Sibelius 8 – Review

On September 1, 2015, in Music, Review, Tablet, by Mark Sealey

 

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Sibelius 8
Perpetual license: $599
Annual subscription (new users): $239
Upgrade from all previous versions (1 to 7.5) of Sibelius, including one year’s upgrades: $89 per annum
Switch from Finale, Notion, Encore, Mosaic: $199
Full licensing details

 

Jean Sibelius, the 150th anniversary of whose birth we celebrate this year (he lived from 1865 to 1957), officially composed only seven symphonies. Certainly only seven were published. Yet fragments of an 8th do exist; and indeed were performed in 2011… barely three minutes long, though. Sibelius certainly withdrew and tried to suppress his 8th.

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About Mark Sealey

Mark Sealey is a British expatriate working and living in Southern California with his artist/writer wife, Roberta Lannes-Sealey, whom he met in 1996, when the web, she and he were much younger. Mark's interest in computers began in the the early ‘80s when his father suggested that, If we don’t understand how to control them, they’ll creep up behind us and make life unbearable. Have they? Using the venerable Acorn system until his move to the US, Mark wrote extensively about the BBC and RISC machines. He concentrated chiefly on education, music and productivity/system software; at the time Micronet and Prestel led the way for wide area networking… he published over 2,000 articles for these outlets. After graduating with a humanities degree, Mark was a teacher for 20 years until 1994 - first in Italy then the UK. Becaming increasingly attracted to the world of information technology as a major contributor to children’s learning and development, he eventually moved to editing the UK’s chief journals in the educational computing. He has always enjoyed freelance reviewing, consulting, editing and writing. When he moved to the US, he was fortunate enough to find full time employment at a major arts non-profit as a software engineer; though it’s doubtful if there’s a single skill which he was originally hired to use that’s still in daily use. Mark is also a composer of chamber and orchestral music, music critic, a published poet, photographer and environmentalist with an enthusiasm for fitness, vegan nutrition and long distance running. He is now convinced that only humans’ humility can save our planet.

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)

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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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About Mark Sealey

Mark Sealey is a British expatriate working and living in Southern California with his artist/writer wife, Roberta Lannes-Sealey, whom he met in 1996, when the web, she and he were much younger. Mark's interest in computers began in the the early ‘80s when his father suggested that, If we don’t understand how to control them, they’ll creep up behind us and make life unbearable. Have they? Using the venerable Acorn system until his move to the US, Mark wrote extensively about the BBC and RISC machines. He concentrated chiefly on education, music and productivity/system software; at the time Micronet and Prestel led the way for wide area networking… he published over 2,000 articles for these outlets. After graduating with a humanities degree, Mark was a teacher for 20 years until 1994 - first in Italy then the UK. Becaming increasingly attracted to the world of information technology as a major contributor to children’s learning and development, he eventually moved to editing the UK’s chief journals in the educational computing. He has always enjoyed freelance reviewing, consulting, editing and writing. When he moved to the US, he was fortunate enough to find full time employment at a major arts non-profit as a software engineer; though it’s doubtful if there’s a single skill which he was originally hired to use that’s still in daily use. Mark is also a composer of chamber and orchestral music, music critic, a published poet, photographer and environmentalist with an enthusiasm for fitness, vegan nutrition and long distance running. He is now convinced that only humans’ humility can save our planet.

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Vienna Symphonic Library’s MIR Pro
Company: Vienna Symphonic Library GmbH

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Serious music composed and/or played on your computer can still risk sounding squeaky, scrappy… just plain artificial.

MIDI files can be all very well; but there’s a danger that every instrument sounds like a tin bassoon!

Digital Audio Workstations (DAW’s) and notation software like Finale and Sibelius have made great progress towards realism in recent years. But they still need to reach into the real acoustic world in two long and deep ways in order to pass muster.

First, they must have credible-sounding professionally-sampled virtual instruments (VI’s). But just as importantly, there must be a sense of acoustic space: reverberation, three-dimensionality, distance from (perceived) source – and, ideally, the very essence of a venue’s “personality”.

