I recently picked up the "Winds of Awesomeness" bundle by Embertone, available at discounted price via www.audioplugindeals.com. I'll do my best to add more reviews of the different instruments available in the bundle, but I wanted to start off with my favorite, and my new "go-to" clarinet library, Herring Clarinet.
I've always heard great things about this company, and finally had the chance to check them out. Do they live up to the hype? YES, Yes they do, actually even exceeding expectations. All I can say for certain is the folks at Embertone are simply genius, or possess some otherworldly magic and have somehow transported a real, living clarinet player into my midi controller/computer.
This sample library is performed by Jose Herring, and I really like the fact they show a great level of care about the artist, devoting an entire section of the GUI to him.
As you can see, the GUI is clean and easy to navigate. We have legato sustain, poly sustain, staccato (short), and trill patches, all changeable via the GUI or keyswitches. Clicking on the "Solo" button changes from a solo instrument to an ensemble, and we have slider controls for dynamics, vibrato, flutter, instrument multiplier, reverb, and a switch to enable round robin sampling.
The sound of this library is truly stunning, and the level of detail and depth of scripting provides incredible realism. The slurred or tongued legatos are natural and smooth, and each slider is very responsive, adding details and creating a performance I didn't think was possible using just a midi instrument. Turn up the dynamics and ease on the flutter control, and you get a gritty flutter tongue effect which sounds detailed and natural. The versatility and playability of this library is fantastic right out of the box, and it really needs to be heard to give it justice. Delicate passages with the legato add nuance and texture to any orchestral or classical composition, and by turning up the dynamics and switching to the "short" patch, you can play ragtime or jazz runs with ease. The trill patch is great for achieving a natural, human sounding trill effect, as doing these on the piano roll often end up sounding static or overly quantized.