Seeking Pop/Rock/Soul Brass

So about the only thing I think I’m missing sound wise for my live playing in a classic rock and pop band, is a good horn section.

I’ve been looking to see what might work, and I’m leaning towards the Big Fish products. My concern is that a lot of these libraries seem to be focused on you setting up and recording one instrument at a time, which is great when you’re producing a recording, but not what I need. I need something more “ready to go” that sounds great without a ton of time being spent programming or working on articulations.

I’m looking for something that will give me very good brass sections while I’m playing live as well as some good solo instruments such as sax, trumpet, flute, Etc. I’ve heard of software where it will split a 3 Note chord you play and put trombone on the lowest note saxophone in the middle note and trumpet on the high note. That sounds like a great thing to me if I could get something that would do that.

Any way. I’m mostly looking for ensembles while I’m playing chords on rock or pop or soul tunes with a few of the solo instruments here and there. Any recommendations for me?

For solo swam brass, but not cheap
And for ensemble NI session horns is worth to try.


Years ago, I used Quantum Leap Brass, which had stabs, falls, and other pop and big band articulations. I used it in some jazz for a Neo noir short film as well as a James Bond themed parody. It was a small simple library (and over 15 years old), but it really worked.

The key were the punchy recording style and the session musicians’ styles.

It looks like the modern follow on is East West Hollywood Pop Brass. I’d look there. Nick Phoenix really knows this genre.

With Quantum Leap Brass, the challenge was that the bag of tricks was only so big. After you used the stabs, triills, and falls a couple of times, it sounded repetitive. But if you were judicious, it was dynamic and realistic. I’d imagine that their new lib is way more varied.

I’ve used Sample Modeling’s French Horn and have a Tec breath controller. (Yeah, it’s orchestral, not pop.) If you want to play melodies, this is the way to go. But you’re unlikely to perform stylized pop and big band effects with it. The SWAN stuff would be excellent for soulful melodies, but if you want Cab Calloway, check out East West.

Both work well and neither would be limited to cheesy brass pads. That said, cheesy brass pads are exactly right for some covers . :sunglasses:

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I’d recommend taking a look at NI Session Horns too, it’s the one I am intending to use in GP4. It does intelligent selection of the section instruments if you play chords: e.g. lowest note of the chord will be a trombone, the middle note will be a sax and the top note will be a trumpet (or whatever instruments are in your chosen section). It adds realism to those parts you have to play as chords and then has solo instruments where you can really “get your fingers” into the articulation to complete the realism as far as possible.

I have used it very successfully on recordings, so will soon start trialling it in my GP4 rig (I have avoided all but very small sample libraries so far).


+1 for the NI session horns.
Or, a live horn section! Beats everything :sunglasses:

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