Fxpansion Big Orchestral Marching Band for KONTAKT

Fxpansion Big Orchestral Marching Band


The Big Orchestral Marching Band Expansion Pack is a hard to find pack. Fxpansion only offers it as a download. So, the question that will arise: Is it really bad? The simple answer is “No”.
Although this expansion pack is advertised as being a BFD2 pack, it was actually released for BFD. When they wanted to release it for BFD2, it seems they were really lazy and the porting of this pack was a straightforward copy of the samples and adding the XML file setting that is used by BFD2.

Before BFD2, all packs use a simple structure for samples: 11 channels per wav file. So, whether they have recorded using Kick in, Kick out, Snare Top and Snare Bottom microphones, the wav file will always have 11 channels. What does that mean? If they have not recorded using the above 4 mics, you will have 4 channels of silence. As of BFD2, they changed this and they have started using XML files for each instrument to indicate what channels have been recorded. So why did I say they were lazy in the porting? Because most of the samples in this pack don’t have any of the Kick in, Kick out, Snare Top and Snare Bottom microphones. So when they ported it to BFD2, they just copied the files as is instead of stripping out the empty channels and create an XML file to indicate which channels are used. So to give an example: The Chimes samples are 8 GBs. But guess what, because of the these 4 empty channels, you have 3GBs of silence. So just extracting the proper channels into seprate wav files reduced the Chimes samples to 5 GBs (and this is before compressing to ncw. After compressing total size of samples become 2.53 GB).

04/05/2014 | 9.55 GB

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Another reason also is that this pack has 2 pitched instruments: Timpani and Chimes (or Tubular Bells). Now since BFD/BFD2/BFD3 are more of a drums VSTI, the only way to load such pitched instruments is to load each note into a separate instrument. So for example, if you wanted to load all the notes of the Chimes, you have to load them in 20 different instruments. This will more than likely discourage you from using these pitched instruments in this pack. I know I would be discouraged.

Having said all of this, the sounds in this pack, IMHO, are great. And the instruments included are completely different from other expansion packs.

So, following the same algorithm of conversion to Kontakt used in my BFD3 kits, I have converted this pack to Kontakt instruments. The interface is the same. The only instruments that are a little bit different are the Timpani and Chimes because they are pitched instruments.

As per the screenshot above, there is no Mapping button and the Options section is a little bit different: This are a Release and a Repeated Note Release Knobs instead of Decay and Hold. Release is like the Decay, only difference is that for the drums, I am using an AHD Envelope where is for the Pitched instruments, I am using AHDSR envelope. But in the end, decay and release will result in the same effect.

As for Repeated Note Release know, here is what it is used for: For example, if you are hitting the same Timpani Note, in real life, you are just hitting the same Timpani Drum. If you were hitting 2 different note, you are basically hitting 2 different Timpani Drums. That’s what the Repeated Note Release comes into play: If you are hitting the same note more than once, the release time of this note will be based on the Repeated Note Release Knob (by default it is set to 250 ms).

There is also on thing I always forget to mention in my posts: I have read that the latest 8Dio drums use what they call “True-Note” or whatever term they gave it which is basically that if you hit the Cymbals or Hihats the second hit should stop the sound of the first hit. When I read this, I scratched my head and wondered what is so revolutionary about it (unless I am missing something). When I converted the BFD3 Kits, I have not heard of this “True-Note” thing, but I have already implemented this concept for all the Cymbals, Hihats for these Kits. I am not sure why they are so proud of this feature because it is an “out of the box” feature of Kontakt (Voice Groups). All you need to do when you use this feature is set the Fade Time of the previous note. In this library, I have set the fade time of all instruments to 250 ms. The only reason you can control this value in the pitched instruments is because I didn’t use the voice groups for them, but I wrote it in the script.

Anyways, before this post becomes a newspaper, here is a list of all the instruments included. I have taken the liberty sometimes of combining more than BFD instrument into one Kontakt instrument when it made sense:

Concert Drums:
Kick Bass Drum 28 CYM (with 18″ Sabian Cymbals)
Kick Bass Drum 40 Felt (Hard, Medium, and Soft Felt Mallets)
Snare Dynasonic (Brush, Stick and Rod)
Snare Strong (Brush, Rod and Stick all being offered as snare-on and snare-off),FX:
Brake Drum
Lions Roar
WhistleHand Cymbals:
Cymbal 14 Zildjian Pair
Cymbal 18 Sabian Pair
Cymbal 18 Zildjian K Pair
Cymbal 20 Zildjian K Pair

Marching Snares:
Snare Leedy Single Tension (both snares on and off)
Snare Premier Pipe Drum
Snare Rope Drum
Snare Slingerland TDR (Mallet, Stick on and Stick off)
Snare Yamaha High Tension (both snares on and off)

Orchestral Pitched Percussion:
Timpani Felt Mallet
Timpani Wood Mallet

Quad Toms:
Quad Toms (Felt, Rod and Stick).

Suspended Cymbals:
Cymbal 18 Sabian (Mallet and Stick)
Cymbal 18 Zildjian K (Mallet and Stick)
Cymbal 20 Zildjian K Mallet

Tonal Bass Drums:
Kick 22 Felt (Hard, Medium, and Soft Felt Mallets)
Kick 24 Felt (Hard, Medium, and Soft Felt Mallets)
Kick 26 Felt (Hard, Medium, and Soft Felt Mallets)
Kick 28 Felt (Hard, Medium, and Soft Felt Mallets)

NOTE: Please forgive the abysmal wallpaper I provided. I am sure many of the posters here can create a much much better one. If you do, please feel free to post it here. I, for sure, will download them and use one of them instead of my ugly wallpaper.
The Wanderer

P.S. Just couple of things I want to add:
1) This works with Kontakt 5.3.0 and higher. I have not updated to 5.3.1 yet (although I have it)
2) Try the grooves. These were converted directly from the ones provided in the kit. The grooves use the existing mapping of the hits.


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