My Initial Review of East West's Gold Edition Orchestral Library


#1

My overall score is B/B-
I am generally happy with a good number of the patches.
However, some of them do not sound that great (most notably in the Trumpet and String patches). Some of them sound fake and just poorly programmed. They also sound outdated. For being “the most awarded sample library ever” I was expecting a little more.
If I would have paid full price for this (450$ + 50$ for an i-lok) I probably would be having buyers remorse.
I find perhaps 1-3 articulations per instrument to be very good, some of them just mediocre, and some of them just plain awful. It’s not that the individual samples sound bad, it’s that you cannot play them to sound realistic. They end up sounding like it is obvious you are playing a keyboard. This is with the use of varying velocities. There’s a lack of bridging samples or just a lack of variation in samples. It ends up sounding outdated.
However, some of the instruments included are so useful and rare.
I love that I have a water harp and various other strange and unique instruments at my disposal (some that I never heard of, especially in the percussion section).

Keep in mind that my opinion may change after some time. I’ve only had use of the library for about 1 week or so.


#2

To continue, it sounds like the epitome of a library for someone who just wants to see how their orchestrations will sound, but who will eventually use a real orchestra. I for one cannot afford a real orchestra. I am thoroughly impressed by 8dio, Cinesamples, and ProjectsSAM (there may be others) as sample libraries which may actually be used in place of a real orchestra. For the most part, what I bought from East West, does not sound like it can achieve that. Just too outdated. Maybe small Independent Film work, commercials, and so on. But definitely not big productions.


#3

Agreed.

I have the gold version as well, and I’m not sure if the Diamond version with close-mic patches and 24bit samples increases the overall quality of the product that much, but I would say that there’s something wrong with Symphonic Orchestra.
I’m not that expert to diagnose where the problem of this library comes from, but many of its instruments don’t sound that much appealing to me either.


#4

I think it pretty much depends on what one uses the eastwest gold orchestra for. If it’s corporate tracks and non-complicated orchestra mock ups (especially when layered with some other orchestra/string vst instruments) it’s really great… I’ve been very happy about having it at my disposal.


#5
||+1072062|-LYRA- said-|| I think it pretty much depends on what one uses the eastwest gold orchestra for. If it's corporate tracks and non-complicated orchestra mock ups (especially when layered with some other orchestra/string vst instruments) it's really great... I've been very happy about having it at my disposal.

Yeah, now I have decided to save up for something from Cinesamples, 8dio, Spitfire or ProjectSam.
East West’s product isn’t bad, but I realize it can’t do many of the things I had hoped it would. It will be a great product as support for the other, more advanced products.


#6

In my opinion, compared to libraries like CineStrings or Berlin Strings, EWQL just doesn’t stack up anymore.


#7

Ah, you were so excited too. Think I’ll keep saving up for all the Hollywood Stuff-the Diamond editions can be had in a bundle for around $1000 these days, not too bad at all. I think I originally spent much more than that for the special editions of VSL. VSL is ok, but sometimes it feels like you are “fighting” the patches. It would just be nice to sit down with a library that doesn’t require much post-processing to get it to sound good…although VSL woodwinds still sound nice…

…or maybe I’ll get some cinesamples stuff. It would be great to bag a library with string divisi. I don’t understand why every brass library doesn’t record the horns individually - I am always dividing the horns to play chords and such. VSL Dimension brass does this, but dimension brass sounds really flat too me and is probably overpriced.


#8

I hear what everybody’s saying here, but there’s a real issue here. Half Light Studios, I’d recommend that you go do some research on combining articulations, like the Youtube videos that Alex Pfeffer (fantastic composer, btw) did on how he builds trumpet parts from multiple articulations. Here’s one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yu73C3GBOuw

EWQLSO isn’t intended to be played as one patch on the keyboard, all the way through an instrument’s part. It’s thought that you’ll have each note in a phrase played by the appropriate articulation for that note alone. So, what a lot of composers do is to play in a phrase while recording multiple parts, such as staccato, sustain DXF and Marcato patches simultaneously, and then edit out the parts after the recording pass. If you’re playing through a whole section with Marcato or Legato or Staccato patches alone and wondering why it doesn’t sound like an orchestra…well, that’s why.

I personally use a lot of the libraries mentioned here, like Cinesamples, Project Sam, Spitfire, VSL, or my personal favorite String Library that isn’t mentioned in this thread yet, LASS. The thing is that none of these newer libraries has some magic ingredient that will make your pieces sound like an orchestra. What will make any sample-driven composition better is always going to be better programming. Whatever you use, you have to learn how to use that product, how to program for it, which patches to use in combination with which other ones, when to layer, when to alternate…it comes with the territory, and it’s a lot of work. It’s just the way it is!

