Caspian by Performance Samples Review

PHOTOGRAPHY, FILM SCORE AND MOTION

Caspian by Performance Samples Review

Thursday, 7 December 2017 Performance Samples Virtual Instrument 0

Caspian by Performance Samples is a marvelous brass library. Performance Samples has done it again: Composer have now access to another very playable brass library for their template.  Caspian includes three patches: Six French Horns, Three Bass Trombones, and Three Trumpets, a very usable size for a brass section.

Overview of Caspian:

  • Three individual sections: 6 French horns, 3 trumpets, and 3 bass trombones
  • Three dynamic layers (two on French horns), from moderately soft to FFF
  • Up to 5 RR releases on trumpets
  • Attacks and releases derived from performance phrases
  • Short, fast-tongued release samples which react to note length
  • Featuring Capellen Orchestra, Recorded in an ambient hall* with Close, Decca, and Wide mic positions (48kHz / 24bit)
  • Built for Kontakt 5.5.1 and above – full, retail version of Kontakt required, NCW-compressed, ~1.16 GB total

Compared to other libraries the number of instruments first sounds limiting, but it is not really an issue for many compositions. If required most composers have general speaking access to more brass library in their template.

Installation
After purchase, you receive a download code that you have to use in the Continuata Connect tool (See video below). The Continuata can crash as you see in the video below but recovers when started again. 

Sound
Caspian is very playable and musical. You can play each instrument from moderately soft to very loud. Use the mod wheel (CC1), if you find the tone to soft.

Caspian does not incorporate legato patches like many other brass libraries. Legato is addressed through samples from actual performances which are used and resulting in a lifelike original sound.

You have access to three mic recordings (Close, Decca, and Wide) which you can mix in and pan on the main interface. You can also route the mic channels separately out of Kontakt into your DAW. The instruments have been recorded in the same hall as Fluid Shorts.

User interface & Usability

This brass library is very playable and triggers the right articulation as you play, which is extremely convenient. In other brass libraries, you are used to selecting articulations or have to switch between sustain and shorts. This brass instrument follows a different approach, just play and based on how long you press the keys you get the sound you want. Overall the Interface is straightforward and clean. Through the UI you can positively use the brass instruments as many decisions are taken away from the musician and done within the scripting behind the library. Caspian can be your perfect sketching tool for brass, however, the included French Horns, Three Bass Trombones, and Three Trumpets are also a final instrument for your composition.

The natural playability is even more present when you go back to other libraries which do not support the natural playability and require to use key switches or other midi commands.

Performance Samples has issued a statement when using this library in Apple’s Logic: “This library can cause CPU spikes with Logic, although this seems to be alleviated when running the library in Vienna Ensemble PRO. The CPU spikes appear to happen when Logic is in “realtime mode” while one is playing in a figure / has a track armed. Caspian should be avoided if you are a Logic user who doesn’t use Vienna Ensemble PRO.

At this point, there are no plans for a fix, considering the complexity of the patches and testing so far.

Rating:  Five out of five stars
Caspian is a powerful and lush sounding brass library. Caspian is as Performance Samples other libraries and easy-to-use, all-encompassing instrument. Even at a low GAS level, this is an It is instant buy you will love.  What makes Caspian and Performance Samples libraries overall so great? Caspian and the other libraries from Performance Samples are extremely playable and do not ask you to manage the tone and articulations through complicated keystrokes and midi commands. As with other Performance Samples libraries Jasper and team have cracked the nut to adopt a library to your playing style without you needing to change your style to what the library requires.