Brass and Percussion...which do you prefer? I'm kinda leaning to ProjectSam at the moment because it doesn't have any annoying copyprotection (please correct me if I'm wrong).
I have GS3 and Kontak2 and I really would like to get the most out of those two programs, get my moneys worth, so would prefer just library and no built-in player. But if the quality of sounds is big enough to warrant adding the Vienna instruments, well I guess its not that big a deal.
I have KH emerald, and though its a great library it could use some supplementing, especially in the percussion dept. (any news on ruby?)
I'm a Mac guy (DP), but have a GigaPC, and an athlon laptop for Kontakt (plus two more G5s and a Macbook Pro). So the canvas and brushes are ready I just need some more paint.
I can't comment much on Vienna Instruments, but after having done battle with the Performance Tool in the excellent Epic Horns, Vienna going the way they did with VI seems much more sensible.
ProjectSAM True Strike is great for percussion, I would definately recommend it.
ProjectSAM Orch Brass is very good.. the Solo Sessions part is amazing.. I found the SAM section Horns somewhat underwhelming personally though I know others love them.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, I don't own but have fooled around with Sonivox (Sonic Implants) Brass and found it had excellent sections (loved the bells-up 6 horns section) but ProjectSAM beats it hands down for solos. A very expensive library but worth the cost.
Another player is Westgate, which is releasing the instruments one at a time.. Their Horns DVD is supposedly coming very soon. The demos they have of their solo horns from the release are great so I'm excited about their section horns.
The solo horn download from Westgate is quite nice. The repetition samples are especially great. There are two legato instruments - one that extends the soft dynamics and the other that reaches into the loudest dynamics. I believe each has five dynamic layers that are spaced closely enough that you simply don't hear jumps between layers.
One thing I really like about the legato instrument is that it can have a very realistic "stumbly" feel. Let me explain...
When you play a horn on a given note the whole instrument vibrates at that pitch. When you open or close a valve the horn takes a moment to stop the previous tone and build up the new tone from end to end. You don't notice it too much on slow melodies, but fast melodies "stumble" a bit because of this natural delay.
Anyway, when you play the legato instrument quickly, you can hear some of this effect. It makes it feel like the player is really working hard at their craft, rather than like some chap banged out a melody on the keyboard.
Of course, you can select a non-legato patch if you prefer the faster reacting, keyboard-sample sound.
Just as important as the articulations is the sound, which is quite good and has a huge range. The talent of the player shows, as the pitches are stable, the attacks are consistent and the notes are solid from low to high.
I can't wait for the DVD, which will include the ensembles. Layering the solo with the ensembles should be especially magical!
I have both the Vienna Instruments brass libraries and I find them to be really incredible. The sheer number of articulations plus the multiple speed legatos and repetitions are just a joy to work with. Really outstanding sound quality and sample performers as well. Can't say enough good things about the VI brass.
I only have the old VSL brass (pre-Vienna Instruments), and don't care for it that much. It's too bright and brittle, and like all VSL instruments, there's a big gap between mf and forte dynamics. I find it most useful for effects (swells and so on) which are very strong. I far prefer the SAM brass libraries.
On the percussion front, VSL (again, older version) offers a fantastic variety of exotic sounds, and some solid contenders for the basics. I only have SAM True Strike 2 on the percussion front, which I'm still evaluating.