Sibelius 7 is upon us

I downloaded the demo and must admit, despite there being a steeper learning curve than from version 5 to 6, I think I like what I see so far. I’m not a buying v.0 kind of guy, and I think there may be a few minor wrinkles to iron out here and there (but it’s hard to tell with such a new product what is a program bug and what is user stupidity!),  but ultimately I think this upgrade will be worth the price. I’m curious what others think so far. Feel free to share your opinions and experiences in the comments below.

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17 Responses to Sibelius 7 is upon us

  1. Juan says:

    I have not downloaded the demo yet but I’m planning to do so soon, when I have more free time to toy around undistracted. Actually, I have quite a lot of free time right now. I’m just not finding the right words or right way to expess myself. I mean right now I’m in a somewhat hyperactive yet very disperse frame of mind and I’d like to make sure my attention span will allow me to sit for a couple of hours focusing on the new toy, exploring all the new features undistracted by mindless multitasking.

    But one thing I know is that I will not be upgrading right now. I upgraded to version 6 from version 3 profiting the January sales, and version 6 fulfills my needs satisfactorily enough. Probably I will skip version 7, but the new interface and features look attractive, and I will definitely try out the demo.

    This comment does not qualify as an experience… Maybe not even as an opinion, I don’t know. All the same.

  2. Steve says:

    Despite a few “opening day” wrinkles, I’m liking it so far. If you are generally against change as a matter of principle, this upgrade may not be for you, but neither will any in the future either, so you may as well get that cave good and comfy – there will be little point in you leaving it!

    On the other hand, if you can appreciate the advantages of intelligent change, there is a lot of good in this new UI, and with time I have no doubts it will get even better.

  3. Juan says:

    I think every individual has different needs and motivations, so it would be difficult to generalize.

    I have recently upgraded to v6, and on hindsight, I think I would be equally happy with v3. I could even have downgraded to v2. That is because my work with Sibelius is quite small and far between, and I don’t need advanced notational features. The benefits of a better interface, more intuitive menus and so forth would be very marginal in my case.

    Another touted feature of v7, the built-in ability of creating PDFs, I don’t know I would notice it, since I have always be able to do that on my Mac.

    I will play with the v7 demo, but I think it would be merely a case of evaluating if I will skip to v8 or to v9.

    I have put together a list of things that annoyed me on v3, still annoy me on v6 (some of them even got the annoyance factor upgraded)… I will check those on v7 and get back to share my experiment. Who knows, if they have been taken care of, I may become an earlier adopter than I though. If not, no matter how smart the new UI is, no way.

    • Steve says:

      I’m in no way trying to force anyone’s opinion or behavior. Doesn’t matter to me either way. I do note that I thought the same as you regarding the PDF functionality, but it really is easier to create and customize PDFs right in the program now. Options to create a single file with score and parts or just parts etc are really going to be useful I think.

      • Juan says:

        It is simply a case of somebody’s junk being somebody else treasure, or such a thing that it is said, I believe. It is bound to be so with a large program with many options to cater to as many different users to as many different needs.

        I have 14 published scores last time I counted, some old typeset on v3 but not yet updated to v6 and republished. Presently, my catalogue (both published and not, can’t be much more than 20 compositions). How long can it take me to create my PDFs, customized or not, even if I did not have a Mac? I admit it can be a time saver for others, though.

        If I want to do a customized PDF (on Mac) I would do the title page on a dedicated publishing tool (don’t remember how those are called, sorry, I mean apps such as Pages, Illustrator, InDesign…) Title page with awesome graphic design created, print as PDF on Mac.

        The sibelius score, another print as pdf.

        The parts, yet another pdf or as many pdfs as required. Even it those can be batch-processed right now on v6 (I have never checked, actually) my most extreme case would be three parts (for two compositions, if I remember correctly). How long can that take me, for God’s sake, even without batch printing? One minute at most, let’s have a safe margin. Again, someone who needs to process a lot of scores with many parts can find whatever improvement regarding pdf management a most invaluable one.

        Then I’d open whichever one on Preview (Mac), and drag and drop the others. Lo and behold my customized, single-file score complete with parts and a title page that beats Sibelius graphic design capabilities (which were non existent last time I tried to create a title page with something remotely ressembling graphic design).

        That said, this does not prevent me from downloading the demo and having fun exploring the new UI and features. Only, the PDF thingy would not be *my* priority.

  4. Juan says:

    By the way, Mr Philipp, does v7 has the ability to export audio directly in MP3 format or it is still the current, clunky way (i.e. export it as .aiff or .wave and then use a third party sound converter?) Now that would be useful.

    I am puzzled that people always is complaing that audio creation and audio editing capabilities are verging on substandard and they are willing to spend money and time on sound libraries and sound processors or whatever they are called, and Sibelius does not take the hint and drop the audio side altogether. They could substitute that for better graphic design features, and make a Sibelius Notation so that the scores look good, and just midi playback, and a separate Sibelius Audio which could be an optional app with excelent audio-editing features just to process the score that has been previously notated with the other half. Probably I would not be interested on the Sibelius.

    Lastly, it seems that some people who rave about the PDF stuff and how much time it could save or whatever, are the same people that happily spend hours tweaking the audio to still get a canned rendering of their scores… Not meaning you are one of those, please. Just having an “incongruity alert”, not addressed to any specific individual…

    It might not be so incongruous after all. at the end of the day, it is a question of what are our priorities, or personal tastes. I enjoy graphic design and visual arts more than audio edition, and I would be happy enough with Midi only, while others can spend quite a lot of money on audio processors and spend lots of time tweaking sliders and knobs and enjoying every minute of it and be happy with the current graphic options and ask no more.

