Sibelius 7.5 – Review

On August 21, 2014, in Audio, Mac, Macintosh, Music, Review, by Mark Sealey

 

Sibelius 7.5
Company: Avid

Price: $599.95 ($49.95/$89.95 upgrade)

sin75
Avid has received a lot of criticism from Sibelius users of late. Two years ago the Finsbury Park, London, HQ of the Sibelius development team was closed, many developers laid off, and the suite’s coding and maintenance operation relocated to the Ukraine. Rumors of serious financial trouble circulated and the company’s Vice President, CFO and CTO resigned. Yet the market-leading score-writing software did not disappear as some both predicted and feared. In fact, a new version has recently been released; here Sibelius 7.5.1 (a significant further milestone release for bug fixes and maintenance) is examined. It’s found to be as good as ever.

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Seagate Central Shared Storage Device – Review

On September 10, 2013, in NAS, Review, by Larry Grinnell

Seagate Central Shared Storage Device
Manufacturer: Seagate
MSRP: $169 (2 TB), $229 (4 TB), available at discount pricing online.
Seagate Central

As reported on this site in some of my reviews over the last few years, I’m a huge fan of NAS (Network Attached Storage) technology. At present, I own a large RAID 5 NAS, with a slave unit to back up the first unit. Why? I have this much storage to support my media server. All my movies, TV shows, music, etc., are stored on my NAS, and its manufacturer keeps adding interesting new tools to keep their devices up to date, such as cloud support (the buzzword du jour), making it easy to connect to my NAS from anywhere in the world.

central-right-500pxBut wait a minute! This review is all about the Seagate® Central. For under $170.00 for the 2 TB model and under $230.00 for the 4 TB model, it’s competitive with any number of NAS devices. One thing they don’t have, however, is the killer brand of Seagate. Seagate has been around for a long time, because they make superior products and because they’re quick to innovate with appropriate new technology, and they back their products up. My experiences with Seagate go back to my first office PC (sorry, Mac users…) that had a Seagate ST-225 20 megabyte (yes, megabyte) hard drive. It was built like a tank and never failed me. But I digress…

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JBL Flip – Review

On May 1, 2013, in Review, by Asher Weisberger

JBL Flip-Review
Company: JBL
Price: $99.95

JBL has been trying to get into the market of portable wireless speakers with several different types of products. These products include ones like the Micro Wireless and the Flip Wireless Speaker. The JBL Flip gets its name from its unique design to either be set horizontally or vertically in a small package while packing enormous, clear sound.

Screen Shot 2013-04-30 at 6.24.02 PM

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Angle & Curve MKII Classic Headphones
Distributor: MobileFun
Price: $18.99
MKII Headphones

NOW—Live from London’s Old Covent Garden! Here are Angle & Curve’s MKII Classic Headphones! Headphones (Check!), Inexpensive (Check!), Hip and Cool (Check!)—Great sound? (Oh, yes indeed. Check!)

Phones

Angle & Curve’s MKII Classic Headphones are stylishly retro in design while producing a stylishly contemporary sound. They are from a firm based in the Old Covent Garden section of London and are engineered there by a group of designers, audio specialists, and DJs. These headphones deliver impressive sound at a remarkable price.

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Johnny Winter — Review

On March 8, 2013, in Apps, iPad, Music, Review, by Julie Kuehl

Johnny Winter – Follow a Legend
Company: G-Men Productions
Version: 1.3
Compatible with: iPad
Requires: iOS 5.1 or later
Price: $7.99

The Johnny Winter app for iPad is an impressive collection of information on the legendary guitar player and his music. This app is for experienced guitar players or general fans of the performer. While it will teach you how to play in Johnny’s legendary style, it isn’t intended to teach the basics of guitar playing.

Johnny Winter app home screen

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David Ellefson Rock Shop App
Company: Pocketlabworks, Inc.
Price: $4.99 USD

Anyone who’s familiar with hard rock knows of Megadeth’s bassist, David Ellefson. David has been punching out intense bass tracks for years, and began sharing his wealth of guitar knowledge several years ago on his YouTube channel. David recently kicked up his game a notch with Pocketlabworks’ Rock Shop App.

