I’m confessing my love for something old, but so very beautiful – the Edirol Orchestral HQ Softsynth.

I remember the day I held it in my hands. I remember installing for the first time, loading it up into Sonar and giggling giddily. Yes, giddily. What followed was a love affair for the mockup – making orchestral music using nothing but a computer, a keyboard, and the infinite patience of my parents as I bashed my way through learning how to use it.

The sounds… ahh the sounds. Oboe 2 was just sublime. I loved recreating ‘Princess Leia’s Theme’ repeatedly with it. Full Strings Spiccato, and Slow Strings were my go-tos… the old reliable patches that made every piece, for their wicked attack, and their cinematic warmth. I felt like Hans Zimmer. I even think some of the percussive orchestral hits found in the Percussion patch made Brad Fiedel’s score to ‘Terminator’. They were hidden, but just like certain Stormdrum patches – you can pick them a mile away.

Sadly, the rest of the music community didn’t receive the library as well as I did. I think it was on the most part to the cheesy demos available – which can make or break a library release. But I knew better – barring a few dodgy patches (especially in the brass regions) the Edirol was a beautiful library, full of little gems and an ease of use which I’ve never encountered since.  Best of all, the Edirol was extremely lightweight – the entire softsynth is ~100MB, and could easily run on more modest systems; not a common trait of most orchestral libraries. Not sure how they did it – but compared to competitors at the time (e.g. EWQL Symphonic Orchestra), it was far from an unmanageable beast.

I remember holding this box! Ahhh... memories.

But alas, maybe due to it’s lack of commercial success, support for the library faded pretty quickly. Now, users (like myself) are finding it difficult to get the library to run on newer operating systems (most won’t even let the installer run!). [A little tip – if you can ‘acquire’ a copy of the library of v1.03, it will successfully install on newer Windows systems… ;).] 

But, if you are one of the lucky ones that get’s it chugging again – it’s like coming home. I feel all warm and gushy for writing again – those old patches are just magic, and still work wonders on a mix. I’ve started adding the sounds into my palette again, and have found I’ve made my orchestral template much more lightweight and efficient because of it, without little or no compromise in sound quality. In fact, I feel that I can work more musically, and more quickly now. Expect to hear a lot more of the library in my future music releases.

I know – it’s weird right… this library is OLD, and you’re right in thinking it has nothing on your modern sample libraries. But I’ve always thought quality mockups have always been in the realm of the composer wielding the library, and not in the library itself. I’ve heard some god-awful mockups from users with extremely high-end systems, who obviously have more money than sense. I’m not saying I’m better than anyone – but I know that if I work hard enough at a mix, it might just not matter as much that I’m using old libraries.

Sooo… anyone else have fond memories of a particular library, or even a piece of old software? Anyone keen to relive their glory days?

-s