Review Talos Volume 1: Horns by Audio Imperia


Audio Imperia’s Talos Volume 1 has sumptuous Horns that are a natural expansion of the developer’s flagship product, Jaeger. Recorded in the same room as the latter, Talos will be extensively covering the Brass section with multiple releases, starting with this first volume, dedicated to a very detailed, immense and warm 12 Horns ensemble.

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Review Talos Volume 1: Horns by Audio Imperia


Talos Volume 1: Horns sells for $249.00 from Audio Imperia


With the release of Jaeger, Audio Imperia debuted into the Orchestral world of sample libraries, leaving everyone stunned with their amazing legatos, punchiness and definition of the sound while also covering the soft side of cinematic music.

They are now aiming to expand the foundation of Jaeger with very detailed sets of instruments like Cerberus for Percussion and the new Talos for Brass.

This volume is the first installment of several Brass libraries that will complement Jaeger.Before diving into the review I must say that I was very hyped for this library and I was trying to guess the price range of what I thought was going to be a full section Brass library.

The first thing that caught my eye when I understood it was a 12 Horns library was the price. Intro price 199 dollars, full price 249 dollars. A little bit high in my opinion, considering that it is the first instalment of a Brass section and that we already have some well established companies (who shall not be named) who have released 12 Horns patches/libraries which have become the benchmark of epicness for the 12 Horns cinematic sound.

At this point my question was: would Audio Imperia succeed in bringing something new, different and fresh to the table of the 12 French Horns to justify the higher price of this library?

Read on to find out. (TL;DR – Yes, they succeeded)

After giving a look to their website you can see that there is a lot of meat in the 4.3 GB of this library, but downloading it and putting your hands on it is an entirely different story! First of all this is not JUST a 12 Horns library as it might seem. It is a comprehensive 12 Horns library that covers almost every articulation you will ever need. Secondly, a GOOD part of the library is dedicated to Sound Design. In Audio Imperia Style.

After opening the Instrument folder you can choose between “Multisamples”, which contains the actual 12 Horns, and the “Sound Design” sub-folder.

Going into the Multisamples folder will give you three options to choose from: the 12 horns patch with all the articulations, the 12 horns patch with all the articulations with Time Machine and a last one to individually load the articulations you need.

As you can see from the screenshot you have legatos and sustains, all kinds of short articulations you could ask for (from marcatos to staccatissimo) and all sorts of different tonguing. Cherry on the cake Rips and Bends.

It is worth mentioning that Audio Imperia has sampled three dynamic layers for the most used articulations and one dynamic layer for double, triple, quadruple tonguing, rips and bends. Single Round Robins for long articulation, 5 (FIVE!) RR for shorts – including Marcatos – and 2 for the different tonguing, Rips and Bends.

The GUI of the 12 Horns patch is very similar to what we have seen in Jaeger and Cerberus, sharing the sleek look as well as the disposition of the controls and knobs.

Very briefly, you have the mic positions on the left, controllers such as Dynamics, Expression and Velocity Curve on the right and all the available articulations (keyswitchable) at the bottom of the GUI. The center is always the BIG KNOB’s realm and also gives access to the FX page.

Talking about the mic positions and the full mix, they all have a very distinctive sound, obviously very similar to Jaeger: well defined, warm, punchy but, in my humble opinion, not as roomy as they could have been. The full mix is a great starting point and you can certainly hear the room and different mic positions but, as in Jaeger, do not expect a TOTALLY different sound between the Spot mics and the Far, Wides or Decca. The room is clearly NOT a huge cathedral and you’d probably find yourself adding quite a lot of reverb in case of lead parts where the Horns are over-exposed.

In this case I would have loved to do so via the Big Knob (by default) or have a dedicated Reverb control on the main page instead of having it in the FX section. This is not a big deal since most, if not all, composers use external reverbs to create space around an instrument but it would have been a nice feature and a different use of the Big Knob.

Focusing on the articulations, which are the core of this library, I have to say that, once again, the legato is, hands down, the best legato for 12 Horns you will find around. It is the most musical sounding legato I had the chance to try. Refined from Jaeger’s 6 Horns patch – which already sounded AMAZING – this one makes you feel like you are breathing through your hands and playing a real french horn. It simply links to the melody in your head and flows through your fingers on the piano as you were holding a french horn. The small pause between the notes is just so well timed that you will rarely (probably never) feel that the instrument is not responding to your playing. The legato transition is also perfectly matched to the sustained part of the note that you will never notice anything unnatural. This legato is the heart of the library and I am sure Audio Imperia will further refine it on future libraries, making them irresistible to all composers who love soaring and epic melodies.

The sustained articulations are also top notch even if some looped notes feel slightly less natural than others. The Marcatos, Staccatos, Tonguing, Rips and Bends are perfectly timed as well and have a great attack. The number of RR and the different dynamic layers are so well balanced that you will not run the risk of sounding like a machine gun on fast staccato lines. Sometimes I had the feeling that dynamics, for all articulations, could get up to FFF and possibly were not spread out evenly. The sound starts to become brassy and powerful only at higher modwheel/velocity values but this is something you can easily fix with the controls on the right side of the GUI.

Moving to the Sound Design folder we can find a lot of goodies that you would expect from Audio Imperia. Hard and Soft Braams, Atmospheres, Low Pads. It is really great to have a section like this – of such quality and size – in an orchestral library… it almost feels like having two libraries in one. You also have the sound design patches tonally mapped, which is simply fantastic!

The GUI is slightly different from the instrument patch: you have the waveform at the bottom with a very detailed EQ while attack, release and stereo spread are on the right and volume/pan on the left. The big knob with effects are always in the center.

All sound design comes from the original orchestral recordings and, in case you catch the Inception fever, it is really easy to create your own Braams and Low pads achieving the same quality in very few steps. As Paul Ortiz explains in the Audio Imperia walkthrough you can further extend the playable range of the 12 Horns and get as low as you want by adjusting the “range options” on the right side of the GUI. It is incredibly satisfying to have a lower octave and add some effects like distortion and reverb to get your own sounds without sacrificing quality!

Overall, Talos Vol. 1: Horns is the perfect library for those who need a 12 Horns patch with a lot of articulations AND a ominous, inception-ish sound design. It is also THE LIBRARY if you just need the best 12 Horns legato that money can buy without hiring 12 Horn players! This one is definitely another Top Pick!


Talos Volume 1: Horns from Audio Imperia installs at 4.3 GB via Continuata, requires the FULL version of Native Instruments Kontakt or higher, the Kontakt Player is NOT supported.

Talos is a great sounding 12 Horns library that has the best legato around, all the articulations you will ever need for 12 French Horns and a big part of the library dedicated to sound design based on its original recordings.

Talos Volume 1: Horns sells for $249.00 from Audio Imperia


Demos of Talos Volume 1: Horns by Audio Imperia

Videos of Talos Volume 1: Horns by Audio Imperia