Such sampling technologies are areas in which Vienna Symphonic Library (VSL) leads the field by a long way. The Austrian company of dedicated musicians and acoustic, technical and audio experts produces MIR Pro – recently upgraded to become, without doubt, the front-runner of a tiny clutch of similar products.

By co-incidence, the MIR Pro range is also on sale for the whole of this month, April 2013.

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About Mark Sealey

Mark Sealey is a British expatriate working and living in Southern California with his artist/writer wife, Roberta Lannes-Sealey, whom he met in 1996, when the web, she and he were much younger. Mark's interest in computers began in the the early ‘80s when his father suggested that, If we don’t understand how to control them, they’ll creep up behind us and make life unbearable. Have they? Using the venerable Acorn system until his move to the US, Mark wrote extensively about the BBC and RISC machines. He concentrated chiefly on education, music and productivity/system software; at the time Micronet and Prestel led the way for wide area networking… he published over 2,000 articles for these outlets. After graduating with a humanities degree, Mark was a teacher for 20 years until 1994 - first in Italy then the UK. Becaming increasingly attracted to the world of information technology as a major contributor to children’s learning and development, he eventually moved to editing the UK’s chief journals in the educational computing. He has always enjoyed freelance reviewing, consulting, editing and writing. When he moved to the US, he was fortunate enough to find full time employment at a major arts non-profit as a software engineer; though it’s doubtful if there’s a single skill which he was originally hired to use that’s still in daily use. Mark is also a composer of chamber and orchestral music, music critic, a published poet, photographer and environmentalist with an enthusiasm for fitness, vegan nutrition and long distance running. He is now convinced that only humans’ humility can save our planet.

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Sibelius 7 Music Notation Essentials (Avid Learning Series)
by James Humberstone
Course Technology PTR; 1st edition (February, 2012)
ISBN-10: 1133788823   ISBN-13: 978-1133788829
Paperback: 458 pages
$49.99
Sibelius 7 Music Notation Essentials cover

Avid’s Sibelius 7 is new enough for there still to be a dearth of supporting materials. But James Humberstone’s substantial new book in the Avid Learning Series, Sibelius 7 Music Notation Essentials, sets very high standards and is a welcome resource.

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About Mark Sealey

Mark Sealey is a British expatriate working and living in Southern California with his artist/writer wife, Roberta Lannes-Sealey, whom he met in 1996, when the web, she and he were much younger. Mark's interest in computers began in the the early ‘80s when his father suggested that, If we don’t understand how to control them, they’ll creep up behind us and make life unbearable. Have they? Using the venerable Acorn system until his move to the US, Mark wrote extensively about the BBC and RISC machines. He concentrated chiefly on education, music and productivity/system software; at the time Micronet and Prestel led the way for wide area networking… he published over 2,000 articles for these outlets. After graduating with a humanities degree, Mark was a teacher for 20 years until 1994 - first in Italy then the UK. Becaming increasingly attracted to the world of information technology as a major contributor to children’s learning and development, he eventually moved to editing the UK’s chief journals in the educational computing. He has always enjoyed freelance reviewing, consulting, editing and writing. When he moved to the US, he was fortunate enough to find full time employment at a major arts non-profit as a software engineer; though it’s doubtful if there’s a single skill which he was originally hired to use that’s still in daily use. Mark is also a composer of chamber and orchestral music, music critic, a published poet, photographer and environmentalist with an enthusiasm for fitness, vegan nutrition and long distance running. He is now convinced that only humans’ humility can save our planet.

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Ivory II Grand Pianos Review

On December 15, 2011, in Audio, Music, Review, by Mark Sealey

Ivory II Grand Pianos
North American distributors: 
ILIO
Price: $349 + $49.99 iLok Key from ILIO

Continuing our look at the very best music software, Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs), sequencers and samples/Virtual Instruments (VI’s), Synthogy’s Ivory II is found firmly to earn a place at the top of the list.


