Encore WAS a great program many years ago, but when Passport Designs lost something like $3 million, they had to go out of business. If Encore is available now, it\'s not a wise investment. Personally, Finale is still the best program out there but Sibelius is also an incredible program. These two programs are NOT going to go away, Encore just might again.... I would highly recommend Sibelius between the two. Ironically, Sibelius functions somewhat in the same manner of how Encore did... it\'s very simple to operate.
You might also consider Overture 3, which used to be distributed by Cakewalk and is now sold by its programmer. You can get a demo at www.geniesoft.com. I usually use Finale because I need powerful notation, but Overture is very intuitive and has great MIDI editing capabilities.
I have been testing quite a few notation programs, and I would go for Sibelius without a doubt. It is as packed with power and features as can be- yet it manages to be intuitive and easy to use. Finale is a good progam as well, but it is not as easy to use (I find myself using at least twice the time completing something in Finale)
\"Finale is a good progam as well, but it is not as easy to use (I find myself using at least twice the time completing something in Finale)\"
I\'ve never understood this argument. If I\'m going to spend $600 on a program, I\'m going to use it a lot. If I\'m going to use it a lot, I\'m going to read the manual/tutorial to figure out how to use it properly. Because of this, the time that it takes me to master the program is not nearly as significant as the productivity/speed I can achieve once I\'ve learned the program. If approached correctly, a program like Finale only takes a few days to become comfortable with and a couple of months to reasonably master. To give some idea, I became more proficient with Finale in 1 month\'s time than other people I knew who had used the program for 10 years. If you don\'t want to spend a few weeks really studying how to use Finale or Sibelius, I encourage you not to purchase either one.
This being said, I have thoroughly studied both Finale and Sibelius (reading all of their manuals and watching the forums and websites for tips). Both programs have huge strengths and weaknesses. For what I do with GigaStudio, Finale is faster and more flexible. I do however also enjoy working with Sibelius. People often make the mistake of trying to use the two programs in the same way. Each program has its own style and organization, and if you follow this organization, you can complete large scores with either program in a day\'s time.