Top 12 Brass Plugins & KONTAKT Libraries 2022 (+ Best FREE Plugins)

Top 12 Brass Plugins & KONTAKT Libraries (+ Best FREE Plugins) | integraudio.com
Today we’ll dive again into the orchestral world with the best selection of brass plugins and sample libraries available in 2022.
 
Orchestras can be one of the pivotal elements in a massive, epic sonic production. For example, can you imagine Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey without the impactful instruments giving a balanced ambiance? Or maybe watch Star Wars movies without the classic symphonic themes boasting in iconic scenes? Well, it’s hard to picture how these productions could’ve gone so far without any orchestral ensembles involved.
 
Today, we’ll list and comment on a nice selection of brass sample libraries and plugins. They focus on recreating the iconic horns and trumpets we’re used to hearing in songs and movies, and every detail regarding a sonic simulation counts.

Top 12 Brass Plugins & KONTAKT Libraries 2022

1. VSL Synchron Brass (Plugin)

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Delivering high-quality samples with various articulations and instrument choices is VSL’s specialty.

Vienna Symphonic Library has great symphonic libraries, all tailored to work as fluid as possible with their Syncrhon Player. Aside from a great workflow, you can also expect a large variety of instruments and superb quality in each note played, both in the sample itself and the techniques.

Synchron Brass features horns, trumpets, tubas, trombones, and more varied brass instruments. In addition, they can have specific articulations or dynamics, such as marcato and portato, ensuring that their sound characteristics be as realistic as possible.

VSL Synchron Brass - Top 12 Brass Plugins & KONTAKT Libraries (+ Best FREE Plugins) | integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • Multiple microphone positions
      There are seven separate, phase-coherent mic configurations to use in Synchron Woodwinds. They provide extensive room options, with separate channels in the mixer section of Vienna Synchron Player. Blending mics and creating the perfect atmosphere is as easy as possible, with instant response and distinctive character attached to the microphones used.
    • Timbre adjustment
      This is the first Synchron library to have such a feature. In essence, it’s a filter control specially designed for this brass ensemble, simulating dynamic changes without actually switching through the velocity keys. The result is an organic and natural phrasing of each instrument, leading to an overall realistic sound mass, like an authentic ensemble would provide.
    • Mixer presets
      Some mixer presets are also included, offering a great variety of tonal characteristics. You can select close or ambient configurations, as well as sparkling or heavily-processed options as well. To get the immersion flowing naturally, you can mix all instruments in stereo, 5.1 surround, Dolby Atmos, or 9.1 Auro 3D.
    • Flutter tongue and trills
      When dealing with instruments that require blowing an air current inside them, every subtle nuance can make a difference in the final sound. VSL thought this through with the flutter tongue and trill simulations, with four different articulations: “Fluttertongue,” “Fluttertongue marcato,” “Half-tone trill,” and “Whole tone trill.”
VSL Synchron Brass [REVIEW]

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for macOS 10.13 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 8.1 and 10 (64-bit only). It comes in VST, AAX, and AU plugin formats. 

Summary:

The versatility behind VSL’s virtual instruments is always met with high expectations. All the time, they come true thanks to their dedication to capturing the best acoustics and characteristics of their sampled instruments, resulting in an immersive and authentic sound simulation. Synchron Brass is a great brass ensemble that contains all the usual instruments plus some additional varieties, such as a cimbasso, played by professional musicians and recreated by professional plugin designers.

2. Orchestral Tools Berlin Brass (Plugin)

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The staple sample collection for orchestral brass combines a powerful sound with unique flexibility.

A part of the critically-acclaimed Berlin Series, Orchestral Tools’ Berlin Brass unveils both individual instruments and ensemble groups that allow you to explore the most voicings possible and write any arrangements quickly. In addition, the well-known library is now available for SINE Player with the same features as before, but with the addition of a triple-forte layer for producing the most fierce passages.

Orchestral Tools Berlin Brass - Top 12 Brass Plugins & KONTAKT Libraries (+ Best FREE Plugins) | integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • Great scoring stage
      All material in the Berlin Series was recorded in one of the best acoustic spaces for orchestral productions, the Teldex Scoring Stage. This iconic space features superb acoustics, ideal for large ensembles such as orchestras and renowned with multiple award-winning recordings. From the London Symphonic Orchestra to famous composers like Danny Elfman, the number of iconic performances held there is vast. You can now have that same quality in your next production.
    • Polyphonic key switch
      This straightforward setup is an incredible tool that ensures your performance will occur as it should. You can play up to four simultaneous articulations and choose in real-time between “xfading,” “switching,” “2D morphing via CC MIDI,” or “velocity.” This allows multiple textures to be played simultaneously without giving up CPU performance.
    • Single articulations
      Featuring an exclusive articulation management system called “Capsule,” Berlin Brass can be adjusted to the exact way you’re used to working. If you want all articulations merged into a single MIDI track, that’s okay. And the same goes if you want a dedicated track for each articulation. This customizable workflow will ensure your sonority stays the same while at the same time bringing perfect unity to the overall ensemble’s sound.
    • Adaptive legato engine
      With the excellent and well-researched “Adaptive Legato Engine,” you can count on the most fluid and organic legatos to be played virtually. It detects whatever you’re playing in real-time and perfectly adjusts all of the engine’s variables to your performance, both in faster or slower runs.
Berlin Brass Walkthrough: Part 1 - Introduction & Overview

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for macOS 10.13 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 10 (64-bit only). It comes in VST, AAX, and AU plugin formats and works with the SINE Player. 

Summary:

Orchestral Tools always provide significant sample collections, so, naturally, this shouldn’t be any different. The Berlin Brass features a large horn ensemble, recorded in one of the best-sounding rooms in the world, with multiple articulations attached to each recording. This is a recurrent tool for any sound designers and score composers that need reliable software with a multitude of configurations, all in one package.

