RealiTone offer several specialist sample-based virtual instruments and the latest release — Screaming Trumpet — is no exception. There are, of course, lots of brass/trumpet libraries available, but the ‘screaming’ bit suggests that, in this case, we are not dealing with some conventional orchestral take on the instrument. The library requires the full version of Kontakt and is built upon 2.25GB of sample data. Supplying the sound was American jazz trumpeter Wayne Bergeron, whose playing you will undoubtedly have heard in soundtracks including The Incredibles, Despicable Me, Frozen and Toy Story 3; this man can play and, yes, he can make a trumpet scream.
At its heart, Screaming Trumpet is a conventionally structured multi-sampled virtual instrument with articulation keyswitching. However, what perhaps sets it apart from the majority of solo trumpet libraries out there is the colourful nature of the playing and the diverse and very expressive range of performance articulations. Indeed, you get eight sustain-based articulations, some 14 ‘swell’ articulations and a combination of over 40 articulations with different start/attack and release styles. Rips, falls, growls, shakes, grace note attacks, flutters, scoops, bends, slurs, swells... well, you get the general idea. Indeed, there are so many that there is a dedicated panel for you to configure which articulations you want to lay out across your MIDI keyboard. The other neat thing is that some of the keyswitches do the conventional thing and ‘hold’ the articulation until another keyswitch is triggered, but others are temporary and only trigger their articulation while held. In addition, there are also some ‘repeat’ keys that make it easier to play successive notes of the same pitch.
So does Screaming Trumpet scream? Well, yes, it can, but it is also suitable for more soulful playing and the legato system works pretty smoothly. There is a good range of tonal/timbre dynamics as you up the MIDI velocity and you can also select between seven different global timbre/tone settings to suit your needs. Thankfully, things certainly do start to get nice and raspy (screaming!) when you play hard. However, what’s particularly impressive is when you start to work in those performance articulations as there are enough options here to really add character to a performance. With a bit of practice, you could create some very convincing solo trumpet parts even when sat in a relatively spare mix.
OK, Screaming Trumpet is something of a niche product but, if you want a characterful solo trumpet in a playable VI, then RealiTone’s take is well worth a look. And while the full price might put it beyond some potential purchasers if required only for occasional use, at the time of writing, it also happens to be available at the discounted price of $99. This is an excellent addition to the RealiTone catalogue with a cool but very appropriate title.