Can someone tell me the most user-friendly way to have Finale 2005b playback:
-JABB (upon release)
-other NON-GPO soft samplers/soundfonts (SF2)
simultaneously and then record/mix the output? Would I want to also purchase KONTAKT 2.0 or some other VST-friendly sequencer and then load everything in there? I suppose I would need to run an audio capture program as well. I'm thinking GPO Studio wouldn't work for audio capture since I want to combine GPO and non-GPO sounds...
Also, I'm about to buy a "power" laptop (PC) to score projects with the above set-up. I would appreciate opinions on the most powerful/efficient PC notebook for soft sample playback and recording.
For best results with GPO and JABB, you should definitely upgrade to Finale 2006. The updated version of Human Playback in Finale 2006 is fully integrated with GPO and automatically handles keyswitching, etc, and the ability to directly load GPO instruments into your score (or have the Setup Wizard load them for you) is just so much nicer than futzing around with GPO Studio. Performance is much improved as well. Trust me, you'll never look back.
You can use other NI-compatible VST instruments with Finale simultaneously with GPO -- see Finale's website for details. You can't use soundfonts at the same time as VST instruments (unless you purchase Kontakt), but you can record multiple passes and combine them using Audacity.
Finale 2006 does not yet have the ability to save as an audio file directly -- there will be a free update soon that addresses this -- but in the meanwhile, you can record Finale playback using Audacity. (It's free.)