3. Vir2 Instruments MOJO 2: Horn Section 2 (Kontakt Library)

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The perfect and powerful horn section you always wished for is now updated.

Vir2 Instruments’ MOJO: Horn Section was a huge hit from the moment it was released. The early version featured outstanding sample quality and superb playability, being a popular choice among producers in need of a reliable horn sample library. If you had a jazz, soul, RnB, or Big Band horn arrangement to develop, this was always a friendly tool to have close by.

The updated version 2 brings new remixed samples, new legato modes, new muted instrument simulations, new flutter tongue articulation, improved vibrato simulation, a wah-wah effect, and new trill samples. Considering the original software was almost perfect, all these lovely new upgrades seem to cover all your basic needs revolving around horn ensembles.

Vir2 Instruments - MOJO 2: Horn Section 2 Review - Top 12 Brass Plugins & KONTAKT Libraries (+ Best FREE Plugins) | integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • Musical eras
      If you want to quickly capture an iconic sonority and translate it into your track, the useful eras will be your new favorite presets. There are four different eras – “Modern,” “Retro,” “Vintage 1,” and “Vintage 2” – and each focuses on a specific characteristic. The “Modern,” for example, concentrates on modern trends with a full frequency spectrum and super high fidelity sound, while the other three elude to the iconic sounds of the past (even featuring the iconic “hissing” sound of old vinyl discs!).
    • Articulation patches
      Vir2 Instruments has incorporated 169 articulation patches in addition to the thirteen instrument patches, bringing MOJO 2’s power and flexibility to new heights. Each articulation patch features all of the instrument patches’ robust controls and effects but with a substantially smaller CPU usage. The “Speed” knob is the only parameter that is specific to the articulation patches, allowing you to speed up or slow down any articulation to perfectly fit your musical piece.
    • True legato
      The “Legato” mode allows you to perform the most authentic melodies very naturally. Vir2 Instruments’ team of developers precisely captured the time between each note’s transition, allowing you to perform gorgeous, lifelike horn lines that sound as if played by a real musician.
    • Extreme sound customization
      To get the optimal mix between instruments on the same ensemble, you can combine the three possible mic positions (“Close,” “Near,” and “Room”) and get extraordinary new soundscapes and, alternatively, you can use a key noise overlay to add the sound of the musician’s interaction with the actual physical instrument and benefit from an extensive FX suite to customize the overall tone of the horns.
In-Depth 2.0 Walkthrough | MOJO 2: Horn Section

Compatibility:

This library is available for macOS 10.11 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 7 or higher (64-bit only). It runs only in Kontakt Player or Kontakt version 5.8.1 or higher. 

Summary:

Truly one of the most magnificent sample collections, ever since its first version, MOJO 2: Horn Section 2 by Vir2 Instruments is that same classic library we’re all used to, but with added features and techniques that make it even more rich-sounding. The impressive quality of each sample captures all the diverse alterations and details you could possibly want from such software. It’s an impressive sample library that should greatly impact your next production.

4. Cinematic Studio Series – Cinematic Studio Brass (Kontakt Library)

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Rich, extensive, and powerful brass sounds are delivered straight into Kontakt, with multiple variations.

Cinematic Studio Brass results from years of recording, editing, and programming, showcasing brilliant performances from the best brass players and recorded in one of the best scoring stages in Australia. This sample collection will add color and life to your score with much detail and intensity that only a brass section could provide.

There are multiple versions of each instrument included, such as trumpets, French horns, trombones, and tubas, with all the respective articulations and techniques that make them sound as authentic as possible. You can also throw in some reverb to make it sound as close as possible to the actual scoring stage in which everything was recorded.

Cinematic Studio Series - Cinematic Studio Brass - Cinematic Studio Series - Top 12 Brass Plugins & KONTAKT Libraries (+ Best FREE Plugins) | integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • Special articulation functions
      On two specific articulations – “Staccato” and “Pizzicato” – you can have an extra menu to the right of the center of the screen. You can use your mod wheel to select between different articulation variations. Taking “Staccato” for example, you’ll have “Sfz (sforzando),” “Staccato,” “Staccatissimo,” and “Spiccato” options to further vary your dynamics. It can be deactivated by right-clicking on that same area.
    • Double tongue articulation
      The “double tongue” is a specific extra articulation that applies to brass instruments, allowing for a stream of fast repeated notes to be played. You can either sync the phrases played to your DAW’s tempo or manually apply any BPM you desire. There are two to nine repetitions included, with the possibility to play them manually or with a key switch.
    • Mic positions
      This library was masterfully recorded using an array of microphones, and gladly you can set them as you wish. On the lower left corner, the four fades are responsible for the main ambiance of the ensemble: “Close” gets all the instrument’s details just right, “Main” delivers a realistic conductor’s perspective, and “Room” captures the whole essence of the space the ensemble is playing on, and “Mix” is a blend of all three previous faders, with a specific “out-of-the-box” nice sound.
    • Velocity sensitive key switches
      Most key switches included are velocity-sensitive, which means that the velocity at which the key switch is played will trigger additional actions. For instance, the “Muted” key switch will provide short notes if played between 0-64 velocities, and longer notes will be played when going from 65-127. Below you will find all the velocity values for each articulation.

      Key switch
      Velocity & Function
      Staccato
      0-32: repetitions; 33-64: staccatissimo; 65-96: staccato; 97-127: sforzando.
      Muted
      0-64: muted short notes; 65-127: muted long notes.
      Marcato
      0-64: repetition overlay off; 65-127: repetition overlay on.
      Legato
      0-64: legato off; 65-127: legato on

Compatibility:

This library is available for macOS 10.10 or higher (latest update) and Windows 7 or higher (64-bit only and latest Service Pack required). It works in Kontakt Player or Kontakt version 5.6.8 or higher is required.

