Best Brass VST Plugins – 2020 Picks

Brasses are one of those game-changer instruments.

No matter how much you want to hide them, they always find a way to place themselves in the front.

And because of their expressiveness, it wasn’t so long ago that it was almost impossible to imagine a decent software library for these instruments.

Our Top Picks for Brass VST Plugins

  • Most detailed brass library
  • 14 articulations per instrument
  • Solo and ensemble presets
View Latest Price →
  • Huge brass sample library
  • Realistic articulations
  • Wonderful Convolution Reverb
View Latest Price →
  • Physical Modelling synthesis
  • 500 MIDI phrases
  • Small storage space footprint
View Latest Price →

Comparison Chart of the Best Brass VST Plugins

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Most detailed brass library
  • 8,000 samples and up to 14 different articulations per instrument
  • Solo and ensemble presets
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Huge sample-based VST of all brass instruments
  • Real-life runs, falls, and trills
  • Wonderful Convolution Reverb
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Physical Modelling synthesis
  • 500 MIDI genre-specific phrases
  • Small storage space footprint
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Recreation of Roland Jupiter-8
  • 32-voice polyphony and 4-voice Unison Mode
  • More than 500 patches
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Best library for contemporary music
  • 13 articulations per instrument
  • Saxophone and Clarinets included
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Mid-sized brass ensemble in 24-bit
  • 3 microphone positions
  • Morph Stacking feature
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Most advanced wavetable VST
  • 450 presets, 144 wavetables and 90 filters
  • Stand-alone effects mode
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Hybrid synth, brass, and wind instrument plugin
  • Dual-layer engine with 4 custom macro sliders
  • More than 500 record-ready presets
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews

When Would I Use a Brass VST?

While you may already have some ideas about using them, here’s a small reminder of most usual situations:

Vintage Music

Old music had a lot of brasses in their arrangement. Whether you’re about to bring the soul of James Brown or compose some smooth jazz piece, brasses will come really handy. They can sound both upbeat or warm and touching and once used for either themes or backing tracks, they can bring an instant vibe of old times.

Cinematic

Whenever you need to create a grand finale of your soundtrack or accent any dramatic or tense situation, brasses can really help you out. We can’t imagine a blockbuster soundtrack without a brass instrument on it. They can create an effect of shock or hit and will draw the attention of the audience and glue them to the screen. 

Electronic Music

Modern music found a way to use brass in many ways. Besides combining funk with pop music, hard rock and electronic music have utilized synth brass sounds in many forms. One of the latest “tricks” is the use of long low-end brass sound that almost every song in trap genre has. It really moves the ground, especially on big PA systems.

How Do I Choose a Brass Plugin?

Here are some tips on how you can choose a Brass VST for your real needs:

Define a Genre

Brass sound character varies a lot depending on the music genre you’re about to compose. That’s why you should be aware of genres you’re interested in because classical-oriented brass won’t fit funk music well.

Solo or Ensemble?

It may easily happen that you just need a solo trumpet for your jazz project. In that case, you won’t need a full ensemble that would cost you a lot more or vice versa. Solo instruments will also probably have more expressive and detailed articulations while ensembles may provide you with the power you expect from such instruments.

Needless to say, unless you’re about to purchase a premium software, some may excel in one or another area while others will be there just to “fill the gap”.

CPU Power

Sample-based libraries may take too much storage space and require a lot of RAM memory to work properly. That’s why plugins based on physical modulation synthesis would work better for you as they can take up even twenty times less space and wouldn’t even have any significant benefit from SSD.

Review of the Best Brass VST Plugins

Here’s what we found to be the best Brass VST options on offer:

PROS

  • Solo and ensemble presets
  • 8.000 samples for every instrument
  • 5 different mute controls simulated
  • The most detailed brass library on the market
  • French Tuba, Sousaphone, and Euphonium included

CONS

  • Might be expensive
  • Steep learning curve

Features and Specifications

This extended collection contains an additional three low-range brass instruments over the nine from the original software. You have a selection of three different Trumpets, Trombones, and French Horns all played by a trained professional player.