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Setting Up iTunes Match
Video

On December 7, 2011, in Audio, Music, Tutorial, Video, by Scott Willsey

iTunes Match is a service from Apple that allows you to put all your non-iTunes purchased music into the cloud for sharing across your Apple devices. This is a great option for people with lots of music that they’ve ripped from CD and put into iTunes, for example.

The following video shows how to purchase iTunes Match and start setting it up, as well as how to see what’s happening with your music as the service attempts to match songs that are available in the iTunes store, or upload copies of your songs that are not in the store.

 

 

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V-Moda Remix Remote Earphones and Arctic E461-BM Earphones
Companies: V-Moda & Arctic
Websites: V-Moda  &  Arctic
Price: V-Moda Remix Remote: $79.00 USD  /  Arctic E461-BM: $31.36 USD

 

One of the greatest assets to any iOS device is the ability to listen to your favorite music, audiobooks, or your favorite apps. There is nothing more annoying than trying to do so with earphones that simply ruin the experience with their shoddy qualities. Most of us aren’t in the market for expensive earphones that can cost over $200, so what’s out there for those of us who want to find a balance between sound quality and cost? V-Moda and Arctic each have earphones in their lineups that try to reach such a balance. How do they compare?

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Sibelius 7
Review

On October 11, 2011, in Audio, Book Review, Review, by Mark Sealey

Sibelius 7

Sibelius 7

Sibelius 7

Avid (North American distributors)
Price: $599 ($149 upgrade)

Review by Mark Sealey dedicated to the memory of Steve Jobs, 1955-2011

When Sibelius 7 was released recently, its appearance was sufficiently different from that of Sibelius 6 to have thrown some (long-time) users. Avid was criticized on those listservs and forums which do such a sterling job of supporting Sibelius owners and prospective owners. Since so many creative professionals and enthusiasts have so much invested in a piece of software which they use for extended periods each day and to the ways of which their muscle memories had become fully used, change seemed particularly hard.

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Vienna Symphonic Library Solo Strings Review

On August 15, 2011, in Audio, Review, by Mark Sealey
Solo Strings

VSL's Solo Strings

Vienna Symphonic Library Solo Strings Bundle

North American distributors:
ILIOPrice: $660

Virtual Instruments (VIs) allow you to work with lifelike sounds in sequencers and Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) like Apple’s Logic and notation packages like Avid’s Sibelius. (Avid has just announced Sibelius 7: watch for a review here shortly.)

VIs are collections of acoustic/sampled and/or electronically synthesized sounds with varying degrees of realism and flexibility of use. Formerly hardware-based, VIs are now available almost entirely as software. They range from the cheap, barely tolerable and tinny to… well, to those produced and sold by Vienna Instruments.

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Transcribe!
Review

On June 28, 2011, in Audio, Review, Video, by Mark Sealey

Transcribe! 8.1.0
Price: $50 for single users;
contact Seventh String for pro-rated discounts

Transcribe! claims to be the “world’s leading” tool to help musicians extract music from recordings. It can also be used to transcribe speech and even allow musicians to play along. Does British firm, Seventh String, get credit for trying what’s difficult to do well but really end up as little more than an “also ran”? Or do they have a winner that works in almost every way?

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2011-06-16
Mark Sealey
Groove 3
Price: $49.99 for single users; contact Groove 3 for groups specials and (educational) discounts

MIDI Orchestration Explained, using strings

MIDI Orchestration Explained, using strings

Although an older technology and simple in conception, MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) can be complicated to implement and make the most of; and particularly challenging to use in effective music making. But the clear explanations and expert perception of Eli Krantzberg and the Groove 3 team are well up to the task of making MIDI orchestration both plainer and pleasurable for users.

