Review: Century Brass Bundle by 8Dio
Sounds are great in both soft and epic dynamic ranges.
Very thorough range of articulations covered.
Solid interface that keeps it simple and easy to understand.
A few noticeable editing/recording issues (some listed in “Thoughts” below)
Some articulations seem unnecessary and redundant, and bloat the overall disk space requirements.
Marcato patches only have one note length.
8Dio’s new Century Brass Bundle is huge, both in sound and in content. With all of the standard orchestral brass sections of varying sizes and some more uncommon solo instruments, this bundle is a great package for all brass needs – big or small.
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Review: Century Brass Bundle by 8Dio
The Century Brass Bundles is 8Dio’s complete and definitive deep-sampled orchestral brass package. It contains all of the ensemble and solo brass from the Century series. There is an insane amount of content in this bundle, and despite a few sampling issues in select patches and notes, the overall sound and playability of this package makes it well worth its weight. Whether you’re going for a warm and soft brass chorale or an over-the-top epic trailer masterpiece, this bundle is an excellent choice.
Century Brass Bundle sells for $598.00 from 8Dio
8Dio’s Century series utilizes a custom interface that makes articulation management and mic mixing very simple.
The whole top area in devoted to articulation management. There are 10 slots that you can load up an articulation into – each has a key assigned to it for keyswitching purposes. But, you can also click on the little keyboard button next to each volume fader if you’d rather use midi CC9 to switch between articulations. It seems that whichever patch is lightest on RAM is the default one loaded into channel 1. Double clicking each slot opens up a browser where you can pick your preferred articulation for that slot.
The knobs in the middle are your basic controls including dynamics (modwheel by default), expression, legato speed, release tail volume, vibrato, and legato transition volume. Some of these controls are disabled in certain patches – mostly only the solo instruments have vibrato controls (though most ensemble patches have vibrato specific articulations), and obviously only legato patches use the legato speed and volume knobs.
There are some basic convolution IRs to choose from by clicking the “convolutions” dropdown on the bottom left. Size and mix are adjustable on each of these. The microphone mixer is nice and simple with the “Mixed” option solo’d by default. Close, Decca, and Wide are turned off, but can be easily unmuted, tweaked, and panned to create your own mix. There is also a very simplistic EQ with faders for high, mid, and low in the bottom right.
8Dio’s standard effects rack is also available on a second panel. This includes some fairly basic Kontakt effects, including Phaser, EQ, Degrader, Delay, Transform, and Reverb. There isn’t much to say about these other than that they do what exactly what they’re supposed to. They don’t do anything better than 3rd party VST plugin effects, but they’re there if you need something effective and quicker than loading up a plugin.
In a big picture sense, all of the instruments in the Century Brass Bundle sound great.
In a big picture sense, all of the instruments in the Century Brass Bundle sound great. Without a doubt this is one of the most well-produced brass libraries in the market, and it easily competes with the current industry standards. The entire dynamic range of the instruments sounds good – this isn’t a library that’s focused on either epic or soft. It’s a robust all-around solution for orchestral brass. The 6 Horns patch is my personal favorite – as someone who likes fortissimo horn melodies, I’ve yet to find something better right out of the box. In general, the FFF range of all of the ensemble instruments here are bright and brassy enough to make themselves heard through any busy mix. However the 12 Horns patch is oddly mellow and doesn’t get nearly as powerful as the 6 Horns.
The legato transitions are all around very realistic and convincing, which is a tricky thing to get right. Adjustable legato speed and volume makes it really easy to fine tune your transitions to get a sound that’s right for the part – however it is worth noting that even at the fastest legato speed Century struggles to keep up with fast runs and melodies.
Inevitably there are issues with the sound that keep this bundle from reaching “perfection” (if that even exists). My biggest disappointment comes from the marcato patches. For whatever reason, every marcato patch I’ve played only has one set note length, and it plays that note to completion no matter how early you let off the keys. It’s a very odd choice that renders the marcatos essentially useless for most situations.
A few oddities exist within the recordings and sample editing as well. I noticed some weirdly abrupt attacks on the lower dynamics of the solo french horn of a few notes. The legato trombone ensemble patch has an issue where the FFF dynamic layer is appropriately bright, but actually quieter than MF. Going from MF to FFF basically just thins out the sound and doesn’t actually get technically louder. It created some mixing issues in a track I used those trombones in.
Overall, the good certainly outweighs the bad when it comes to the sound of the Century Brass Bundle. If you can learn how to handle those minor issues with workarounds and careful planning, the rest of this massive brass package’s sound will more than make up for its shortcomings.
The Century Brass Bundle contains 94.4 GB worth of brass samples, including all of 8Dio’s Century Solo and Ensemble Brass. Each instrument includes 4 microphones – Mixed, Close, Decca, and Wide.
Ensemble Patches: 2 Trumpets, 4 Trumpets, 2 Horns, 6 Horns, 12 Horns, 3 Trombones
Solo Patches: Horn, Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Trombone, Bass Trombone, Cimbasso, Tuba
Century Brass requires the full retail version of Kontakt 5.6 or later, and is available for $598.00 from 8Dio
Videos of Century Solo Brass by 8Dio