Chris Hein Winds Complete by

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Here’s an entire wind orchestra at your fingertips. With a little work, you can achieve a result that’s hard to distinguish from a real wind orchestra.

by Alex Arsov, July 2014

Chris Hein did a new library. Even if it should happen that I would be in a prison or isolated on an island without any Internet connection, I could easily write an article about his product without even hearing any demo clips or without getting any additional information. Chris Hein, Eduardo Tarilonte, and UVI, three names in library world that you exactly know what you will get with their product: Authenticity, top recording quality and first-class programming. These are facts about this library that I can tell even before I install it. It is very playable on a basic level, but if your intention is to mimic a real player with all of the small details that come with real live performance, then you should roll up your sleeves and spend some additional time programming, changing various articulations through a big number of keyswitches (a very skilled keyboard player can do that on the fly), offering almost endless numbers of any possible articulation that you can imagine. That is the Chirs Hein standard.

And the reward? Send a finished track to any Wind player and he will reply to you: “Dear Alex, I’m really glad that you finally decided to record a live player instead of constantly using those fake libraries that really annoyed me.“ This could be a joke, but it is not. It happens here and there that some skilled instrumentalist will ask me if I can use a real instrument instead of a sampled one in an arrangement that I prepared for them, and after I exchange one library for a better one, they become happy.

Wind Complete at Its Best

There is a ton of different Wind libraries around, some good, a few almost excellent, and plenty of average ones, but the place where Chris Hein’s library shines is in authenticity. This authenticity is not just in the primary sound, mimicking the color and dynamics of a real instrument, but also in all those small differences, fluctuations and especially the natural tail and transitions between the legato and staccato notes during the same phrase. All the small, dirty details pronounced by a real player are accessible through the great number of carefully programmed controllers, or even different articulations. Wind players are known for using various techniques to help them stand out of the lines, distinguishing themselves from other wind players. Actually the basic playing of most of the instruments could be easily mimicked with almost any library on the market, but when some great flute player becomes mad on the stage, blowing some additional tones to create numerous variations of phrases, then only God and Chris can help you. I’m an atheist, so I’ll stick with Chris.


€649 EUR or $883 USD is not so cheap I know, but that’s the price you need to pay to have real wind players at the reach of your hand every time you need them. If you are a professional producer who makes music on a daily basis, then you’ll get this money back in less than one month. Real players are not cheap, and hiring real players just for one song can cost you more than this wind collection.

So, for that money you’ll get four separate libraries. The first one has Flutes: Piccolo, Alto and two C-Flutes. The second one brings Clarinets: Bass clarinet, Eb and Bb Clarinet. The third covers Oboes: Oboe, Oboe D’Amore and English Horn. The last library covers Bassoons: Bassoon, Bassoons Barock and contra Bassoon. All in all thirteen instruments that allow you to cover almost all wind combinations that you can find in any contemporary wind arrangement.

If you have ever used sampled winds, then you know that Flute and Oboes are not so problematic, but Clarinets and Bassoons can easily sound fake if they are not sampled or programmed as they should be. Sampling and programming are fields where Chris Hein shines at his best; the only problem is that you will also need to be a skilled programmer if you want to use everything that this collection offers.

As I predicted in the beginning – the main Kontakt window looks like a jet’s cockpit as soon as you load any of those four libraries. The default articulation can do the job if you want just to record some basic background line. It will sound vivid even without any further tweaking, but this could be achieved with many other libraries on the market. The main difference between Chris Hein’s Winds Complete and other libraries is that Chris’s library can go way beyond the basic playing capability. With smart use of a keyswitch, you can mimic almost any element that you can hear in a real performance.

The devil is in the details: More realistic, dynamic vibrato on long notes; more realistic tails, runs and a very natural overall dynamic. This can make a big difference when you combine various wind elements together, bringing to life the whole arrangement. The same goes for those moments where any of those instruments take on a solo role. With other libraries I always decide to add some background instruments during the solo wind phrase, just to make it more realistic, but with Chris’s library, especially if you take your time setting all articulations as they should be, you can easily leave the instrument alone in an arrangement, just adding a touch of reverb and delay. This is absolutely the strongest point of this library collection. All this is achieved with plenty of additional programming that was implemented under the hood, bringing some nice additions to the surface, like intelligent legato which adopts the sound to the length of the note; unique phase alignment techniques which prevent phase issues when you combine different wind elements; dynamic expression sustains that offer far more realistic sustain and vibrato on long notes, along with a glide mode for more realistic runs. It sounds good on paper, and with a few trials and errors it can also sound good in practice.

The Tail

I could go into detail and name all those articulations, but that’s something that you can read on Chris’s homepage or at the Best Service site, so I suggest that you visit those sites and listen to the demo clips to get an impression of what can be done with this collection library –not that you can achieve the same results in only a minute or two, but if you know anything about wind instruments, having some basic knowledge how they should be arranged, you will get there sooner or later. No pain, no gain.

40 GB, Kontakt player included. That’s all you need to mimic a real wind ensemble. No more complaining about hiring a real player. We live in a time when fake is real and real is fake. Can you spot the difference? I can’t, and I’m not even sure that creator Chris can.

More info at

A real A. Arsov

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