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Is Sibelius as powerful as Finale?

PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2018 7:35 pm
by HughRoeODonnell
Hi all, I'm new here. I consider switching to Sibelius, and I have a question before I make the jump.

With Finale I had full control on everything in terms of page layout, like fine adjustment of the position of a certain note or accidental, or specifying manually the number of measures for a given line, or individual staff spacing or whatever - you name it. Will I have the same control with Sibelius?

Any differences in the playback sounds are of no importance to me, and the learning curve does not scare me either. But I’m quite meticulous when it comes to printed layout. Just want to be sure I'm doing the right thing by getting Sibelius...

Re: Is Sibelius as powerful as Finale?

PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2018 3:15 pm
by bobp
That's a tough question. I've never used Finale. I believe all the things you mention are doable. The problem is that those things are not intuitive in Sibelius. At least anything like they are in Finale. Finale users really complain about the number of steps they have to go through to do something that was one step in Finale. Many professional type setters use Sibelius to produce scores for publication. Download the trial version and see for yourself. What is you motivation for changing to Sibelius?

Re: Is Sibelius as powerful as Finale?

PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2018 6:03 pm
by HughRoeODonnell
Thanks for the reply. My Finale installation (version 2014.5) showed a bug that rendered it unusable. Support was not able to help me out with this; the only workaround they proposed (installing Finale in another user account on my computer, breaking who knows what else in the process and ruining my workflow) is completely unacceptable. So I'm left in the cold with no working notation soft at all.

I'm aware that some things in Sib are probably more difficult to do compared to Finale, and vice-versa. However, as long as I'm able to completely control my layout, it would be fine. I don't think I have a choice. I will try the demo version.

What about customer support? Do they effectively help with technical issues, or should I forget it?

Re: Is Sibelius as powerful as Finale?

PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2018 12:39 am
by bobp
Creating a second account and installing Finale there is a completely standard method of trouble shooting a problem. If Finale works in the new account, then you know there is a problem with the old one. And it needs to be dealt with. You might think that everything is fine, but Finale might be letting you know that something might be amiss. The guys helping you from support know what they are talking about. Unfortunately, they don't have your computer in front of them to make it easier. It's like putting your phone up to your car and asking a mechanic to tell what's wrong with it. I suggest you follow their idea first. What makes you think something will get "broken?" In what way is the current installation unusable? What kind of computer (though it sounds like a mac)?
You spent a lot of money. No reason to throw it away if you don't have to. Besides, if Finale doesn't work, how do you know Sibelius will.

Re: Is Sibelius as powerful as Finale?

PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2018 8:37 am
by andyg
Avid customer support is usually regarded as pretty dire. However there is an excellent official forum - ... ?groupid=3 - and Avid do now monitor and participate in it. This forum is unofficial, unsupported and unmonitored.

I think the general concensus is that Finale will allow you to 'fiddle' with things more than Sibelius will, so you have more control over the exact layout, positions etc. But it comes at the expense of ease of use.

But if you're used to Finale, and have paid out for it, jumping ship is a big thing. I'd follow bob's advice and see if you can get it to work on a new account.

And remember that if you want quality engraving that's even better than S or F, then the emerging Dorico is another option.

Re: Is Sibelius as powerful as Finale?

PostPosted: Sun Jan 28, 2018 8:38 am
by HughRoeODonnell
Thank you guys for the replies so far.

Creating a second account might be a method for troubleshooting, i.e. trying to understand what happens, but I have never heard of it being a used as a *remedy*. To me it sounds like "yeah your new tires don't work well on your car, but I propose that you get a new car - with it, they will surely work!”.

I’m reluctant to switch accounts because I'm afraid some other application might stop working in the process (just like Finale did, seemingly for no reason), which may be more expensive to repair. I may be wrong, I don't have much experience with this kind of things.

I have certain doubts about the guys from support always knowing what they’re talking about - with all due respect and appreciation of their effort.

Finale has a problem with displaying certain note heads (actually characters of font Maestro), even on old documents. Support tried to convince me that it’s due to corrupt file permissions to the font file. Bad permission for a font file = you can’t access *all* characters of the font, not just some... Plus I made sure the permissions are set OK (assisted by Apple support).

Indeed, switching is a big thing, and I wouldn’t like to do it if I can avoid it. Price-wise, cross-grading is not so much different from upgrading to the next Finale version (which I’d have to do at some point). But I’ve been using F for umpteen years now, so it’d be quite a jump. And Avid support being regarded as dire is not quite encouraging either...

I'll think it over. Thanks for the advice.

Re: Is Sibelius as powerful as Finale?

PostPosted: Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:51 pm
by bobp
OK, Hugh, suit yourself.

But let me say, with all due respect, that if you truly "don't have much experience with this kind of things." Then you might want to take the advice of those that do.

You computer can have multiple accounts, by design. You can't "break" anything. Even if you accidentally delete something, it isn't really erased. It can be recovered. Without having to take it into the shop. If Finale support had you "Restore Permissions" or run the "First Aid" utility, as it is now called, that's about all you can do on your end as far as trying to "fix" your computer. Unless you take it upon yourself to learn something about your computer. They are so important in this day and age that we all need to know how to take care of them. It is completely possible for your font file to be corrupt and parts of it not be usable. It in no way means that the entire font won't automatically work. Fixing permissions, depending on the corruption, does not always work.
You might consider a repair install of Finale. That's where I would start. Can't hurt. Or...
Set up a new account with administrator privileges. Install Finale. If it works, install the software you need into the new account, delete the old one and be done with it. After, of course, you back up important files.

Just trying to help. Good luck.