Why on earth don't I have sample modeling brass yet?

purple

Senior Member
Well actually I think I have an answer after a night of scouring the web for demos: most of the demos i found are either not very helpful for the type of music I want to write with them right now (more traditional orchestral stuff) or they are simply horrible demos. Aside from a few short and not at all transparent demos on the "samplecontrol" channel on youtube and a couple of mp3s and youtube links on the sample modeling website, it seems almost everyone except the devs, and people hired by the devs to make demos, has trouble mixing the library in with an orchestra or even getting the tone of the instruments to sound right. The lack of transparency from the "samplecontrol" channel makes those demos come off as somewhat fishy to me as well.

The instruments are on sale right now and the flexibility of them in performance makes them seem "too good to be true", so why exactly is it so hard to mix them in? I watched various tutorials and it seems the issue of "early reflections" has actually been added into the most recent version right out of the box anyways. While watching some of the demos I don't like, I find myself thinking "if I could just change a couple of parameters on their instance of the instrument this would sound so good" but I shot myself in the foot buying an expensive library that had me saying the same things until I actually got my hands on it and I don't want to get burned that way again. Maybe it's simply impossible

I have looked on this site and although there are many threads on the topic dating back several years, most of the demos posted here are dead links. So does anyone who uses the library today want to post a couple demos as well as their thoughts here?
 

dzilizzi

Senior Member
I hear good things about them, but, like you, everything I've listened to not made by the developer has sounded meh. As in, it needs a lot of work to sound halfway decent. I already have libraries like that.

I think where it shines is if you have a breath controller and actually know how to play the instrument? But those things are expensive.
 

jonnybutter

Active Member
I hear good things about them, but, like you, everything I've listened to not made by the developer has sounded meh. As in, it needs a lot of work to sound halfway decent. I already have libraries like that.

I think where it shines is if you have a breath controller and actually know how to play the instrument? But those things are expensive.

Just the breath controller, which is not that expensive, and useful for other instruments as well. You don't have to play tbone or trumpet (although it helps). You do have to practice, but there is also some instant gratification - for example, on the trombone, with the breath controller, I got great results on the first day. Trumpet is a little more fiddly (at least for me).

They are not so easy to mix because they're in an anechoic chamber. Do a search on VI-control - there are lots of threads with very skilled practitioners telling you how to put them in a space. There are also good demos. I wouldn't live without SM Brass.
 

MauroPantin

We'll cross that bridge when we burn it
It depends on your workflow. I recently used them in a mockup for a client and they did the trick. They are dry as King Joffrey's Pigeon Pie, it takes a lot of work to get them to sit in a mix.

For most purposes, you will likely get the job done faster with something else. But every once in a while when you need a really expressive brass instrument they are amazing, particularly for brass chorales. And the playability is really out of this world, no articulations mapping or key switching. A lot fiddling with CCs and mixing to get them to sound right, though.

I guess it depends. If you usually play your instruments in or need a particularly expressive part played in, they will work better than most other things provided you know how to mix them. If you use notation or write in step time or your mouse in the piano roll or any other method that is not playing in the instrument then I'd pass.
 

Thundercat

Active Member
I use it as my main brass library and is absolutely fantastic in term of well it performs. I have yet to find something that beats it. That said it is true that it takes a lot work not only to make it sit in the right place but also to learn to play the instruments.
I wonder if MIR Pro would make this easier? I don’t own MIR but it looks amazing...
 
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purple

Senior Member
I hear good things about them, but, like you, everything I've listened to not made by the developer has sounded meh. As in, it needs a lot of work to sound halfway decent. I already have libraries like that.

I think where it shines is if you have a breath controller and actually know how to play the instrument? But those things are expensive.
I have years experience on multiple woodwinds and just as much experience sitting in front of brass players, so I'm quite familiar with the idea of using air to play and also quite familiar with what brass instruments ought to sound like. The breath controller has always been appealing to me whether I get SM brass or not but I definitely will get one if I do end up buying SM brass. Thanks.
 
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purple

Senior Member
It depends on your workflow. I recently used them in a mockup for a client and they did the trick. They are dry as King Joffrey's Pigeon Pie, it takes a lot of work to get them to sit in a mix.

For most purposes, you will likely get the job done faster with something else. But every once in a while when you need a really expressive brass instrument they are amazing, particularly for brass chorales. And the playability is really out of this world, no articulations mapping or key switching. A lot fiddling with CCs and mixing to get them to sound right, though.

I guess it depends. If you usually play your instruments in or need a particularly expressive part played in, they will work better than most other things provided you know how to mix them. If you use notation or write in step time or your mouse in the piano roll or any other method that is not playing in the instrument then I'd pass.
One of the appealing factors of it is the ability to intuitively play the instruments just like I would a real wind instrument. Fiddling with keyswitches and being forced to edit my curves later have always been the barrier to me playing everything in anyways.
 
