Review: Century Artisan Brass Bundle by 8Dio


8Dio delivers an impressive, niche ensemble library with a beautifully mellow tone that is the perfect compliment to any standard orchestral template in need of some evocative brass instruments. An absolute winner with true realism and playability.

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Review: Century Artisan Brass Bundle by 8Dio

Flugelhorn Ensemble

The Century Artisan Brass Bundle is a comprehensive library that includes a wealth of content across three unique brass ensembles. It features an exceptional sound with ultimate control and impressive playability. Overall, a great sounding brass library that is a terrific option for any situation wherein traditional orchestral brass simply doesn’t fit the bill.

Century Artisan Brass Bundle sells for $298.00 from 8Dio


The Century Artisan Brass Bundle is a deep-sampled collection of rare instruments that places an emphasis on capturing a more authentic, lyrical and expressive performance. With this mindset, 8Dio set out to collaborate with some of Europe’s finest musicians which were hand-picked for their superior musicianship, tone and overall playing style. The bundle is divided into three separate sections that are comprised of 6 flugelhorns, 6 euphoniums and 6 cimbassos. Each ensemble embodies a truly authentic sound while also including a wealth of great content as well as a huge amount of control over the different mic positions, dynamics, tail releases, mix and articulations.

Technically speaking, this massive collection encompasses just over 30 GB of content with over 27,000 individual samples across 6 separate patches. There are also over 50 individual articulations, 8 separate microphone positions, a custom articulation browser, useful effects and the adept ‘Chaos’ engine. All of which were designed to work seamlessly with the rest of the Century series in a modular fashion.

Kontakt NKIs

Before delving in, it is important to understand the instruments’ history, purpose and intended role. These brass instruments have been used by composers on occasion to add a wider variety of color that was not otherwise available. Each of which has a direct, more traditional orchestral counterpart that is more common within a symphonic setting. For example, the flugelhorn and euphonium are both softer, more lyrical versions of the Trumpet and French Horn respectively, which works well for music that require a more, mellow approach. On the contrary, the cimbasso acts as a much clearer and more precise Tuba.

One of the first strong points of the library that one will notice, is the exceptional tone that permeates throughout the samples. The inherent musicianship absolutely shines through and the natural, expressive sound of the Flugelhorn and Euphonium makes it a pleasure to perform. Both of which exude an exceptional, mellow sound that is suited for more lyrical works. On the other end of the spectrum, the Cimbasso is bombastic with a huge punch that should be perfect for any more aggressive tracks. The ‘power sustain’ patch in particular is well-suited for these ‘monster’ low brass sections that saturate modern trailer music. For those concerned with rather large ensemble sizes, there are no apparent ‘stacking issues’ while the ensemble is performing polyphonic phrases.

Articulation Browser

In terms of content, Century Artisan Brass contains a sizeable amount of standard articulations that should cover the majority of any modern composers needs. These include staccato, staccatissimo, sustain and ‘short attack’ which is similar to marcato. In addition, there are several useful performance patches that are designed to bring any midi mock-up to life. For example, the ostinato patches are comprised of tempo-synced phrases that breathe life into more static repetitive figures. The duplet, triplet, and quintuplet are parallel articulations that handle faster repetitive figures with ease. As standard with any 8Dio release, the arc patches are great snapshots of real musical moments and this new library in particular, now contains poly-time arcs that make transitioning for chord to chord seamlessly. Though it may seem minor, these extra performance-based articulations ultimately help with crafting realism and are extremely difficult to attain with a traditional sampling approach.

The collection also includes an all new legato which is smooth and surprisingly agile with its own volume knob. The library handles slow or faster passages with ease and it would be great for even more control over the legato speed. With this, the chordal legato is a tremendous addition that enables composers to add legato transitions from polyphonic chords. This is stand-out feature transforms midi composing and is hopefully applied to many other future releases or updates.

Generally speaking, the library features very even programming across the collection which makes switching between instruments, articulations or mixes, . In order to handle this extensive amount of high-quality content, Century Artisan Brass makes use of an easy-to-use interface which houses their effective keyswitching system similar to the other libraries in the Century series. The GUI is well laid out and contains a custom articulation mapper wherein the composer can optimize their workflow at the click of a button. While this is quite effective, it would be even better to have an option to change the keyswitch trigger to whatever note or CC that best fits your set-up. Furthermore, there are several convenient controls that help shape the sound to your specific taste or liking such as; expression, release tails, repetition speed, response and legato volume, among others. The included Chaos FX is another useful toolset that helps composers quickly create new and interesting sounds by manipulating some of these different controls and effects.

Chaos FX

With respect to mixing, the library was recorded in a wonderful sounding hall but certainly has enough flexibility to fit within any type of genre or style. By leaving the early reflection largely intact, 8Dio gives composers the best of both worlds with a somewhat dry, flexible library that takes reverb exceedingly well. On the whole, the brass is quiet which is perfect for more exposed situations where it can really shine. Moreover, there are 8 included microphone positions that cover an array of different recording perspectives. Each of which has its own distinct character and the Spot Mics in particular are terrific for those interested in a closer, tighter sound. The release control is another helpful aspect that allows users to shorten or lengthen the sample tail. While this does work well for most articulations, there were some discrepancies when attempting to shorten and lengthen certain articulations for a longer, more natural fade-out. That said, this can easily be handled manually in Kontakt tools function if one so desires.

Euphonium Ensemble

With the nature of the GUI and keyswitch mapper, this library would also benefit from having the ability to control each articulation individually. As one might assume, certain attacks are inherently more ‘reverberous’ or ‘wet’ and require special treatment versus longer, sustaining articulations. Being able to control this, as well as volume on a case by case basis would be a huge help and alleviate the workaround by loading up each articulation one at a time.

In all, the Century Artisan Brass Bundle is a top-notch library that features beautiful and unique-sounding ensembles. This niche collection fills a definite gap in the sample market for less traditional brass instruments and does so wonderfully. The library features an outstanding, rich tone while also being well-programmed and very playable. In addition to all of the standard content, the extra performance articulations are a wonderful feature that is sure to inspire. It includes a wealth of high-quality content that makes it adaptable for any particular project in need of some more lyrical brass writing. In short, Century Artisan Brass is a deeply-sampled and easy-to-use library that is fantastic choice for composers looking to add some new colours to their existing orchestral palette.

Cimbasso Ensemble


Century Artisan Brass Bundle is a 14.49 GB download with 6 separate NKIs and contains just over 27,000 individual samples. The library requires Native Instruments Kontakt 5.8 Full or later; it will NOT work with the free Kontakt Player.

Century Artisan Brass Bundle sells for $298.00 from 8Dio


Demos of Century Artisan Brass Bundle by 8Dio

Videos of Century Artisan Brass Bundle by 8Dio


Contributor BenG reviews Century Artisan Brass Bundle by 8Dio
8Dio delivers an impressive, niche ensemble library with a beautifully mellow tone that is the perfect compliment to any standard orchestral template in need of some evocative brass instruments. An absolute winner with true realism and playability.”