Summary:

Cinematic Studio Brass gathers a nice collection of brass instruments, all masterfully executed and captured. Aside from the wide variety of instruments to choose from, the elegant design interface serves as a stimulating way to easily create patterns or articulations by displaying all possibilities in the center of the screen. It’s also not polluted with multiple configurations and knobs, which can be especially good for beginner composers.

Library Spotlight - Cinematic Studio Brass

5. NI Symphony Series Brass (Kontakt Library)

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This 32-piece brass ensemble includes many effects and features a superb recording quality.

Brass Ensemble lets you use a ready-to-use stereo mix or make your own using the “Close,” “Mid,” and “Far” microphone placements. In addition, a parametric EQ, convolution reverb, compressor, and filter effects are available on the dedicated Mixer tab, allowing you to tailor your project’s sound the way you want.

Native Instruments’ Symphonic Series includes multiple sections that can get a perfect orchestral experience, and Brass Ensemble is one of these instrument packs. It’s also featured in its entirety on the Symphonic Essential Brass as well bundle, alongside other sections such as strings and woodwinds.

Native Instruments - Brass Ensemble - Top 12 Brass Plugins & KONTAKT Libraries 2022 (+ Best FREE Plugins) | integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • Four sections
      Every instrument and its respective configurations are divided into subfolders, which are enlisted as “Horns,” “Trombones,” “Trumpets,” and “Tubas.” This section is optimized not to consume so much CPU power, so time stretching and effects articulations are not included, and the legato emulation is less advanced than the dedicated legato instrument.
    • Individual articulations
      Offering a high degree of realism, these articulations are tailored to specific instruments and complement the “Master Instrument” settings. You have “Effects,” “Expression,” “Legato,” “Staccato,” and “Sustain” options, each dedicated to a horn, tuba, trombone, or trumpet. Blending the articulations may require more CPU power, but the result is authentic.
    • Tightness
      This control determines the starting point of the sample’s playback. This is very useful when combined with the “Attack,” presenting the possibility of cutting into the initial transient and allowing for more precise note attacks. To put in perspective, you can have the perfect phrase played by effortlessly blending the louder and quieter attacks with more uniform dynamics and, thus, more realistic sonority.
    • Kontakt snapshots
      The snapshots allow you to capture several different mixes for the same instrument and easily save them as a .nksn file format. This can be particularly useful if you need to share a mix with another computer or re-use them in your next project without setting it all from scratch.
Soundiron Symphony Series Brass Ensemble Review - SoundsAndGear.com

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for macOS 10.14, 10.15, 11, or 12 (latest update) and Windows 10 (64-bit only). It comes in VST, VST3, AAX, and AU plugin formats and doesn’t run in standalone mode. Kontakt Player or Kontakt version 6.2.2 or higher is required.

Summary:

The elegant design reflects the time taken to nail a charming sample library. Offering all required instruments to reproduce a brass ensemble, this plugin presents a nice balance between features and CPU power conservation, thus enhancing its usability in most machines out there. In addition, this results in a fluid workflow that doesn’t overload your computer that much, as symphonic productions tend to be massive in size and instruments.

6. Heavyocity Forzo: Modern Bass (Kontakt Library)

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If you’re not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary, and this library is nothing close to ordinary.

Orchestral brass arrangements consists of energy and impact in the current period of cinema score, from John Williams to Hans Zimmer. Forzo: Modern Brass by Heavyocity was created with that in mind, assembling the best sound design team possible and collaborating with composer Jason Graves and Engineer Satoshi Mark Noguchi at the famed Skywalker Sound Studios.

The initial action to bring this library to life was to assemble an enormous group of world-class brass musicians; Forzo’s 12 horns, eight trombones, four trumpets, and two tubas throw almost 16GB of pure brass perfection straight into control of the movie composer.

Heavyocity - Forzo: Modern Bass  - Top 12 Brass Plugins & KONTAKT Libraries (+ Best FREE Plugins) | integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • Three instrument types
      Forzo: Modern Brass includes three different instrument types: “Traditional,” which offer a realistic performance of the orchestral ensemble, “Brass Designer,” which is suited for a concise sound design, and finally, “Brass Loop Designer,” a variation of the former type but designed to playback and layer loop content.
    • Mixer
      The “Mixer” section showcases the possible configurations of each microphone position. You have “Close,” “Room,” and “Hall” options, each with their own fader and solo, mute, pan, and out controls. There’s also a “Full” fader that includes a mixture of all three mics.
    • Two dynamic modes
      Both modes define how the “Velocity” switch will affect your final sound. The two profiles are “active” and “inactive,” with the first activating MIDI velocity and enabling the user to set the appropriate dynamic layer and overall volume simultaneously and the second deactivating this function and delegating the central knob to deal with the dynamic layer.
    • Dynamics modulator
      This feature works similarly to a gate effect, except that it controls the dynamic level of the instrument rather than the output volume. A range indicator will appear around the central “Dynamics” knob every time this function is activated. You are free to draw the exact dynamic pattern associated with a specific instrument or the overall ensemble as easily as possible.
Heavyocity FORZO Modern Brass Library For Kontakt

Compatibility:

This library is available for macOS 10.9 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 7 or higher (64-bit only). It runs in Kontakt Player or Kontakt version 5.8.1 or higher. 

Summary:

An undoubtedly interesting collection for any sound designer and soundtrack composer. Kind of like a Swiss army knife, this library condenses three different modes that can be useful in multiple situations. If you need a single library for your cinematic productions, sound design experiments, and conventional brass arrangements, Heavyocity’s Forzo: Modern Brass will be a perfect candidate to attend to all your eventual needs.

