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Brass VSTs

Posted: Tue Mar 21, 2017 9:01 am
by BillW
I'm about to start planning my most ambitious OMGB project yet. (OMGB=One man garage band). Covers of some Chicago and BS&T songs.

I bought a couple of transcribed score books and so I'm confident I will be able to get this done.

But obviously the horn section is going to be crucial. I'll start out with stock plugins or freebies since it will be midi - I can always switch if/when I find something better.

Which is the point of the post - what is better? I'm willing to spend $100 or maybe even up to $200. But not surprising - it's tough to know where even to start.

Here are the obvious requirements - must be more of a jazz feel than orchestra. Also has to include woodwinds (not technically "brass" and therefore sax / flute often not included from what I see). It's OK if flute is not included, but sax (both tenor and alto) are a must.

So far it seems Chris Hein Compact looks the best - in keeping it under $200.

I have DSK (freebie) and have used it. That's what I'll start with - but I'm kind of lost as to how best to use the controls in it to help with the realism.

I've searched on here but not a lot to be had. However it looks like chibear is a horn player, so I'm hoping to get some ideas from him.

Thanks in advance -

Re: Brass VSTs

Posted: Tue Mar 21, 2017 10:05 am
by Mark Bliss
This is a tough one Bill, seems that many of the brass libraries are orchestra oriented in style and timbre, and good libraries trend toward pricey. And as you point out, often overlook the sax. In fact I have seen a number of woodwind libraries that also tend to ignore the sax. I suspect its a tough instrument to emulate without the combination of a deep sample library combined with a sophisticated engine. It's a very dynamic instrument with a lot of range in player technique and style. Seems it might be a tall order to emulate well.

I have yet to personally experience a really good example of an upper quality virtual instrument for either, but I haven't really been inclined to invest in such things either.

But you might take a look at "Garritan Jazz and Big Band 3"
Based on the description and price range, it might be what your after. ... Big-Band-3

We'll see what Chibear has to suggest, he has far more experience in these things.

Re: Brass VSTs

Posted: Tue Mar 21, 2017 10:11 am
by JonInc
First Call Horns. A bit long in the tooth, but in that budget range:

Even cheaper on Ebay (Note the seller is open to "Make an Offer"): ... 4b127d4078

Re: Brass VSTs

Posted: Tue Mar 21, 2017 10:36 am
by BillW
Thanks guys. Both look like good suggestions.

I saw some youtube video on Chris Hein Brass Compact and it looks like it has what I'm looking for.

But I'll research these too. I like the instrument collection in "Jazz and Big Band" and the overall description of First Call.

A bit scary in that there are no demo versions and none of these are returnable.

Re: Brass VSTs

Posted: Tue Mar 21, 2017 1:37 pm
by chibear
Check out Chris Hein Horns Compact. I have his (orchestral) Woodwinds Complete and really like them. Will probably buy more oh his libs eventually. Quality stuff 8)

Re: Brass VSTs

Posted: Tue Mar 21, 2017 1:55 pm
by BillW
Thanks chibear - that's where I was leaning thanks to YouTube - until I saw the price for Jazz and Big Bands. $119 vs $189 for "Compact" at Sweetwater.

Can you speak to the differences between the two?

Re: Brass VSTs

Posted: Tue Mar 21, 2017 2:24 pm
by chibear
I don't know that library, so can't comment directly. The name also hasn't come up in recent memory on any of the other forums I'm on either.

However up until now I pretty much given Garratin a pass because of the generally uneven quality in their orchestral libraries. There are some really good instruments which are balanced by others that are gawdaweful to the point of being unusable no matter how you tweek them.

Re: Brass VSTs

Posted: Tue Mar 21, 2017 4:54 pm
by JonInc
And from Native Instruments:

Session Horns ($99): ... ion-horns/

Session Horns Pro ($299): ... horns-pro/

Re: Brass VSTs

Posted: Tue Mar 21, 2017 7:44 pm
by BillW
Saw Session Horns. Nice price but limited instruments. For example, tenor sax but not alto. . I will need both. The full version has all that and more but at 300 that's a bit too pricey.

Appreciate the comments. I don't want to high jack the mix craft forum talking about plug-ins (I always forget there is a separate forum for that. . I'll be sure and check that out too and will post there when I decide.

I especially want to thank chi bear since he has a lot of experience in this. Has me leaning to Chris Hein.

Re: Brass VSTs

Posted: Tue Mar 21, 2017 10:13 pm
by Mark Bliss
A couple additional thoughts Bill

One is the consideration that you may be wandering back into that dilemma of overwhelming your laptop, considering our recent discussions.

The second is that if you choose a library that runs in Kontakt, you might be opening up a whole new can of worms. I would strongly suggest downloading the free player edition and exploring the included instruments to see how you feel about that before spending anything additional.
You might find, like me- that the program hinders creativity instead of bolstering it. I bought several libraries and to be honest, when I migrated to my newest computer, I have yet to have any desire to reinstall them, no matter how good they may sound.

Re: Brass VSTs

Posted: Wed Mar 22, 2017 8:15 am
by BillW
Great points Mark. I started to look at some tutorials on Chris Hein and it is very complex. But that's what gives it the realism (slides, bends, trills, terms I never heard of like "doit".) The interface seems to be all within the Chris Hein software - even though it uses Kontakt, that seems to be transparent. It's not like getting soundfonts or the like and then interfacing with the player.

Anyway I doubt I'll buy anything before I get started on this - I'm OK with DSK or even Accoustica Instruments to get me started.

And I decided I need to up my memory to 8 GB RAM (which is my puny laptop's max) even without doing this. That's money better spent.

Re: Brass VSTs

Posted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 1:49 pm
by Ajgi
As others have said, sax VSTs are almost always terrible.

If you send me sheet music I'll play some for you. I can get alto parts done very quickly, tenor may take a bit longer because I share a tenor with my brother and only have it at certain times.

If you're interested, my email is

Re: Brass VSTs

Posted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 6:34 pm
by BillW
Very kind of you Andrew. And I would certainly compensate you for your time if I decided to take you up on it.

I think I'll just work with dsk or the stock vst for noe. This will take many months elapsed time given my 2 jobs and family time; I'm fortunate if I can find a few hours a week for Mixcraft.

Besides, the sax parts for most of the songs are part of three or four (for Bs&t) harmonies. I don't intend to attempt solos.

Re: Brass VSTs

Posted: Fri Mar 24, 2017 3:20 am
by mick
Thought it may be worth mentioning that Native Instruments session horns have been half price for the last 2 years on black friday sales in addition to loads of other instruments, will probably go for it next time.

Re: Brass VSTs

Posted: Thu Jul 19, 2018 3:09 pm
by DToole
Where did you find those transcribed score books?
I'm particularly interested in the BS&T one.