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FORZO MODERN BRASS FROM HEAVYOCITY – Prepare yourself to get blown away!

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FORZO MODERN BRASS FROM HEAVYOCITY – Prepare yourself to get blown away!

There is always an expectant buzz of excited anticipation surrounding the release of a new Heavyocity product , and this case is no exception. The developers that brought us sample library classics such as Damage, Evolve, Aeon, DM307, Gravity and their very popular byte sized GP (Gravity Packs),, have in recent times turned their formidable sound design talents toward traditional orchestral sounds.

Naturally Heavyocity being who they are have addressed this genre with their usual brand of flair, punish and twist, I refer here of course to their very own effect treatment found within all their libraries and now available as an audio plug-in in it’s own right.

So far Heavyocity have succeeded in delivering the sounds we have come to know , expect love and even demand within this new direction, and have done so whilst combining their own take on more traditional orchestral instruments, and at the same time breathing some much needed new life into the somewhat staid orchestral sample library market.

The series began last year with Novo Modern Strings and subsequent Novo packs, and now continues with this latest flagship product, Forzo Modern Brass.

Tech Specs…

Running in either Kontakt 5.8 and above or the free Kontakt player, the NKS ready Forzo library will occupy 14.6Gb using lossless compression at 24bit 48kHz.

There are 15,294 samples, 9 NKI files and 250 Snapshots all working together to deliver Forzo’s three distinct sections, these being Traditional, the Brass Designer and the Brass Loop Designer.

The Sound of Forzo…

If you are not familiar with Heavyocity’s distinctive sound , then where have you been hiding?, joking aside there is little doubt that you will have heard their products (or style imitators) in one form or another within pretty much any big action film score or trailer in the past five years. That sense of the cinematic certainly continues the trend with Forzo Modern Brass.

Recorded at Skywalker Sound in California, Heavyocity enlisted the talents of award-winning composer, Jason Graves, and Hollywood Film Score Engineer Satoshi Mark Noguchi to ensure that the big film score sound got well and truly baked into the Forzo recipe.

If you are looking to achieve the brass section sounds from scores by composers such as John Williams, Hans Zimmer or Jerry Goldsmith, then Forzo is going to be a library you will want on your hard drive. If by contrast you are looking for a tighter drier sounding brass for funk, pop or R&B musical styles then this possibly won’t be the right product for you.

The main NKI patches provided within Forzo were all recorded with combinations of the following instrumentation, 12 horns, 4 trumpets, 8 trombones (tenor, bass, & contra bass), and 2 tubas, there is also a full ensemble patch featuring all 26 of the Brass players playing together, which is particularly awe-inspiring not only to hear but also to play.

NKS Mapping…

Ok, time to set off on our regular NKS mapping tour, starting off with the browser,

Knob 1 & 2 – Vendor and Product name
Knob 3 – Banks, containing Brass Designer, Horns, Horns Stops & Swells, Brass Loop Designer, Trumpet, Tenor Trombones, Bass Contra Trombones, Tubas, Full Ensemble
Knob 4 – Sub Banks (depending on which bank is selected) Brass Designer has Ambient, FX & Textures, Organic, Rhythmic, Straight loop combos, Triplet loop Combos,
Brass Loop Designer has Straight, Straight reverse, Triplets, Triplets reverse and Performance
Knob 5- Types, again dependant upon which prior options are selected you will find the following: Synth pad, Sound Fx, Brass, Soundscapes, Synth Misc
Knob 6 – Sub Types, as above you will find: Other pad, Other Fx, Brass Ensemble, Other Sequences, French Horn, Melodic sequences, Trumpet, Trombone, Tuba, Brass Ensemble
Knob 7 – Mode, consisting of Long/evolving, Processed, Sequence/loop, Tempo Synced,
Knob 8 – Presets, Here you will find the 250 snapshot presets derived from the core NKI files.

The Edit Section…

Depending on which section of Forzo you have loaded there are three variations in the number of pages mapped within the library, Traditional instrument patches have 3 pages, the Brass Designer has 7 and the Loop Designer has 6.

I will list these, and then be back to explain what we can and can’t do within Forzo.