7. Native Instruments Session Horns Pro (Kontakt Library)

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A highly expressive and versatile horn library with great instant results.

Brass instruments are among the most expressive ones used in any musical situation. They can deliver dynamics alongside the music, getting the perfect chance to shine through your track. Native Instruments knows this too well, and Session Horns Pro showcases the best elements of a suitable brass ensemble.

This library blends outstanding quality with an intuitive interface and innovative functions that provide a genuinely musical workflow filled with the best sonic aspects of brass instruments. As a result, you can expect a tight, modern sound that will fit soul and pop productions very easily and in other modern musical genres.

Native Instruments - Session Horns Pro - Top 12 Brass Plugins & KONTAKT Libraries 2022 (+ Best FREE Plugins) | integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • Instrument combinations
      Session Horns Pro contains a selection of ten different brass instrument types that can be used as solo instruments or sections of up to six horns per opened .nki instance. These are the following instrument combinations that can be achieved, aside from the solo instruments:

      Single instruments
      Instrument combinations
      Trumpet 1
      Bass and tenor trombones
      Trumpet 2
      Bass trombone and baritone saxophone
      Muted trumpet
      Tenor and baritone saxophones
      Fluggelhorn
      Tenor trombone and tenor saxophone
      Tenor saxophone
      Alto and tenor saxophones
      Alto saxophone
      Tenor saxophone and muted trumpet
      Baritone saxophone
      Trumpets 1 and 2
      Tenor trombone
      Alto saxophone and trumpet 1
      Bass trombone
      Tenor saxophone and trumpet 1
      Tuba
      Tenor trombone and trumpet 1
    • Smart Chord mode
      This incredible tool lets you play four-voice chords by pressing one or two keys in your MIDI controller. The chords defined by root note and chord map will automatically be assigned to the white keys on your controller keyboard, starting with the C key. For example, if you select “F” as the root note and “major” as gender, pressing the C key on your keyboard will create an F major chord. Now you can play the resulting chords by pressing the respective key on your external keyboard controller. If you don’t additionally press a modifier key, the degrees of the selected scale is used. These already include chord inversions.
    • Humanize knob
      This knob is a nice addition that brings more organic and naturality to your horn’s sound. You can use the “Humanize” knob to control the timing, tuning, and velocity accuracy of the instruments in your horns section so that whenever they’re playing together, a slight difference in these parameters will be heard within them.
    • Animator view
      Located at the lower end of the main interface, this feature is an adaptable MIDI horn phrase player. It offers an authentic selection of horns phrases for different musical styles, grouped by genre, song, and phrase. Each genre folder holds several songs, each song contains six phrases, and each phrase comes with a harmonic progression that you can shape by playing your own chords. You can also disable the harmonic progression in the phrases altogether and use their rhythm.
e-Instruments Session Horns Pro Review

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for macOS 10.12 or higher (latest update) and Windows 7 or higher (64-bit only). It comes in VST, AAX, and AU plugin formats. Kontakt Player or Kontakt version 6 or higher is required.

Summary:

This is one of the best brass libraries for popular brass instruments. Usually, only more modern and genre-oriented ensembles feature instruments such as the saxophone, and this is one of those libraries. Native Instruments Session Horns Pro is perhaps the best collection to be used in soul, pop, Latin, indie, and even cinematic productions. The many configurations set between the instruments allow for a realistic experience, with many controls that enhance its usage.

8. 8dio Century Brass (Kontakt Library)

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A definitive collection with ultra-realistic instruments and a plethora of controls.

A classy and simple design interface presents a wonderful selection of brass instruments resembling a studio mixing board. This library’s articulation, instrument, or technique can be found via a browser, and the necessary knobs to tweak every setting are located right down below this section.

8dio presents a very simple and intuitive library that can achieve massive sounds despite its elegant display, with a genuine collection of top-sounding virtual instruments designed to unveil emotion and perfect realism. The sessions for capturing and editing Century Brass took over two years of development, with hand-picked players and multiple hours of retakes included.

8dio Century Brass Review - Top 12 Brass Plugins & KONTAKT Libraries (+ Best FREE Plugins) | integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • Realistic sound
      The main characteristic of this library is how realistic the instruments sound, a challenge taken by 8dio’s team of developers. Candid sessions with hand-picked players helped enhance said quality, but the long periods of creation led to a precise and meticulous sonority to come out of it. Allied with the browser interface, you can expect an easy workflow with the best sound quality attached to it.
    • Microphone diversity
      You can count on three distinct microphones to capture the best possible ensemble sound. The “Close,” “Decca,” and “Wide” mics feature individual faders that deal with each volume, acting jointly with solo, mute and pan controls. A “Mixed” control is also present, permitting for an overall configuration of the whole ensemble.
    • Polyphonic legato
      Claiming to be the first company to deliver such a feature, 8dio developed a proper polyphonic legato technology that allows you to play as many notes you want, with its engine triggering all legato intervals. This permits a movement between dynamics, resulting in a lyrical and authentic sound.
    • “In Place” mixes
      Century Brass includes two tailor-made mixes, with instruments distributed in a traditional orchestral seating position. “Mix A” offers a focused balance, straightforward dynamics, and immersion with other instruments, whereas “Mix B” relies on a broader ambient sound profile. Blending these mixes to your taste can help increase the separation between the many instruments in the ensemble, allowing some of them to be highlighted appropriately.
[REVIEW] What is Century Brass Good For?

Compatibility:

This library is available for macOS 10.9 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 7 or higher (64-bit only). It runs only in Kontakt version 5.8.1 or higher (it will not run in the free Kontakt Player!). 

