I would like to know before I go spending loads of money (which I DON'T need to do!) which program is the best for...
...and why you like it the best. Right now Sonar PE and Sibelius has been recomended to me. Although I have heard a little about Motu's DP. My area of work is more film soundtrack and I have only GPO. I would like to be able to sit down and compose music right away when an idea comes into my head (hence the notation program) and I would like a simple yet very complex if I need it midi editor that will help me make my compositions with GPO sound as realistic as possible! My goal is the most realistic sound that I can get seeing I do not have the money to hire a real orchestra! Thank you in advance!
Overture 4. It has (IMHO) much better MIDI editing capability than either Finale or Sibelius (I tried the demos). That said, I do the final tweaking for a performance in Sonar because of the much better mixing and effect chaining.
Sounds like you're looking for the same program I'm looking for - kind of a cross between Overture and Sonar - they both have their strengths and their weaknesses and neither is perfect but the combo is pretty good.
Unfortunately, if that program exists I haven't found it yet!
Well, I will cast a spell of Resurrection on the dead horse, and beat it some more.
This has been discussed ad nauseam in the past, and there is, as always, no real answer to your question.
There is no "best" notation programme. There is the programme that suits your work habits.
Do you doodle at the keyboard before committing notes to the staff? Then Finale has a tiny advantage there with its "Speedy Entry" method. But other than that, Finale, Sibelius, the end result is the same. Both require work to get a good end result. Different work, but work none the less.
I happen to use Finale and enjoy the ease with which I can make my demos with GPO. I've heard that Sibelius 5 is now considerably easier to use with GPO, so there should be no reason to not use either one, whichever suits your budget and your working method.
I don't use a sequencer, but I suspect that the exact same thing is true of them.
Look at the features you need.
And don't let people tell you "X is better than Y" in a categorical fashion. It's rarely true.
For me, Finale is better. But someone using Sibelius can probably come up with the exact same end result.
Can we put that poor equine back in its grave now?
Thank you both for your replies! I do not expect to get any composing done without some work and I don't expect anyone else should either! What I was asking is based on what I want to do which product is best suited to my use. I am brand new to this and don't know which one is more suited to which industry one way or the other! I have never tried the Overture demo, but I am going to install it in a moment.
"...Can we put that poor equine back in its grave now?..."
Well, let's not, because amerweb wasn't asking for people to square off and debate again the unanswerable "which is better" question - he wanted input about what we think he'd could be investigating as he shops.
robmanderson's response about Overture was interesting. I think that's the only major notation program that has a MIDI Controller editing window, like the Piano Roll which is standard in DAWs? It seems to me this Would be a major plus - because the number one problem I hear over and over from notation users is that they feel stuck being unable to directly access MIDI Controllers, which of course are what bring samples and synths to life.
"...I would like to be able to sit down and compose music right away when an idea comes into my head..."
And from that, I take it that you mean hand-inserting notes on staff paper (or virtual paper) is the most comfortable way for you to do that?--as opposed to playing music as you hear it? If that's the case, then it sounds like you need to focus first on getting a notation program.
But if you're a keyboard player and improvise/compose/write music in real time - then clearly you'd feel more productive with a DAW, like I do. And I use Sonar - Home Studio 6 XL to be exact.
I know of at least one very accomplished composer on this Forum who feels perfectly happy using the Staff View in Sonar to insert notes - It's not as if that's an impossibility, by the way.
When it comes to sequencers - Even though I use and trust Sonar, I feel they're all pretty much the same. Your stated needs in a DAW seem modest enough - You could practically throw darts at a sign with all the major brands listed, and be fine with whatever the dart lands on--really.
Which brings me back to the first part of your post - Sonar and Sib have been recommended. Great, if you can afford to get both at the same time - you probably couldn't go wrong. If you can get just one right now - then really think about what your preferred way of working either is or could be.
Thank you rbrowser!!! That is exactly what I was asking. I have access to a keyboard and play piano. The only reason I didn't mention that is because I am almost sure that all the major notation programs out there can interface with most keyboards and you can just play your music. What I was looking for in a notation program (and again, this is where I am not sure which one is the best) is to also be able to input music with my laptop keyboard while I am travelling, etc... and be able to hear a desent playback of what I wrote. Then I would export to midi and edit it with a midi sequencer. I have used Finale Guitar and I DON'T like the interface AT ALL! I LIKE the Sibelius interface, but I am not quite sure of how well it equates with Finale's Speedy Entry. As to Sonar...does the Home Studio do all that I want to do (create, edit, and make a full orchestral arrangment)? Or should I keep my eyes set on Sonar PE? Also, has anybody tried Motu DP that could give me a pros and cons look at whether I should try it above Sonar (i.e., whether it has more film scoring customizing than Sonar?
Thank you again rbrowser for your post! it was exactly what I was looking for!
You already have GPO (if not, a good idea is purchase it from geniesoft, it´s $189 and it bundle OvertureSE v3).
The good thing is that you can test most programs by yourself, simply downloading the demos or trials at their webpages.
Be aware, that, most of proggies takes time to learn, and with most of them, you get similar results.
If money is an issue to you, there are very nice tools for cheap, that are good. By example, i use Harmony Assistant for notation $69, and Cakewalk Music Creator, a $30 version of "Sonar" with less features.
Im not claiming they are the best, but for sure you can do a lot with them.
The good thing of Sonar, or Music Creator in my case, is that you can freely compose playing your keyboard, and if needed, you can open the staff view, without the need to export the midi file and open in some dedicated score editor. For composing and guide yourself, is more than enough.
I also have Tracktion 1.6 and Reaper, that are near free, but they dont have any kind of score view, if that is important to you.
If money wasnt an issue to me, i would like to get Samplitude o Sequoia thing. Maybe some day (they have to GaryG in the list of their users! so it must be a good thing. Their way to combine staff view piano roll and controllers view is great)
Personally, I use Noteworthy Composer. Shareware $39.00. Works fine with GPO. Use it for straight notation, or add all the MIDI controllers you want. It's got the power for a tiny fraction of the cost of the competition.
The only reason I didn't mention that is because I am almost sure that all the major notation programs out there can interface with most keyboards and you can just play your music.
Yes you can play your keyboard into a notation program, but the resulting notation will probably need editing before it looks like a normal part because of quantizing issues.
Originally Posted by amerweb
I have used Finale Guitar and I DON'T like the interface AT ALL! I LIKE the Sibelius interface, but I am not quite sure of how well it equates with Finale's Speedy Entry.
As others have said, try the demos. The Finale interface is similiar to Finale Guitar. If you don't like it, that says it all.
But Sibelius doesn't have anything like Finale's Speedy entry. The choice is yours.
Look at Overture also. But be aware that Overture is a one man operation, which has pluses and minuses. On the plus side, he's very good about posting updated versions of his product when he fixes a bug. On the downside, being a one man operation his resources are limited and it's a little hard to keep up with larger notation programs.
Originally Posted by rbowser-
because the number one problem I hear over and over from notation users is that they feel stuck being unable to directly access MIDI Controllers, which of course are what bring samples and synths to life.
I think you might be projecting your own preferences here, I don't hear this request from notation users as much as you do. I've only seen it mentioned once or twice on Finale's forum over the years. The majority of Finale users seem quite satisfied with the Human Playback programming of Robert Piechaud. While a simple pencil tool for editing midi data in Finale would be a nice addition, there are many, many other requests from users that far outweigh this one.