There is a myth that playing a single reed woodwind instrument or a double reed using a hard reed gives the player a good sound. It seems to be a very popular myth with oboe players in particular. A reed can't on its own produce a good sound, a good sound is made by the skill of the player. There are so many amateur oboists in the UK that I have come across that sound like power drills because they are playing on reeds that are too stiff for them to be able to control the sound. If you have someone in your community orchestra that makes a terrible noise on the oboe don't put up with it. Either suggest that they get some reeds that suit them better or ask them to leave. As long as they continue to play on reeds that are too stiff the sound will not improve.
I play 2nd bassoon in a community orchestra and also play chamber music. I have almost always played on medium-hard reeds that have a fair amount of resistance--i.e. they take a lot of blowing to make a decent sound. The 1st bassoonist I play with recently showed me his reed, which was amazingly thin at the tip and the upper sides. You could see right through it when you looked with a light behind it. A bassoonist in Canada has sent me some of these reeds, which don't take so much effort to play (thus great for long pieces). And they sound good! The only problem can be an unstable E (the one that uses the left index finger). I have a Rieger tip cutter and find it very useful for this type of reed. Having a reed that is easy to blow is really nice!