Last Updated on February 2, 2021.
In this post we will be taking a look at some of the best Brass VST sample libraries currently available as well as samples for individual instruments, such as Trumpet, Saxophone, Trombone, and more.
Most of them are premium and will require you to fork out some cash, but I will also include a couple free ones as well as some links to other articles where you can find even more free instruments.
Here’s a table with the best Brass VST Sample Libraries:
|CineBrass||KONTAKT||Windows, Mac 64-bit||$399|
|Spitfire Symphonic Brass||KONTAKT||Windows, Mac 64-bit||$699|
|Hollywood Brass||Standalone, AAX Native, VST, AU||Windows, Mac 64-bit||$149|
|Berlin Brass||KONTAKT||Windows, Mac 64-bit||$970|
|Chris Hein Orchestral Brass||AAX Native, AU, VST||Windows, Mac 64-bit||$399|
Without any further ado, let’s get started!
There’s a reason CineBrass is the first mention on my list. Recorded at the MGM scoring stage of Sony Picture Studios California, these sounds have become the gold standard of orchestral brass sampling due to its upper echelon instrumentation coming with such a fair price tag.
Engineered and mixed by industry titan Dennis Sands (Forest Gump, The Shawshank Redemption, Avengers: Endgame, and more) these picturesque sounds give everything you need to unlock your inner Zimmer.
It has a beginner friendly GUI, with presets available in both its mixer and mapping window. It contains an adaptive legato engine which automatically adjusts interval speed depending on how you are playing.
It also features ensembles which combine the instruments to one patch while still giving you control over the individual instruments. Its articulation patches were all recorded round robin, encompassing a dynamic range of piano to fortissimo.
Cinebrass runs on Native Instruments Kontakt and requires a minimum of 24 GB hard drive space. Cinebrass Core is available for $399 and its Pro expansion pack is priced also at $399.
Pros: unrivalled quality in this price range
Cons: included hard drive would have been nice xD
Find out more about CineBrass here.
Spitfire Symphonic Brass
Spitfire Audio’s symphonic brass is a beautifully recorded collection of samples coming from AIR Studios London (Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone, Casino Royale, Interstellar, and others).
British brass certainly has a tradition of excellence and its own distinct taste, so it’s no wonder so many A-list composers have fallen in love with it. Steven Price (Gravity, Suicide Squad, Fury, etc.) has been quoted as saying “It captures the essence of great players in a great room”.
These samples were recorded with valve and ribbon microphones through Neve preamps and a Neve console. It features a large collection of instruments with 3 mic positions. You can control individual instruments as well as ensembles, plus there’s affluent articulation capabilities.
Symphonic Brass requires the free Kontakt player and a chunky 133 GB of disk space, so they have offered an included hard drive delivery option. This symphony will set you back $700.
Pros: masterfully recorded samples.
Cons: a little pricey for newcomer scorers.
Find out more about Spitfire Symphonic Brass here.
Recorded in the hit machine that is EastWest Studio 1 with the help of Shawn Murphy (Titanic, Star Wars Franchise, Indiana Jones Franchise), these sounds were made in Hollywood with the intention of pumping them right back into Tinseltown.
It features 5 adjustable mic positions with solo and ensemble capabilities, and its muted sounds are among some of the best you will find. All these samples can be processed through its built-in reverb unit and envelope generator.
Hollywood Brass requires an iLok account and the download of EastWests PLAY 6 sample player, which is available for free on their website.
It also requires a minimum of 20 GB, but offers a free hard drive when purchased. This sample library will only cost you $150, so it’s ideal for those looking to add some brass to their bounce without breaking the bank.
Pros: plenty of bang for your buck
Cons: interface has an outdated look and feel to it
Find out more about Hollywood Brass here.
These crisp kraut samples were recorded at Teldex Scoring Stage, which is a renowned classical environment and resurrection ground of the historical hidden German gem, Teldex Studio.
It offers up a horn, trumpet, and trombone assemble, along with individual options encompassing 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, and 1 tuba, which all can be used to create your own ensemble.