Are there some bogus patches? Sure. Was the whole thing made before anyone did Legato Transitions? Of course. But saying it’s broken, or that it’s some outdated throwback, is just probably not true. There are a lot of really great composers out there doing fantastic work, and still using EWQLSO in part. Mike Patti, THE cinesamples dude, has always used a ton of EWQLSO’s strings (well, until he recorded his own!!!), which I always thought were the weakest part. But what it made me realize about myself, and what I hope you might take away from this, is that when I couldn’t get EWQLSO’s strings to sound good, I couldn’t blame the tools, because they COULD be used better. I had to blame myself, and work to learn how to program it better. Heck, I’ll still be working on learning how to use EWQLSO long, long after its obsolescence.

I probably sound an awful lot like a condescending prick. I’m sorry! I just want to save you the heartache of you saving up more money and throwing it at some ‘cure-all’ library, and then still not getting what you want from it. Just think of it this way: EWQLSO is a training ground for virtually every other articulation-based library out there. If you can rock EWQLSO, you’ll sound fantastic on anything else.

Or, at least that’s just my two cents on it!


#9

Adam,

Sorry…saw your post WAY after I started on the last one.

Just wanted to let you know this: if you didn’t like having to edit your performances after the fact like you have to in VSL, then the Hollywood Series most absolutely definitely is NOT the libraries for you! They take a whole heck of a lot of tweaking afterwards. They can sound phenomenal when you do take the time, but if you thought VSL or EWQLSO took some tweaking, HW takes it to another level.

Go with Cinesamples. The way it transitions from Staccatos to Legatos is very intuitive once you get used to it, and it’s probably the closest libraries will get with a ‘sit at the keyboard and play’ that is broken down for individual instruments.


#10
SketchpadAudio said

I hear what everybody’s saying here, but there’s a real issue here. Half Light Studios, I’d recommend that you go do some research on combining articulations, like the Youtube videos that Alex Pfeffer (fantastic composer, btw) did on how he builds trumpet parts from multiple articulations. Here’s one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yu73C3GBOuw

EWQLSO isn’t intended to be played as one patch on the keyboard, all the way through an instrument’s part. It’s thought that you’ll have each note in a phrase played by the appropriate articulation for that note alone. So, what a lot of composers do is to play in a phrase while recording multiple parts, such as staccato, sustain DXF and Marcato patches simultaneously, and then edit out the parts after the recording pass. If you’re playing through a whole section with Marcato or Legato or Staccato patches alone and wondering why it doesn’t sound like an orchestra…well, that’s why.

I personally use a lot of the libraries mentioned here, like Cinesamples, Project Sam, Spitfire, VSL, or my personal favorite String Library that isn’t mentioned in this thread yet, LASS. The thing is that none of these newer libraries has some magic ingredient that will make your pieces sound like an orchestra. What will make any sample-driven composition better is always going to be better programming. Whatever you use, you have to learn how to use that product, how to program for it, which patches to use in combination with which other ones, when to layer, when to alternate…it comes with the territory, and it’s a lot of work. It’s just the way it is!

Are there some bogus patches? Sure. Was the whole thing made before anyone did Legato Transitions? Of course. But saying it’s broken, or that it’s some outdated throwback, is just probably not true. There are a lot of really great composers out there doing fantastic work, and still using EWQLSO in part. Mike Patti, THE cinesamples dude, has always used a ton of EWQLSO’s strings (well, until he recorded his own!!!), which I always thought were the weakest part. But what it made me realize about myself, and what I hope you might take away from this, is that when I couldn’t get EWQLSO’s strings to sound good, I couldn’t blame the tools, because they COULD be used better. I had to blame myself, and work to learn how to program it better. Heck, I’ll still be working on learning how to use EWQLSO long, long after its obsolescence.

I probably sound an awful lot like a condescending prick. I’m sorry! I just want to save you the heartache of you saving up more money and throwing it at some ‘cure-all’ library, and then still not getting what you want from it. Just think of it this way: EWQLSO is a training ground for virtually every other articulation-based library out there. If you can rock EWQLSO, you’ll sound fantastic on anything else.

Or, at least that’s just my two cents on it!

Great info! Thanks! I definitely have been combining patches, and I understand more than some may think about orchestration :slight_smile:
I will look at that video as soon as I get a chance. I have been doing a little bit of what you described as well – playing multiple patches at once and then editing (did that today on a small chamber piece actually). But I also don’t like to have too many instruments to be exactly in synch, which will end up sounding computerized. So that process is a very careful one for me. Maybe when I have more time I can spend more time being meticulous. I’m still not great with quantization.
EWQL Orchestra is really good, I just see there are so many better products out there that are not really as expensive as I thought. I am glad I was able to get it half off, because I actually am happy with it overall. There are just some things I wish would be better.


