Review: Angry Brass Pro Ensembles by Performance Samples

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Angry Brass Pro Ensembles simply exudes power and features an epic, brash sound in an easy-to-use package that can be summed up in two words; performance and playability.

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Review: Angry Brass Pro Ensembles by Performance Samples

Performance Samples’ Angry Brass Pro Ensembles is a truly specialized library that is well-suited for quickly adding some serious ‘oomph’ to any modern music production. This library is extremely playable, heavily processed and “not for the purists” by any means.

Angry Brass Pro Ensembles sells for $189.00 from Performance Samples

Thoughts

Angry Bras Pro Ensembles is a niche brass library whose focus is on performance, sound and overall playability. While it’s functionality and applications may be limited, it absolutely delivers what it promises and is a true compositional tool that should inspire composers looking for that ‘over-the-top’ sound.

Performance Samples is the brain-child of composer/producer, Jasper Blunk, whose vision has always been on capturing animated, expressive sample libraries. He has pushed several industry boundaries and is constantly offering new releases with innovative ideas that address a distinct ‘lacking’ in the current sample market. In this regard, Angry Brass Pro Ensembles is no different and strives to replicate a spirited brass ensemble made for highly-energetic tracks.

Trumpets

At first glace, Angry Brass Pro Ensembles appears to be the natural successor to freebie of the same name and most composers will ask, ‘How is this different?’. While it does employ the same modus operandi, it is quite different and consists of completely new recordings, programming and flexibility similar to their recent Caspian Brass or Oceania Choir. In a similar fashion, the overall approach, recording hall, collaborative sample sessions and playability of the library share many of the same features which are instantly familiar. On the whole, the library is made up of three separate ensemble patches for the 4 horns, 3 trumpets and 3 bass trombones; which should cover the majority of a brass section’s extensive range. The reasonable 570 MB download means it’s light on resources and should load up rapidly on most systems and/or mobile rigs.

Instrument NKIs

As per the website description, the library is specialized in its usage and should not be thought of as the sole brass option in your template. Rather, Angry Brass Pro Ensembles should be viewed as the perfect complement to any composer’s current set-up wherein layering is essential. These ensembles are specifically designed to soar over a dense mix and sing. In terms of sound, Angry Brass Pro Ensembles is an immediate stand-out with it’s inherent powerful, clean and raw tone. As the name suggests, Performance samples elicits a much more human, artistic musicianship in which many other libraries lack. In particular, the brass sections have a large amount of character which makes any mock-up more musical in general.

While the sections are average if not modest in size, these are certainly some of the loudest and most bombastic sounding brass sections available. Naturally, this lends itself perfectly towards more epic, hybrid style trailer tracks which implores that emphatic writing. That said, the library does only contain a single dynamic layer which can be somewhat limiting for more intimate, emotional moments. There are additional, simulated lower dynamic layers which can be controlled via CC1/Modwheel and accomplished though EQ modeling. While this may not achieve the best results, it is still a nice option to have. What the library does well, it does very well and composers should have no issues getting the brass to cut-through any densely packed sequence.

In terms of articulations, each efficient section NKI covers three ‘playable’ attacks in a single patch which should be sufficient the majority of your orchestration needs. In a more technical sense, this approach entails having three overlaid performances combine cross-faded staccatos, marcatos and sustain attacks. This bare bones approach makes Angry Brass Pro the perfect tool for performing in lines quickly both with great results and in an efficient manner.

French Horns

What the library lacks in articulations, it certainly makes up for it in terms of playability, ultimately making it a pleasure to perform and generate new, inspiring ideas. It features extremely clean and uniform programming marking consistency across the library. The inherent performance style is based in a few unique factors that were part of the libraries’ original conception. As well, the ultra-fast performances with up to 5 round-robins were carefully created by combining and crafting single patches from multiple length recordings. It would also be fair to say that this library has some of the fastest brass repetitions available and it handles double or triple-tongued articulations at high-speed with ease.

As with many Performance Sample releases, the Kontakt interface is simple and straight-forward if not overtly so. There are absolutely no fancy frills or gadgets that can ultimately disrupt workflow and only the absolute essentials are included. This consists of the ‘Mic Mixer’ with separate channels for the close and decca mic positions as well as dynamic control mapping and ‘Note Int.’ which possibly refers to shortening note interruption to avoid ‘tail’ build-up. By clicking the small ‘B’ in the bottom right corner, users will can adjust several parameters to balance each instrument individually. This page includes sliders to compress and expand the dynamic range as well as the high/low registers. In addition, the ‘Makeup’ knob affects the overall gain to alleviate any loss in volume.

Balance Page

As with all companies looking to push the boundaries, it would be just to say that Angry Brass Pro Ensembles is another library in a long line of libraries that began as an exercise in experimentation that will be even further refined in future generations. The library absolutely has its limits and to be fair, Jasper himself has even listed these faults directly on the product page to ensure there is no confusion with the capabilities of the brass. Nevertheless, this is an exciting step forward that resulted in a ultra-playable instrument that is a pleasure to perform and encapsulates an idiomatic sound that permeates today’s media music industry.

All in all, Angry Brass Pro is a distinctive library that contains some powerful sounds in a light and easy-to-use package that is so typical of Performance Samples releases. Though specialized and often limited, their libraries have always been a pleasure to use and feature sounds that inspire composers. What is more, Angry Brass Pro Ensembles is also the perfect companion for their sister library, ‘Caspian Brass’ and it can add a serious brash layer on top for loud, more aggressive tracks or cues.

Bass Trombones

Also note that Performance Samples has made mention of releasing an upcoming soloists’ library that will be a perfect accompaniment to the Angry Brass Pro Ensembles and further expand the line. Jasper has even released a few exciting demos of the future release. Additionally, Caspian Brass owners can take advantage of a generous loyalty coupon that can be applied to any future order making this offer even more enticing for those on the fence.

Facts

Angry Brass Pro Ensembles is a 570 MB download with 3 separate NKI instruments and the library requires Native Instruments Kontakt 5.8.1 Full or later; it will NOT work with the free Kontakt Player.

Angry Brass Pro Ensembles sells for $189.00 from Performance Samples

 

Demos of Angry Brass Pro Ensembles by Performance Samples

 

Videos of Angry Brass Pro Ensembles by Performance Samples

Contributor BenG reviews Angry Brass Pro Ensembles by Performance Samples
“Angry Brass Pro Ensembles simply exudes power and features an epic, brash sound in an easy-to-use package that can be summed up in two words; performance and playability.”