    I would do the same expensive, time consuming and ultimately rather useless thing, only with graphic/image tools and spending hours just to make the title page look gorgeous (I don’t do it, though, but I can imagine myself in that position, which would be utterly absurd for others).

  5. Steve says:

    No direct export to mp3. I’m not in favor of multiple versions of the program. Nor do I think they should drop the audio side of the equation. I actually think they are on track to implementing improvements gradually in a manageable way and I don’t have any real bones to pick with the development team other than specific buglets here and there.

    • Juan says:

      Absolutely. I don’t think they actually should drop the audio or make mutiple versions either. I was just being a bit extreme to convey my point more strongly as to what are the features that matter the most to me and which ones I can happily live without. Of course, there are people for which the built-in audio side is of little use (people such as myself, or people who will be using dedicated audio software, anyway) but naturally, there are as many users that will find the audio features extremely useful. And people can actually switch between both approaches (i.e. an audio junkie or nerd – sorry, I don’t know if I’m using the right word – may not have time for a perfect audio rendition, or he might want to do a more basic audio demo for a sketch, and only invest time for the finished composition; or someone who don’t usually want the more advanced audio capabilities, might need them occasionally and be thankful that they are built in the software).

      For what I have read, they (the Sibelius developers) are doing fine catering for both sides of the equation, which is something I like, and it looks like the step from v6 to v7 is much wider than from v5 to v6 (I don’t know, because as I said, I jumped from v3 to v6). Maybe v6 to v7 would be the same feel of major improvements and changes than v3 to v6… I’m looking forward to trying out the demo.

      Oh, and thanks for the export to mp3 answer (a pity, that is something I would use 😉

  6. Steve says:

    I decided to take the plunge as updating, when the time comes around, is usually pain-free. Had a miserable time trying to place an order with Avid. Finally remembered Sweetwater – highly recommend this route for any U.S. users! Now the wait for it to arrive. Primarily will be checking out the new sounds to see if there’s anything useful there. Will probably still use VSL for my last step recordings anyway…

  7. Julian says:

    What I’m hearing from other places is that the built-in sound sets (which have deteriorated dramatically and consistently from the v.4 I started with) are even worse in v.7. Unlike Juan, this does matter to me as I have no ambitions for my works other than as an MP3 rendition and I rather object to having to consider buying Cubase6, VSL or EastWest Gold etc. in order to produce what I want when my old v.4 with Kontakt Gold and Rock&Pop were quite adequate for me and produced, if I say so myself, not appalling results. I can understand Avid wanting to provide an alternative to Native Instruments products, but to reduce the quality and range of the built-in sounds without offering an easily-installed alternative seems bizarre in the extreme.

    • Steve says:

      Bizarre should not surprise us at this point! I have heard more bad than good myself, but I’m curious enough to try, since I do like many of the other features of the upgrade anyway. Maybe I’m just an eternal optimist… I’m a big fan of staff by staff recording anyway, so all I really need to benefit is one or two really good instruments (that sounds like a lot as I type it!) that I can add to the arsenal. Maybe the percussion or brass… ?

  8. Juan says:

    OK, downloaded Sib7 demo and started toying around. Not wild about the new icon – bland and uninspired – they should not have changed the old trademark icon – recolor it, OK, but not redesign – or is it un-design what they did? – and the purple color scheme is… well, purple. The tabbed-ribboned UI is smooth, easier to navigate and less confusing than the old menu-based UI. Tried the full screen on a MacBook. It is handy to maximize screen real state on a laptop, but I think it is silly that to exit full screen, you must click on the button that says “full screen”…

    So far, v7 is fine and I like it, but I’m skipping this version; not enough volume, rate, complexity and quality of work to warrant an upgrade – and I have been using v6 for only half a year…

    I will use the demo to reformat a couple of old v3 scores, export them to v6, publish them and that will be all. I can’t say anything about the audio, because I can’t seem to be able to load the new sound library (only MIDI and Sibelius 6 essentials show up; maybe the Sib 7 sounds are disabled on the demo, or they are a separate download?)

    • Steve says:

      The sounds are a separate download once you purchase – they are not available at all for demo purposes. From everything I hear, they are not that great and slow down the operation quite a bit, but this is of course hearsay – I don’t have them yet. I agree with your first paragraph just about 100%.

  9. Steve says:

    Here is a great blog post by an experienced user detailing some useful hints and tips:

  10. Kevin says:

    I read that an experienced sound man recorder the “Avid Orchestra” to produce the sounds, I know of no such out fit!

    You might like to check this out. (Handbags at dawn!)

    • Steve says:

      Dubious of any comparison sponsored by one or the other, I had a listen and, surprisingly enough, I didn’t think Finale made their argument. Especially with Venus, and the Mozart was shameless reverb manipulation. But this was listening on my iPhone and therefore not, perhaps, the best way to compare sound qualities. Listening on the big computer the reverb and clarity of the Finale was a little better, but reverb levels and other controllable effects just bring me back to my initial skepticism. The actually sound quality of the instruments is not particularly great in either package, which is fine for me since these are notation programs that, I think, are best judged and compared for the notational abilities (and dare I say – ease of use!). [I also note that, for some reason, their site prevents me from listening to the selections a second time in the same session… I wonder why – something to hide?]

  11. Kevin says:

    I noticed they were heavy on the reverb as well Steve!

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