Every instrument has around 8.000 samples and up to 14 different articulations recorded and all samples were perfectly aligned in phase. You can one of the 40 convolution spaces along with dozens of body impulse responses. While being detailed it could be also considered as a space-saver as well, because all five mute variants are simulated instead of being sampled.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Instruments sampled in this software are captured with an incredible level of detail. Legato offset slider allows you full control of the portamento. We especially like how they recorded every instrument individually so that you have the cleanest sound source possible and then mixed up.

Also, quite often you tend to treat your trumpets differently from other brasses. That’s why Full Brass Orchestra preset without Trumpets may come really handy.

And if you may don’t have a budget for a complete offer, there is not just Standard but also a Compact version that provides you with the same samples of the most essential articulations while cutting the cost in half.

PROS

  • Solo, duo and ensemble sections
  • Advanced convolution reverb built-in
  • Real-life runs, trills, special effects, falls, clusters included
  • Various articulations captured with the round-robin system
  • Highly detailed sample-based library of all brass instruments

CONS

  • Huge storage space requirements
  • Not impressed by user interface design and organization

Features and Specifications

The Diamond version of this library provides you with 150GB of 24-bit samples and five microphone positions that can be balanced to your personal taste. It contains a huge sample collection of trumpets, tubas, french horns, cimbasso, and both tenor and bass trombones captured in many articulations that are using the round-robin sample picking system and were recorded in several dynamic ranges.

They also recorded several trills and runs that are often used in real-life situations while repetitions were samples at different speeds so they could match any project tempo without noticeable sample stretching.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is the only sample library that comes with more than provides you not just solo and ensemble but dual instrument version as well. We salute how they treated repetitions so both short and legato repetitions were recorded individually.

EastWest is also well known for creating wonderful impulse responses for their convolution reverb VST effect and you can use a huge portion of them within this software.

And just in case this may be out of your budget, there is a Gold version that will offer you the same samples but without 24-bit support and 5 microphone position options.

​Best for the Money:
Arturia Brass 2

PROS

  • 500 MIDI phrases in various genres
  • Unique physical modeling brass plugin
  • Trumpet, Trombone, and Saxophone inside
  • Incredibly small storage space requirements
  • 4 attack and vibrato types with Humanization feature

CONS

  • Saxophone is not that convincing
  • Unbalanced volume levels of presets

Features and Specifications

This software emulates the sound of trumpet, trombone, and saxophone through extensive scientific research called physical modeling. There are 4 attack and vibrato types to pick from including mute for trumpet and trombones and growl for saxophone.

But, in general, it works in two modes. LIVE mode allows you realtime playing by controlling various sound and expression parameters by MIDI controls.

RIFF mode provides you with hundreds of pre-recorded phrases in various genres. Every phrase can be used by up to four instruments and they are completely editable.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Most of the brass VSTs are using the sampled-based approach. Arturia decided to go a different way and utilize physical modeling synthesis. They managed to capture the sound and behavior of the real instrument by using some really complex algorithmic calculations. This way you can have a decent and affordable library that won’t eat up all your memory and storage space.

And just in case you don’t have inspiration or you’re new to brass scoring, you’re going to love RIFF mode as it will give you quite a decent headstart as all genres are covered and you can edit those phrases in every possible way.

​Best Synth Brass VST:
Arturia Jup-8 V

PROS

  • More than 500 patches
  • Pair of voice-level and patch-level effects
  • Perfect recreation of original Roland Jupiter-8
  • Enhanced by advanced LFO and sequencer mode
  • 32-voice of polyphony including 4-voice Unison mode

CONS

  • Very basic effect panel
  • Lack of CPU optimization

Features and Specifications

Arturia Jup-8 V is a modern copy of Roland Jupiter-8, an iconic analog synthesizer from the 1980s. Everything was re-created to look and sound as close as possible. Features and user interface are organized in the same layout and the filters are the same as in the original - HPF 12dB and 24dB.

