Review: Legion Series: 66 Trombones by 8Dio


The 8Dio Legion Series marches on with a truly epic cohort of 66 Trombones joining the troops. It’s flexible, rich and very very loud.

Jump to the Videos of Legion Series: 66 Trombones by 8Dio

Jump to the Demos of Legion Series: 66 Trombones by 8Dio


Review: Legion Series: 66 Trombones by 8Dio

For some years now 8Dio have been one of the ‘go to’ developers if you want large ensembles for orchestra, drums, choirs and more. !More recently they have pushed it even further and started putting together previously unheard of numbers of orchestral players with 66 Basses and 66 Tubas, both of which we have covered here at SLR.

This time they return to their favoured oval-shaped concert hall ‘Zlin’ with 66 of Europe’s best Trombonists (and it is well worth checking the 8Dio website and their social media pages for some really cool session photos!). Whilst very much being a standalone product, this library is also designed to sit well with 8Dio’s own Century Brass and the other Legion collections and it will generally layer well with your favourite main orchestral library, for when you need that extra muscle. There is a wide range of articulations to enable you to do just that, so let’s dive in and have a closer look.

Legion Series: 66 Trombones sells for $298 from 8Dio


There is a very comprehensive range of articulations on offer here, divided across seven Kontakt instruments.

Kontakt Presets

The 8Dio trademark Arcs are back and for anyone not familiar with them, the idea here is capturing ‘at source’ dynamics instead of using the modwheel to blend dynamic layers, as is typical. The result is a far more natural dynamic at the expense of having a fixed timing of the swell. However, they come in short, mid and long lengths which can cover a lot of situations. You can see all the various options below.


With the Arcs the modwheel simply controls the volume, but each arc length does have a bonus set that employs the modwheel differently, so you can move easily between a P-MF-P arc and then to a P-F-P arc. All these dynamic samples sound really amazing and just holding a two note chord sounds immense, especially on the piano to forte ones. I hope at some stage in the future they add polyphonic legato on them so you can bring extra notes in at different points in the arc, as they have done in some of their choirs.

The main workhorse patch for many will be the Sustains and there are plenty of articulations here from the expected main sustains and mutes to the more unusual Rain Drops and Ta-Ka-Ta-Ka.


The flutter tongues sound really great in particular – something to do with that many players doing it at once creates a really unique texture. Both the long and short crescendos will get plenty of use when building to an ending and the fairly lengthy tail reveals a large and rich hall. Where appropriate there are looped versions of the sustains and five of them are additionally available as legato too. These are very impressive and make laying down a triumphant lead melody really inspiring. At full tilt it does seem as if the roof must have nearly blown off during the recording sessions! That being said 66 trombones playing the very softest dynamics also reveals lots of detail. The Rain Drops articulation with it’s slightly fluttering sound and gentle rasps occasionally poking through works especially well at the lower dynamics.

The shorts are fairly thin on the ground in terms of articulations with just staccato and marcato, but they do the trick and are super punchy with that large ambience coming through to make it sound epic whilst not swamping the initial attack. For such a large ensemble I found them quite agile in terms of playability and the same can be said of the long articulations. There are tempo synced staccatos too which might suit some workflows.

Finally, there are thirteen FX and Bends articulations. There are three dark atonal clusters and as would be expected in a trombone collection, a plethora of bends. You have classic trombone bends, faster rips and a pair of very long bends, both up and down.


Each of the seven patches and their accompanying articulations come in two versions of microphone array. The one that will likely get most use consists of the typical three mic position orchestral set up of Decca Tree, Wide and Far. Alongside those is a ready mixed fader, which is really nicely balanced and additionally a Trailer Mix option to give a direct, aggressive and epic sound right out of the box.

Main Mics

For ultimate flexibility there are the five spot mics that load as a totally separate nki patches. These spanned the width of the ensemble during recording and are panned accordingly in the GUI, thus giving you exceptional control over the stereo placement.