Summary:

Century Brass goes straight to the point by delivering a great-sounding library in a simple-to-use display. This is perfect for anyone looking for sleek and clean software that also has a standard for great samples. They were all recorded with utmost care and attention, taking a more extended period in order to ensure an everlasting quality. As a result, all dynamics work effortlessly, and the true polyphonic legato is indeed very different from most brass libraries.

9. 8Dio Intimate Studio Brass (Kontakt Library)

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Recorded at one of Scotland’s best studios with the most modern recording techniques applied to the instruments.

Intimate Studio Brass uses the best new features in recording technology to deliver a genuinely intimate experience when it comes to a horn section’s sound. This library was entirely recorded at Gorbals Studio, one of Scotland’s leading recording studios, and was captured with the best isolation techniques in mind to deliver an authentic response and very natural sounding articulations.

The sound spectrum is very broad here, with both somber, softer, and aggressive, abnormal sounds perfectly captured, opening doors for any kind of dynamic range you may want to use. You can’t go wrong, be it in a noir jazz track or an ambitious cinematic production.

8Dio Intimate Studio Brass - Top 12 Brass Plugins & KONTAKT Libraries (+ Best FREE Plugins) | integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • Sophisticated browser
      Similar to the previous item in our list, Intimate Studio Brass has a very nice design interface. When you first open it, you’ll find all controls and techniques available in a very organized setting, with the major controls being shaped after amplifier knobs. You can also load whichever articulations you want and save them as custom patches divided into four main categories (“Traditional,” “Muted,” “Performance,” and “Effects”) conveniently housed in a nice interface.
    • Intimate studio sound
      When an ensemble plays together simultaneously, many nuances regarding dynamics and each instrument’s sound are at stake. The beautiful part is when they all blend nicely together, bringing unity and powerful notes right into your face. 8dio wanted to capture this the best way possible, so every subtle aspect of a brass instrument’s voice could be captured to be loaded straight into your DAW. With over 45 uniquely sampled articulations per instrument, Intimate Studio Brass offers a wide range of playing styles, from passionate and silky legatos to sensible dynamic fluid arcs.
    • Instrument mixer
      You can very easily create your very own brass ensemble in Intimate Studio Brass. You can elaborate on which brass section might suit you best, go ahead and join them together effortlessly, from a four-piece group to a distinctive solo instrument. Furthermore, you can also adjust the overall balance, panning, and each player’s distance from one another.
8Dio Intimate Studio Brass Walkthrough

Compatibility:

This library is available for macOS 10.9 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 7 or higher (64-bit only). It runs only in Kontakt version 5.8.1 or higher (will not run in the free Kontakt Player!). 

Summary:

Intimate Studio Brass is your perfect choice if you want a library that can offer maximum freedom and possibilities. 8dio ensured that the quality was as best as possible so that every subtle variation in a horn section would be captured down to the tiny details. The interface and articulations are well-organized and coexist wonderfully, but the possibility to make your own ensemble the way you want to is arguably the best feature here. In addition, this extremely versatile and cohesive sample collection should increment your track’s sonority a lot.

10. Output Analog Brass And Winds (Kontakt Library)

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A collection of modern virtual instruments that blend classic orchestral sound with legendary synthesizers.

Orchestras are often useful in cinematic productions, delivering massive impact sounds or magnanimous bass that can blend brilliantly with intense and evocative scenes. In addition, an orchestra can always increase the overall quality present in a scene, from action movies to experimental clips.

Analog Brass And Winds by Output is such a musical tool. The modern approach to mixing classic brass and woodwinds instruments alongside insane synthesizers is what opens the door for infinite new sounds, fit to increase your soundtrack ten times a fold. Big braams, ethereal ambiance sounds, and grainy synths are within your reach in this comprehensive sample library.

Output Analog Brass And Winds - Top 12 Brass Plugins & KONTAKT Libraries (+ Best FREE Plugins) | integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • Arpeggiator
      Can you imagine how awesome adding an arpeggiator to brass and woodwind instruments would be? This section presents an advanced arp with very intuitive controls: on the right side of the screen, all variations are distributed with visual representations, and on the left, you can easily draw any pattern you want. You also have “Duration,” “Swing,” and “Octaves” controls that allow for a more natural and “humanized” playability.
    • Flutter
      In essence, this is an LFO that can modulate any source’s pitch. You can adjust the fade-in time control to get the perfect amount of milliseconds that takes the LFO to reach the full effect of the pitch. The result is a natural sounding vibrato effect, very approximate to what a real player would execute.
    • Layer FX
      This window displays all effects that can be layered or activated individually. You’ll see “Filter,” “EQ,” “Distortion,” “Compressor,” “Delay,” and “Reverb” effects on a divided screen, with both sides featuring the same effects. You can opt to have two distortions stacked or maybe have only one or two engaged. It doesn’t matter because it will easily handle both situations, so your experimental sounds can be inspiring as ever.
    • NKS ready
      Analog Brass And Winds is compatible with Komplete Kontrol keyboards and Maschine, thanks to Native Instrument’s Native Kontrol Standard, allowing you to access thousands of snapshots and instantly dig into sound design with customizable assigned control knobs.
ANALOG BRASS & WINDS by Output - Walkthrough

Compatibility:

This library is available for macOS 10.12 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 7 or higher (64-bit only). It runs only in Kontakt Player or Kontakt version 5.8.1 or higher. 

Summary:

This is one of the most audacious sample libraries available nowadays. It’s awesome to see how technology can inspire the blending between the classic orchestral ensemble with the modern sounds and tweaks only a synth could provide. Analog Brass And Winds is audacious, wild, and refreshing to use, especially if it’s a cinematic project or a more experimental track. The new and revamped sounds coming from it can trigger iconic big sonorities that are completely original and unique, the perfect choice for the modern sound designer.

