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  • Best Playback - Sibelius or Notion?

    Hi everyone,

    I am wondering what notation software has the best orchestral playback. I have used Sibelius (with full set of VSL DVD Library (extended) for ages and am continually troubleshooting the playback using Sibelius Sound Editor, Sibelius Dictionary, and VSL Matrix settings etc etc.

    I have no experience using Notion and wonder if those who have can comment.



  • Hi leif1970,

    I have all the decent notation programs available of the moment: Sibelius, Finale , Notion all updated to the very last versions. Just to let you know that no one can replace your hand on the keyboard ( maybe I'm wrong but at least I'm honest). Now, regarding Notion ( since there is also a nice promotion) is a decent tool. Is working as expected: no hassle in adding articulations, everything is easy and predictable, thanks to the developer. It works in combination with VSL and not only, but since you are here probably you're referring to this library. On the other hand , you have to be aware that tempo and the nuances are up to 75% ok..the playback definitely can be improved  by adjusting Notion according to vsl and vice versa..but again you enter in other territories exactly as in the Sibelius ( anyway I think troubleshooting is a little too much, maybe you want an expressive sound, that's other story). All in all, I think is a good "servant" in playing notes from a complicate score with VSE /+. Last sentence: Sibelius maybe is a pain in the neck , but think about the great sound sets for the rest of the libraries from VSL. You don't find too easy any program to have this great compatibility. Look at the demos from Notion website , they are pretty impressive though!!

     Hope it helps, 


  • I have just bought Notion and, as I've said in a previous post, this is an awesome tool for learning to orchestrate your work. It's playback is pretty good, but I would say that these scoring programs can never been quite as finely tuned as the results you will achieve with a proper midi sequencer.

    If only because you can't manipulate very fine points of dynamic data (Expression, Velocity etc.) in a score editor.

    I have tried the demo of Sibelius and I have to say that comparing the two programs I find Notion a little more accesible. Certainly its a REAL help to composers like myself who know articulations by sound .. but not by name .. so being able to hover the mouse over 'Sul Pont', (or similar), and have a help bubble explanation of that is extremely helpful. As I say .. Notion is REALLY good for teaching orchestration to people like myself.

    Notion is a little bit fiddly in some cases .. and importing midi is difficult to get things set the way you want. I tried to import a string ensemble and found that there's no easy way to move the data around as I wanted to. And you can't seem to select in parts (Meaning you select whats on the page ... move the page browser bar over to the next part you want to highlight and include with your previous selected parts (usually by holding down shift .. or alt and highlighting the next batch). This just doesn't work .. which as you can imagine is a real pain if you have a lot of data you want to move around. And I can't figure out how to insert a bar at a specific point.

    Well these are all teething problems .. most of which are probably down to me needing to learn the ins and outs of the system .. but some are probably down to the developers .. who need to implement these things to make it better .. and I'm sure they will in time.

    But the playback I've experienced in Notion so far is pretty amazing. It's much better than what I thought it would be. I must admit I like the idea that the Notion SLE for VSL is built specifically with VSL in mind. And I hope they come out with a full featured score app for the whole VSL library. And for $89 .. to be honest I can't beat that .. I can use this app to score my music, and to learn at the same time. Way better than the $650 it will cost for Finale or Sibelius.

    Guess it depends on your skill level. Notion has my vote.

  • I purchase Notion SLE for VSL after a two day trial. I discarded my copy of Sibelius and was glad to say good bye to quirky note editing, soundworld, erratic playback and Avid pay-for-support. I've not looked back nor regretted this decision.

    Eventually, I discovered that Notion lacked the facility to edit controller or velocity data. To this end, I exported my projects via midi to Cubase. I was surprised to find that projects imported to Cubase may stutter or drop notes and would not play as they did in Notion. Examination of the midi file in a hex editor showed that Notion was adding much redundant CC11 and Keyswitch data to the midi file.

    Lucky for me, I'm a programmer and I have written a program to strip the redundant data from a midi file of Vienna Instruments tracks which are  exported from Notion. The stripped file will play in Cubase as well as the original project did in Notion.

    But to get back to the topic, none of the Notation programs can perform mixing well enough. There are too many fine adjustments to Expression, Velocity Cross fade and keyvelocity which must be made for the best blend of voices and only DAW software like Cubase has the capability. The best you can do is to test the export ability of the notation software.

    BTW, if you are having midi export issues with Notion I will send you my "midistripper" program if you get in touch.

    Sorry about multiple posts, I had to switch from IE to Firefox in order to make my edits show.

  • ???

  • Hello dshertz!

    If you are using Internet Explorer 9, please use the Compatibility mode (broken page symbol next to the address field). Otherwise your message will be lost. Sorry for the inconviniences.

    Best regards,

    Vienna Symphonic Library
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