CineBrass: View From a Vid

On May 17, 2011, Mike Patti of CineSamples posted this video demo on YouTube called the CineBrass Official Patch Runthrough Screencast with links to other CineBrass demo vids on their website.

Running just over 22 minutes, this comprehensive video demonstration shows off the new CineSamples library, CineBrass, which is now completely programmed and dispatched to Native Instruments to put into their Kontakt 4.x player. (Note: “put into” isn’t a particularly scientific description of what NI does, but you get the point.)

As yet, no price has been announced, but when it comes available, which I hear is sometime early summer, following their traditional sales path, this will be a download purchase. So a fast Internet connection will be needed for downloading.

That said, and clearly not knowing the proposed price or intro special (if there is one), my sense is that CineBrass is will fall into the “must-have” library category.

One thing the CineSamples owners, Mike Patti and Mike Barry, have done for this library is to tell the story behind the story, something most developers don’t do, opting instead for sending out a piece of electronic paper with tech specs on it and calling that a PR story. These CineBrass mini-documentaries are musically arousing, inspiring immediate pre-purchase confidence because you know where it’s being recorded (a rarity), why, and who’s part of it. There are great players the world over, but none quite like those in Los Angeles. And this, “You Are There,” approach really brought that out. Well done.

There have been libraries recorded in Los Angeles on a scoring stage (LASS) and in well known recording studios (Hollywood Strings, Ocean Way Drums). The scoring stage where LASS was recorded is a secret. But CineSamples has made no secret that this library has been recorded on one of the scoring stages in L.A., The Barabara Streisand Scoring Stage at SONY/MGM in Culver City, a place where I’ve spent many memorable hours. Many a Jerry Goldsmith and John Williams score have been recorded there.

We’ll start with Dennis Sands to whom CineSamples generously dedicated an entire video. Dennis Sands, who has more than 100 films to his credit (including Forrest Gump, Castaway and Contact) is called a film music mixer. His role is to record and mix the music with his other roles including studio setup, miking, selecting appropriate gear and much more. His overall responsibility is aural quality control. Watch the video and learn Dennis’ approach to recording brass including mic and pre-amp choices.

Unfortunately, we don’t have a musician’s list for this session, but no doubt these are first call session players as all of them are members of the local AFM. In a highly unusual, and publicized, move for sample library recordings, CineSamples signed an agreement so that a portion of each CineBrass sale goes to all the musicians and copyists involved.

In the video, Dennis Sands explained his setup approach. Watching the video, brass are apparently placed so that the French horns (6) are placed on the left and trumpets, trombones and tuba on the right.

Making a serious eval from a YouTube vid can be difficult. But what I heard for me was a gorgeous brass sound. And if the brass are indeed recorded in their in-studio seating positions, building your virtual orchestra with LASS and CineBrass should be a neat fit, especially with the LASS 1.9 update that enables you to reposition the stage positioning of the strings.

With LASS, CineBrass, the newly programmed SONiVOX Woodwinds for Kontakt 4.x, CineHarp, and TrueStrike Percussion 1, a complete orchestra in Kontakt format can now be assembled (SONiVOX has also reprogrammed their Symphonic Brass Collection in Kontakt 4.x, too). Add in Symphobia 1.2, and one has a very enviable and efficient music production setup in either Mac or PC formats.

From CineSamples, one can add HollywoodWinds, Drums of War, and several excellent percussion packages found at their web site that are all value priced.

CineBrass comes with 12 patches and a block of multis. The patches are listed below:

1. Trumpets Ensemble Articulations
2. Trumpets Ensemble True Legato
3. Trumpet Solo True Legato
4. Horns Ensemble Articulations
5. Horns Ensemble True Legato
6. Horn Solo True Legato
7. Trombones Ensemble Articulations
8. Tuba + Bass Trombone Articulations
9. Cimbasso + Bass Trombone Articulations
10. Trumpets Ensemble FX
11. Horns Ensemble Rips
12. Low Brass Pads

CineBrass was recorded with a Decca-Tree setup. There are five selections available for you to choose from to shape your sound:

1. Full Mix
2. Close
3. Room
4. Surround
5. Reverb (all the sounds have been run through a Bricasti M7)

CineBrass is also setup for you to route to a 5.1 Surround setup in your studio.

If you’re looking for every brass articulation since the days of Tubal-Cain, you won’t find them in CineBrass. That’s because CineBrass is ordered around the most important articulations needed in sample libraries for film/TV and game scoring. Watch the video to see what I mean.

However, that’s a lot!

An important point. The “live” demos played by Mike Patti clearly demonstrated no phasing. So writing for and getting a big brass ensemble sound is doable with CineBrass without having to mix in other libraries, unless you want to.

CineBrass has competition, and much of their initial success will depend on pricing, which as I said earlier is unannounced, and demos. I can’t speak to pricing but I can speak to competitors and having competitive demos.

I see three competitors:

  • The Vienna Symphonic Library Dimension Brass;
  • The newly programmed SONiVOX Symphonic Brass;
  • The forthcoming Hollywood Brass (also recorded in Los Angeles, price TBA).
  • Demos are also going to be very important. All of Mike Patti’s noodlings were John Williams’ themes (poor Prokofiev – ignored again). Knowing the competition, I would like to see benchmarkable brass demos, from CineBrass and any competitor, pulled from such works as:

    The Cowboys; (John Williams)
    Liberty Fanfare ; (John Williams)

    Four Sea Interludes: Dawn from Peter Grimes by Benjamin Britten showing off his exceptional brass writing;

    Mars from The Planets;

    Jupiter from The Planets.

    All of these have excellent sections where the brass are clearly exposed and just shine, and IMHO, make for excellent demonstrations for any brass library. Several 4-12 bar excerpts will tell much of the story in under a minute each.

    Having beta tested my share of libraries, doing benchmarkable demos where score and recording are available to compare to, is also a great way for the developers to discover the strengths and weaknesses of their own libraries, before customers and reviewers do!


    1 Comment

    • May 23, 2011 @ 9:36 pm

      Sounds Fantastic! I look forward to hearing about the release. Kudos on your attention to the people who are behind the sound.

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