It features a neat and easy to use GUI, which in true German fashion strips away the unnecessary gimmicks to allow for a more fluid and efficient workflow. It also has an adaptive legato CAPSULE system with 3 different types of attacks and sustains.
Berlin Brass requires Kontakt player plus a staggering 320 GB disk space for its samples. On top of that it’s going to cost you $970. Premium seems to be the vibe they are going for and they certainly achieved it.
With that price tag you could nearly rent an actual brass section to come play at your house.
Pros: pristine sounds with a neat GUI
Cons: limited number of instruments for such an outrageous price tag
Find out more about Berlin Brass here.
Chris Hein Orchestral Brass
Staying put on German shores for a bit, up next we have sample superstar Chris Hein offering us his Orchestral Brass, with the help of the WDR Symphonic Orchestra recorded through some Neumann mics.
It includes 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, 3 French horns, f-tuba, sousaphone, and euphonium. There are 6 ensemble patches and 2 effects articulation patches available to you.
Mr. Hein has developed an uber realistic sounding brass section that will more than please those in the classical and cinematic community.
Orchestral Brass is another library which requires Kontakt player and needs 25GB of hard drive space. It’s available to you for $400.
Pros: great professional sound quality
Cons: outdated GUI and better options available for less
Find out more about Chris Hein Orchestral Brass here.
So far, we have talked about brass sections which are capable of nuanced articulations and subtle dynamics, the next contender doesn’t do that, and more importantly it doesn’t want to do that!
Mega Brass is an over-the-top synth, which kicks more like a double barrel shotgun than a double French horn. With its Inception like massive horns, this synth is for those who want their brass to be brash and bold.
It includes 9 synth layers with sustain, marcato, and staccato capabilities. Its GUI is simple to use, so there will be no skimming through manuals or scratchings of the head.
A standout feature is the one-click extra hype button, which is sure to give you a nice push over the finish line.
Mega Brass requires Kontakt and just 700 MB of hard drive space. This synth will only set you back $50.
Oh, and there’s something else Mega Brass has in common with Inception, it comes with a plot twist.
Mega Brass will cost you $0 if you purchase the next sample library instead. Interested?
Pros: ideal for video game scoring
Cons: not suitable for work demanding dynamic range
Find out more about Mega Brass here.
Straight Ahead Jazz Horns
It would be rude not to mention some jazz brass available out there. After all, some of us are more of a Coltrane addict than a Chopin admirer. Straight Ahead Jazz Horns aim to satisfy that craving, and they don’t disappoint.
Available at your fingertips are 4 trumpets, 4 trombones, and 5 saxophones. Offering a simple to use GUI with 2 changeable mic positions, adjustable articulations, and multi-instrument ensemble pre-sets, this library does not take long for you to get the hang of and start jamming. It also includes effect pre-sets in its EQ, compressor, delay, and reverb.
Straight Ahead Jazz Horns requires Kontakt player and 23 GB of disk space. The damage on having a bit of swing to your virtual brass is $250.
Pros: easy to use with great pre-sets
Cons: more mic positions would have been nice
Find out more about Straight ahead Jazz Horns here.
MB Virtual Brass Jazz
Next up we have another jazz focused brass sample library with MB Audio’s Virtual Brass Jazz. This library would suit somebody looking to add some backing brass to their tracks without hurting their wallet too much.
It has an easy-to-use and funky looking GUI, which contains 7 instruments. An alto, soprano, baritone, and tenor saxophone, trombone, trumpet, and trumpet ensemble provides you with nearly 7300 samples.
It comes with a built-in reverb effect, ADSMR envelope generator, plus a fully controllable low frequency oscillator.
MB Virtual Brass Jazz is a standalone plug-in, available in VST, VST3, and AU. 1GB of RAM space is the only recommended requirement for this virtual instrument, and it will cost you $50.
Pros: inexpensive and easy to use
Cons: not very professional sounding
Find out more about MB virtual Brass Jazz here.
