In the crowded market for NI Kontakt libraries, Output manages to stand out as a sample provider known for putting a modern twist to traditional sounds. This doesn’t change with the release of Analog Brass & Winds, easily the freshest sounding brass and woodwind Kontakt library around.
So, another brass and woodwind sample library for Kontakt – who cares, right? Wrong! Just by looking at the user interface, one gets the impression that Output’s latest product isn’t your ordinary orchestral sound pack. Instead of the usual array of orchestral library controls, you’re greeted with a set of four macro sliders and two sound layer controls for adjusting the volume, tune, and looping/reversing each layer. The macro controls will affect each preset differently, but they’re always focused on changing the parameters that alter the sound in a way that’s interesting from a performer’s standpoint. Additional controls are revealed in the Edit, FX, Rhythm, and Arp tabs, and these will also, much like the macros, seem more familiar to someone used to using synthesizers and samplers rather than traditional orchestral libraries. And that is the twist with Analog Brass & Winds – approaching these traditional, familiar orchestral sounds from a different perspective and making them more accessible to the contemporary artist.
But the user interface isn’t the only thing that makes Analog Brass & Winds unique. Even more important are the multi-sampled sound sources, 90 of which are included in the product. These are organized into three groups: Orchestral, Synths, and Creative. The Orchestral multi-samples cover the classic brass and woodwind sounds that you’d expect to get in a regular orchestral sample library. These samples were recorded in the BMC Hall in Budapest and they sound absolutely stunning. All of the included orchestral multi-samples come with multiple velocity layers, but the number of layers and round-robin variations aren’t the main points of focus in this case. The team at Output provided orchestral multis that are very expressive, sound absolutely fantastic, and cover a range of traditional ensemble and solo brass and woodwind sounds. Next up are the Synth multi-samples which (duh!) feature the sounds of vintage analog synthesizers. There are plenty of lush pads to be found here, along with synthesized brass sounds, plucks, and a variety of other electronic sounds. Finally, the Creative multi-samples category is where you’ll find an array of unusual noises produced by orchestral instruments, as well as some unconventional sound sources, the most notable of which is a beer bottle. Cheers!
All three sound source categories listed above feature three different types of sounds: one-shots, pad sounds, and tape loops. Furthermore, the Orchestral category offers close and far microphone versions of each multi-sample set, with close-miked samples sounding more intimate and far-miked ones sounding more epic. And this is where things get extremely fun when using Analog Brass & Winds. More often than not, layering the traditional orchestral sounds with the electronic and experimental sound sources will lead to spectacular results. Combining, for example, a noise source from the Creative category and a brass ensemble from the Orchestral category, or a rhythmic Creative loop and a woodwind Orchestral pad, is the recipe for coming up with inspiring new sounds that feel familiar yet new and exciting. Mixing and matching these different types of sounds and discovering interesting new combos is my idea of having fun while messing with sound design. And the results are unlike anything I’ve ever heard in an orchestral sample library beforehand. Brass and woodwind never sounded so modern!
On the other hand, to accommodate users who prefer the plug and play approach, Output has provided an extensive collection of 500 pre-made presets. These are tagged for easier browsing (you can select multiple tags to narrow down the preset list) and cover everything from pure orchestral sounds to modern blockbuster noises and some completely out there tones. As mentioned previously, each preset comes with a different set of macros, so it’s always a good idea to explore what the sliders do when loading a new patch. Of course, the provided presets can be used as a starting point for creating your own customized sounds, as there’s plenty of tweaking to be done in the Edit, FX, Rhythm, and Arps sections of the interface. I won’t go into detail here because Output posted a great video guide on their YouTube channel, which you can check out above. The point is, you can go deep into detailed editing, or simply fire up Kontakt in your digital audio workstation of choice and jam with the provided presets.
Analog Brass & Winds is an orchestral library focused on delivering modern, highly playable hybrid sounds instead of simulating a real-world orchestra. Sure, it can deliver some wonderful purely orchestral sounds, but it truly shines at spitting out all sorts of new and unusual variations of the timbres we’re used to hearing in a different context. Paired with Output’s previously released Analog Strings library, it is a powerful weapon in any cinematic composer’s arsenal, and also a highly inspirational tool for beat makers, electronic musicians, and experimental artists.
More info: Analog Brass & Winds ($199)
Output Analog Brass & Winds Review
Both the user experience and the audio quality are state of the art. Brass and woodwind never sounded so modern.