Arturia's Augmented Brass plugin is built for synthwave and sci-fi scores

The latest member of the Augmented family combines epic horn samples with modern synthesis.


Just about one year ago Arturia launched the first entry in its Augmented series of hybrid instruments, Augmented Strings. Since then it's grown to include Augmented Voices and Grand Piano. Now the family is getting bigger still with Augmented Brass.

Just like the other installments Augmented Brass combines samples of its namesake — brass instruments — with advanced synth engines and effects to create something wholly new. The core concept isn't terribly different from what Output has with its Analog series, but the results generally hew closer to the real world instruments that inspired them.

From a surface level, not much has changed. There are some minor workflow and visualization tweaks, but you still get the same main interface with a large morph knob in the middle that generally lets you dial in the balance of organic and synthetic sounds you're looking for. Around that are seven macro knobs for tweaking the timbre, dialing in effects levels, and adding delay and reverb.

Arturia Augmented Brass' advanced sound design tab.

There is also the advanced tab for those that what to dig in deep on the sound design. Here still, the UI is clean, easy to navigate and unintimidating. But there is a lot of power to be found under the hood. Here you can freely choose your four different layers of synths and samples, customize your filter selection and the effects, and even add complex modulation. If you do dive into the advanced tab, don't overlook that modulation section where you'll find two LFOs, two function generators, two random generators and you can customize things like aftertouch and velocity effects.

If you never bother to mess with the advanced options, you'll still have a pretty large palette to work with. Augmented Brass comes with hundreds of presets that cover everything from '80s slasher film scores, to early aughts hip hop horns, to sci-fi dirges. If you've read any of my reviews in the past, it should come as no surprise that I was immediately drawn to the nostalgic warbles of the Muted Tape Orchestra preset. But I loved the Full Brass Orchestra patch which was clearly made for scoring endless Game of Thrones spinoffs.

Arturia's been pretty busy recently, having also just launched Rev LX-24, a plugin that aims to recreate the revered (and insanely expensive) Lexicon 224 Digital Reverb. Like most of the company's plugins, the LX-24 visually tries to hew pretty close to the hardware it's based on. That means a few sliders and buttons, and not much more in the default interface. But, as usual, there's an advanced tab here that allows you to add modulation, ducking and generally make use of the amenities you've come to expect from modern music software. Of course, the LX-24 is still based on a late '70s digital reverb, so expect crust, grime and maybe some gated snares.

Augmented Brass is available now at an introductory price for existing Arturia customers, but will go up to the regular price of $99 on May 11th. REV LX-24 is also available now for $99, though chances are it will make its way into the next version of Arturia's FX Collection.

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