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 Symphonic Orchestra by EastWest is a Virtual Instrument Audio Plugin. It includes, and is therefore "powered by", PLAY, which functions as a VST Plugin, an Audio Units Plugin, a VST 3 Plugin, an RTAS Plugin and an AAX Plugin.
Symphonic Orchestra
Product Symphonic Orchestra
Developer EastWest
Price (MSRP)
$295 - $1295
Type / Tags
This product is "Powered By" PLAY. The OS and Format icons listed below should be accurate for the latest version of PLAY.
Plug-in, App & Soundware Format(s)
Instrument(s)     
Operating System Availability
Operating
System
Latest
Version
Download Released
 
1.0.5
 
- Released
 
1.0.5
 
- Released
Miscellaneous Information
Copy ProtectionDongle (PACE iLok Smart Key)

Recorded by 11-time Grammy nominated classical recording engineer Prof. Keith O. Johnson, the EastWest/Quantum Leap Symphonic Orchestra was recorded in a "state of the art" concert hall where orchestras mainly perform.

To achieve the feel of a live concert hall performance, each instrument and section was recorded with three mic positions, close, stage (conductor's position) and hall. By selecting different mic positions, users can mix these sounds together to create any kind of natural ambience their project requires. This eliminates the need for artificial reverb.

Four versions available:

  1. EWQLSO Platinum Complete Plus 24-Bit and 16-Bit (194GB).
  2. EWQLSO Platinum Complete 24-Bit (117GB).
  3. EWQLSO Gold Complete 16-Bit (33GB).
  4. EWQLSO Silver Complete 16-Bit (11GB).

Features:

  • 64-bit* with 32-bit compatibility PC (*see system specifications).
  • Full memory access MAC (requires 64-bit MAC).
  • Intuitive custom interface.
  • Intelligent Performance section including Portamento, Repetition, Legato, Round Robin Reset.
  • Improved articulation window and controls.
  • On screen mic position mixing (Platinum and Platinum Plus only).
  • Switch able 24-bit/16-bit depth (Platinum Plus only).
  • State of the art Convolution Reverb with pre-delay and additional Master control to route reverb to all instruments in an instance.
  • Convolution includes hall orchestra was recorded in for additional control of hall ambience.
  • Intelligent release trail engine that follows the note-on samples volume at all times, so release trails always match.
  • Release trails unaffected by mod-wheel cross-fade programs, radical mod-wheel movements do not degrade release trails.
  • Recall custom key-switches instantly.
  • Key-switch sizes now unlimited.
  • Improved sound quality with high-resolution audio engine.
  • Hi fidelity one pole filter for natural cross-fades.
  • Stereo image editing now possible using channel sourcing.
  • Licenses included to install each section on multiple computers (Platinum and Platinum Plus, ilok required for each computer).
  • Original and Pro XP expansion combined into "complete" PLAY version.
  • Silver to Gold to Platinum to Platinum Plus compatibility streamlined.
  • Completely re-programmed for PLAY from the original recordings.
Latest User Reviews Average user rating of 3.50 from 4 reviews

Reviewed By wajdziklukasz
April 1, 2015

I bought Gold version last year so it is Play edition. I cannot use samples in Kontakt but I really do not need to use it there. Quality of samples is good, key switches works correctly. Interface of Play is nice, easy to use and config, sends (midi map) works correctly as multis. Time of load a library is fast. I use the library (VST) in FL Studio (DAW). I can easly automate parameters and config outs to mixer. What is, I believe, the most important thing - I am using the library in my projects.

I did not have problems with instalation and activation to ILOK. In my opinion it is good choise when East West (Soundsonline) gives promotion.

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Reviewed By QuadrupleA
November 27, 2012

OK - giving this product an 8 for the quality of the samples, but a 1 for its terrible and outdated installation process, the use of a cumbersome iLok dongle system for copy protection which you'll have to pay $50 on top of the regular cost, and some bugs and issues with the product itself.

A bit of detail; I bought the Silver edition. It comes in a giant, mostly empty box with two DVDs inside, which were pressed in 2008-2009, as well as a sheet of paper saying essentially "STOP: the installation on this disc does not work - please view the videos at the following two URLs for the correct installation procedure."

