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Topic: A "new" old user's distress

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  1. #1

    A "new" old user's distress

    As an old Finale and then Sibelius user too familiar with all the original frustrations, high cost of systems etc, when GPO arrived on the scene it truly seemed a huge turning point and a revolution was about to happen in music, as the amateur composer would finally have a shot at producing audio of scores that in past would be out of reach for most.

    Now returning from a long forced hiatus from music, I'm anxious to get someone with technical knowledge to help set up a system so I can jump back into composing. Given all the system software generations that have passed I understand I have to start fresh.

    My first thought was that by now most of the frustrations of all of this music software evolution(compatibility of various notation softwares, DAW, sample libraries &tc) would have been long ago ironed out and history by now, and that there would be some simple choices to make about software fit, aesthetics, etc. As an example, I have used both Finale and Sibelius from their early days, and would want to make an informed choice between one or the other for notation with reasonable playback.

    Instead it looks like the music software universe and the vision it inspired is coming unhinged, at least from what I've read here.

    In a sense I hope I'm reading too much drama into what I've read in posts here re the futures of Sibelius, Finale etc which would be a sad enough thing by itself.

    Is the future of GPO and other Garritan libraries uncertain? What a senseless and tragic thing if they were to disappear from music's horizons.

    I suppose if I had to end this with a question it would be something like this:

    Should I wait until all of this shakes out before investing in these softwares, or put together some kind of system post-haste while they still exist?

  2. #2

    Re: A "new" old user's distress

    MakeMusic just bought Garritan.
    So don't let yourself get carried away with ill-informed "bearers of bad news".

    Finale is definitely here to stay for a while still.
    The problems are only with Sibelius, which was bought out by Avid. Avid are in financial trouble and are seeking to lighten their fiscal load by dropping Sibelius' production costs. A VERY stupid move, in most Finale users' opinion, by the way.

    Finale plays wonderfully well with GPO. As a matter of fact, it works wonders with all of the Garritan libraries (I should know, I use only Finale, and have every Garritan library except the most recent organ library).

    I am disappointed in the problems with Sibelius. Even though I am a devout Finale user, playback was the final frontier for Sibelius. I was keeping my fingers crossed that that would be their next big leap forward. Playback has always been Sibelius' main weakness. It plays. Just.. not quite as nicely as Finale. It would have been tremendous for BOTH software companies if Sibelius had been chomping at the bit breathing down Finale's neck.

    I will remain lightly optimistic that maybe, who knows, there will be a miracle and Sibelius will continue to grow and improve and get the support it deserves.

    All that said: if you are or have been a user of Finale, I'd obviously recommend Finale, particularly as you are interested in playback.

    The HumanPlayback plugin that comes with Finale is absolutely brilliant. You can hear multiple examples in the listening room of music by people who work solely from within Finale.

  3. #3

    Re: A "new" old user's distress

    Quote Originally Posted by qccowboy View Post
    MakeMusic just bought Garritan.
    Finale is definitely here to stay for a while still.
    As they say, "Phew!" Will look into upgrading my ages old Finale if possible

    Also interesting to know that Finale does better playback than Sibelius, I had so many frustrations with that in past

    A load has been lifted and will definitely sleep better tonight


    Thanks

  4. #4

    Re: A "new" old user's distress

    It depends just how long ago you were using Finale.

    The real game-changer was the addition of the HumanPlayback plugin to Finale.

    I don't remember exactly when that happened, but I think it's around Finale 2005. And it has improved by leaps and bounds since then.

  5. #5
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    Re: A "new" old user's distress

    You are right about the fragmentation of the DAW environment, but if you are scoring music (not just recording it) Finale is the gold standard. Garritan libraries (along with Finale Human Playback) give the composer out-of-the-box ability to produce a convincing realization (audition) of their creative work. It doesn't take a monster machine to do a credible job of it either, though when it comes to audio, more is better, as digital audio rendering is resource intensive. There are days when i wish i had a 12-core mac with 32gb of ram... but since my goal is a well-edited score, not a perfect 'recording,' my 4 yr old core duo imac is up to the task.

    side note about Sibelius: if Sibelius isn't eventually acquired by someone, it seems likely that the code would be released into the wild as an open source platform.
    Last edited by passagio; 08-13-2012 at 11:57 AM. Reason: remind me, what are prepositions for?

