Finale2006 or Sibelius 4?

I am trying to decide which notational program to get the latest version of.  I had been a life long Finale user but made the switch to Sibelius 3 when I started using VDL1.  I am trying to decide between the sounds of the GPO of Finale 06 vs. the dynamic parts of Sibelius 4.  I can make a strong case for each in my mind so I thought I would toss this out on here and see what you guys thought.  I realize both programs are great but I feel like I am standing at a cross-roads so to speak and every little bit of information will be helpful in making the final call.

Many thanks in advance and Jim - you rock!
I think the microsoft word analogy is really appropriate when describing Finale.�� It's powerful software, but I think is nowhere as intuitive and its upgrades and ";innovations"; always feel like attempts to catch up to the advances Sibelius makes in their software.

The�� user experience is why you need Sibelius.�� Most of us started out in Finale and developed that love/hate relationship with it.�� I was an expert at it, but not by choice--it was the only way you could live with the software and be a percussion arranger.�� Shortcuts were random and unintuitive, tasks were needlessly complicated and involved far too many steps, the program was quirky and behaved irrationally constantly.�� When I first started using Sibelius (somewhere in the 2x era) I was just floored at the simple things: Oh... you can drag that where you want to?�� T is for time signature?�� The keypad input also made perfect sense and everything was easy to learn.�� Coming from a Sibelius background, I had to break out the manual for the simplest of things (creating ties, etc) but once it all made sense I have never looked back.

As far as the Sibelius 4/Finale 2006 debate goes yeah the sampling stuff is nice, but that's not the bottleneck on your productivity as a percussion arranger.�� It's how quickly you can get things done, manage things as changes come in, and streamline your workflow and post-processing.�� I think Sibelius is the winner hands down here.�� Hat tip�� to Dynamic Parts.�� If you write anything for full band or even battery/pit this pays for itself the very first time you use it.�� My 16 files are now 1.�� I couldn't ask for a better system.

Of course this will likely be copied and in Finale 2007/8, but that's just how it goes. :-)
[quote author=jmattson link=topic=835.msg3294#msg3294 date=1129082724]
I am on a mission to convert everyone to Sibelius :)
[/quote]

Amen! I'm on that same mission! After having used Finale since edition 97b, I was a pretty hardcore, dedicated user. But when VDL:1 was introduced and several important arrangers mentioned that they were using Sibelius (Key Poulan, John Meehan, Jim Casella), I started considering a change.

I bought V 3.13 and fell in love with it! I'm still waiting on my v 4.0 upgrade, but I hear it's killer.

I also appreciate how Sibelius' upgrades are necessary, rather than every year for Finale with minimal upgrades. The GPO looks like a great addition to Sibelius and definitely a puchase I will be making!

Eric Rath
[quote author=drumcat link=topic=835.msg3304#msg3304 date=1129139769]
Not to throw a wrench in, but Overture 4 has native VSTi hosting...�� I'd suggest that second before Finale.�� Sibelius, right now, is king.�� IM[b]H[/b]O.�� :)
[/quote]

Yes - the full VSTi hosting and MIDI features of Overture 4 seem like big steps in a good direction. Though they haven't yet offered a Mac version...
Plus, I'm uncertain on how flexible their percussion mapping functionality is (or isn't) which is pretty important when using the complex mapping of some VDL2 instruments. I'd be interested to learn more about it.
Yes, Dynamic Parts are most definitely a big deal.

Also, the Sibelius ";Z"; problem is fixed/being fixed.  It has to be for GPO.

There was little different between the programs except for severe usability advantages in Sibelius and severe existing knowledge of Finale - until now.  I think you'll find that not having to go through part extraction makes Sibelius a winner.

Not to throw a wrench in, but Overture 4 has native VSTi hosting...  I'd suggest that second before Finale.  Sibelius, right now, is king.  IM[b]H[/b]O.  :)
By the way, it should be mentioned that the Sibelius GPO will contain the FULL GPO library as opposed to the scaled down Finale one. Though it will be a paid addition. Food for thought.

And I forgot to mention it before, but Sibelius 4's dynamic parts feature is absolutely amazing. It's already saved me hours of time in part extraction hassles. To me, that feature alone is worth the upgrade price.
I'm also a big fan of Sibelius myself. In fairness though, Finale 2006 has added the great addition of hosting VDL2 or Kontakt (or any other NI virtual instruments) directly within Finale 06 itself. Finale's GPO is a nice addition, but Sibelius is adding this as well, probably later this month:
http://www.sibelius.com/products/gpo_sibelius/

Mixing and tweaking in a sequencer program is most definitely the way to arrive at the best recorded output. But since a lot of notation users don't want to mess with the learning curve or expense of a professional audio/midi program like Logic, Sonar, etc, the direct hosting feature from within Finale 2006 solves the common confusion of having to setup a virtual midi cable between VDL2 and the notation program, as well as saving instruments, panning, volumes, etc in the Finale session itself.

But...currently, Finale 2006 gives you no way to record natively within Finale if you are using the NI Plugin method of playback. They supposedly have an update for this in the future. Sibelius' integration with Kontakt Player is more mature, and allows for recording playback (but only from their Kontakt Player - gold or silver). If you want to incorporate VDL2 recordings, you'll still need another recording program like Audacity or WireTap.

So the moral of the story, if there is one, is that both programs have some great features. I agree with Jesse that Sibelius has a more elegant interface, but you're likely to find just as many folks who would religiously debate that. Since a lot of folks have spent years honing their Finale chops, the thought of ditching that for a different environment hasn't lured them away from Finale. Certainly understandable. However, that long learning curve spent with Finale won't nearly be as long if switching to Sibelius since (again...just my own opinion) it's generally an easier interface to learn.

These thoughts have probably confused you more. What are friends for. :)
As always, thanksfor your kind words Dave. Much appreciated.
Jim,

Thanks for the reply and your opinions.  I will check out the soundsonline.com stuff too.  You comment about recording straight from the notational software suffering in sound quality makes complete sense.  I had not thought of it that way.

I don't think the sounds samples in a notation program are very important.  I actually don't even use VDL2 while writing, and just use a piano sound.  If you want the best sound possible, recording straight out of the notation software is not going to sound very ";professional"; at all.  If your goal is to create life-like audio files, then you'll want some kind of multi-track software and samples from soundsonline.com (more expensive, but you get what you pay for- listen to their symphonic demos and it's [b]really[/b] amazing)

I feel the user interface of Sibelius is significantly better than Finale, and with each Sibelius upgrade you get a lot of useful features.  On the other hand, I feel Finale is like trying to write music with MS Word.  Each year is a new update that feels like a rip-off to me.  2006 has some nice additions like support of VST instruments, but overall I feel they rush a new version out the door each year and count on the masses of music teachers to pay for it.

I am on a mission to convert everyone to Sibelius :)
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