Spot Mics

Of course, you could pan the main mics but it’s not really the same effect. The spot mics cannot be combined with the main mics, but they were not hugely close to the players and therefore retain a good bit of the natural hall reverberation. Consider them a little less epic, but more detailed and with superb stereo control. Being creative here can keep rewards, for example, only using the two hard panned mics for a super wide soundstage, which leaves plenty of room in your own mix for other musical elements down the centre.

The GUI is fairly straightforward and has five buttons across the top that bring up different windows. The browser is the main one for changing articulations and there are others to edit the sequencer, mic mixes, effects and modulation. For the latter it is worth pointing out that for most patches the expression is linked to the dynamics and it is in here that you can unlink that if desired. There is also a gate and tuning features in this section.

Main GUI

I cannot see the sequencers being of huge use, but the effects are handy if you want to get a bit creative. The main effects are accessed from a bottom tab, whilst the top Effects button brings up the new 8Dio X/Y pads enabling easy control of more than one parameter at a time.

Effects X-Y

To the bottom of the interface are a selection of knobs and buttons that remain in view whatever window you are in. They enable you to edit the basic shape and pitch of the sound, but in normal use you will likely just leave these in the default position. The chaos and stack functions, however, can be fun to use if you are looking to sound design the raw samples.

Main Knobs

66 Trombones features 3 versions of each nki and I was mainly using the DFD patches, which save on RAM and stream from your hard disk. For added functionality and RAM loading there are also two Time Machine options that are useful for syncing the two short timed articulations to host tempo.

There is a danger when ensembles get to this size that the sound can lose clarity and sometimes sound almost synthetic, but mostly this is not the case with 66 Trombones. Only if you start playing 4 or 5 note chords does it start to sound overly thick. It does retain a distinct realism and this could be in part due to the tuning, but therein also lies something worth mentioning. Clearly it is impossible for 66 trombonists to be precisely in tune and whilst this is not out of tune by any means, for those that are used to very precisely tuned orchestral samples I would advise listening to the demos and deciding if it will work for you. For my own personal tastes it sounds just fine.

I would argue the real strength here is the single note legatos that, either alone or layered with other libraries, can bring a melody to the very edge of epic! The sound retains a distinct organic quality bathed in a lush hall ambience. An added bonus is how well the notes transpose beyond the playable range, meaning it can add something both in the tuba and trumpet ranges. Of course, we leave reality behind in that case, but we are talking about 66 trombones in a huge empty hall so now is not the time to get too purist!

Although it does handle low dynamics nicely this library will mostly appeal to composers working at the more bombastic end of the spectrum, either with fully orchestral or hybrid works. Opening up the wonderful rasp at ff is just too much to resist! End users should be aware it would not work that well if trying to mock up a traditional orchestra, as the size of the ensemble would sound too big and unrealistic compared to other sections. Instead, it should be seen as a speciality library that can be overlaid to add immense grandeur to epic scoring. It also works superbly as a feature instrument in more hybrid compositions, where adding a ridiculous amount of trombones amongst more electronic parts can give that huge orchestral heft that brings the piece to life.

In a competitive marketplace where many developers are trying to go bigger and louder, 8Dio have really stuck their flag in the ground with their Legion Series and this one is my favourite so far. If you need a formidable wall of pure brass power then 66 Trombones should definitely be on your shortlist.


66 Trombones is a 9.47 GB library using 48khz/24bit wav files and requiring the full version of Kontakt. Every patch has a DFD, TM2 and TMPro version. There are 3 hall mics – decca, wide and far, 2 pre-mixed hall mics and 5 spot mics.

Legion Series: 66 Trombones sells for $298 from 8Dio


Demos of Legion Series: 66 Trombones by 8Dio

Videos of Legion Series: 66 Trombones by 8Dio


Contributor Sam Burt reviews Legion Series: 66 Trombones by 8Dio
“The 8Dio Legion Series marches on with a truly epic cohort of 66 Trombones joining the troops. It’s flexible, rich and very very loud.”