What is your favorite clarinet sample library?

JeffvR

Active Member
I had the Embertone Herrington but now I use the Fluffy Audio one. It sounds more classical and lyrical to me. Programming is very good as well.
 

mikefrommontreal

Active Member
I like the VSL Clarinet and the Embertone Herring Clarinet. The VSL I mostly use in an orchestral context. The Embertone has such a sweet tone and great legato and sounds great in exposed settings.
The same two I use as well. My only problem with the VSL one is that it can get a little washed out sounding in an orchestral mix. Almost a little hollow. Still, I can get it to sound nearly identical to the clarinet in John William's piece The People's House from Lincoln.
 

Mark Schmieder

Senior Member
As a clarinetist, I only use these as placeholders or when working late at night, so I don't like to put a lot of time into it when I do. As a result, I haven't gotten to a point where I can safely recommend VSL, as my quick-and-lazy workflow approach prefers Marcato patches and cringes otherwise. But they may well be as good as the VSL Flutes, given more effort.

Although I sold it in order to force myself to stop procrastinating on recording final live parts, the Audio Modeling Clarinets are mind-blowingly good and hyper-realistic -- at least for non-classical work (I didn't bother trying them for classical-style pieces as those will automatically get my own live playing). It is a shame though, that they don't cover more voicings than they do.

The new one from CMusic sounds very eastern to me, and is a bit tempting just for working in those genres and getting some placeholder parts that serve as a reference for me to fine-tune my own playing to better match the style and timbre needed by Klezmer, Balkan, Roma, etc. It might be good for classical as well, but their audio demos impress me the most in the genre stuff.

I have a policy of not saying anything bad about ones I've sold, out of respect for the developers, but for developers that don't allow resale, I go through a big debate with myself about whether it's OK to say anything negative or not. So I'll just say that the one that appears to have the most coverage of voicings throughout the Clarinet family, is the one from Neocymatics. I've had no success yet though.

Also, lest it seem to be inferred by omission, that I think the one from Embertone is trash, I do think it is very well done, but I am super-picky about clarinet timbre, and absolutely despise some of the most famous players out there (living and dead, e.g. Sabina Meyer), with a strong preference for a much warmer tone overall (e.g. Emma Johnson). I am especially fond of many of the English and San Francisco players, but have always disliked the ones from New York and Philadelphia. I respect them, but simply dislike their timbre. So that is the biggest factor for me, and affects my rankings.
 
Last edited:

Nyran

New Member
I have used the Audio modelling one and I find it very versatile but most of the time I go back to the Embertone Herring (the Audio modelling flute is amazing for non orchestral). I have demo'd the fluffy woodwinds and found that for some reason they don't do it for me although they are really nice.
 

Ale8ory

New Member
I'm curious about the Embertone. I bought it because many say they like it, but I find it unusable because of the egregiously bad looping in the legato mode.

SWAM while not perfect in tone is the most expressive and the one I use consistently.
 

Monkberry

Active Member
Audio Modeling SWAM for me. I have OT Berlin series, Spitfire Studio Woodwinds Pro, and Claire from 8dio but unless it's a section I always choose SWAM for solo. Nothing comes close to that.
 
OP
J

jon wayne

Active Member
Am I the only one who hears the “sounds like two instruments “ with legato issue or am I just the only one it bothers? Because otherwise I do really like it.
I agree. I loved the fluidity in the demos, purchased it, but ran into the same double voices issue. I like Embertone products, but ended up not using it.
 

mikefrommontreal

Active Member
I'm curious about the Embertone. I bought it because many say they like it, but I find it unusable because of the egregiously bad looping in the legato mode.
I just recently bought and am slightly disappointed as well. I haven't fully explored its options in detail, so it's a bit premature for me to say, but I can certainly confirm that I was hoping for a darker tone. Also, it's playability doesn't seem as fluid as the new Popelka bassoon.
 

sostenuto

Big NKS Fan !
I have used the Audio modelling one and I find it very versatile but most of the time I go back to the Embertone Herring (the Audio modelling flute is amazing for non orchestral). I have demo'd the fluffy woodwinds and found that for some reason they don't do it for me although they are really nice.
Darn! Was hoping the Fluffy would be the one for this time .... 8Dio is on the list as well, along with Herring.
 