Arturia also took a step forward here and there, so polyphony is raised up to 32. Additional features such as a sequencer panel are also added as well as an interesting Galaxy panel - a mod where you can combine various LFOs.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Once you turn it on the design should tell you what’s this plugin all about. While it looks the same as the real Jupiter-8 it does much more than the original one. If the Galaxy and Sequencer panel is not enough, the bare idea of having advanced 32-voice and 4-voice Unison polyphony should be enough. It’s like having a four Jupiter-8 combined!

Speaking of sound, this is probably as close as the software can go. There may be some minor differences in sound due to the difference in audio converters used on the original piece of hardware, but honestly, you shouldn’t bother too much about it.

PROS

  • 13 articulations per instrument
  • Saxophone and Clarinets included, too
  • Best contemporary library of horns ensemble
  • Presets categorized in 4 eras with noise filter applied
  • Scalable ensemble section with up to 10 players per instrument

CONS

  • Premium precise might be a problem
  • Phrase generator would be welcomed a lot

Features and Specifications

Mojo 2 contains thirteen different brass and reed instruments packed in thirteen different articulations for every instrument. Presets are organized by era so you can choose between Vintage 1 (1920-1930), Vintage 2 (1940-1950), Retro (1960-1970) with Noise slider that will add up the usual vibe of recordings from that period.

Every instrument has an editable ensemble size from one to ten players. Effect panel is very detailed - you can add up to nine different effects such as tape saturator, compressor, and cabinet, just to name a few.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is the best offer for anyone who is looking to apply brass sound to the regular song structure. It will fit any kind of music you’re into - mainstream pop, jazz, soul or funk. And the sound is just top-notch, so don’t be surprised that you won’t need to record real horns eventually.

Presets were carefully designed so they match the usual arrangement environment for such songs so you can focus more on melodies and less about technical nuances. We especially like the optional Era Noise slider that will add the traditional “hiss” to the certain epoch sound you’re trying to recreate.

​Best Cinematic Brass VST:
Musical Sampling Adventure Brass

PROS

  • 3 microphone positions available
  • Intelligent Morph Stacking feature
  • Solo Trumpet overlay mode available
  • Very useful Humanization and To Silence feature
  • Detailed 24-bit library of mid-sized brass ensemble

CONS

  • Requires full version of Kontakt
  • No “true” solo instruments content provided

Features and Specifications

This library patch structure is organized based on instrument type and dynamic range so we have crossfade and velocity patches for horns, trumpets, trombones, and tuba instruments with corresponding articulations including humanization and Trumpet true repetitions feature.

All patches were recorded in 24-bit and 48kHz, using a traditional seating format. Those samples are available in close, room, or mixed microphone positions and come in storage-friendly NCW format that takes only 6.3 GB of space and it’s compatible with full Kontakt versions starting from 5.5.1 version.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Unlike other sample-based libraries, Adventure Brass uses Morph Stacking feature to get rid of the usual key switch triggering. This improves the composing process a lot as it allows you to focus more on playing and less about what type of articulation you need to trigger at what point. This can help a lot to people who are not so deep into musical scoring technicalities.

Mid-size brass ensemble seems to be an all-around solution that doesn’t trade power for harmonic clarity. This will work pretty well for any cinematic scoring where dramatic arrangement requires from brasses to sound clean instead of being loud.

​Best Trap Brass VST:
xFer Serum

PROS

  • Effects can be used stand-alone
  • Drag and drop modulation system
  • The most advanced wavetable soft-synth
  • Create your own wavetables by importing audio
  • 450 presets, 144 wavetables and 90 filters included

CONS

  • Step sequencer is missing
  • Wavetable synthesis might be complex for newbies

Features and Specifications

This plugin provides you with advanced wavetable synthesis and comes with hundreds of presets, wavetables, and filters. It also allows you to import your own wavetables.

Modulation system works by a simple drag and drop method - you simply drag element A to the element B and your modulation is good to go.

Effect panel follows the rest of the software. It’s advanced and effect order can be organized in any way you would like. As a matter of fact, you can use it as a dedicated instance on the other tracks as well.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Xfer Serum Interface is all about being intuitive and fast-paced. It makes wavetable synthesis as friendly as it gets. That’s why it’s capable of creating very complex sound designs and you’re going to love the possibility of adding wavetable details in your powerful low-end brass sounds. These small details can eventually lead you to your signature sound.