Forzo Modern Brass
Heavyocity’s Forzo Modern Brass is easily one of the most versatile brass sample libraries on the list so far. Recorded at Skywalker Studio by composer Jason Graves (Tomb Raider, Dead Space, Far Cry Primal) and engineer Satoshi Mark Noguchi (Pacific Rim, Battleship, Oblivion), this library is capable of both bashful backing brass lines and over-the-top horns of hell.
Its line-up includes 12 French horns, 4 trumpets, 8 trombones, and 2 tubas. Its ensemble is a force to be reckoned with, to call it powerful would be an understatement.
It features 107 articulations with creative uses of cluster bends and random flutters. The GUI is super sleek and pleasant to look at, which could be important after hours of slaving over your score.
Modern Brass requires Kontakt player and its samples take up 25GB disk space. A graphics card that supports OpenGL 2.1 is also required for your PC to run its interface. The price tag on Forza’s brave bash at brass is $550.
Pros: super versatile and powerful
Cons: out of reach price wise for newcomer composers
Find out more about Forzo Modern Brass here.
This next sample library is one which chose to eschew natural, aiming instead for quirky and warped. It achieved this by combining the recordings of the marching band Blue Devils with a talented sound design team.
The result sounds like if your high school marching band was spiked with acid before the big game. The recordings were done on the field at Ralph Wilson Stadium by Frank Dorritie (Dave Brubeck, Wynton Marsalis, Phantom of the Opera) and the aforementioned Skywalker Studio by Leslie Ann Jones (Apocalypse Now, Requiem for a Dream, Gears of War 2).
FANFARE features trumpets, tubas, mellophones, euphoniums, and trombones, with the ability to play them as solo instruments as well as ensembles.
Five microphone placements are available with the ability to choose between the stadium and the scoring stage.
The most unique thing FANFARE offers is the ability to manipulate these samples using its unusual built-in effects. Aspiring sound designers will be the ones having the field day when they get to tweak and toy with these controls.
This library requires Kontakt and needs 2GB of free hard drive space. FANFARE will cost you a total of $300.
Pros: perfect for sound design
Cons: not suitable for realistic scoring
Find out more about Fanfare here.
We couldn’t finish off our ensemble portion of recommended brass without throwing a couple of freebies your way, so here’s the first!
Fanan Team’s Brassinematic is a synthesizer which aims to recreate classic analog synth brass sounds. It offers you a saxophone, trumpet, trombone, and French horn, with the ability to combine all of these for ensembles.
Its built-in effects include reverb, saturation, chorus, phaser, delay, and an EQ filter which places different parts of your ensembles into different frequency bands.
Brassinmatic is a stand-alone VST plugin and 4GB of RAM is the only the recommended requirement. And of course, it won’t cost you a dime.
Pros: its free!
Cons: the flimsiest sounds on our list
Find out more about Brassinematic here.
To round off the ensemble portion of our list we have another free plug-in, DSK Brass. These sounds are perfect for aspiring composers looking to hone their scoring chops and still afford some pork chops for dinner.
It gives you the ability to play 23 instruments including a flugelhorn, multiple saxophones, trumpets, tubas, trombones, French horns, and the ability to combine all of these for ensembles. It has a pleasantly simple GUI and contains built-in delay and flanger effects.
DSK Brass is a completely free stand-alone VST plug-in which only requires 37 MB of disk space.
Pros: best sounding free brass VST
Cons: not suitable for professional scoring
Find out more about DSK Brass here.
This concludes the portion of the article about Brass VST sample libraries.
Now I will focus mainly on specific instruments that you can also get, like Saxophone, Trombone, etc.
Audio Modeling’s SWAM saxophones offers you a library of such realistic sax playing even Bleeding Gums Murphy himself wouldn’t bat an eyelid. These sounds wouldn’t be out of place heard coming from the speakers connected to the big screen or pouring out of some trendy jazz club.
Alto, tenor, baritone, and soprano are all up for grabs, with features like breath noise, overblow, and flutter tongue all available. It also allows flexible vibrato and reverb for you to play around with.
SWAM Saxophones is a stand-alone plug-in available as a VST, AU, or AAX. Its sounds have an impressively small file size of 276 MB. These sultry saxes will set you back $250.