11. Sonuscore Horns of Hell (Kontakt Library)

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A multi-sampled library that provides you with all symphonic orchestra sections.

Horns of Hell features massive percussion, organ, and brass virtual instruments, with a total of 67 different articulations attached, including unique and explosive sections such as the “Tenor Horns” and “Evil Basses.” The new and unheard articulations can propel your track even further into the unknown sound bliss, as a music tool such as this would.

Sonuscore brings a section that includes a trumpet (three players), a French horn (four players), tenor horn (4 players), trombone (three players), low brass (two players), and “Evil Brass” ensembles (Brass Trombone, Contrabass Trombone, Contrabass Tuba & Cimbasso), aside from the organ patches and non-pitched percussion.

Sonuscore - Horns Of Hell - Top 12 Brass Plugins & KONTAKT Libraries (+ Best FREE Plugins) | integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • Octave shift
      Located next to the “Instrument” slot, the “Octave Shift” control lets you transpose your instrument instantly by clicking and dragging up or down the values listed. You can alter by one or many octaves, up or down from where you started, being a useful tool to create playable octave doublings.
    • Export MIDI
      A long-waited function that was luckily included in Horns of Hell. With this button, you can export your preset performance to different MIDI channels within your DAW by dragging and dropping its icon there. As soon as you record something, the engine detects that the DAW is playing and automatically starts recording all generated MIDI data, even if you don’t open up a MIDI channel. All you have to do is drag and drop this MIDI data into your audio workstation, as easy as it gets.
    • Mixer tab
      This window gathers all faders and controls relative to each separate instrument. You’re able to adjust the balance and sound of different slots, also applying a master effect to it. In essence, there’s a “Solo/Mute” control, as well as “Pan,” dedicated volume faders, and a “Reverb” configuration.
    • Reverb lock
      Next to the reverb toggle switch, there’s a little padlock symbol. If activated, the reverb settings will remain locked when you browse through different presets, keeping a consistent ambiance despite new tones you may choose to explore. It’s now as easy as possible to select the best preset as if some new player or instrument had been added to a real studio recording room.
Exploring Best Service & Sonuscore Horns of Hell

Compatibility:

This library is available for macOS 10.10 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 7 or higher (64-bit only). It runs in Kontakt Player or Kontakt version 6.2.2 or higher.

Summary:

The nasty and gigantic sounds that come out of Horns of Hell are uniquely captivating. Aside from the other instruments included (organ and percussions), this library brings an excellent brass selection, with all techniques and articulations tailored to give an authentic experience in sound design. In addition, the brilliant export MIDI feature is a testament to how much effort Sonuscore put into crafting a reliable and consistent sample collection that looks like nothing we’ve seen so far.

12. EastWest Hollywood Pop Brass (Plugin)

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A tight, bombastic, and dynamic brass section is inside this special plugin and will undoubtedly make your next track soar.

EastWest has been dedicated to continual innovation and excellent quality, setting the industry standard when it comes to sampling technology. Doug Rogers, the company’s founder and producer, has over 30 years of expertise in the audio industry and has won more industry honors than any other sound designer. For more than 22 years, EastWest has dominated the sound industry thanks to its unwavering commitment to quality and inventive concepts.

Hollywood Pop Brass, just like their past Hollywood Brass libraries, condenses what a hit song should have if a horn section is needed: power, tightness, and brilliance. There’s something for everyone in it – whether you want to build deep and detailed orchestrations with one of the world’s top horn sections or if you just want to “plug and play” using licks and phrases that will bring that “it” factor to your song, this is the ultimate pop brass sample library that will leave you begging for more.

EastWest Hollywood Pop Brass Review - Top 12 Brass Plugins & KONTAKT Libraries (+ Best FREE Plugins) | integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • Special effects
      There’s a dedicated section for instruments with particular articulations with unique techniques. “Falls,” for instance, is a note that begins on a definite pitch, then “falls” (or bends) downward over a duration of time – short, medium, or long. Other articulations like “Rips” feature a quick upward glissando with three different versions: “Rips,” “RipUp Short,” and “RipUp Long.”
    • Phrases
      Hollywood Pop Brass contains full-length phrases recorded at a variety of tempos that fit perfectly in the world of pop brass. Each phrase was recorded with multiple transpositions and is mapped across the virtual keyboard on their respective root note positions for use in a variety of key signatures. Just change it to whatever key you’re in and start getting inspired instantly.
    • Licks
      Any instruments in this category feature short licks and stabs that were performed in multiple keys, centered around up to 6 chord types, and containing two Round Robin variations. To play, adjust the Mod Wheel position to select a chord type according to the Mod Range values, play any key between the Note Range values, and the lick or stab of that respective root note position will be executed. For instance, playing note C3 with the Mod Wheel position all the way down will playback the lick based on the C Dominant 7th. Playing the same note again will playback the round robin variation.
    • Output source configuration
      Along the right side of the Hollywood Pop Brass user interface is the “Master Instrument Channel” of the selected instrument, with multiple output possibilities to be selected. There are five main output options: “Stereo” outputs the original stereo channels as they were recorded, “Mono” sums the left and right channels into a dual mono channel, “Mono From Left” outputs the left channel to a dual mono output, discarding the right channel, “Mono From Right” outputs the right channel to a dual mono output, discarding the left channel, and lastly “Swap Left and Right” outputs a reverse stereo image of the original audio (swapping the left and right channels).
EastWest Hollywood Pop Brass Walkthrough

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for macOS 10.7 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 7 or higher (64-bit only). It runs in the included EastWest’s Play 6 System.

