Crudebyte have a number of orchestral iOS music apps now available including their flagship iSymphonic Orchestra which was updated a couple of months or so ago to include support for the AUv3 plugin format (along with a further update to refine that AU support). One of their other apps is Heavy Brass, which I reviewed this time last year when it was first released. Containing a collection of quite detailed, sample-based, brass instruments and sections, this is undoubtedly a bit of a niche app but the sounds themselves were very good with a powerful presence.
The app itself is 16-part multi-timbral within the obvious bounds of the total polyphony and that itself depends upon the generation of your iPad hardware with up to 140 voices available on the latest iPad models. Audiobus, IAA, MIDI and Jack Audio Connectivity are all supported as are use of external MIDI keyboards and background audio. You also get a very respectable reverb as found in iSymphonic Orchestra.
Heavy Brass itself was updated itself at the end of October taking the app to v.1.1.1 and, while it added some minor fixes, updates for more recent versions of iOS itself, refinements to the sound set and support for Bluetooth LE MIDI (providing you have suitable hardware), perhaps it was slightly surprising that it didn’t bring the same AU support seen in iSymphonic.
Well, Crudebyte were back on the App Store yesterday with a further update to Heavy Brass – v.1.2.2 – and (yay!) this does bring the Audio Units support. I’ve given this a very quick spin this morning within AUM and it seems to be working very well. I had no issues running multiple instances or routing MIDI in data to the app from an external MIDI keyboard. As with iSymphonic, you get a much simplified UI when used in AU mode. Obviously, the downside of that with Heavy Brass is that you lose the option for quickly switching between patches on the fly that the full-screen UI of the app offers although, presumably, if you have a means to send MIDI program Change commands to the app, then you can work around this issue should you need to.
Of course, at UK£14.99/US$19.99, Heavy Brass is perhaps not in the casual purchase category for the occasional use but, if you are holiday bargain hunting, you will find that it is currently 30% off that price for a limited time; get in there quick :-)
Heavy Brass might not be every brass sound you need but, for some more aggressive brass styles – including the funk, pop or soul Crudebyte mention in the app’s description – I think this is a pretty good deal. At the fairly focused range of sounds that it does, Heavy Brass is as good as it gets under iOS at this point…. and with the new AU support, you can, of course, run as many instances of the app as your hardware will support. Hats off to Crudebyte for taking the AU plunge with another of their iOS apps….
Doug over at thesoundtestroom did a neat demo of initial Heavy Brass release if you want to hear some of the sounds in action.