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Torn about Brass/Woods libraries...

MarcHedenberg

New Member
So I've been composing for about 4-5 years now and it feels like I'm starting to hit a wall with what I can do with Brass and Woodwinds now that I've actually started scoring projects. Albion One is great for big epic sounds, but doesn't let me compose for instrument sections (plus, I don't personally like the mix of Woodwinds they've gone with). I've been compensating by using Symphony Essentials Brass and Woodwinds, but I don't exactly love their sound (got it with Kontakt Ultimate).

Which brings me to the announcement of the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Love the hall and the value for money is undeniable, not to mention the additional percussion I'd be getting out of it (I get a student discount too - yay?). But is that the smart way to go? I noticed I could alternatively get Spitfire Studio Strings and Woodwinds with the educational discount for a little over £230 - impressive savings there if you ask me.

The other part of me is tempted by Cinematic Studio Brass because, as an owner of CSS and CSSS, I love their sound and interface. Only thing holding me back from buying that library is the high price relative to the quantity of what I'd be getting: it's a smaller selection of brass and player count and caters to a very specific classical sound, which I absolutely adore, but I also don't want to limit myself.

What would you do in my shoes, any advice? I'm aware there's no fit-for-all-purposes library, but I'm just curious what others think.

Thanks in advance.
 
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ProfoundSilence

Senior Member
CSB goes like 1 dynamic above basically any other brass library aside from ark 1.

ill never not tell someone to get BWW - even if you end up using legacy.
 
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MarcHedenberg

New Member
CSB goes like 1 dynamic above basically any other brass library aside from ark 1.

ill never not tell someone to get BWW - even if you end up using legacy.
I take it you mean Berlin Woodwinds from OT? That seems like a good one too! And decent value for money. Ugh, now you've complicated my choice further!!!
 

agobbett

New Member
+1 for CSB. Don't let the smaller section sizes put you off. It can still pack a punch if you need it, as well as sounding fantastic on the softer dynamics!

I have been using CSB alongside BWW and they work together perfectly.
 
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MarcHedenberg

New Member
+1 for CSB. Don't let the smaller section sizes put you off. It can still pack a punch if you need it, as well as sounding fantastic on the softer dynamics!

I have been using CSB alongside BWW and they work together perfectly.
Then it sounds like I'll be getting CSB for brass. Is BWW the solo pack?

Wondering if it's worth waiting a month to see what reviews for BBC say.
 

Land of Missing Parts

flibbertigibbet
What would you do in my shoes, any advice? I'm aware there's no fit-for-all-purposes library, but I'm just curious what others think.
Cinematic Studio Brass would be my recommendation for a workhorse brass library. I ran it through several stress test mockups, which you can find here. It's optimized for a louder sound, by which I mean that a majority of the velocity/modwheel values will give you loud dynamics. But if you explore the lower end it really is just as capable with lower dynamics.

To me, it's pretty much perfect all around, and I have yet to find a brass line that it can't handle. That said, other brass libraries excel if you are looking for particular things. Caspian/Adventure Brass will give great results much quicker than CSB, Berlin Brass excels in low dynamics and warm tone, Forzo excels in sound design, Trailer Brass can sound impossibly huge, Berlin Brass Expansion B offers the most complete set of mute articulations of any library I'm aware of.

For winds, I'd divide into two categories: Ensemble and soloists. For ensembles, I'd wait until Black Friday. By then, we should be seeing some indication of what Cinematic Studio Winds and Afflatus Winds will be like. Orchestral Tools might release the long-awaited update for Berlin Woodwinds that they said was in the works last year, and there's a chance that Berlin Woodwinds will go on sale.