After you tediously type the long URLs into your browser, you'll get two large ZIP files (no kidding) with videos in them - I guess we're in 1995 before web video - which, on unzipping, contain complicated instructions explaining things to download off their website, things to uninstall, etc. (it's not clear what order you're supposed to follow them).

Following the videos won't work, however. You'll uninstall what the disc installed, and install the updated version, but still be missing the actual sample library. After a call to tech support, I learned that apparently you have to shut off all of Windows 7's security features and antivirus, reinstall, and then go onto the disc and copy all the instruments and samples to their appropriate folders manually, as that part of the installer is broken. You'll also have to download and set up new software from the iLok vendor.

In my case, on top of the rest, the $50 iLok will only work in one particular USB port (despite being recognized by the computer on all of them - apparently it needs a "strong" USB port, but nothing in the error message will lead you in the right direction). And if you use a wacom / tablet mouse like I do, you won't be able to click any of the menus or controls in the Play application - only the pen stylus or a separate mouse works.

So yeah, not a pleasant experience for something I shelled out $300 for, with no return policy once you open the box - I wish EastWest would trade a few hours of developer time on the installation and product, it'd save thousands of combined hours of their customers' time.

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Reviewed By alargechicken
March 22, 2007

Having your very own "orchestra" at such a low price is quite amazing; the realism of many orchestral libraries have improved, and probably will not slow down due to excellent sound engineers and recorders such as the ones that put together EWQL Symphonic Orchestra. The sound of this thing is quite shocking, especially for how inexpensive it is.

This library is amazing, no doubt. Though, the producers claim that it is "easy to use". I beg to differ. It holds many secrets that require some investigation to find, so it doesn't exactly sound great "out of the box". You've got to learn how to use it optimally, and spend some time getting the right ammount of realism. You will find yourself tweaking the instrument patches quite abit (at least I did), and the programming glitches are no fun. For example, the 6 French Horns Sustain Legato gets a nasty squeek every time you load up a song for the first time. I'm not sure if it's just because of FL Studio, but this problem is not a big deal, as it can be fixed simply by re-loading the instrument. There are also some problems like certain velocities of some notes (tremelo cellos and piano) not on tune, but these are VERY rare and will be fixed with updates.

The interface isn't the most modern and sleek-looking interface I've ever seen, but it is quite efficient and easy on the eyes. I feel that the colors work very well with the overall tone of Symphonic Orchestra (colors can invoke subconcious emotions, therefore color is quite important).

You are given 8 midi channels, to house 8 instruments/articulations. I feel this is just the right number to keep things substantial, and not overcomplicated. You are able to change many perameters, such as the individual mixer outputs, midi channels and, max polyphony; you can also tweak not only the entire instrument's panning, levels, envelopes, and lfo's, but the insrument's "groups", like for a DXF (Dynamic Cross Fade, used for expressive crecendos and decrecendos) instrument's 'piano (soft) sustain' group. This extreme customizability makes up for the library's limited articulations.

The instruments you are given and the quality of them are perfect for epic, full, emotional, and lush orchestral pieces. Though, the lacking articulations and instruments makes this thing suffer horribly when it comes to dry sounds and solo instruments. I have to say that other than being a supportive sound, the solo instruments are quite horrendous (mainly the string instruments). But the essembles are quite amazing. With the sustain legato feature (whenever the sustain pedal is on, the instrument goes into legato mode) and it's 3 keyswitch settings (normal, quick, and accented) your orchestra can sound quite amazing, with some time and effort. Because of it's rich and full sound, this library is perfect for film and video game scores. The lack of articulations, however, can be fixed by purchasing the XP Pro version, which includes the many 'lost' instruments and sounds that the regular version is lacking, and better yet you can buy the two in a bundle and save 150 bucks!

The quality of the recording of the instruments is quite incredible. The instruments were recorded in a real symphony hall, so they sound completely natural, with a little bit of reverb to hide the abrupt note endings (which is fixed by release samples in the Gold and Planium versions). No real panning is required, and rarely do I have to adjust the levels of the instruments. They sit very well in the mix; the stereo image is outstanding, but not rediculous.

