real trombone playing.

Karl Feuerstake

Active Member
Low and loud is usually written for Bass and Contra, not Tenor, so that shouldnt be the issue in sample libraries... as a Bass Trombonist myself I find the Spitfire stuff has a truly wonderful tone, but as with many libraries it will take quite some programming to sound like real phrasing. The sample-modelling stuff is great to play but takes a ton of mixing to sound authentic unless you want a dry-and-very-close sound, which... Orchestral music is not.