Pros: excellently recorded sounds
Cons: GUI takes a bit of practice to get the feel of
Find out more about SWAM Saxophones here.
Studio Series Fire Trumpet
For those of you who long for Luis Armstrong to appear in your brilliant but brass-bare song, 8DIO’s Studio Series Fire Trumpet will satisfy your desire. Its sounds are versatile and capable of multiple genres, from soul to salsa.
These samples were recorded and mixed in a dry fashion, giving you the most natural trumpet sound for you to sculpt to your desire. Its GUI has a smart and clear look and feel to it, no flashy gimmicks just the essentials.
With more than 2700 samples and 47 articulations, you’re sure to get into your groove in no time.
Fire Trumpet is available to run on Kontakt. This honourable horn will set you back $48.
Pros: good quality for a fair price
Cons: not really suited for classical composers
Find out more about Studio Series Fire Trumpet here.
The Trombone 3
SampleModeling’s The Trombone has sounds that would mainly suit those in classical composition. It’s a surprisingly powerful tool that may at first glance appear to be another throw away piece of brass (due to its GUI), its samples reveal itself to be anything but.
On offer are 2 tenors, a valve, and a bass trombone with ensemble options available for all. It also includes the ability to play these muted or with a plunger effect which gives off a wah-wah vibe. Its strong point is the actual sounds themselves, these trombones were recorded in a good room with good microphones.
The Trombone requires Kontakt and takes up 720 MB. SampleModeling have made their trombone available to you for $193.
Pros: samples were recorded with expertise
Cons: outdated GUI
Find out more about The Trombone 3 here.
Master Brass: Tubas
Maybe you need a tubist to add some triumphant stride to your scores, look no further than the solo tubas from Auddict’s Master Brass. These sounds were masterfully recorded with ribbon and large diaphragm condenser microphones, in what you can immediately tell was a room with gorgeous acoustics.
It includes 5 microphone positions, including the standout woodwind spots option, which allows you to blend in the microphone bleed from the woodwind instruments position in the orchestra. Its GUI is neat and organized, with an emphasis on ease of use. This library achieved its realism with the decision to record numerous chords, instead of just individual notes to be layered on top of each other.
This set of samples requires the Kontakt player and needs at least 10.12 GB of storage. The price tag on these virtual tubas is $100.
Pros: great sound for this price range
Cons: not suitable for jazz
Find out more about Master Brass: Tubas here.
Lastly, we’re going to give you a recommendation for recordings of the trumpets beefy older brother, the flugelhorn.
The vibe is huge with this hip little German flug, as Ueberschall give you intimate recordings of virtuoso Gary Winters (Fred Wesley, Bootsy Collins and Clark Terry). This library is intended for jazz enthusiasts, particularly of the classic jazz variety.
The sounds are presented dry to allow maximum DAW tweaking capabilities, with 700 samples and loops available to you to pluck and choose as you like. It also comes with built-in features like reverse, resample, formant, and a multi-mode filter.
This virtual flugelhorn requires 976 MB disk space and runs on Ueberschall’s Elastik player, which is available for free download. The cost of these smooth sounds is only $60.
Pros: fantastic recordings of an excellent player
Cons: limited feature wise compared to others on our list
Find out more about Ueberschall Flugelhorn here.
I wrote dozens of articles about other instrument libraries which you may find useful, so here are a couple of them:
- Bass VST sample libraries
- Guitar VST Sample Libraries
- Strings VST Sample Libraries
- 600+ VST plugin list (huge list of the best free and paid plugins and sample libraries)
If you’re looking for a complete Brass sample library, then I would recommend Hollywood Brass simply because of how cost efficient it is (there’s no need to spend $700-$900 if you can get this one, especially if you’re just starting out).
If, on the other hand, you’re looking for a specific instrument, take your pick from the ones I listed or check the post I just linked about the 600+ VST Plugins/sample libraries, since there are dozens of free ones you could use as well!
I hope this information was useful and as always, have a wonderful day!