  6. #6

    Re: A "new" old user's distress

    Hi, Pgurnee

    Is the future of GPO and other Garritan libraries uncertain?
    qccowboy has done an excellent job of replying and encouraging you to jump back into things. Though there was a bid from some of MakeMusic's stockholders to take over the company, we have no reason to think that's going to come into fruition, or that the recent merging of MM and Garritan would be in jeopardy if it did. Most of the gloomy forecasts you're referring to in your post are just speculations from concerned Forum members, and as such, need to be taken with the proverbial grain of salt.

    I primarily work with DAW software, but Sibelius has been my notation program when I have need of generating sheet music. I'm fairly adept at producing good sounding recordings with my main program, Sonar, but never thought of the sound as it emerges from Sibelius as being more than a placeholder, sketched in approximation only intended as an aural guide as I work - not as something I would want to render and share. I know it's possible to get a better playback than I ever have from Sibelius, but it's never been my concern. I've always only used the program as per its primary reason for existing - to notate and distribute my music.

    Now after several years of hearing what Finale "power users" are able to achieve, I have no doubt that the program is simply better equipped to handle that secondary function - to provide users a way to make good sounding recordings as well as excellent looking notation. As qccowboy has said, it's Finale's sophisticated "Human Playback" which is the key. Sometimes we'll hear Finale renderings where the user hasn't bothered to utilize HP, and the difference is very pronounced. Without it, recordings naturally are robotic and stiff, since the program is simply playing the quantized notes literally, and with the limited dynamics available from the scattering of markings placed in the score.

    In other words - I'm saying jump back in the way you want, and enjoy this new marriage between MM and Garritan. Though I own and still use Sibelius, I have no hesitation in recommending you stick with Finale, upgrade to the new version - and - jump back in!

    Randy

  7. #7

    Re: A "new" old user's distress

    A comical end-note to all of this

    Somewhat based on all the drama I'd read about Sibelius + the recommendations re Finale's apparently better playback capabilities, I purchased and installed Finale

    Soon after realized that the reasons I switched to Sibelius in the first place still stand, meaning my sense when working with Finale is that it was built by engineers rather than musicians, and I find it difficult and frustrating to work with

    So have since purchased Sibelius and am now proud owner of two notation softwares

    Am now crossing my fingers that I'll have adequate time to use one or the other

  8. #8
    Senior Member rpearl's Avatar
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    Re: A "new" old user's distress

    You'll find a lot of help here. If I can help with the Sibelius end, just give a yell. And the Sib chat/forum can help with a lot of questions.
    Ron Pearl

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    ronaldmpearl.com

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    http://myspace.com/rmpearl

  9. #9

    Re: A "new" old user's distress

    Quote Originally Posted by pgurnee View Post
    A comical end-note to all of this

    Somewhat based on all the drama I'd read about Sibelius + the recommendations re Finale's apparently better playback capabilities, I purchased and installed Finale

    Soon after realized that the reasons I switched to Sibelius in the first place still stand, meaning my sense when working with Finale is that it was built by engineers rather than musicians, and I find it difficult and frustrating to work with

    So have since purchased Sibelius and am now proud owner of two notation softwares

    Am now crossing my fingers that I'll have adequate time to use one or the other
    I know precisely what you mean with Finale in that sense! The issue with Finale's UI, I think, stems from its ability to customize nearly ever aspect of your score and/or recording. Many of the features will likely never be used by most users, but they are there if you want them. Unfortunately, as a result, some of the tools you may want to use can be difficult to find or comprehend at first. I will echo what rpearl said and what I'm sure many others would say, there is plenty of help to be found on this forum!

    I understand how disheartening it can be when picking up Finale, though. You have an idea that you want to get down quickly that requires something special that you may have never done in Finale before. My suggestion would be to visit something older of yours you have written, or perhaps find a simple arrangement of a piece, and spend some time writing it down in Finale.

    As a personal anecdote, I can say that I really enjoy writing for complex/compound time signatures in a lot of my music. At first, it was very unclear how to achieve this in Finale without having to edit every note's beams to be grouped as desired. However, once I discovered the Composite Time Signature editor, my world became much much easier. It's small discoveries like these that sort of accumulate over time with use that really allow Finale to become a powerful tool to do what you need.

    Though I understand if you prefer Sibelius, certainly don't hesitate to ask any questions on the forum (here in General Chat is probably where you will get the quickest response), there is plenty of help to be found!
    Michael Obermeyer, Jr.
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