I have written before and I still maintain that I'm not particularly a fan of wind synthesis as a repalcement for acoustic instruments. I don't think the technology has reached a point of being viable in that capacity and honestly, if I want a flute sound, well I'm gonna pick up the flute. Ditto for clarinet... And if I need trumpet or trombone I'll call one of the myriad cats I know and have them play for me.
There are some very good emulations out there - Sample Modeling and the SWAM instruments, programming by Ilya Efimov, etc. But the expressiveness is still not quite there. Yet. That said, while not necessarily a topic for Logic or Mainstage, nonetheless I am a huge fan of the Dynasample Xpression.
Ingo Scherzinger sent me a unit a little over a year ago. I was skeptical of the nature of its sounds - being mostly acoustic emulations. It didn't take long for the instrument to win me over! In short, it's very playable and I immediately found use for it in my studio for doing mockups of arrangments for clients. I have a template set up in Logic with tracks for all the usual horns I would write for and I just literally play in the parts from the Xpression (audio, not MIDI). With a little creative mixing and some tweaking, it almost always provides a solid reference demo of whatever I'm writing at the moment and is frankly immensely quicker and easier than setting up all my horns and tracking that way (not to mention the impracticality of calling a trumpet or 'bone player at 3am to come lay down some demo tracks...) I find it to be a perfect studio companion.
The Xpression comes damned close to being as expressive as my acoustic instruments. Ingo has done a remarkable job of programming this instrument to be responsive, flexible and just plain FUN to play. The list of things it can do is astounding, and I have had a massive amount of fun playing it and playing WITH it. Beyond very good sounding emulations, the chord mapping and rotator functions are super cool, opening up an entire pandora's box of possibilities for live performance and also useful compositional tools. I've been up to the elbows in the guts of the thing and I still feel like I'm barely scratching the surface of what it is capable of.
If I had any complaints they would be that I would like some synthesis oriented sounds - some classic Oberheim and/or Moog type souds would be most welcome. I would also really love it if the unit was in a standard 19" rackmount case so I could easily throw it into my rack with my other hardware. Small complaints for this instrument though.
Do yourself a favor and check it out. You won't be sorry.
I am posting the overview demos that Ingo did so you can hear it directly from him. Also, Ingo is a fantastic guy and his technical support of the Xpression is unparallelled. Support of a kind that is non existent for most hardware and software in the wind synth world. He spent a lot of time with me on Skype and email, helping me to set up the Xpression the way I wanted to work with it.
Check out the videos below and take a look at the Dynasample website here.
DynaSample XPression - Overview Part1/3
DynaSample XPression - Overview Part2/3
DynaSample XPression - Overview Part3/3
Here's Me Playing With the Xpression Chord Mapping