Brass Designer Mappings…

Page 1 – Macro Control & Modulation

Knob 1 – Macro Knob
Knob 2 to 4 – Unallocated
Knob 5 – Modulation on/off
Knob 6 – Rate
Knob 7 – Amount
Knob 8 – Unallocated

Page 2 – Punish & Twist

Knob 1 – Punish on/off
Knob 2 – Amount
Knob3 & 4 – Unallocated
Knob 5 – Twist on/off
Knob 6 – Twist
Knob 7 – Tone
Knob 8 – Rate

Page 3 – Filter & Distortion

Knob 1 – filter on/off
Knob 2 – Cut-off
Knob 3 – Resonance
Knob 4 – Unallocated
Knob 5 – Distortion on/off
Knob 6 – Drive
Knob 7 – Tone
Knob 8 – Unallocated

Page 4 – Chorus & Delay

Knob 1 – Chorus on/off
Knob 2 – Rate
Knob 3 – Depth
Knob 4 – Amplitude
Knob 5 – Delay on/off
Knob 6 – Time
Knob 7 – Feedback
Knob 8 – Amount

Page 5 – Reverb, Voice & Glide

Knob 1 – Reverb on/off
Knob 2 – Pre-Delay
Knob 3 – Size
Knob 4 – Mix
Knob 5 – Unallocated
Knob 6 – Voice Mode (polyphony)
Knob 7 – Glide (between played notes)
Knob 8 – Time related to glide

Page 6 – Channel 1 and Channel 2

Knob 1 – Channel 1 volume
Knob 2 – Pan
Knob 3 – Tune
Knob 4 – Unallocated
Knob 5 – Channel 2 Volume
Knob 6 – Pan
Knob 7 – Tune
Knob 8 – Unallocated

Page 7 – Channel 3

Knob 1 – Channel 3 Volume
Knob 2 – Pan
Knob 3 – Tune
Knob 4 to 8 – Unallocated.

Traditional Instrument Mappings

Page 1 – Dynamics, Delay & Reverb

Knob 1 – Dynamics
Knob 2 – Delay on/off
Knob 3 – Time
Knob 4 – Feedback
Knob 5 – Amount
Knob 6 – Reverb
Knob 7 – Size
Knob 8 – Mix

Page 2 – Mixer

Knob 1 – Full Mix Volume
Knob 2 – Full Pan
Knob 3 – Close Volume
Knob 4 – Close Pan
Knob 5 – Room Volume
Knob 6 – Room Pan
Knob 7 – Hall Volume
Knob 8 – Hall Pan

Page 3 – Gate & Dynamic Modulation

Knob 1 – Gate on/off
Knob 2 – Rate
Knob 3 – Smooth
Knob 4 – Range
Knob 5 – Dynamic Modulation on/off
Knob 6 – Rate
Knob 7 – Range
Knob 8 – Unallocated

Brass Loop Designer

Page 1 – Macro Control & Modulation

Knob 1 – Macro knob
Knob 2 to 4 – Unallocated
Knob 5 – Modulation on/off
Knob 6 – Rate
Knob 7 – Amount
Knob 8 – Unallocated

Page 2 – Punish & Twist

Knob 1 – Punish on/off
Knob 2 – Amount
Knob3 & 4 – Unallocated
Knob 5 – Twist on/off
Knob 6 – Twist
Knob 7 – Tone
Knob 8 – Rate

Page 3 – Filter & Distortion

Knob 1 – filter on/off
Knob 2 – Cut-off
Knob 3 – Resonance
Knob 4 – Unallocated
Knob 5 – Distortion on/off
Knob 6 – Drive
Knob 7 – Tone
Knob 8 – Unallocated

Page 4 – Chorus & Delay

Knob 1 – Chorus on/off
Knob 2 – Rate
Knob 3 – Depth
Knob 4 – Amplitude
Knob 5 – Delay on/off
Knob 6 – Time
Knob 7 – Feedback
Knob 8 – Amount

Page 5 – Reverb & Channel 1

Knob 1 – Reverb on/off
Knob 2 – Pre-Delay
Knob 3 – Size
Knob 4 – Mix
Knob 5 – Unallocated
Knob 6 – Channel 1 Volume
Knob 7 – Pan
Knob 8 – Tune

Page 6 – Channel 2 & 3

Knob 1 – Channel 2 Volume
Knob 2 – Pan
Knob 3 – Tune
Knob 4 – Unallocated
Knob 5 – Channel 3 Volume
Knob 6 – Pan
Knob 7 – Tune
Knob 8 – Unallocated

Accessibility Considerations…

I have to make it clear from the outset that there are a lot of features within Forzo Modern Brass that we as blind users simply cannot access despite it being NKS ready.

In particular the loop designer section is frustratingly out of reach. There is not a way to access the GUI browsers that would allow us to pick, choose and design our own loops, or load the supplied NKA cycle files.

Similarly there is a lot of additional functionality lurking within the depths of the Brass Designer that remain unmapped for NKS use. What could have been an otherwise intuitive and powerful Macro system is also simply beyond the reach of blind users.

as I mentioned in my previous reviews of Heavyocity products I cannot justifiably lay total blame at the developers door, as is often the case the sheer complexity of the product does not in many areas lend itself to Komplete Kontrol hardware mapping.

Having said that, there are certainly things that could be addressed in an update to help us gain more access ,. For example the lack of mapped ADSR and sample offset controls is quite disappointing, as is the ability to select our own filter and impulse response types.