And just in case you need some textured pad with evolving sound or some haunting high-pitch mellow vibes to be sure that Serum can deliver it all. It works well for any kind of special effects as well, so don’t be surprised if you end up using this software everywhere.

​Best Brass VST FL Studio:
Output Analog Brass & Winds

PROS

  • Dual arpeggiator mode
  • More than 500 record-ready presets
  • FX section available per layer or global
  • Dual-layer engine with 4 custom macro sliders
  • Hybrid library of synths, brass, and wind instruments

CONS

  • Missing some in-depth editing options
  • Sonically designed for modern music only

Features and Specifications

This is a hybrid software made from brass and wind instruments combined with analog synth elements packed in 14GB of compressed sampled content containing more than five hundred presets.

The core structure is made in a form of dual-layer engine and powerful FX section and just like the effects, dual arpeggiator can also be layer-specific or global. Workflow is simplified thanks to the four macro knobs available at the front panel that can control various stuff depending on the preset you’re currently using.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This VST was definitely oriented to create something different than a traditional brass sample library. It had in mind contemporary producer mindset, especially those related to hip-hop and electronic music. It could work for creating backing tracks for trap music as well.

Everything about its user interface was designed to be fast-oriented and intuitive and it even included the help menu built-in along with the front panel which inexperienced music producers may appreciate a lot. Preset menu is equipped with smart tagging search features and all are capable to sync to your project tempo.

Are All Brass VST Plugins The Same?

While they may look the same at first, they are very different. Besides the obvious difference between synth and acoustic brass sound, acoustic brass sounds may excel in achieving jazz or classical sound.

Some will excel in providing you with the presets that are suitable for a more dramatic approach, like cinematic scoring, for example, while others will tend to focus on getting that instant soul or funk sound.

On top of that, some plugins will be using physical modulation instead of samples resulting in a smaller storage footprint and therefore, faster loading time which may be crucial for live performances.

Types of Brass VST Plugins

All brass VSTs derive in two major types - sample-based and modeling synthesis

Brass Ensemble

This is the most usual type of Brass VST plugin. They are made in various combinations. Some may fit the classical symphonic orchestra setup, while others may suit a big band or marching orchestra. They can also provide you with presets of different brass sections. But they all have one thing in common - they generate the sound of many brasses played together.

Solo Brass

Unlike the first category, these plugins are built in the form of brass played individually. It can provide you with the sounds of the trumpet, horn, trombone, tuba, or baritone. Some will include sub-variants that aren’t used so often such as Piccolo Trumpet or American Tuba or historical instruments such as.

Synth Brass

From the very dawn of the analog synthesizers, sound designers have tried to create a sound that would resemble a real brass sound. While it didn’t have so much in common with it, it surely made a distinctive sound that changed modern music history such as Roland Jupiter-8.

Conclusion

Brasses may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it’s undoubtedly the loudest part of every orchestra. That’s why we would recommend you to invest some time and learn how to use it properly because sooner or later you’re going to need one to make a difference for your music.

People Also Ask

There are several misconceptions regarding brass instruments. We think that although we were talking about software here and not real acoustic instruments you may have certain benefits if you understand the differences between saxophone, trombone, and trumpet and learn how to tell a difference between horn and brass sections.

Why Isn't the Saxophone Considered a Brass Instrument?

While saxophone is made of brass most of the time, they belong to woodwind instruments because the sound is generated from the reed and by covering different holes for a certain note. Brass instruments’ sound, on the other hand, is made from moving the player’s lips.

Are Horns and Brass the Same?

For most brass instruments, it could be said so. But, while the only few would actually complain, though, you should exclude trombone from this list because it’s a tubular and not conical instrument.

Horn sections are often found in modern music, especially in blues and funk bands.

What’s the Difference Between a Trombone and a Trumpet?

Trombone is bigger than a Trumpet and slightly more demanding to play. Trombones use a slide component to create different notes by moving it instead of pressing the valves on a trumpet. Also, the trombone sound pitch is lower than a trumpet and therefore its notation is written in bass clef.