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The Trombone 3

Created by Giorgio Tommasini & Peter Siedlaczek

Samplemodeling The Trombone 3

We believe that The Trombone 1, created by Peter Siedlaczek and Giorgio Tommasini, represents a cornerstone in the field of virtual instruments. Still, why not further raising the bar? 😀

That's why The Trombone 3 is here!

Samplemodeling The Trombone 3

Instrument Technology

Powered by Native Instruments KontaktThe Trombone 3 further expands Samplemodeling™ technologies. Multi-microphone anechoic recording allows to capture the original timbre of the instrument, along with its radiation pattern. Our proprietary "Harmonic Alignment" yields continuous transitions across virtually infinite dynamics. Specially devised "early reflections" impulse responses add proper virtual space to the anechoic sound. The programming moves further away from conventional libraries, by exploiting physically-oriented modulation of the recorded sound. The result is a playable, very expressive virtual instrument retaining the rich, full sound of a real trombone.

The package includes three different Tenor, one Valve and one Bass Trombone. The base material of the instruments consists of 741 MB of samples, chromatically performed by professional players over a very wide dynamic range. All samples are unlooped, and have a minimum duration of 8 sec. The Trombone engine is structured according to an adaptive model, based on the performance "fingerprints" of the real instrument. The purpose of the model is to minimize the differences between the real phrases and those played by the virtual instrument.

Proprietary modal resonance IRs, innovative techniques for sample modulation, and advanced artificial intelligence MIDI processing are used for real time construction of all articulations and morphing across dynamics, vibrato, legato, portamento, trills, vibrato-like endings, shakes and so forth. Plus an ultra-realistic slide of +/- 3 semitones.

Pseudo-random detuning, based on real performance-derived trends, is another outstanding new feature of The Trombone, adding further realism.

Why anechoic?

The purpose of anechoic recording was threefold:

  1. avoid “contamination” of the pure trombone sounds with the uncontrolled resonances of a particular ambience,
  2. allow artifact-free “harmonic alignment” processing
  3. provide clean articulations and phrases as a database to build the “adaptive model”.

Virtual Instruments? No additional software needed?

Samplemodeling The Trombone 3 GUI

Kontakt 5 Player

The Trombone 3 is supplied with the NI Kontakt Player 5.4.2, the read-only version of Native Instruments sampler. It involves many new features and bugfixes, including 64 bit, extended memory and multicore support, DFD optimization, better compliance with some OS and hosts, etc. The Player is included as a separate installer, and no additional software is required to play the instrument. Stand-alone mode, as well as plugin formats VST, AU and AAX, 32 or 64 bit, are supported.

The Trombone 3 was developed on Kontakt 5.4.2 and is fully compatible with Kontakt 5.5.1. Please note, however, that it will not run on previous versions of Kontakt.

Kontakt 5 Sampler vs. Full Kontakt

The instruments can be loaded and played in the full versions of Kontakt. Please note that they cannot be opened or modified, and no access to the samples, impulse responses or instrument programming is provided.

Which are the main features of The Trombone 3?

The Trombone 3 includes several exciting features:

Velocity and expression mapping

It is well known that midi keyboards have different and uneven velocity response, and this may heavily influence the performance of a virtual instrument. To obviate this problem, the instrument includes automatic detection of any velocity inhomogeneities or non-linearity of the keyboard, and provides automatic mapping to any desired curve. NEW: Similarly, user-drawn rescaling of the expression controller allows better control of the dynamics, particularly with such input devices like breath and windcontrollers.

Performance Keyswitches

An outstanding feature, allowing to create real time articulations which are too difficult to perform with the usual interplay of expression pedal, pitchbend and modwheel. Sforzato, crescendo, slide effects, vibrato-like endings and different types of release, can be obtained by hitting one or more keyswitches. The intensity of the effect, and its duration, are under player’s control. Please note that these are not just sampled articulations, but they are sample-modeled, indeed. This means that each time each of them will sound slightly different. No machine-gun nor mechanical repetitions here.

Breath & Windcontroller mode

Playing The Trombone with either a keyboard plus breath controller, or directly with a windcontroller (Yamaha or Akai) is very easy. Breath & Windcontroller modes automatically set proper CC settings, enable triggering of note-on and off by the expression data flow, optimize the bite–to-pitch response for the individual WC, etc.


All samples in The Trombones are mapped according to standard MIDI note numbers. This is very convenient when using a sequencer. On the other hand, keyboard users might run into trouble when playing for example the Bass Trombone which is mapped from A#-1 and A#3, so that the KS are mapped from C-2 to C-1. Even if using a seven-octave keyboard, transposing the midi flow two octaves down is the only way to make this instrument playable. This is what the Transpose knob does, namely transposing keys and keyswitches at the same time, without the need to bother with keyboard programming.

Timbral Shaping

This revolutionary new feature adds a virtually infinite timbral variety to sample-based instruments, by acting on the amplitude of individual harmonics, or groups of harmonics, even in real time. This is not a graphic equalizer; the controlling bars are not assigned to fixed frequencies, but to the first 10 harmonics of the played note. As a consequence, the affected frequencies vary with the pitch of the note. So, rising, for example, bar #1 will boost the fundamental frequency (first harmonic) of each note played, yielding a rounder sound. Rising bars #3, #4, #5 will increase the intensity of the corresponding harmonics for a more "nasal" sound, etc.

Unison ensemble multi

Special consideration has been given to creation of realistic ensembles from solo instruments, whether driven from separate MIDI tracks, or when playing unison. An advanced "ensemble maker" has been developed, affecting timing, static and dynamic pitch evolution, phase, response to dynamics, pitchbend, velocity, portamento time, in such a way that even if driven from a single MIDI source, each instrument will sound as if played by a different musician. A ready-to-use Multi, including three specially devised trombones, the ensemble maker, and an appropriate convolution reverb, suitable for unison playing straight out of the box, is included in the package.