There are some serious performance issues if you are running on a computer with 512 MB of ram or less (I am running on 512 MB). This plugin requires alot of virtual memory, and that can be filled up very quickly if you have low ram. That's when the horrible things happen. Once virtual memory is overloaded, your instruments begin cutting out and popping. Not even rendering your song will stop it, in fact it only makes the matter worse. The only way I find it possible to render a song is to play and record it in real-time with an effect plugin like Voxengo Recorder. And of course you can render instruments seperately to reduce popping. But if you have more than 1.5 GB of ram, you really don't have anything to worry about.

The documentation is pretty good, it comes with an in-depth manual and a supportive forum with a helpful community and staff. I've not found any problems that I can't fix by doing a little bit of researching and reading.

Overall, if you are learning about how orchestral music is composed, and are looking for something more than free soundfonts and cheap synth immitations, this is the library to beat. And of course if the Silver version is too limiting, you can always upgrade to Gold or Platnium. The value is incredible, espeically when taking advantage of sales and bundles, which occur often at soundsonline.com.Read more

Reviewed By x_bruce
May 31, 2004

If you are looking for a realistic sounding orchestra you've found it. Dr. Johnson has a flair for recording orchestras and you get to play with a truncated version of his vision. Truncated is an important word here as you get less of everything and you will notice it. If you want to do quartets look elsewhere, there are no solo Viola timbres.

While short on articulations the reason for purchasing the Silver library is because of it's taste of the symphony orchestra. You get Native Instrument's Kompakt synth. For most situations you probably won't need it or want it. The oarcestra is set in the stereo width and depth fields. It is a stunning sound if you want a hall sound as part of the orchestral instruments. Look elsewhere if you want dry sounds.

In genereal the lack of articulations may send you to the synth parameters to fake some perfomance articulations. Still there is a charm to this library and in part it is the recording and that hall, the beautiful hall that just screams play it fff or for the rest of us, play it loud! Good for film and punchy enough for rock, electronic and dance.

Weaknesses, several important articulations missing, some instruments missing. No single instrument pizz. Still, if you are writing for orchestra you can get your sound. This is a great learner's set and is affordable. It is big sounding and for the positives, gorgeous sound. The expressive instrument naming convention is true. Heartbreaking violas that can run though all types of expressive instrumnets. Sections include 10 and 18 first and second chair violins. 10 violas, 10 cellos and 9 conrabass strings. Winds feature 3 clarinets, 3 oboes and 3 flutes. Each of these have varying playing styles with the strings more articulated. Solo instruments include Alto Flute, Bassoon, Bass Clarinet, Clarinet, Conra Bassoon, English Horn, French Horn, Concert Flute, Piccalo Flue, Oboe, Trumpet, Trombone and Tuba. Some with varations and different articulations. Solo strings include Violin, Cello and full Orchestra pizz, a disappointment, not to have individual pizz instruments ar stacatto. There are work arounds but it's a work around! More instruments though, concert Organ, several Choir sounds that are quite impressive. a great sounding Steinway B piano, a large battery of percussion and Harp.

As you can see, this isn't exactly light on sounds, but it is far from generous. Thankfully the quality is uniformly excellent. For personal work Silver does the job but does miss some timbres that I would gladly have lost the Organ, Harp and even the great choirs. They do contribute however so it's a hard call. And that is problaby exactly what East West had to deal with. What can the "budget" orchestra do without. Keep in mind there is a Gold and Platinum library that get more complex and detailed. You can upgrade for the price you paid for sliver, still, it's $700 upward to Gold and $3000 for platinum.

All said, a great set of instruments for a very reasonable price.Read more
Discussion

Discussion

Discussion: Active
flugel45
flugel45
29 November 2012 at 6:17am

You mention that you bought the Silver edition and spent $300. Did you mean the Gold Edition? The silver Edition is currently selling for less than $100 (Cyber Week sales). And though I was already aware of the "negative" points you stated - IMO all of which are valid - personally I'm willing to jump through some hoops to save 50% off on a great library.

(The sale goes on through the end of the year, so I plan to pick up either Gold or Platinum before then). :)

QuadrupleA
QuadrupleA
29 November 2012 at 7:06am

Hey flugel - I made the brilliant choice to buy it about a week before the EastWest sale :). Hate to see EastWest get any more business but I can imagine 50% off is tempting.

