Saturday, January 07, 2012

Sibelius 7 Sucks

Well, I talked myself into buying Sibelius 7 because the classical guitar sound they have is marvelous (I heard another composer's score with that sound). Problem is, THERE IS NO SOUND OUTPUT. I really, really hate stuff like this, because it's 2012 and there is no excuse for user-hostile interfaces anymore. Especially on a program that I spent several hundred dollars on.

My test for notation programs is simple: Can I figure out the basics intuitively, without needing manuals or tutorials? If not, it's a failure. Sibelius is a failure, just like Finale was (Another program I spent several hundred dollars on only to toss in the trash after a few hours of miserable frustration). Only Encore and Guitar Pro 5 have ever passed my test, so those are what I use (GP5 only when I need TAB, which is hardly ever). After using Encore for nearly twenty years, it is still the only one that allows a fast enough workflow for a COMPOSER/ARRANGER to use. Sibelius and Finale are only for digital typesetters, publishers, and those into self-flagellation.

I figured this might happen though, so I was prepared to only use Sibelius for the sounds by importing Music XML files and MIDI files I created with Encore. Even that failed.

When I launch Sibelius, I get that wretched, blasted Sibelius schmaltz, so I know the output is working, but when I press play, no sound. I went through all the steps on the AVID Help page for Sibelius, and still nothing. Poppycock.

Now, if I chose MIDI instead of Sibelius 7 Sounds I can hear a piano sound way back in the barely-audible range, so I know the MIDI file is playing back, JUST NOT THE SINGLE SIBELIUS CLASSICAL GUITAR SOUND I SPENT $500.00 FOR!

When will I ever learn: Encore is the only notation program that a composer can use.

UPDATE: It's worse than I thought. After spending a couple of hours reinstalling the program from scratch (There are FOUR discs), I did finally get sound... but only a piano sound, far, far away. Guess what? There's no way to permanently change the sound without changing to a specific guitar staff. You can change the sound in the mixer, but it will sound an octave high because... SIBELIUS DOESN'T PLAY 8va/8vb CLEFS! Can you believe that BS? Since all I wanted Sibelius for was formatting and playback, this is a deal breaker and I'm going to ask for my money back. As you regular readers know, I notate complex guitar music on a grand staff with 8vb treble clefs, like so:

Well, in the Sibelius System, in the Evil Trek Universe, where Spock wears a beard... this will always be piano music.

I can't believe AVID sacrificed the sequencer capabilities in what is supposed to be a world class product FOR COMPOSERS. Everybody who uses Finale and Sibelius scoff at Encore because it's so, "primitive." Well, AT LEAST ENCORE PLAYS BACK TRANSPOSING CLEFS WHEN YOU USE THEM.

I hate to curse on MMM, but Sibelius is bullshit, and I'm going to ask for my money back.


Anonymous Chris said...

This is an old post, but I agree with it strongly. I have been using Encore since the late 90's. I tried learning Sibelius on two separate occasions as a good little composer is supposed to do, but the horrible interface put a serious cramp in my style and creativity. Oddly, many composers seem almost religious about Sibelius and become very defensive when someone criticizes the software. All I know is my scores on Encore look as good as any other notation software, and I am able to write without thinking about the software and having the software get in my way.
For those naysayers, I was able to compose a 150 page choral symphony just fine in Encore and have it professionally printed and bound.
I just want to sit and write, and if the software takes me more than an hour to figure out, then it is just plain stupid. I am not a computer neophyte, and am actually a web designer by day. I would rather spend hours learning Drupal development or spend hours looking for and wrestling with an obscure extension for one of my Joomla! websites rather than stupid Sibelius. (I am not a software salesman by the way.)

Your fugue looks nice, but is nearly unplayable thanks to Sibelius (as you know). I would rather play from a score (and compose) written on toilet paper by hand than that Sibelius garbage.

2:59 AM  

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