GUI knobs/ Controllers remapping

All the controllers needed for proper functioning of the instrument are mapped to virtual knobs in three GUI panels, which can be activated by a drop down menu. The function of each controller is indicated by the associated label. The virtual knobs permit to monitor the incoming midi data, but can also be used to directly control the instrument. This allows users of keyboards without physical MIDI controllers or knobs, to explore the expressive capabilities of The Trombone. Additionally, all the controllers can be remapped to any existing MIDI CC.

Split Portamento, Falls & Doits

A real trombone may play different types of legato/portamento, with or without the slide. The sound is different, since a different harmonic resonance is excited. This is nicely reproduced by our adaptive model. One may choose to perform a continuous portamento over two octaves by simply overlapping two notes, to split it manually playing intermediate legato notes, or to split it automatically, exploiting the natural harmonic resonances of the instrument, by a keyswitch. One can also choose to perform chromatically-split portamento or realistic falls and doits.

Mutes and wah-wah

The trombone – like other brass instruments – uses a wide range of mutes which are similar to those of the trumpet; the most common are Harmon (with or without stem), Straight, Cup and Bucket. All these mutes are available for use with our trombones. We used sophisticated technologies to capture the “fingerprints” of each mute, which were ultimately coded into a suitable impulse response. The latter can be instantly loaded from a drop down menu of the graphical interface, or via MIDI. Additionally, a realistic wah-wah effect can be obtained by a virtually moving plunger mute. The wah-wah can be also used in combination with any other mute.

Virtual Soundstage

This new feature allows precise positioning of the instruments in a "dimensionless" virtual space, using early reflections, pre-delay, convoluted panning and perceived distance algorithms, even in real time. This will set you free to add a further suitable acoustic environment, without incurring multiple-ambience issues. This can be carried out within the same Kontakt Player, which provides a high quality convolution reverb.


This is an entirely new feature, coping with the requirements of musicians using non-tempered scales, so essential in, for example, Middle Eastern and Asian music. Our approach to microtuning yields maximal flexibility, allowing user-defined scales, where the extent of detuning (range +60/-60 cents) can be precisely set for each note by means of a series of bars. The scale can be saved and recalled as a preset. In addition, selective detuning can be applied to individual notes in realtime, by using third-level keyswitches, similar to those used for split portamenti, falls and doits. In this case, all notes are detuned by a predetermined amount (up to +/-60 cents), which may be set and modified by the user. The currently detuned notes are displayed in a dedicated GUI.

System requirements

The Trombone 3 provides unprecedented realism and expressiveness. However, it’s a demanding software in terms of CPU load. A modern PC or Mac with at least 1.6 GHz Core2Duo CPU is required. Less powerful systems may also prove satisfactory, but may require larger buffer sizes, involving higher latencies, and may reduce the number of simultaneously playable instruments.

A good quality audio hardware with suitable low latency drivers (ASIO for the PC) is required. Recommended buffer sizes may range from 128 (low-latency, hight CPU load) to 512 samples (higher latency, but less CPU load).

A master keyboard with some configurable MIDI controllers, pitchwheel, modwheel, and an expression pedal (or breath controller) is required for real time playing. Virtually any type of windcontroller can also be used to play this instrument. If real time playing is not contemplated (you will miss some great fun though), using a sequencer may obviate the need for several physical midi controllers, by manually drawing controller data to the MIDI tracks while maintaining full control of the instrument's expressiveness. The Trombone 3 have been thoroughly tested on most common sequencers, like Cubase, Ableton Live, Digital Performer, Logic, Sonar, Studio One and Protools. Some excellent MIDI demos are downloadable from the Trombone downloads page.

What does the Trombone 3 package include?

The Trombone package includes several instruments belonging to the same family, namely:

  • Three Tenor Trombones characterized by slightly different timbre, timing, vibrato & portamento behaviour, suitable for ensemble playing;
  • A Valve Trombone;
  • A Bass Trombone.

A ready-to-use Unison Ensemble Multi, including three Tenor Trombones with Ensemble Maker, along with an appropriate ambience/convolution reverb, suitable for unison playing from a single MIDI source.

The playing range corresponds to that of a top professional player, which is E1 – F4 (Tenor & Valve), and Bb-1 – Bb3 (Bass), respectively.

How much will I pay? Any Discount? Any Bundle?

  1. The retail price for the Trombone 3 for new customers is Eur 159 (+VAT if applicable).
  2. All owners of the earlier Trombone versions (purchased before January 20th 2014) are entitled to purchase the Trombone 3 for EUR 30 (+ VAT if applicable).

To obtain the discount coupon, please follow the instructions published here.

Online Activation?

Yes. Immediately after installation of the software, you need to activate it via Internet, using the Service Center utility supplied with the Kontakt software. Without activation the instrument(s) will appear on a black background and will not work. The activation process is very easy, though, and is carried out in a few seconds.

Are any demos of these Trombones available?

Yes, check out the “demos” link on top of the page.

Credits and acknowledgements

The Trombone 3 is the result of a many-year research carried out by Giorgio Tommasini and Peter Siedlaczek, who also performed all the recordings. The scripts was written by Nils Liberg, and Giorgio Tommasini.

Special thanks to:

Guenter Bollman (Tenor Trombone) and Manfred Honetschlaeger (Bass Trombone) for their skill, patience and professionalism. Special thanks also to our beta testers and wonderful demo makers, and to many Samplemodeling's friends for their valuable help and cooperation.

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