If you can't wait, Spitfire Studio Woodwinds are decent, but know that they are optimized for blending and not for expressiveness and certainly not for solos. I own BWW Legacy (and not Revive) and can say that it's more expressive and probably one of the deepest sampled libraries that I'm aware of, including tons of options for runs, trills, and separate players. You can sometimes get away with using BWW for solo lines. However, BWW doesn't always blend in my experience, and since you have Albion you might consider using that when you are having trouble getting the whole group to blend. The other weakness of BWW Legacy is that it's just not always consistent. The volumes can vary and I find that it just takes time to go through each individual instrument and smooth out each line. Be prepared to spend more time with BWW, but the results can sound very natural and expressive.

For soloist woodwinds, I'd wait until Orchestral Tools sells a la carte and get BWW Expansion Flute, Oboe, English Horn, Bassoon. For clarinet, I'd get Fluffy Audio's clarinet, or if you want agile I'd get Embertone's clarinet.
 
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MarcHedenberg

New Member
Cinematic Studio Brass would be my recommendation for a workhorse brass library. I ran it through several stress test mockups, which you can find here. It's optimized for a louder sound, by which I mean that a majority of the velocity/modwheel values will give you loud dynamics. But if you explore the lower end it really is just as capable with lower dynamics.

To me, it's pretty much perfect all around, and I have yet to find a brass line that it can't handle. That said, other brass libraries excel if you are looking for particular things. Caspian/Adventure Brass will give great results much quicker than CSB, Berlin Brass excels in low dynamics, Forzo excels in sound design, Trailer Brass can sound impossibly huge, Berlin Brass Expansion B offers the most complete set of mute articulations of any library I'm aware of.

For winds, I'd divide into two categories: Ensemble and soloists. For ensembles, I'd wait until Black Friday. By then, we should be seeing some indication of what Cinematic Studio Winds and Afflatus Winds will be like. Orchestral Tools might release the long-awaited update for Berlin Woodwinds that they said was in the works last year, and there's a chance that Berlin Woodwinds will go on sale.

If you can't wait, Spitfire Studio Woodwinds are decent, but know that they are optimized for blending and not for expressiveness and certainly not for solos. I own BWW Legacy (and not Revive) and can say that it's more expressive and probably one of the deepest sampled libraries that I'm aware of, including tons of options for runs, trills, and separate players. You can sometimes get away with using BWW for solo lines. However, BWW doesn't always blend in my experience, and since you have Albion you might consider using that when you are having trouble getting the whole group to blend. The other weakness of BWW Legacy is that it's just not always consistent. The volumes can vary and I find that it just takes time to go through each individual instrument and smooth out each line. Be prepared to spend more time with BWW, but the results can sound very natural and expressive.

For soloist woodwinds, I'd wait until Orchestral Tools sells a la carte and get BWW Expansion Flute, Oboe, English Horn, Bassoon. For Clarinet, I'd get Fluffy Audio's Clarinet, or if you want agile I'd get Embertone's Clarinet.
Oh holy cow, what a thorough response! CSB it is then. And that's a good point on dividing woods by ensembles and soloists. I need both, truth be told, but I guess I'll start with the ensembles. I was under the impression Cinematic Studio Winds is a long ways away?
 

Land of Missing Parts

flibbertigibbet
I was under the impression Cinematic Studio Winds is a long ways away?
Hard to say. Alex indicated that he's trying to get them out at the end of the year.

Something else to consider--If you use CSS, CSB, CSW, there's a good chance that the volumes and articulations will be balanced and consistent out of the box to a greater degree than any developer has ever offered up until this point (though I'm curious about Spitfire's BBC orchestra in this regard). Potentially, it could be a ready-built template out of the box.
And that's a good point on dividing woods by ensembles and soloists.
I do that for strings as well. CSSS, Berlin First Chairs, are meant to blend, Joshua Bell and Tina Guo are meant to stand out. Players perform differently when they are taking solos or blending with a group.
 
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Henu

Senior Member
I'll chime in to poke @Land of Missing Parts for not including SSW in his awesome list. I tend to like it's sound even more than BWW (legacy/revive) in textural context and I find BWW sometimes a bit hard to get sit properly in the mix compared to SSW which blends like a dream with almost anything. It's very agile as well, and can be made suprisingly dry when using only the close mics.
 
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