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.
Wow, I have to be completely honest with you, this is amazing. I was just browsing what was on kvr, I didn't expect to find such a great free synth. This thing needs to get noticed.
User Interface: Ok, I have to admit, this GUI is very appealing. Sometimes the text is a tad bit unclear, but it's nothing that leaning into your monitor won't fix. As for clarity, it's pretty confusing. You'll have to spend a good 30 minutes with this baby to be able to tell what just some of the double-knobs and switches do (yes, double-knobs). I think that the effectiveness of how everything is layed out in the mod matrix is very good. It's pretty easy to understand, once you've passed that steep learning curve.
Sound: Wow, this baby can make so many different sounds. It's great for pads and sequences. Alot of un ordinary, but not cheezy, sounds can be made with this synth. It's all pretty clear, too.
Features: This baby offers ALOT. You can change so many things with a considerable ammount of ease. Once you pass that steep learning curve, you're on your way. Though it's hard to learn, you'll have alot of fun learning it. This will keep you occupied initially, but it won't keep you from getting great sounds quickly.
Documentation: What can I say, the only documentation that you get is just a list of specifications. This makes this synth harder to learn.
Presets: I was actually surprised with the quality of most of the presets. They show you what this baby can do. Of course, it's not a perfect example of the features, but the presets are awesome, nonetheless.
Customer Support: Well, just forget about this one...
Value For Money: It's free! What more could you ask for?
Stability: I've never had it crash on me, and the CPU efficiency is AMAZING. Incredible stability here. You can crank up the unison voices and your CPU stays VERY low. Good stuff! I don't know how they do it.