Crudebyte caused quite a stir back in August 2014 when their iSymphonic Orchestra app was launched. The app’s blurb promised a lot and, while the sounds in the initial release were most certainly very impressive, it perhaps wasn’t until the first update for the app appeared a few months later, that it perhaps started to deliver on the obvious potential of the sample playback engine.
Crudebyte have obviously put some considerable work into the sample playback engine that iSymphonic Orchestra is built upon and, quite understandably, have been keen to make good use of that engine for other sample-based virtual instruments. So, as I mentioned a back in December 2014, Oriental Strings was added to the line up using the same app framework, but featuring a different sample set. Their iCathedral Organ is in the same vein and also sounds very good indeed.
A new Crudebyte iOS music app arrived on the App Store yesterday – Heavy Brass – and, as the title suggests, this brings a virtual brass section to your iPad. I’m sure the underlying sample playback engine has a lot in common with iSymphonic Orchestra but Heavy Brass brings a rather nice new element to that via some very ‘brass-like’ on-screen switches, that enable you to move between the different sound patches and performance articulations rather than having to select different presets from a menu system.
This is, I think, a very welcome move as it is much more like the ‘key-switching’ approach used in the more powerful desktop sample-based platforms such as NI’s Kontakt. I suspect it does mean a somewhat different approach under the hood (it may require more samples to be pre-loaded into memory?) but it certainly makes creating a performance easier as you can switch between performance articulations as you play. It will be interesting to see if Crudebyte re-visit their other orchestral apps to add this option.
Anyway, I’ll do a full review of the new app early next week (including a comparison with the obvious competition; iFretless Brass, although the two apps are different in a number of ways) but, having spent a little time with it yesterday, it does sound very good indeed. The sounds are impressive and, while they perhaps most obviously suit an orchestral context, you could easily make them work in a soul, funk or R’n’B production with appropriate performances/processing applied.
Audiobus and IAA support are included along with MIDI support. The app will apparently run on anything from iOS5.1.1 or later (iOS7 or later for Audiobus). It is a 250MB download and is iPad-only. It worked well during my own testing on my iPad Pro.
If you are tempted, then the launch pricing might seal the deal; for a limited time the app is 50% off what will become the usual price so you can pick up a copy for just UK£7.99. Given the quality of the sounds this strikes me as a pretty good deal…..
Doug over at thesoundtestroom has already done a neat demo of Heavy Brass if you want to hear some of the sounds in action.