Summary:

A brilliant software with equally brilliant configurations and effects that will greatly enhance your horn section’s sound. The team of developers behind this and other EastWest libraries is impressive, and the number of awards granted to each and for the Hollywood Pop Brass software itself is what really states its magnitude and excellence. Although very complete, it’s somewhat strange that it doesn’t come in regular plugin formats or run in popular sample libraries – instead, it runs in its own player.

Best FREE Brass Plugins & Kontakt Libraries 2022

1. DSK Brass (Plugin)

More Info & Download
A straightforward free alternative for horn section virtual instruments.

DSK Brass is a collection of horns and brass instruments, 100% free and in a very lightweight format. It features a variety of instruments, such as trombones and saxophones, with the possibility to select single ones or even whole ensembles altogether.

DSK Brass (FREE) Review - Top 12 Brass Plugins & KONTAKT Libraries (+ Best FREE Plugins) | integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • ADSR individual controls
      Either individually or collectively, you’ll find ADSR faders in each instrument. Controlling the “Attack,” “Decay,” “Sustain,” and “Release” parameters can help make the instrument sound more realistically, aside from delimiting how each note will sound and resonate.
    • Instrument selection
      There are 22 different instruments included, like saxophones, French horns, trumpets, trombones, tubas, Fluggelhorns, and many more, as well as their respective and characteristic articulations, such as muted and staccato variations.
    • Unique effects
      Each instrument features a dedicated “Octave” knob that controls the note’s transposition by simply twisting it around to move up or down the instrument’s octaves. A de-tuner is also present, making slight tuning alterations that can be configured accordingly and sound closer to human performance.
DSK Brass - Free VST

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher (32-bit only). It comes in VST plugin format.

Summary:

A very simple option that gets the job done in a somewhat decent way. DKS Brass features a nice instrument selection, as well as useful effects and controls, making it a very welcoming software for beginner producers and composers. The audio quality is not the strongest feature, but it somehow delivers what it promises. In addition, it’s so simple that it only works in 32-bit Windows systems so you can expect almost no lagging or CPU slowness.

2. SINEfactory Rotary (Plugin)

More Info & Download
A comprehensive big-band ensemble that is housed in a neat package.

Orchestral Tools has developed the SINEfactory libraries as free options for popular virtual instruments. It’s a free instrument subscription service – meaning that whenever a new collection pops up, you’ll be notified by email – that encompasses some useful sonorities contained in major modern productions. Rotary is the section dedicated to a complete horn ensemble, with colorful instruments that contain many articulations and effects.

Sinefactory Rotary (FREE) Review - Top 12 Brass Plugins & KONTAKT Libraries (+ Best FREE Plugins) | integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • Articulations
      Brass ensembles, in special, are very sensitive to dynamic variations. This is why every articulation matters, and you’ve got some included. You can count on falls, shakes, staccatissimo, scoops, marcatos, and some trills to embellish your phrases and melodies with an authentic representation of a real instrument sound.
    • Instrument diversity
      Rotary delivers the expected instruments in similar plugins: you have trumpets, trombones, saxophones, and an entire brass or sax section. You can solo each virtual instrument or work with the entire group at once, with each respective articulation shown on the right-side menu.
    • Mic positions
      Yes, you can configure your microphone placement very easily. It sports three different positions so that the overall acoustics and resonance be entirely up to your wishes and needs. You can also have a “Mono” output mode activated instead of the classic stereo.
SINEfactory: Rotary—free big band horns (audio demo)

Compatibility:

This library is available for macOS 10.13 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 10 (64-bit only). It comes in VST and AU plugin formats and works with the SINE Player. 

Summary:

A simple yet very useful and good-sounding library that will certainly assist you in a quick way and without any cost. You can also explore the other SINEfactory instruments, but Rotary might be a good option if you look for a straightforward collection that will get expected decent sound quality.

3. The Alpine Project Brass Free Kontakt Sample Library (Kontakt Library)

More Info & Download
A free orchestral library with diverse sections, as well as a dedicated brass library.

The Alpine Project is a free orchestral instrument library for Native Instrument’s Kontakt. There are woodwinds, strings, and, of course, brass sections included in the package, all with decent sound quality and optimized performances on both long and short notes. The tones are a bit raw and crude, though, so reverb and delay effects are most welcome.

Sonuscore - Horns Of Hell Review - Top 12 Brass Plugins & KONTAKT Libraries (+ Best FREE Plugins) | integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • Key velocity
      When legato is switched on, the key velocity controls the type of simulated legato. A velocity of 11 or greater value will trigger a normal legato. A velocity of 10 or below will trigger a slower, more expressive legato transition.
    • Mod wheel
      The modulation wheel controls the dynamics of the instrument. This allows for expressive and realistic performances to be simulated while at the same time allowing for a MIDI CC configuration.
    • Legato on/off
      The legato articulation can be turned on and off in the user interface while also being switched on or off by hitting the A1 key. Turning off legato allows a patch to be played polyphonically.
8 INSTRUMENTS! FREE Brass Collection Kontakt Vst Alpine Project Sample Library Review

Compatibility:

This library is available for macOS 10.9 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 7 or higher (64-bit only). It runs only in Kontakt version 5.8.1 or higher (will not run in the free Kontakt Player!). 

Summary:

The Alpine Project was born out of the necessity of delivering free, accessible orchestral samples in an inviting way. Noah Horowitz created it, and the project’s website reunites donated samples to create these varied ensemble patches. The brass section is one of them, and to be honest, the sounds aren’t so pristine as other options, but that can be easily resolved with a bit of FX processing and some audio treatment.

Bonus

Chris Hein Orchestral Brass EXtended (Kontakt Library)

More Info & Price
An extensive orchestral brass library that meets the highest expectations regarding sound quality.

