I have been working a little with BiggaGigga\'s Bigga Orchestral Brass, and wanted to share my experiences.
The basics: It\'s a simple four-instrument set, one instrument per disc, Trumpet, Horn, Bone, and Tuba. Articulations include four-deep legato, staccato, mutes, trills, flutters (both valve and tongue where applicable). Since each player was sampled twice (giving you two disparate instruments of the same player/horn), you could even do some creative mapping and arrive at an eight-layer deep sample on each instrument. For you tweakers out there, there\'s a lot to play with in BOB.
Being a trumpet player myself, I am keenly aware of the limitations of sampling brass. Even if your sample were 32 layers deep, you\'re scratching the surface of the variety of tones a brass instrument will produce. So, I believe the more brass samples you can grab for your bag of tricks, the better off you are.
I like BOB. All instruments are recorded with a pair of 414s, which is a rather retro mic choice but a good one. I used to use my 414 all the time for trumpet tracks, and have been enamoured lately of more modern mic designs, and BOB reminds me that I really like 414s on solo horns. I would describe the overall sound as warm and intimate, but not overly close. These samples take reverb VERY well, and their warmth helps even the built-in Giga reverb sound nice. This warmth also gives BOB a definite niche, and although I haven\'t yet had the opportunity to try this, I believe this collection will really sound great in smaller, less fully orchestral settings as well.
My favorite instrument in the collection is the trombone, a nice round tone with good attacks...matter of fact, with better attacks than I initially thought. A perfect example of why just playing through a sample set will sometimes mislead a person. Ya\' gotta make some music to really tell. I was able to realize a fairly tight bone part with the legato patch, something I wasn\'t expecting to be able to do. The horn is rather bold and up front, which will work well in a variety of settings. The tuba has a nice bottom end, a little less facile than the Dan Dean tuba in terms of note-to-note, but a great warm tone nonetheless...one worth having.
Probably, in the way of comparisons (which I HATE doing, but in this case I think it\'s valuable), the tones in BOB are a little more expansive than those in either QL Brass or DDSB. That\'s not a negative thing, actually it makes all the more case for BOB finding a place in people\'s sample collections. I absolutely love the enharmonic valve flutters, they\'re wonderful and useful.
As far as the trumpet goes, BOB is a more sensitive kind of guy. You won\'t find paint-peeling fortissimos here, and the attacks are not the \"bricks of tone\" that you get with Vizzutti in the DDSB, but that\'s not a quality comparison as much as a musical description. Someone (it may have been Simon?), did a demo of a short JFK-like solo line and I thought it was extremely effective. There\'s a very intimate and somewhat tentative quality there which is musically very useful, and quite un-sample like.
The fantastic thing about BOB is that it\'s a great deal of useful stuff for a very reasonable amount of cash. Bigga Giggas has been quietly building up a sizeable catalog of \"more for less\" solutions for the sampling musician, and I believe BOB is their most impressive production yet.
A fabulous use I found was doubling with DDSB for ensembles. Since BOB is four-layer, and DDSB is eight layer, simply putting the two instruments on linked ports yielded a varying juxtaposition of samples. BOB being quite intimate, and DDSB being a little more distant and \"aloof,\" you wouldn\'t think this would work well, but with a little EQ and panning--BOOM, there it was. I have only done it with the trumpets so far, but I was excited enough by the possibilities to really want to try more when I have the opportunity. As it stands right now, I\'m humping to get a score completed for Henry IV, and I don\'t have much time for my own pursuits. One thing I\'ll be trying immediately is mixing up different QL, DD, and BOB sections to find effective combinations.
All in all, I think BOB is very well worth the money BiggaGiggas is asking, and that it is much more than an entry-level product--which people may assume given the price. I am a heavy user of both DDSB and QL Brass, and I have found it to be another set of very usable and contrasting tones from either of those.
As I said in the beginning, you just cannot have enough brass samples in a collection, especially if you don\'t have access to live players. These are more good ones to have. Congratulations Worra and BiggaGiggas.