I treated myself to a Silver edition, good enough not to hurt my ears and affordable enough not to hurt my wallet
Patches sound very well, with depth, realism and presence, and enough articulations are available to make the playing enjoyable – I used an older Garritan Orchestra before and several patches there (oboe, some strings) were plasticky, often with rubbery vibratos that you couldn’t get rid of.
So, in comparison the EWQL sounds very well indeed. It’s buggy, though… Both the standalone Player and the plugin in Logic crash frequently, especially when loading multiple instruments in a single plugin. Fortunately, I use multiple patches in a single plugin only when doodling – when I use multiple plugin instances each with its own patch the crashes are much less frequent .. but they still occur.
Now that I can listen to the instruments without cringing and ad-libing is enjoyable enough, I’m planning to go through the Rimsky-Korsakov’s Principles of Orchestration and some tutorials. I wonder what pieces would be good to start from – I’d like to try transcribing some short piece I know by ear and see how it goes.