Review: New Orleans Brass by Insanity Samples

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The perfect library to add more funk into your productions! New Orleans Brass brings the warm and jazzy sound of that New Orleans Brass Band sound to your fingertips. With an intuitive, simple-to-use GUI, 5 brass instruments plus, and an Ensemble patch these instruments will be great for many genres and moods especially if you are looking for that jazzy vintage sound.

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Review: New Orleans Brass by Insanity Samples

New Orleans Brass is a 5 instrument library by Insanity Samples featuring the sound of the New Orleans Brass Band. This version is actually a huge 2021update of the previous library with the original rough samples completely re-edited for new version. It comes with six NKI instruments: Trumpet 1, Trumpet 2, Trombone 1, Trombone 2, Sousaphone and an Ensemble Patch.

It requires the full version of Kontakt (5.8.1 or above), so it doesn’t work with the free Kontakt Player. It doesn’t support the NKS protocol, therefore you don’t need to activate the library via Native Access.

New Orleans Brass normally sells for Currently on sale at £40.00 (regular price £99.00) from Insanity Samples

Thoughts

From the very first moment, it’s clear what the purpose of this library is to bring the sound of the New Orleans Brass Band to your fingertips. Therefore, this product has a very specific target and reference genre.

The interface is good-looking and simple and very intuitive. On the left side, you’ll find the list of articulations: Longs (both monophonic and polyphonic, except for the Ensemble patch, of course), Falls, Risers, Staccato, Flutter Tongue, Sforzando and Crescendo. Flutter Tongue is available on Trumpets only, while the Sousaphone has also a Double Tongue Staccato technique. All the articulations are assigned to Keyswitches, which is particularly useful for those who love to work using one instrument per track, but you can also switch between them by clicking on the small circle on the left side of each technique, that becomes light blue when the articulation is selected.

Moving to the right, you can see the Expression fader, controlled by CC1. In all the patches, dynamics are controlled by the velocity, while CC1 controls the expression. A dark circle in the middle of the GUI will show you which dynamic you are triggering depending on the pressure of your finger on the keys. This is not a choice I personally love, because you cannot perform a velocity layer change on long notes. You can use the Crescendo articulation but you are limited to the available samples, and there isn’t a Decrescendo articulation. You can only play customized crescendo and diminuendos using the Expression parameter, but since Expression is merely a secondary volume control, you are stuck into the velocity layer triggered at that moment, which means also the same timbre, since dynamics affect the instrumental timbre as well and on Brass this is particularly evident. Also, in order to trigger the “piano” layer, you have to press the keys very, very softly, so it could be difficult to achieve the desired result on that at a first try. No mic positions are available but if you turn down the reverb, you can get a sort of dry sound, with a very small ambience tail. You can choose between 7 different types of reverb, and you can even set the size of the room and of course the amount of reverb.

The instruments sound overall quite realistic. I like especially the Trombones and the Sousaphone, this last one with a very warm character. The layers are well sampled and you can hear the timbre changing when you trigger different dynamics. One feature I personally appreciate is the long notes fading out as the breath of the virtual players fades down. On the other side, even if those samples are not quite short, you are tied to their length. The Risers’ nature changes depending on the instrument: in the Trumpets they’re more like grace notes, in the Trombones they play like a glissando and in the Sousaphone you can hear like a more clear scale. One thing that blows my mind is that in the Sousaphone’s risers you can actually hear the keys’ noise, which makes the performance more realistic. The Ensemble patch is very useful if you want to write a sketch to start with. It sounds full and powerful, therefore in my opinion you can use it even to add more color to your productions, maybe also layering it with other brass and mix them together.

Generally speaking, this library is good, and if you are looking for a jazz brass section with a sort of vintage sound, I’d definitely suggest you buy this one. The overall sound is realistic and warm, especially on the bass instruments. The only thing that actually concerns me is that dynamics are triggered by velocity instead of CC1 (which controls the Expression). I mean, if you are playing short notes you can definitely use this workaround, even if I still personally prefer to control dynamics through a velocity crossfade but it’s pretty impossible to control crescendos and diminuendos on long notes because, since Expression is merely a volume, you can just control a volume changing but not a timbre changing on the same note. If you play dynamic passages, with many short notes and no need to increase or decrease the volume on longer notes, you won’t be anyway disappointed: the good quality of samples and the overall playability of this library using the velocity parameter will help you to achieve good results.

Facts

The library includes 6 NKI instruments.
It requires the full version of Kontakt (5.8.1 or above). It doesn’t work with the free Kontakt Player.
It doesn’t support the NKS protocol, therefore you don’t need to activate it via Native Access.

New Orleans Brass normally sells for Currently on sale at £40.00 (regular price £99.00) from Insanity Samples

 

Demos of New Orleans Brass by Insanity Samples

 

Videos of New Orleans Brass by Insanity Samples

Contributor Giuseppe Corcella reviews New Orleans Brass by Insanity Samples
“The perfect library to add more funk into your productions! New Orleans Brass brings the warm and jazzy sound of that New Orleans Brass Band sound to your fingertips. With an intuitive, simple-to-use GUI, 5 brass instruments plus, and an Ensemble patch these instruments will be great for many genres and moods especially if you are looking for that jazzy vintage sound.”