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The video above is an audio sample of the horn samples from “Eastwest Hollywood Brass Gold Edition”. You can get the whole set on DVD for $549 on Amazon.com. This video is only of the horn(s); the whole set also has trumpets, trombone, and tuba. I have no idea how easy/hard it is to use these samples in electronic music composition, but my first thought in hearing this (just now, for the first time): as synths and samplers have been displacing live instruments for years, I was always convinced that they will never replace horns with electronic simulacrums; the fake versions always sound terrible, very fake (some instruments are easier to fake than others). But after hearing this, I have to admit: they’re getting closer. A lot closer.

Any horn player who listens very carefully or long can tell that these are samples, not live. But you might not get it in a quick, cursory listen to a piece done by an expert at using these samples. Scary. The reason these are so much better than before (I’m guessing) is that these samples have all kinds of different articulations, dynamics, extended techniques, and so on, so that a clever electronic composer could fool most listeners most (and probably all) of the time, especially if the sounds were embedded in an orchestral texture. Composers for horn, if you want to hear a version of your newly composed piece for horn ensemble (e.g.) that is pretty close to how it will really sound and you have $549 burning a hole in your pocket and you have time to learn how to use samples, Eastwest has something for you.

Anybody out there have experience with these or other samples like this?