#11
adammonroe said

I don’t understand why every brass library doesn’t doesn’t record the horns individually

Take a look at this.

http://www.spitfireaudio.com/bml-horn-section-volume-1


#12
garethcoker said

Spitfire Audio BML Horn Section Vol. I

http://www.spitfireaudio.com/bml-horn-section-volume-1

Which is the BEST horn library I’ve experienced! It’s a memory greedy lib, but I suppose most libraries of this quality are the same.


#13

I hope not to offend anyone by this, but I think part of it also is the difference of a discerning ear. There are some who think the free sfz library Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra is just as good as the paid ones, or the Garritan and Miroslav libraries are actually very high quality (to be fair Garritan does has some solid stuff). I have seen threads where people would write things such as "I have fooled clients into thinking I used a real orchestra."
Well maybe so, but for those who are fooled, they probably do not have a good ear and are not discerning when it comes to how something should sound. I have been listening to classical music on CD and Live for over 15 years. There is just something about some of those string patches and patches overall, that just sound bad (maybe it’s the attack or something).
Some of them really sound like that free VST Strings One, which is one of the worst sounding strings libraries (I’m not even sure if it’s a sample library, though it is 200mb in size). It sounds like a cheap modeled string synth. And that is the way some of the EWQL patches sound.
However, some of them sound pretty spot on. It’s just hit or miss.


#14
SketchpadAudio said

Adam,

Sorry…saw your post WAY after I started on the last one.

Just wanted to let you know this: if you didn’t like having to edit your performances after the fact like you have to in VSL, then the Hollywood Series most absolutely definitely is NOT the libraries for you! They take a whole heck of a lot of tweaking afterwards. They can sound phenomenal when you do take the time, but if you thought VSL or EWQLSO took some tweaking, HW takes it to another level.

Go with Cinesamples. The way it transitions from Staccatos to Legatos is very intuitive once you get used to it, and it’s probably the closest libraries will get with a ‘sit at the keyboard and play’ that is broken down for individual instruments.

Not so much the performance data as having to reverb, pan, and mix everything to make it sound like an orchestra. VSL is a super dry library where nothing is panned or placed in the mix for you - I feel like a lot of other libraries have a little reverb baked in and the panning and mixing pre-placed. There’s two approaches to sampling an orchestra: you can sample all the instruments dry and perfectly centered in stereo (it’s then up to the composer to mix and place everything, this is what VSL does) or you can record an orchestra more or less in stereo/decca, with everyone in their proper places the end effect being you likely end up with a much more “natural” sounding orchestra, but one whose sound can’t be tweaked as much. I know with the East West Hollywood libraries I’d still likely do a lot of mixing and eq and tweaking but it would be nice to start with something rather than nothing.


#15
garethcoker said
adammonroe said

I don’t understand why every brass library doesn’t doesn’t record the horns individually

Take a look at this.

http://www.spitfireaudio.com/bml-horn-section-volume-1

Yes they sound quite nice, actually all the Spitfire stuff sounds quite nice.

#16

We’re talking about Symphonic Orchestra, right?

If so, I agree completely-- a lot of these patches are outdated (which is to be expected given that they were released in, what, 2003?) Even EW has moved on with the Hollywood Series, which is quite superior, and has a lot of features like true legato, portamento, etc. that are missing in EWQLSO simply due to its age.

Having said that, I’m not sure you’ve gotten the hang of how to use some of these patches-- for example, are you making good use of the DXF patches that use modulation as a volume controller? Particularly in the brass, you can get a really good sound out of these if you work your dynamics correctly. Likewise, keep in mind that there are a lot of variations in patch intention, and a lot of them are designed for very specific use cases, and can sound odd or mechanical outside those specific contexts. I’ve found that being careful about violin patches in particular (using the 18/11 violin patches for violin 1+2 specifically) really helps.

It took me years to really figure out how to use SO properly, so hopefully there’s some stuff you can discover in the library that will make you regret your purchase less.

I can speak to the incredible value in the close mic samples in particular, although as I mentioned earlier, even here the Hollywood series is vastly superior due mostly to the fact that they are newer, far more deeply sampled sounds.

Again, newer libraries generally offer a lot of new features that simply didn’t exist when SO was released-- I noticed you mentioned 8dio/cinestrings, which are both excellent modern libraries-- but as you’ve already found out, there are a lot of really valuable, relevant patches in EWQLSO, mostly in the percussion section (even then there are better/more organic versions in newer libraries like Stormdrum 3/Spitfire)

TL;DR: SO is old, but there is a surprising amount of life in it if you can figure out specific use cases for instruments/articulations that you like. It isn’t going to trump modern libraries like LASS/Cinestrings/8dio/Hollywood though.