A.M. Gold
A.M. Gold
29 November 2012 at 7:30am

EastWest has some bizarre issue with the concept of mixing instruments and software. They never, ever seem to get the software part right, nor do they seem to care (though I hear good things about the instrument part). I avoid them like the plague.

rifftrax
rifftrax
29 November 2012 at 7:34am

Same experience I have had. Eastwest BLOWS when it comes to they way they have their installation and support stuff setup. Just god-awful really. The play software sucks as well.

wankwinkel
wankwinkel
2 December 2012 at 3:51pm

I've had my issues with EastWest over the years, but I think a little balance is needed here.

On the Play engine -- it certainly is different from Kontakt, but in some ways its relatively simplicity is refreshing and quicker. Certainly moving sample libraries around your disks is much more straightforward with Play than with Kontakt. I also have found Play to be pretty darn stable on my Mac Pro. And I like many of the aspects of the GUI relative to Kontakt -- some of Kontakt still betrays the old NI "Reaktor" school of inscrutable under-the-hood stuff.

EWQLSO is kind of showing its age, but it is still a superb sounding library. But I think the criticism of EastWest would miss the point that their more recent products are absolutely incredible sounding. Hollywood Strings and Hollywood Brass is an AWFUL lot to give up if you've adopted an "avoid EastWest" policy. They're amazing. Now, again, EastWest is a bit quirky -- to get the hard disc (diamond) versions, you have to live with an internal SATA drive (which really makes sense when you consider the size of these libraries) and many will find that a pain in the ass. Although with Thunderbolt and external drive enclosures its really not that bad. (I've gotten an internal SSD for these libraries and I could never live without it now).

Another great EastWest product you'd be missing is the QL Pianos. The best sampled Piano library I've heard anywhere.

Plus when you actually call EastWest they have good and helpful people there.

So yes, EastWest has its issues and isn't always the most "user friendly" company. But I wouldn't totally give up on them, you're missing out on some stunning-sounding products that really have no equal.

teresa.minister
teresa.minister
8 December 2012 at 8:59am

I couldn't disagree more wankwinkel. The reason libraries running on Kontakt sound so much better isn't just the quality of recording - it's the tools / scripting available in Kontakt for the developers. It is generations beyond what East West is using with the Play Engine, making libraries from LASS, 8Dio etc. much more versatile and sophisticated. (more on this below).

Kontakt is also far more user friendly. It allows multiple manufacturer's libraries within the same interface. For example, I have all my Project Sam, Audiobro, Old East West libraries, 8Dio, Native Instruments, Cinesamples all availabe in the same Kontakt library window - all accessible at the same time. This is a HUGE plus. Combined with the fact that Kontakt allows the user to completely detach each individual instance of an instrument from each other - running multiple buses with endless scripting, effects, automation, routing - all in one GUI just makes Play seem like an application from the 1980s.

I'm not sure why you think Play has a better Library reallocation than Kontakt. That is absolutely NOT the case. Try reinstalling OS from scratch. 1) Download iLok driver. 2) Download iLok client. 3) Download Play. 4) Install Play and choose which libraries you bought so it can install the right interfaces for each. 5) Hope that this actually worked, which it rarely does on the first attempt - and hopefully you didn't forget to add a library, cause redoing the install will cause problems with other libraries that you did install. 6) Right click on "favorites" to add each library path - which is pointless cause you pick anywhere on your harddrive and it has no idea if it's the right path or not.

Whereas with Kontakt: 1) Download Kontakt latest version. 2) Install it and authorize through the Service Center simultaneously. 3) Open Kontakt 4) Add library, point to folder & simultaneously authorize through your online account. No dongle, no drivers, no hassles. 10x easier. And moving a library is as simple as removing it, adding it and pointing it to the new location. What's so difficult about that?

East West made a massive mistake ditching Kontakt - and an even larger mistake going with iLok (can't believe that company is still in business). It would have been fine had the Play Engine been a great application that could compete with Kontakt. But it really is a dud, sitting well below the competition.

I'll agree with you though - East West has some great sounding libraries. I'm a big fan of Silk & Ra. But I actually avoid Silk like the plague cause of the Play engine and still use the dated "Ra" cause I have the original version that still loads into Kontakt. :)

QuadrupleA
QuadrupleA
8 October 2015 at 2:07am

A little "easter egg" - on the quieter (low-velocity) layer of C3 in "4 trombones mute sustained" you hear the recording engineer saying "good.".

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Symphonic Orchestra

Average user rating of 3.50 from 4 reviews

EastWest
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