Review - Output - Analog Brass & Winds

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In this article I will be reviewing Analog Brass & Winds, the latest virtual instrument from the groundbreaking music production company Output. I will also be showcasing how I have utilised the instrument into the latest release from the Becquerel project.

Since their first instrument REV was released in 2013, Output have carved a reputation for inspiring, innovative and engaging virtual instruments. Each product Output have released has pushed the boundaries of sound design and warped what we have come to expect from a given sound palette.

The latest instrument to be added to the Output range is Analog Brass & Winds - the instrument features 30GB of content from a range of sources including 18 piece brass and wind sections, legendary synths and a creative category which includes more abstract sounds processed through effects pedals and manipulated in experimental ways. To get you started Output have included 500 presets and the rich tapestry of sounds and sonic possibilities showcased here is mind-blowing. The instrument can be utilised as a pad, a lead line, arpeggiator and for those working in more abstract and ambient genres you can create and manipulate evolving and progressive atmospheres.

The Main Window

For those wanting to manipulate and create their own settings, the user interface is well presented. The main screen allows the user to quickly adjust 4 parameters using a series of sliders and you can assign these parameters yourself when making patches, while the presets come ready assigned so you can develop your own patches straight away. As you delve deeper, the edit window allows individual adjustments to the sound sources including ADSR, tuning, panning, stereo width and flutter.

The Edit Window

The FX window enables you to apply a range of built in effects on each of the audio source layers, and globally to the patch as a whole.

The FX Window

The rhythm window allows you to customise modulation settings to create movement and comes with some preset rhythms that can be used until you are more familiar with the interface and creating your own.

The Rhythm Window

Finally, the arp window allows you to experiment with applying arpeggiators to your patches. Alongside the rhythm window, this can help to create movement in your patches and is particularly useful for melodic lines and lead synths.

The Arp Window

To put the instrument to the test I have been working on a cover of the Feeder track Children Of The Sun for my Becquerel project with vocalist and songwriter Lauren Davey. When working as Becquerel the aim is to take indie rock tracks and reimagine them in a darker, downbeat context experimenting with interesting soundscapes, sound design, movement and progression. Here is the track for you to listen to:

In the track you can hear numerous instances of Analog Brass & Winds being used to sculpt a range of sounds, here is an insight into a few examples of how it has been used:

Main Pad:
this instance makes use of the creative sound sources with a rustling underscore giving a creepy atmosphere while the use of the inbuilt effects creates an evolving swarm.
Chorus Arp: using a synth and a creative sound source, this arpeggiated single note helps more the chorus forward.
Traditional Pad: layered alongside the experimental main pad, this more traditional wind based pad helps provide a contrast to the other sounds chosen and assists in subtly building up the track as it progresses.
Flutter Pad: again the flutter pad focusses on the more traditional based sources but adds some movement, this is particularly effective in lifting the second half of the breakdown section before the climax of the end chorus.

Overall Output have created an ambitious virtual instrument using a hybrid of traditional orchestral sound sources and electronic manipulated audio. Analog Brass & Winds has uses across a range of applications from cinematic scores, electronic genres and more experimental sound design projects and its NKS ready meaning it will integrate smoothly with the industry standard Native Instruments software and hardware.

If you'd like to find out more about Output, the range of virtual instruments they offer, and their new studio desk visit: