Output Analog Brass and Winds Review – A Fresh Stab At The Brass/Woodwind Sound World

Output have continued to expand their Kontakt library instrument collection with the introduction of Analog Brass and Wind. It’s a leftfield take on the more traditional brass and woodwind libraries (along the lines of their previous Analog Strings), and fits perfectly into the Output canon. Let’s explore.

Factoids

Analog wind and brass is a 14GB library with over 500 presets. It builds off a platform of 90 samples of brass, woodwind, and good old synths. The presets are beautifully created mashups of the samples, set in different ways, and are essentially just an example of what you can do with the library in creating your own sounds. They are easily accessible from the main page. Once you click on the current preset, the preset browser opens up, and you can scroll through the list, narrowing down with selectable adjectives such as rises&drops, ambient, aggressive, and so on.

The first preset is INIT, which starts you off with a blank slate.

Click the sample button below the waveform, and you’re taken to the sample selection page. The samples are shown as a matrix, separated into 3 pages of one shot, pad and looped, or tape, each split into 3 separate rows of Orchestral, Synth and ‘creative’ source samples

The source sounds are simple, with slight layering and RR, but they are an eclectic mix of both expected tones (short brass hit), to affected sounds like a woodwind murmur, where the key clicks are included in a tremolo type sound. The synths are a lovely mix of brassy, airy, warm, noisy tones, rich with harmonics, and they complement the orchestral source sounds well. The ‘creative’ element is a smorgasbord of tones.

I think the creators went to town with all and any outboard they could find. I’d love to see what they did to get the sounds. There’s a wide variety of compressed, hissy, gritty wow and fluttery stuff, that contrasts with some of the clean brassy tones from the other sources. The total gives a wide palette of source sounds to load into the 2 engines.

On that main page, there’s a substantial amount of tweakery available. The macro sliders take up the majority of the window – more on that later. Further down, you can tweak the start point of the sample, the tuning, pitch, reverse, loop, and volume of the sample in each engine.

For further sculpting, hit the EDIT tab, and use all the tools at hand to sculpt your sounds, blending together until you’re either exhausted or satisfied with the result. Or both, probably. You’ve got a couple of envelopes for amp and pitch. I liked the curve element on the front of the ADSR – which gives a little more creative control of the attack. There’s a flutter effect, the fade in, frequency and amount of which you can control; giving you tonal options from tape-like slow drift, to vibrato warble and further.

The FX page gives you 6 separate options per engine (filter, EQ, distortion, compression, delay and reverb), with an umbrella FX page of 7 more effect types on top. The additional effect on the global delay is a phaser/chorus.

Riddim

Borrowing slightly from their movement plugin, the Rhythm tab is one of my favourite elements of Output’s library engines. The possibilities within this page allow for super complex rhythmic edges to the sound, and can add subtle movement, or completely rearrange the sound you’re creating. There are two rhythm generators per engine. Each of them affects 8 different elements of the sound – volume, pan, filter cutoff and res, tube, overdrive, bit and sample rate.

The rhythm created can be stepped, sequenced, or an LFO with a massive selection of wave shapes. The rate can go from 8 bars slow to 1/64t. If that wasn’t enough, the FLUX engine further sequences the rate of the LFO. Massively deep rhythmic hole to get lost in. there are presets for that too, if you just can’t cope.

Arped up

It just keeps going. If the rhythm page isn’t enough, the arpeggiator gives you more rhythmic options. It’s full-featured and standard as arps go, although it does have one per engine, which gives again a massive amount of rhythmic flexibility.

Macros

This has always been the topmost element of Output’s sound engines to me. You can assign almost anything from the entire engine to one of the four macros. It’s as simple as selecting one of the four macros that stay at the top of the GUI, which enters you into macro edit mode. From there, you click on pretty much anything, and it’s assigned to the macro. I find this so useful when I’m needing to produce work quickly. You can get so much movement just by using the macro sliders. And of course they’re automatable, so you can latch record them into your DAW, and movement is saved.

One thing I can’t recommend highly enough is the batch re-save process you can do with all the big libraries in your Kontakt sampler. This speeds up the process exponentially, and saves a lot of finger tapping while you wait for libraries to load, especially if you have a lot of libraries in your session. Check out how to do it here.

The sound

Once again, Output have created a library that takes a fresh stab (no pun intended) at the brass/woodwind sound world, by blending it with other sound sources, and squeezing it through their beautifully set up engine.

The sounds that emanate are contemporary, vibrant, at times ethereal, but more often energetic, pulsing, HUGE sounds. I love that they don’t really shout BRASS or WOODWIND, but most of the time you listen and get just a hint or impression of those tones and timbres.

Of course, you can create sounds where the brass or woodwind is at the forefront of the sound, but I don’t think that’s the point of this library, as there isn’t much round-robin, or layering of samples, to create the realism required for a good brass or woodwind library. It’s designed to straddle different soundworlds. Once again an excellent job by Output, at creating an instrument that gives a palette of fresh useful sounds for all kinds of music production.

A cool piece by Output blending analog wind and brass with modular

Price and Availability

Analog Brass and Wind is on sale at $199. For more info see Output’s website.

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