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About Mark Sealey

Mark Sealey is a British expatriate working and living in Southern California with his artist/writer wife, Roberta Lannes-Sealey, whom he met in 1996, when the web, she and he were much younger. Mark's interest in computers began in the the early ‘80s when his father suggested that, If we don’t understand how to control them, they’ll creep up behind us and make life unbearable. Have they? Using the venerable Acorn system until his move to the US, Mark wrote extensively about the BBC and RISC machines. He concentrated chiefly on education, music and productivity/system software; at the time Micronet and Prestel led the way for wide area networking… he published over 2,000 articles for these outlets. After graduating with a humanities degree, Mark was a teacher for 20 years until 1994 - first in Italy then the UK. Becaming increasingly attracted to the world of information technology as a major contributor to children’s learning and development, he eventually moved to editing the UK’s chief journals in the educational computing. He has always enjoyed freelance reviewing, consulting, editing and writing. When he moved to the US, he was fortunate enough to find full time employment at a major arts non-profit as a software engineer; though it’s doubtful if there’s a single skill which he was originally hired to use that’s still in daily use. Mark is also a composer of chamber and orchestral music, music critic, a published poet, photographer and environmentalist with an enthusiasm for fitness, vegan nutrition and long distance running. He is now convinced that only humans’ humility can save our planet.

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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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About Mark Sealey

Mark Sealey is a British expatriate working and living in Southern California with his artist/writer wife, Roberta Lannes-Sealey, whom he met in 1996, when the web, she and he were much younger. Mark's interest in computers began in the the early ‘80s when his father suggested that, If we don’t understand how to control them, they’ll creep up behind us and make life unbearable. Have they? Using the venerable Acorn system until his move to the US, Mark wrote extensively about the BBC and RISC machines. He concentrated chiefly on education, music and productivity/system software; at the time Micronet and Prestel led the way for wide area networking… he published over 2,000 articles for these outlets. After graduating with a humanities degree, Mark was a teacher for 20 years until 1994 - first in Italy then the UK. Becaming increasingly attracted to the world of information technology as a major contributor to children’s learning and development, he eventually moved to editing the UK’s chief journals in the educational computing. He has always enjoyed freelance reviewing, consulting, editing and writing. When he moved to the US, he was fortunate enough to find full time employment at a major arts non-profit as a software engineer; though it’s doubtful if there’s a single skill which he was originally hired to use that’s still in daily use. Mark is also a composer of chamber and orchestral music, music critic, a published poet, photographer and environmentalist with an enthusiasm for fitness, vegan nutrition and long distance running. He is now convinced that only humans’ humility can save our planet.

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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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About Mark Sealey

Mark Sealey is a British expatriate working and living in Southern California with his artist/writer wife, Roberta Lannes-Sealey, whom he met in 1996, when the web, she and he were much younger. Mark's interest in computers began in the the early ‘80s when his father suggested that, If we don’t understand how to control them, they’ll creep up behind us and make life unbearable. Have they? Using the venerable Acorn system until his move to the US, Mark wrote extensively about the BBC and RISC machines. He concentrated chiefly on education, music and productivity/system software; at the time Micronet and Prestel led the way for wide area networking… he published over 2,000 articles for these outlets. After graduating with a humanities degree, Mark was a teacher for 20 years until 1994 - first in Italy then the UK. Becaming increasingly attracted to the world of information technology as a major contributor to children’s learning and development, he eventually moved to editing the UK’s chief journals in the educational computing. He has always enjoyed freelance reviewing, consulting, editing and writing. When he moved to the US, he was fortunate enough to find full time employment at a major arts non-profit as a software engineer; though it’s doubtful if there’s a single skill which he was originally hired to use that’s still in daily use. Mark is also a composer of chamber and orchestral music, music critic, a published poet, photographer and environmentalist with an enthusiasm for fitness, vegan nutrition and long distance running. He is now convinced that only humans’ humility can save our planet.