Producer Chris Hein has poured his 30 years of sampling expertise into this masterpiece, providing the user with the most freedom, customization, and utility. In addition, he pushed the boundaries of Kontakt scripting and modeling to create the most accurate and expressive brass collection ever seen for the EXtended Version.

Chris Hein Orchestral Brass EXtended adds 12 more instruments to the original library’s nine, which  are also included, along with three more instruments, six ensemble instrument patches, and two effects articulation patches. Overall, this collection offers approximately 43,000 new samples and 20 GB of extra content, more than twice as much as the prior library.

Chris Hein Orchestral Brass Review - Top 12 Brass Plugins & KONTAKT Libraries (+ Best FREE Plugins) | integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • Simulated mute controls
      Orchestral Brass EXtended’s simulated mute controls are practical, authentic, and, most importantly, engaging. The plugin has  an acceptable size without multi-sampling every distinct articulation since it is modeled rather than sampled. Mute modeling is available on all EXtended instruments and may be accessed via the front panel. Five distinct mutes are included: “Bucket,” “Cup,” “Harmon,” ‘Straight,” and “Stop.”
    • Authentic legato
      Chris Hein developed a real, authentic legato technique in every instrument contained in this collection. The resulting recordings and edits produce sounds that are surprisingly lifelike and have precise note transitions. At the same time, you may add more artificially implanted legatos to these realistic articulations and blend them to your taste.
    • Perfection in mind
      The sonic characteristics are influenced by both high-end pieces of equipment such as Neumann microphones and the musician’s notable performances. Dry close microphone placement was used for this library on purpose, avoiding crosstalk by recording each instrument separately. As a result, time-dependent articulations like “Dynamic Expression” provide a particularly consistent tone, allowing you to mix and match individual instruments for precisely matched groups.
Chris Hein Orchestral Brass EXtended - Whats new | Best Service

Compatibility:

This library is available for macOS 10.6 to 10.14 (64-bit only) and Windows XP to 10 (64-bit only). It runs in Kontakt Player or Kontakt version 4.2.4 or higher and comes in VST, AU, AAX, and standalone plugin formats. 

Summary:

Orchestral Brass EXtended features unmatched audio quality and fine sampling technology thanks to its creator, Chris Hein, and his many years of expertise. In addition, there’s a nice variety of instruments that will get most productions sounding as massive as ever, with multiple articulations and techniques to further improve the reality within it.

What Are The Brass Instruments?
Brass instruments are a distinct instrument section within an orchestra. They usually consist of trumpets, French and English horns, trombones, tubas, and, sometimes, saxophones. Each instrument can come in pairs, trios, or quartets, both in solo or ensemble groupings.
 

How Many Brass Instruments Do We Know?

There are at least six different types of brass instruments, like trumpets, horns, and saxophones. Other unusual examples are euphoniums, Flugelhorns, cornets, and cimbassos. Each type can be featured in a group, so multiple variations of the same instrument can be present in an ensemble.

How Does a Brass Instrument Work?

Brass instruments get their distinctive sound character from the vibrations of the musician’s lips. It works because the player pressures their lips tightly in the instrument’s mouthpiece, and the airflow coming from their lungs causes it to vibrate alongside the long brass tube. As a result, valves can be added to the tube, allowing for better note manipulation.

How Are Brass Instruments Made?

As the name implies, brass instruments are usually made out of brass, which is an alloy of copper and zinc. However, the different sections, such as the bell and tubing, can be made of sheet brass mixed with different alloys that enhance its construction quality and maintain the shape.

Brass Vs. Woodwind: What’s The Difference?

The significant difference between brass and woodwind instruments is that the latter can be made from wood and metal parts. In contrast, the former is exclusively made out of metal or brass materials. Combining wood and metal parts creates a sonic character different from a metal build, thus creating different ensembles.

Conclusion

Orchestral instruments are very hard to capture, mainly because they were made to feature an amazing acoustic and sonority. Large studios and iconic scoring stages are the perfect environments for these instruments to sound as they should, singing beautiful polyphonic harmonies and meaningful melodies.

The brass section is very energetic, from the trumpet to the trombone. Every time a brass instrument gets to do a solo, the song’s energy is lifted, and an empowering feeling takes control of our body. Besides that, brass instruments are also responsible for thunderous braams and loud punches we often hear when watching a good movie.

Sampling technology wasn’t better than what it is now, and our list proves that rightly. For the best, iconic sounds gathered in an excellent sound quality library, VSL Synchron Brass and Orchestral Tools Berlin Brass get the job done pretty fairly. They offer a wide instrument variety, multiple articulations, plus additional effects to make everything sound the way you want.

Focusing on score-making and sound design, we have some unusual options to get you the exact sound stuck in your head. Heavyocity Forzo: Modern Bass is that specific software with all effects and different sounds that make a good soundtrack stand out. Output Analog Brass And Winds is also very convincing for its unlimited blending of orchestral instruments and synths, and Horns of Hell can be a good alternative for sound designing.

Vir2 Instruments MOJO 2: Horn Section 2, on the other hand, might be a good choice tailored for modern musical productions, focusing on vividly sounding horn sections from the past and today. The same goes for the excellent Hollywood Pop Brass, with both libraries successfully translating the high energy of modern pop productions into your DAW.

In the freebies section, SINEfactory Rotary is attractive for its sound quality and configurations present, although in a limited sense if compared to other names listed here. The Alpine Project’s Brass Free Kontakt Sample Library doesn’t stand on the same grounds as the quality, but the diversity is pretty useful if you don’t want to spend anything on a brass sample library.

Remember to try the most options out before buying or beginning producing with them, so you’ll deal with the perfect software for your situation.

See you next time!

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