Review: Sax Trio: Studio Saxophones by 8Dio

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Two, very warm and mellow, tenor saxes and a baritone sax with all the basic articulations, swells and runs to satisfy all your sax needs (no pun intended!).

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Review: Sax Trio: Studio Saxophones by 8Dio

Studio Saxophones by developer 8Dio is a very warm sounding and very realistic, multi-sampled trio of studio sax. You have at your disposal two tenor sax and a baritone sax with all the basic articulations, swells and runs to satisfy all your sax needs (no pun intended!).

Studio Saxophones sells for $248.00 from 8Dio

Thoughts

8Dio is renowned for their majestic, huge sounding orchestral and hybrid sample libraries and is often associated to epic and trailer music but their work ranges from heavy beating libraries to soaring, gentle and beautiful sounding flutes, ethnic instruments and ethereal voices. Studio Saxophones (let’s just call it Studio Sax from now on!) is the latest addition to the more orthodox and not-so-trailerish kind of library. This library offers three saxophones in one NKI: one baritone sax and two individually sampled tenor sax. The instruments have been deeply sampled, adding 7 GB of new material to your disk space, and they really offer an incredible amount of basic articulations and extra techniques. Opening the single, main NKI you have a very intuitive interface.

The first tab shows you the three individual instruments that can be used individually or as an ensemble, adjusting every volume, pan and “distance” in the mix. In the lower part of the GUI you have additional controls for more flexibility, which are the usual suspects: Dynamics, Expression, Speed, Release, Response, Offset and Noise. It is very useful to link together Dynamic and Expression to be used with the modwheel. It is something that I usually do manually by assigning the same CC or can be done at the same time with two different faders, but it’s really nice to have the shortcut on the main interface to achieve extra realism with the flick of a button.

At the top of the main page you can move to the Articulation tab where you can select the articulation you need and make your custom key switch controls. The articulations are divided into four main categories: traditional, arcs, performance and effects. In the traditional category you can find a multitude of useful and essential articulations like sustain, sustain vibrato, legato, marcato, staccato, staccatissimo and even staccatissimo II alongside semitone trills & whole tone trills. All the articulations are super playable and very responsive to your playing style but the long articulations require a good work of modwheel to avoid an unnatural synth pad effect. Fortunately linking dynamics and expression is very effective and you won’t face any issue but bear in mind that this is not a “plug-n-play” library like others that have been recently released. The short articulations are also very good, with a lot of bite but still warm and not too nasal/harsh. The only critique that I have to make is that you cannot control the release on the short articulations and sometimes the sound fades out abruptly and the release decays in an unnatural way.

The other groups of articulations add realism to the performance of your virtual sax player. The arcs (long, medium, short) are pre-recorded swells that save you from performing a swell with the modwheel and sustain patch, resulting in a very natural crescendo/diminuendo. The performance folder contains common vocabulary of the sax, intended as measured tremolos, triplets/tuplets and Da DAA Da (and its permutations) which basically are different kind of staccato/staccatissimo groupings. Last but not least the “effects” subcategory (or folder if you are individually selecting the articulation/patch that you need) has the evergreen flutter tongue, fast and slow scoops and an insane amount of tempo-synced runs (up/down, slow/fast) that are the cherry on the pie.

Overall 8Dio’s Studio Sax is a very good sounding library, perfect if you need a more mellow and warm sax sound in your latest ballad or sensual/love cue and similar. It has great flexibility but it still is very user-friendly and intuitive. Some samples decay in an unnatural way but this does not compromise the playability and usability of the instrument and it’s not noticeable when the instrument is in context.

Facts

8Dio’s Studio Sax installs at about 7 GB, requires the FULL version of Native Instruments Kontakt 5.6 or higher, the Kontakt Player is NOT supported.

Studio Sax shines for its warmth and mellow sound, essential in soaring sax melodies and phrases. It also offers great flexibility and a very good amount of articulations that will cover 99% of your sax needs. Easy to use and intuitive but highly customizable in no time.

Studio Saxophones sells for $248.00 from 8Dio

 

Demos of Studio Saxophones by 8Dio

Videos of Studio Saxophones by 8Dio

 

Contributor Andrea Federici reviews Studio Saxophones by 8Dio
“Two, very warm and mellow, tenor sax and a baritone sax with all the basic articulations, swells and runs to satisfy all your sax needs (no pun intended!).”