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Xsample Chamber Ensemble
Winkler und Stahl GbR
Xsample

Amselweg 6
32756 Detmold
Germany

BestService
Sound on Sound
Price: $738.33

Xsample Chamber Ensemble

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Groove 3
http://www.groove3.com
Price: $39.99 for single users. Contact Groove 3 for groups, specials and (educational) discounts

Although Logic began as music notation software, its Score Editor has recently been overshadowed – outpaced even – by its other features; and outshone by the richer feature set of the dedicated music notation software, Sibelius. We’ve looked previously at Johannes Prischl’s excellent book covering the Score Editor. Now Groove 3 has released an equally useful, well-structured and expertly-written and presented set of nearly 60 video tutorials on the subject.

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Sibelius 6 resources

On April 6, 2011, in Audio, Book Review, Features, by Mark Sealey

 

Resources for Avid's Sibelius 6

Resources for Avid's Sibelius 6

Sibelius 6 is far and away best-of-breed as the gold standard of music notation software. The main review examines this latest version, its strengths and what makes it so successful. But the resources to which most users will want to turn have musch to recommend them as well.

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Sibelius 6
Review

On April 6, 2011, in Audio, Features, Review, by Mark Sealey

Sibelius 6
CompanyAvid
Price: $599 (Sibelius 6 Educational: $295; upgrade: $169)

 

 

Sibelius 6 from Avid

Sibelius 6 from Avid

 

There are standards, industry standards – and gold standards. Sibelius 6 is all three. It’s certainly the most comprehensive, robust, easy to use, well-designed, flexible, and satisfying score-writing/notation package available for the Mac (or indeed any platform) currently available. Sibelius 6 has several major enhancements: it’s hard to believe it’s even better. But it is.

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Logic Notation Guide
Book Review

On March 10, 2011, in Book Review, by Mark Sealey

The Logic Notation Guide
By Johannes Prischl
Price: available directly from the publisher
See the pricing page on Johannes Prischl’s site for price structure; usually approximately $50

LNG cover
Apple’s advanced Digital Audio Workstation, Logic, actually began life as software written by C-Lab, Emagic’s forerunner, to enable musicians to use the computer for conventional music notation. Indeed, it was originally called ‘Creator‘, then ‘Notator Logic‘ and now, of course, ‘Logic‘. Along with Logic‘s ‘Environment’ (an immensely powerful way to have elements in the music-making process link together), Logic‘s Score Editor is perhaps the least understood and generally most underused component of the software.

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Abaltat Muse 2.0
Review

On January 10, 2011, in Review, Video, by Suzé Gilbert

Abaltat Muse 2.0
Company: Tunepresto
Free 7 Day Trial Version Available for Download
$99 USD, 80 € EUR


One of the most difficult decisions in producing a video or slideshow presentation is the choice of music. If you want to use a copyrighted song or soundtrack then you have the option of requesting permission for use, paying a royalty, or purchasing a copyright-free library. Music is essential for a slideshow or film production as it may evoke emotion, excitement, or drama for the viewer. Creating a soundtrack has never been easier with Tunepresto’s Abaltat Muse 2.0. This is a sophisticated application that allows the user to create an infinite amount of royalty-free soundtracks with professional results. I was a bit apprehensive to use Abaltat Muse 2.0 as I am not a musician but this is an intuitive and well-designed composition software.

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Resources for Apple Logic 9 Review

On December 29, 2010, in Apple, Book Review, Review, by Mark Sealey

Apple’s flagship Digital Audio Workstation (DAW), Logic 9 (in ‘Pro/Studio’ and ‘Express’ versions), comes with a comprehensive manual. It’s well indexed; it’s available to read, consult and work from electronically— as a PDF. At almost 1,300 pages, it ought to be good. That it’s much more substantial than many Apple manuals is a blessing given the complexity of Logic 9, an Apple Pro Applications product which underwent three minor revisions this fall.

Nevertheless, resources to enhance, supplement, complement and extend the Logic 9 manual are beginning to appear. There are half a dozen websites with training videos, easily as many books, and now DVDs. These were all evaluated for this survey, which presents a review of the best.

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