The saving grace for us is that Heavyocity have always been generous with the amount of snapshots/presets they provide in their products. In this respect there are a healthy array of patches associated with each instrument and their places within the three main modes found in Forzo Modern Brass.

In general this means we are able to find a preset to match our project needs, and can go on to tweak it enough to achieve the result we want. Thankfully since the introduction of NKS FX, it’s fairly easy to bolt on some extra sound shaping tools when required providing your requirements are not too demanding, it’s not perfect of course but a acceptableworkaround.

I should stress for any sighted readers that none of the above issues will affect you, and only relates to using Forzo with text to speech from Komplete Kontrol’s accessibility mode.

Polished Brass…

Putting aside my accessibility grumbles, the sound and playability is obviously of paramount importance, and in this respect I think Forzo has a distinct edge over many of it’s competitors.

That big, in your face, bright and beautiful attention grabbing cinematic sound is present from the start, straight out of the box. The presets offered can quite reasonably be described as ‘mix ready’, any sound matching will probably be focused on other products and instruments you add to the mix in trying to pull them up to meet forzo’s clean sound.

If you are a total Heavyocity freak (and who could blame you) and plan to use Forzo alongside their other products, then you will find the overall ambience and tone is consistent and sits well with their other libraries.

There are keyswitched articulations mapped around the C minus 1 key which are then replicated further up the octave around F6, which is helpful to suit your performance needs.

You will find all the crucial articulation variations present here including long sustain and staccato and synced crescendo’s among others, however there were no sign of the realtime effect keyswitches featured in previous libraries, maybe they were deemed not in keeping with the general emphasis of the product genre.

There is an absence of dedicated legato patches which might disappoint some users, but in practice I did not find this to be a major show-stopper, although granted it may depend on the style of the track you are working on.

The sound of the traditional instruments are particularly outstanding, they really do project that wonderful modern cinematic sound, and if you are playing for example a quieter melodic passage, and then crank up the modwheel (or touchstrip depending on your Komplete Kontroller model) then the full brass compliment really bites and delivers that low rasping, trombone flare that when combined with an impact hit will blow your socks off!

There are a healthy selection of sound design patches here, perhaps not as extreme in the audio mangling department as other products, but these are probably more practicable for everyday use than in previus outings in terms of their willingness to sit in a hybrid orchestral mix.

The tempo synced loops are great for adding some underscore movement within compositions. As with earlier libraries single key loops can have their pitch played using the keys of a lower octave whilst holding down the particular loop you want, more than one loop can be played simultaneously using keys from another defined note range , you may find that you run out of limbs though unless you inherited the DNA of an octopus!

Also to be found are some great cluster effects, crescendo note bends as well as a variety of brass instrument sound FX I couldn’t even begin to describe, although I do seem to recall a Discovery Channel documentary featuring the birth of an elephant that came quite close!

Conclusion…

There are a host of walkthrough videos and soundcloud demos available for Forzo Modern Brass, not to mention some glowing endorsements from very notable industry composers, I would definitely recommend checking out some of these which I have included at the footer of the review to ensure that Forzo provides the kind of sound you require.

This library is certainly a likely contender for anybody writing for film, tv, game or media projects. Heavyocity’s investment in the recording process shines through to address and more importantly deliver upon the promise of that polished Hollywood sound that other libraries only hope to achieve.

For some this will have to be a considered purchase, given that there are some desirable yet inaccessible elements present that we cannot reach with our NKS hardware due to mapping considerations, then it can indeed seem like a very tough call to weigh up the pro’s and cons.

However, If obtaining that much sought after cinematic sound is a crucial priority in the work you create, I believe in this case we can learn to live with those frustratingly out of reach areas which are so often present, and are certainly not restricted to just this library.

FORZO is available for purchase directly from Heavyocity, the usual price will be $549.00, but is on offer at a launch price of $399.00 until 3rd September 2018

Links:

Forzo Product Page:
www.heavyocity.com/forzo

Forzo Content Overview:

Forzo Demo Walkthrough with Jason Graves:

Forzo Traditional Brass Overview:

Forzo Brass Designer:

Forzo Loop Designer:

Forzo Articulations:

Forzo User Manual:
https://heavyocity.com/Downloads/FORZO_UserManual.pdf

(c) Chris Ankin 2018
August 27th
www.kk-access.com

Disclaimer

The author accepts no responsibility for subsequent purchase decisions made as a result of reading this article,or Any inaccuracies found within this review. All opinions or product functions stated are based soly on information perceived as a blind user whilst using the product in combination with information gathered from official factual sources on the web or product manual.

About the Author

Chris Ankin has worked previously as a freelance review contributor with articles published in Sound On Sound, Home & Studio Recording and ST Format Magazines.

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