Ashermusic

Senior Member
I agree. I loved the fluidity in the demos, purchased it, but ran into the same double voices issue. I like Embertone products, but ended up not using it.
Thank you! I was beginning to think that either I had a flawed install, was hearing things that do not exist, or was being shunned 😁

just to reiterate, other than that I like it a lot, and it actually pairs well with the Fluffy J. D. Fox clarinet for part writing.
 

Mark Schmieder

Senior Member
I was at the opera last night (where my friend was subbing on clarinet and doing a magnificent job!), so will try to remember to review the Beethoven snippet tonight. I have nodded in agreement to a few posts after mine, but do not mean for that to show any disrespect for the developers, who are very generous in their dealings with customers.
 

ism

Senior Member
The Spitfire Symphonic Woodwinds Bass Clarinet is amazing.

The SSW clarinet is not bad, though not a highlight of SSW in general. Generally I try to use the SSW if the line isn't too demanding, for the AIR sound is hard to beat.

Then if I need something more expressive I'll shift to the fluffy - which has tongued staccato, more shorts, plus a third dynamic layer etc which make it better for shaping more a wider range expressive lines. And finally, if I need something hyper lyrical and up front, then I'll go to the Claire Cl. Which is lovely within its (hyper lyric and up front) niche (and a nightmare outside that niche).

Still, the Clarinet is the woodwind most like solo strings in my estimation - its just not possible to have too many.
 

Kyle Preston

I accidentally do things on purpose
Embertone’s Herring and the Cinewinds clarinet are my favorites. The room sound in Cinewinds is more to my taste - it’s great for the slow lyrical stuff. Both are superbly crafted!
 

josejherring

Senior Member
Just one clarinet isn't going to do it. Clarinet is such a varied instrument that I'd have at least 4 or 6 solo players to choose from depending on context.

As far as the Herring Clarinet I'm not aware of any phasing issues. I know the samples were phased locked so there should be no noticeable overlap when crossfading. Perhaps bring that up to Embertone. I would try to confirm it myself but I only have the beta installed. The legato articulations if I remember correctly uses a roundrobin. Maybe somehow that got messed up in a Kontakt update and it is triggering both samples at once.

As far as problems with playability that is a first. It is one of the most playable clarinet libraries. Even in beta form I was shocked at how easy it was to play. Takes a little practice though.

Shedding some light on my playing will help with programming The Herring Clarinet.

My formative years were in Highschool. I studied with somebody who was a big Benny Goodman fan and who also played in the local circus. Not an auspicious gig but it taught me a lot about the clarinet and its use. Namely versatility. I will get back to that idea in a moment. My instruction at that level was good enough that I was able to gain entrance to The Juilliard School of Music on partial scholarship were I studied with then Principal Clarinetist Stanley Drucker. It was a perfect fit as he was an fairly unique and unconventional clarinetist. Major chops(technical skill). Able to technically play anything. I approached that level but I have to say I never fully got there.

Here's where things get weird. While I was at Juilliard I was full on going for a dark classic symphonic sound. Kind of opposite of my teacher but Drucker was such a good teacher that he let his students develop into whatever they wanted rather than clones of him. I achieved a full on dark robust clarinet sound, huge sound that was noticed by many. Then something remarkable happened. While going to school one day I heard a clarinetist playing in the subway for tips. He had the most amazing silky smooth sound. Nothing too forceful but really, really beautiful. About a week later I ran into him again and I gave him a few bucks to play something for me. It made him uncomfortable to play with somebody listening but I stood there anyway. He didn't play as well and only had a bit of that sound that he had the week previous. Mostly he had a bad reed by this point. But, I studied his embouchure upclose and his breathing and everything about it. He was a druggie without a doubt. When he pulled the clarinet from his mouth (I'm sure if he were more conscious he would have thought it was weird that I was studying his mouth) I noticed that his front teeth were missing. Aha! He didn't have teeth on the mouthpiece thus no harsh rattling thus his sound was smooth.