I use them with a Yamaha WX Wind controller and it's stupid fast to get them perfect - no editing. I play them in and they're right the first time. Tons easier than using the keyboard so if you're a wind player, using something like the WX or an EWI can be a godsend with them.
 
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purple

Senior Member
Sascha Knorr's demo is quite moving to me. It's not shocking given the quality of demos he's done for other devs like orchestral tools especially, which also have some of the best demos in the biz IMHO.

This demo is so good, that I could confidently say that if I was able to consistently achieve this quality of realism in the performance of the samples I may never buy another sample library for brass at all, at least until SM brass v4 releases of course.

This demo is legitimately so realistic and well performed that it sounds better than a lot of bad-to-decent recordings of live brass players to me. Yeah, there are some noticeable flaws here and there, especially in the tone of the horns, but I am certain that in a more complicated mix, blended with other instruments, or in the background of a full film mix, there wouldn't be much difference from the real thing in some cases. That said, for each demo like this there are a million ones that make SM brass out to be one of the worst on the market. I'm worried that there is some secret sauce that only a few of the people making these demos are using, without which I will not find success with it.

 

MauroPantin

We'll cross that bridge when we burn it
No secret sauce but definitely not a quickly inspiring instrument, it's not CSS and does not sound amazing and ready for print out of the box. If you don't mind spending some time with it to get it going you should be fine, particularly with your experience!

EDIT: Make sure you have some good positioning plugins available. MIR or Virtual Sound Stage would be ideal.
 

leon chevalier

Piano roll musician
I think the major missing point for everybody is that they sound absolutely awesome at low and medium dynamics. But everyone, (my self included) just put demo online using only the higher dynamic. That's where the troubles start. Because we are used to hear brass wall where the room response play a big part in the sound we hear. It's in that case that it's difficult to recreate a realistic sound. And IMHO in that case, it's better to layer SMB with a wetter lib.

It's also important to add that's it's not a SM problem, every anechoic lib has it. And from all of those (Vienna, Chris hein, audio modeling...) SMB is the one that suffer the less from that problem.

The anechoic woodwind libraries (like Vienna) all work very well with reverb because they do not excite the room as brass do, and no one is complaining about them.

If you don't play ff all the time, SMB is a joy to work with.
 

lychee

Member
Oh my god, why do you have the gift of making me doubt the day I decided to get this virtual instrument?
I have envied the sound qualities of this Samplemodeling Brass for a while, but for financial reasons, I have always taken alternatives like Native Session Horn Pro or Chris Hein Orchestral Brass, which remains good software but which are not as advanced as SMB can be.
Today I realize that I made a mistake, because in the end I spent more than expected to come back to the same point, buying from my favorite brass bank.
So, if I understood correctly so that SMB sounds properly, the solution would be to put it in a reverb with virtual positioning system in space?
If so, what do you think of the association of SMB with EAReverb2 (which I own)?
 
I would also recommend to take a closer look into Infinite Brass by Aaron Venture. The instrument count is awesome (you can easily tripple the instrument count, as it's chromatically sampled and the transposition trick is already accessible through the interface. 18 Horn players? No problem :D ) The recently released 1.4 update really nailed the sound. And the playability is incredible!
 

MauroPantin

We'll cross that bridge when we burn it
So, if I understood correctly so that SMB sounds properly, the solution would be to put it in a reverb with virtual positioning system in space?
If so, what do you think of the association of SMB with EAReverb2 (which I own)?
Yes, that is correct. Positioning, Early Reflections, Room, Tail. You can use the included ERs in SM Brass. I then use it with two reverbs. You position it and add the first one, which is intended only for SM to add a bit of ambiance similar to the other sample libraries. Then you send it to your regular verb or verbs like any other instrument. It is important to add that first one, otherwise, you still get the dry signal somewhere in the mix and it stands out like a sore thumb, no library is THAT dry.

I am not familiar with EAReverb2 but if it has a way to position instruments it should work out. I do my positioning with Proximity and QuickHaas.
 

lychee

Member
I would also recommend to take a closer look into Infinite Brass by Aaron Venture. The instrument count is awesome (you can easily tripple the instrument count, as it's chromatically sampled and the transposition trick is already accessible through the interface. 18 Horn players? No problem :D ) The recently released 1.4 update really nailed the sound. And the playability is incredible!
Thank you @Simon Schrenk, but even if Infinite Brass seems to be an excellent library, and for having studied this question at length, I don't think it has as many possibilities as SMB can have.
You should know that SMB is a hybrid instrument between sample and physical modeling, to get closer to the behavior of the real instrument.
Thank you for the advice in any case, but I don't want to grab this post and go off topic.
 