#17
curtisschweitzer said

We’re talking about Symphonic Orchestra, right?

If so, I agree completely-- a lot of these patches are outdated (which is to be expected given that they were released in, what, 2003?) Even EW has moved on with the Hollywood Series, which is quite superior, and has a lot of features like true legato, portamento, etc. that are missing in EWQLSO simply due to its age.

Having said that, I’m not sure you’ve gotten the hang of how to use some of these patches-- for example, are you making good use of the DXF patches that use modulation as a volume controller? Particularly in the brass, you can get a really good sound out of these if you work your dynamics correctly. Likewise, keep in mind that there are a lot of variations in patch intention, and a lot of them are designed for very specific use cases, and can sound odd or mechanical outside those specific contexts. I’ve found that being careful about violin patches in particular (using the 18/11 violin patches for violin 1+2 specifically) really helps.

It took me years to really figure out how to use SO properly, so hopefully there’s some stuff you can discover in the library that will make you regret your purchase less.

I can speak to the incredible value in the close mic samples in particular, although as I mentioned earlier, even here the Hollywood series is vastly superior due mostly to the fact that they are newer, far more deeply sampled sounds.

Again, newer libraries generally offer a lot of new features that simply didn’t exist when SO was released-- I noticed you mentioned 8dio/cinestrings, which are both excellent modern libraries-- but as you’ve already found out, there are a lot of really valuable, relevant patches in EWQLSO, mostly in the percussion section (even then there are better/more organic versions in newer libraries like Stormdrum 3/Spitfire)

TL;DR: SO is old, but there is a surprising amount of life in it if you can figure out specific use cases for instruments/articulations that you like. It isn’t going to trump modern libraries like LASS/Cinestrings/8dio/Hollywood though.

Great post! Thank you!
As I said, my opinion may change as I get more familiar with it.
Thank you everyone for helping me get more familiar with it :slight_smile:
It’s definitely better than any sample library I have owned previously, but my mouth is
figuratively watering over other libraries I hear.
Hopefully EWQL will help me make just a little more money so I can save up for something better :slight_smile:


#18

I have always found East West Orchestral sound libraries really cannot compete due to the thin sound, particularly with strings. The attack on these orchestral sounds are good but they need to be attenuated and assisted with other sound sources to really beef them up. I am so blown away by Spitfire Audio and their sound libraries because of the detail and temperate tuning. HZ Percussion is my favourite for orchestral percussion since everything sounds big and natural and 8DIO Orchestral libraries are for me magnificent. Project Sam has Symphobia 1 & 2 which are great for effects and Brass but I guess the question we have to ask ourselves is this:

Can Sample Sound Libraries really and truly emulate the real thing?

My answer is to an extent but let us do some hard work and be better arrangers and programmers. Listen to a wide range of existing music and listen to the arrangement. Isolated sounds for solo work will always be difficult for sound libraries but learn the nature of the sound library and arrange to the sound’s advantage. Choose sounds wisely wherever they come from to use for an appropriate part or phrase.

Happy writing! :slight_smile:


#19
gballx said

I have always found East West Orchestral sound libraries really cannot compete due to the thin sound, particularly with strings. The attack on these orchestral sounds are good but they need to be attenuated and assisted with other sound sources to really beef them up. I am so blown away by Spitfire Audio and their sound libraries because of the detail and temperate tuning. HZ Percussion is my favourite for orchestral percussion since everything sounds big and natural and 8DIO Orchestral libraries are for me magnificent. Project Sam has Symphobia 1 & 2 which are great for effects and Brass but I guess the question we have to ask ourselves is this:

Can Sample Sound Libraries really and truly emulate the real thing?

My answer is to an extent but let us do some hard work and be better arrangers and programmers. Listen to a wide range of existing music and listen to the arrangement. Isolated sounds for solo work will always be difficult for sound libraries but learn the nature of the sound library and arrange to the sound’s advantage. Choose sounds wisely wherever they come from to use for an appropriate part or phrase.

Happy writing! :slight_smile:

Great points! Thanks :slight_smile:


#20

So after so long of having this orchestra library (EWQL Orchestral Gold) it certainly has grown on me and I have been slowly learning how to use it more and more effectively. Now, I will admit their are still better libraries out there when it comes to orchestra, but I am still very happy with this library for now. My initial review was B/B-, now I would go up to about a B+ straight.
I certainly want to upgrade, but I am sure once I get something from Spitfire, or ProjectSAM, or 8Dio, I will still use some of the patches in EW’s library.