So I started to pad my mouthpiece and use my upper lip more and created an embouchure were I could remove most of my teeth from contact with the mouthpiece. A new sound was born and people liked it and it's the sound I've stuck with.

Okay what does that mean? I'm a versatile player. I'm not a classical player. I'm not a jazz player. I'm my own player that can play both classical, contemporary and Jazz. I'm from the New York soloist school with my own thing going on. Aggressive, emotional playing with a silky smooth sound. I was nicknamed “the velvet hammer” by a friend not because of my clarinet playing but because of my personality. I'm tough as fuck but warm and friendly and that pretty much translates into my clarinet sound and playing. I'm a solo recital and chamber player first of all and The Herring Clarinet seems to have taken on my personality as such.

A large part of my sound came from a crackhead playing in New York City Subways, but I've studied with principals of symphonies and have toured Europe as a full on classical clarinetist playing with nearly all the top classical names at the time during my time of playing the clarinet full time. Some loved me, some hated me, I fucking hated the backstabbing classical scene so I bailed and started arranging and composing for films, tv and records. I never looked back. Lately I'm interested in fully developing on the Jazz front. I'm 52 maybe too old to change strippes but as far as playing it's kind of were I'm leading these days. I have dreams of playing in jazz clubs. I might make it.

I'm a unique dude who never fit in. So The Herring Clarinet were it excels will be in soloing with the clarinet upfront. Not saying that it can't be placed in an orchestra. But care will have to be taken to make sure it doesn't take over the whole orchestra. My sound was designed to attract attention and that it does very well by actual experiment. I wasn't designed to blend it. If you saw me in person you'd think the same thing. This cat isn't of any race. The most common question I get is "what are you?": To which I reply, too complicated to get into. But I do enjoy being blackish.

I'm glad many people like the Herring Clarinet. It took a lot of work by both me and Embertone to make this thing come off. I agonized over every note to make it the best it could be. I played each sample as if that sample was a whole piece with motion and phrasing, ect. That I learned from my teacher Stanley Drucker who was solo clarinetist of the NYPhil. He would always say, even if you're holding long goose eggs (tied whole notes) you hold it as if there's something happening then he would emote around the room holding a long note. I got it. Make something of it and put just as much into it if not more than if it was the most important phrase you ever played. That went into every sample in The Herring Clarinet.

Will it be the end to end all clarinet libraries? Hell no. But, it will be a great tool in your arsenal. Many people have used it. I hear it on TV. I'm sure many others use it in mockups.

It was an advance at the time for playability and virtuosity in a library. I'm still way stunned by the demos they did at Embertone. First clarinet library for me that I can listen to and I don't say that because it's my tone. I'm all the much more harsh on it because of that. It still can do many things that others can't do.

As far as me personally, if you're wondering why I admitted that I don't use it. Has nothing to do with the library itself. It's just too distracting when I'm composing and programming to hear myself coming from a virtual library. Because the wizards at Embertone did study phrases I set them and they found a way to program in my playing gestures. It's cool for others. Kind of freaky for me because it sounds like me but it isn't me, but it sounds like me, but it isn't me, ect. Each time I played it that was running around in my head. I'm just too close to it.

Perfect library? No. Very usable? Hell yes. Do I expect everybody to like it? Hell no. I'm a glad some do? Yes, that is the story of my life.
 
Last edited:

micrologus

Active Member
I just purchased the Herring Clarinet and wow: it's awesome! I like the sound, the agility, it's very expressive and realistic. I played the clarinet for many years in a wind band, nice memories... :)