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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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About Mark Sealey

Mark Sealey is a British expatriate working and living in Southern California with his artist/writer wife, Roberta Lannes-Sealey, whom he met in 1996, when the web, she and he were much younger. Mark's interest in computers began in the the early ‘80s when his father suggested that, If we don’t understand how to control them, they’ll creep up behind us and make life unbearable. Have they? Using the venerable Acorn system until his move to the US, Mark wrote extensively about the BBC and RISC machines. He concentrated chiefly on education, music and productivity/system software; at the time Micronet and Prestel led the way for wide area networking… he published over 2,000 articles for these outlets. After graduating with a humanities degree, Mark was a teacher for 20 years until 1994 - first in Italy then the UK. Becaming increasingly attracted to the world of information technology as a major contributor to children’s learning and development, he eventually moved to editing the UK’s chief journals in the educational computing. He has always enjoyed freelance reviewing, consulting, editing and writing. When he moved to the US, he was fortunate enough to find full time employment at a major arts non-profit as a software engineer; though it’s doubtful if there’s a single skill which he was originally hired to use that’s still in daily use. Mark is also a composer of chamber and orchestral music, music critic, a published poet, photographer and environmentalist with an enthusiasm for fitness, vegan nutrition and long distance running. He is now convinced that only humans’ humility can save our planet.

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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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About Mark Sealey

Mark Sealey is a British expatriate working and living in Southern California with his artist/writer wife, Roberta Lannes-Sealey, whom he met in 1996, when the web, she and he were much younger. Mark's interest in computers began in the the early ‘80s when his father suggested that, If we don’t understand how to control them, they’ll creep up behind us and make life unbearable. Have they? Using the venerable Acorn system until his move to the US, Mark wrote extensively about the BBC and RISC machines. He concentrated chiefly on education, music and productivity/system software; at the time Micronet and Prestel led the way for wide area networking… he published over 2,000 articles for these outlets. After graduating with a humanities degree, Mark was a teacher for 20 years until 1994 - first in Italy then the UK. Becaming increasingly attracted to the world of information technology as a major contributor to children’s learning and development, he eventually moved to editing the UK’s chief journals in the educational computing. He has always enjoyed freelance reviewing, consulting, editing and writing. When he moved to the US, he was fortunate enough to find full time employment at a major arts non-profit as a software engineer; though it’s doubtful if there’s a single skill which he was originally hired to use that’s still in daily use. Mark is also a composer of chamber and orchestral music, music critic, a published poet, photographer and environmentalist with an enthusiasm for fitness, vegan nutrition and long distance running. He is now convinced that only humans’ humility can save our planet.

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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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About Mark Sealey

Mark Sealey is a British expatriate working and living in Southern California with his artist/writer wife, Roberta Lannes-Sealey, whom he met in 1996, when the web, she and he were much younger. Mark's interest in computers began in the the early ‘80s when his father suggested that, If we don’t understand how to control them, they’ll creep up behind us and make life unbearable. Have they? Using the venerable Acorn system until his move to the US, Mark wrote extensively about the BBC and RISC machines. He concentrated chiefly on education, music and productivity/system software; at the time Micronet and Prestel led the way for wide area networking… he published over 2,000 articles for these outlets. After graduating with a humanities degree, Mark was a teacher for 20 years until 1994 - first in Italy then the UK. Becaming increasingly attracted to the world of information technology as a major contributor to children’s learning and development, he eventually moved to editing the UK’s chief journals in the educational computing. He has always enjoyed freelance reviewing, consulting, editing and writing. When he moved to the US, he was fortunate enough to find full time employment at a major arts non-profit as a software engineer; though it’s doubtful if there’s a single skill which he was originally hired to use that’s still in daily use. Mark is also a composer of chamber and orchestral music, music critic, a published poet, photographer and environmentalist with an enthusiasm for fitness, vegan nutrition and long distance running. He is now convinced that only humans’ humility can save our planet.

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