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Topic: Oh gosh - help!

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  1. #1
    Senior Member Tom_Davis's Avatar
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    Oh gosh - help!

    I got ready to order Cakewalk Sonar Home Studio.

    Then I noticed there is a Cakewalk Sonar Home Studio XL.

    Is the XL version the standard version with added goodies, or is it a completely different animal?

    Then I saw I have to get a download to use Cakewalk Sonar with Vista. Has anyone done this? Were there problems with Vista?

    Argh.

    Then I re-read all the wonderful things Finale 2009 does.

    So, I have to ask - does one need a sequencer with Finale 2009?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Sonare Coeli's Avatar
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    Re: Oh gosh - help!

    I've never used Sonar, so I won't be able to comment on that portion. However, I do use Finale for just about everything.

    I have Finale 2008 and I can safely say that for a lot of sequencer work, Finale will do just fine. Human Playback can work wonders, but still give you a great deal of control. Finale's MIDI edit window is notoriously difficult to work with, so no MIDI is ever really done in it. You have to learn how to use expressions, which are placed contextually within a score, meaning you look at the notation and place an expression right where you want it in the music. There are a lot of pre-defined expressions, like dynamic markings, but to really get a score to sound how you want, you'll have to learn how to make your own expressions, which can be anything from a tempo change, to a MIDI channel change, to a transposition, etc. Basically, many of the functions that a sequencer would allow. Instead of drawing a MIDI line, you tell Finale what you want in the best detail possible, and it will incorporate your markings into the processes of Human Playback. Making expressions is really pretty simple once you learn the program .

    Now there is a caveat to all this. If you want full control over EVERYTHING, which is actually really useful for GPO and other sample libraries, then you will want a sequencer. If you want to draw every line by hand, and control exactly how fast or slow something happens, then Finale may not be best for you. I enjoy using Finale, because I can look at notes instead of MIDI lines (that pencil tool scares me).

    Finale will not give you full control, and it will make assumptions for you where you let it.

    So, the bottom line: If you want to control every aspect of the performance and make a really accurate recording, or if you want to use sample libraries as part of a recording with real instruments, then use a sequencer. If you want to make a really great sounding mock-up of a composition, and want to have your program automate a lot of things for you, then Finale is for you.

    To each his own. I'll be learning how to use a sequencer soon. I just got my Pro Tools rig set up. So the third option: Get them both!

  3. #3

    Re: Oh gosh - help!

    Well....I use Sonar for sequencing and audio and Finale for notation, but Finale has come A LONG WAY as far as its realization goes. Sonar, however, sadly has terrible (IMHO) notation implementation. Some people here do their scores in Finale then import them into Sonar and tweak them. I enter separate info into Sonar AND Finale - sometimes sharing parts of files but usually two distinct renderings. I just tend to like MY human playing better than any HUMAN PLAYBACK that any program can perform. I am not even a keyboardist but I think I get a more "human" feel by doing it this way - with no-to-minimal quantization. Not only that but I work the score in pencil in front of me as well.

    I would suggest identifying your goals and then buying the software that will achieve them. The buy the machine that runs the software best.

    Good Luck!!
    In theory there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there is.

    http://reberclark.blogspot.com http://reberclark.bandcamp.com http://www.youtube.com/reberclark

  4. #4

    Re: Oh gosh - help!

    Sonare Coeli's comments are on the mark, Tom.

    I use solely Finale. And if you're really solid with notation
    and know how to properly detail and mark up a score, you
    get fantastic results with it. The key to it is just that...
    you've got to be really thorough in your scoring.

    But if you want to control every single detail of the sound,
    then, no question, a sequencer is essential.

    I think it depends a great deal on your perspective. In
    my case, I want to create a quality "first hearing" of a
    piece that represents it well... and Finale does that. All
    of the orchestral and most of the piano work on my site
    is done in Finale alone... which would give you a fairly
    good idea what an experienced user can do with it.

    Note that the pdf scores on my site are the same ones
    used for rendering from Finale... so you can see what
    I mean about detailing a score properly.

    On the other hand, if you want to go beyond that, get
    as close as possible to realism (as in Dan Kury's superb
    work) -- then you've got to go a step further and
    detail your work in sequencer -- an art of itself!

    Best,



    David
    -----
    David Sosnowski
    www.DavidSosnowski.com

  5. #5

    Re: Oh gosh - help!

    Home Studio XL is the same product with added goodies.

  6. #6

    Re: Oh gosh - help!

    Just a thought to stir it all up, using Cubase as your sequencer you get to see a score as well as piano roll (its not exactly the best layout but if you need to see the notes it works). If you're uo to it, you can play along with the metronome in order to get the notes in. Mind you its expensive but does everything except print out beautiful scores, but then I don't need those.
    Derek
    Things may come and things may go but the art school dance goes on forever
    NOW WITH Cubase 5, JABB,GPO, Fender Strat, Ibanez RG, Yamaha Fretless Bass, Framus Archtop, The Trumpet and Mr T Sax, together with GREEN SEALING WAX


  7. #7
    Senior Member Tom_Davis's Avatar
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    Re: Oh gosh - help!

    Sonare, reberclark, etLux, AlanPerkins, and buckshead - thank you all for your great responses. I believe I will start with the Finale 2009 and then, as I feel the need, expand to Home Studio XL.

    Again, thanks for the help.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Tom_Davis's Avatar
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    Re: Oh gosh - help!

    Quote Originally Posted by buckshead View Post
    Just a thought to stir it all up, using Cubase as your sequencer you get to see a score as well as piano roll (its not exactly the best layout but if you need to see the notes it works). If you're uo to it, you can play along with the metronome in order to get the notes in. Mind you its expensive but does everything except print out beautiful scores, but then I don't need those.
    Now that caught my attention. Does Cakewalk not show the actual notes?

  9. #9

    Re: Oh gosh - help!

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom_Davis View Post
    Now that caught my attention. Does Cakewalk not show the actual notes?
    It does, however the appearance of Cake's notation window is not its strong point.

  10. #10

    Re: Oh gosh - help!

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom_Davis View Post
    I got ready to order Cakewalk Sonar Home Studio.

    Then I noticed there is a Cakewalk Sonar Home Studio XL.

    Is the XL version the standard version with added goodies, or is it a completely different animal?

    Then I saw I have to get a download to use Cakewalk Sonar with Vista. Has anyone done this? Were there problems with Vista?

    Argh.

    Then I re-read all the wonderful things Finale 2009 does.

    So, I have to ask - does one need a sequencer with Finale 2009?
    I use the Finale then Sonar route.

    I know many of my forum colleagues can get just the sound they need purely from Finale through judicious use of expressions etc. I have been using finale now for many years and, for me, I prefer to prepare my scores in Finale (2009) adding the articulations I need with Human Playback selected. Then I work on the MIDI file in Sonar Producer which, for me, gives results I couldn't achieve in Finale.

    I'm not sure that Sonar's notation window is any less restrictive than cubase .. is it?

    Just my personal preference.
    Michael
    Patience is a virtue, sensitivity is a gift

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