Sample Library for Marching Band / Concert Band/Wind Ensemble

Hey all,

I write primarily for marching bands at the HS and college level, and I’m looking to upgrade my sample library. I’ve recently gotten into using higher quality percussion VSTs, and have had some success, but would love to pursue a different brass/woodwind library (must include saxophones!).

The only really dedicated one that my mediocre searches has returned has been Garritan’s Marching and Concert Band library, but I haven’t loved what I’ve heard.

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I’m on the same boat.

I’ve switched to Note Performer, and with some eq’ing on saxophones, flugelhorns and trumpets the results are quite decent, but YMMV.

I think, in the past few months or so, I’ve been seeing the praises of NP more than any other software. Some of those reviews do skew towards NP having less than stellar solo string patches, but it is good to know its concert band instruments are spot on.

VSL has beautiful brass, woodwinds, and also a good saxophones library. I think you can build a good Marching Band with them.

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You appear happy with your percussion, but in another topic Virtual Drumline was discussed. I don’t use it myself but it has a vast variety of percussion you may find useful.

Aside from VDL and Garritan Concert and Marching Band, the only other dedicated band brass library I’m aware of is SampleLogic Fanfare:

Chris Hein also has a large collection of orchestra libraries for brass bands

According to their website, the system requirements are MacOS 10.8 and Windows 7. Let’s hope it’s only the website that needs updating!

Yes. Released in 2012, it was ‘useful in its day’, given the storage and CPU limits. But most of it is pretty weak. The complete library is 1.3Gb – I’ve got individual instruments larger than that!

I use noteperformer with the single output playback template (Playback Template: Individual Mixer channels for NotePerformer)

Another thing with NP settings - set cc 108 to value 1 in the automation lane for “always tenuto” on each wind instrument. Also set cc 104 to value 8 to have a full “a8” or section sound on each staff. I change these back to 1 or 2 if there is a solo or duet, but levels can get quiet.

For trumpet solos, i’ll sometimes play those out and record them myself for the mockup. A lot of writing I do is very stylistic and not just long tones and lip slurs, lots of triplet subdivision/swing articulation.

This all just gives a little more control of the stems, and i’ll run all of them into valhalla room reverb. Once the show is done, I export my stems without any reverb and import into my DAW. Don’t personally use VDL too much but I have it to listen to files that perc guys will send me. Typically I just line up their audio with mine in the daw and mix. Try to get stems for all the perc parts as well. I also have a hardware synth for a group I write for, so for their stuff (and anyone else using an FA-08), i’ll connect the keyboard to my computer, and play back the midi data from the synth part on the keyboard while recording the audio output.