Eptesicus

Senior Member
I went a bit nuts and bought their strings and brass last week, as i've read they basically have a no sale policy but they are making an exception due to the current pandemic. Thought it might be the best time to try them out.

First impressions are good. Seems to sound good with the precedence/breeze virtual soundstage/reverb combo.

I think it will be a good compliment to Junkie Xl Brass as they are very different. One does balls to the wall/expansive sounding stuff, and one can do very quick versatile/agile stuff (+ Mutes etc). Also, from my intial playing, i dont think anything could do jazzy, bright brass stuff as well as this could. I think if you wanted to some fun brass for an animation (pixar style thing) then SM brass would be excellent.

This was my first little play with both the strings and brass (not finished and just a very rough sketch of an idea at the moment but you can hear what the horns and a bit of trumpet sounds like in the space). I think the brass can sound very natural. I actually like the horns more than i thought i would as i didnt like the sound of them in a lot of the demos.
 

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Thank you @Simon Schrenk, but even if Infinite Brass seems to be an excellent library, and for having studied this question at length, I don't think it has as many possibilities as SMB can have.
You should know that SMB is a hybrid instrument between sample and physical modeling, to get closer to the behavior of the real instrument.
Thank you for the advice in any case, but I don't want to grab this post and go off topic.
IB is also a hybrid, but more in terms of samples, convolution and other parameters.
What are the possibilities of SMB that stand out to you?
 
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purple

Senior Member
I went a bit nuts and bought their strings and brass last week, as i've read they basically have a no sale policy but they are making an exception due to the current pandemic. Thought it might be the best time to try them out.

First impressions are good. Seems to sound good with the precedence/breeze virtual soundstage/reverb combo.

I think it will be a good compliment to Junkie Xl Brass as they are very different. One does balls to the wall/expansive sounding stuff, and one can do very quick versatile/agile stuff (+ Mutes etc). Also, from my intial playing, i dont think anything could do jazzy, bright brass stuff as well as this could. I think if you wanted to some fun brass for an animation (pixar style thing) then SM brass would be excellent.

This was my first little play with both the strings and brass (not finished and just a very rough sketch of an idea at the moment but you can hear what the horns and a bit of trumpet sounds like in the space). I think the brass can sound very natural. I actually like the horns more than i thought i would as i didnt like the sound of them in a lot of the demos.
Yes the ability to change the tone of the horns to suit my ears is a great one because in many of the demos they seem to sound quite odd indeed. I certainly hope that if I buy it I can edit the harmonics enough that it at least adds some great definition to other libraries assuming I don't like the SM horns alone.
 
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purple

Senior Member
IB is also a hybrid, but more in terms of samples, convolution and other parameters.
What are the possibilities of SMB that stand out to you?
From what I have heard of IB, I don't love the tone as much as what other libraries on the market offer. To me it sounds really synthy and robotic for the most part. Honestly it sounds like what I expect from an early 2000s library tone-wise. This issue doesn't bother me as much with SM because it was recorded completely dry and can be edited to my needs. All the IB demos to me sound like they are just playbacks of notation software data, like it's all so constrained and robotic, which is ironic given that one of the major selling points is the "playability".

IB seems to lack really good sounding articulations, which is the driving factor for me getting SM. The attacks lack much dynamic range as well as the way shorter notes are handled. Feels like there are no accents or soft attacks, everything sounds like the same boxy mf tonguing. Again issues that don't seem to pop up as much with the better SM demos, where the range of possible attack strengths goes beyond even the natural range of the instruments, allowing a lot of flexibility. Listen to the Copland excerpt on the IB website. The trombone accents near the middle are so lifeless to my ears. Like they were heavily processed to be "too consistent" even.

The trombones, as the usually are in most libraries, seem to be the worst sounding of this library. They have this horrible tonal harshness to them at low and mid dynamic levels that I always have trouble mixing with other libraries and become very gravelly and spitty at higher dynamic levels.

Short notes to me sound very artificial in their cutoff. This really bothers me because it's one of the biggest uncanny valley aspects to sample libraries, at least for me, and would drive me crazy if I bought the library. The design philosophy of not keyswitching and instead just playing things in more naturally seems not to have worked as convincingly here as it did with SM, to my ears.

It has is strengths and weaknesses I'd say. The vibrato control there is nice compared to other libraries I have and I think the library blends well within itself at least based on the demos. But the instruments seem to lack versatility to me. But either the library is meh at best or the demos simply don't do it justice. Maybe it's a bit of both. I would like to hear what is possible with IB with a breath controller, though. Maybe it has a lot of potential there just like SM does.