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Just a quick note. How you present your work is important. You can compose something great, but if you use bad samples, your presentation will stink. The solution. Go through your samples and choose which sound best- expressive, real, etc. For example, I have an old 'rompler', an Alesis Quadrasynth Plus Piano. It came with about 500 patches. Out of all of those samples, I like about only a dozen or two. I compose music with those particular samples in mind. I really recommend writing for your best samples available, even if that means writing for only a dozen patches/samples. This will really help the presentation of your work. And, of course, if you can afford to acquire great (expensive) sample libraries, do it!

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"I believe that the quality of the writing is far more important than the samples you use. Samples are meaningless with out good music. It is sad to me that we live in the age of the fast buck."

Couldn't agree more. As for the age we live in, I fear it's always been the age of the fast buck. People need, after all, to pay for those $2,000 cell phones (you can get a decent used car for that price).

Still, there is the need to make your music sound as good as you can get it to sound. for the technologically gifted, this is no problem. for the rest of us, we struggle and do the best we can.

Based on what I've heard on this forum, I think you should stay with Sibelius, Bob, but get Note Performer. If you haven't figured out a DAW by the age of 50, it may be too late. I started with Cakewalk when I was still in my 40's, which is why I still haven't really figured it all out. but, a guy in a music store sold me Cakewalk, so my fate was sealed. Maybe by the time I die I'll be producing results that sophisticated ears will deem acceptable. but if not, that's OK. As long as I'm happy with it, that's all that matters.


Every now and then I go to the NP website and listen to their examples. Some things sound OK, and some are dreadful. That's just my opinion, of course, but as of yet I can't justify spending money on it. For example, the last time I was there I listened to the opening of the 1812 Overture. I didn't like it at all. So I downloaded the score for the overture and opened it in my Sibelius 7.5. In my view, strings are the weakest sound in Sibelius. But even without doing any of the stuff I usually do to make strings sound better, default Sibelius sounds were better to me than NP. But that's me.

Ingo I don't think Dorico goes on sale for a few more weeks. Not sure how reliable this info is. I received it second hand.

I was thinking about publishing software and it seems to have the things I look for (provisionally) but it must be pretty damned expensive. I waded through masses of hype but....nowhere the price mentioned. 

I'm not really interested in sounds or effects, just writing out neat score and ripping parts. 

Timothy Smith said:

Ingo I don't think Dorico goes on sale for a few more weeks. Not sure how reliable this info is. I received it second hand.

@Timothy, thanks, I'll keep an eye on it, I'm in no hurry at this point.

@Dane Have you considered MuseScore? I don't use it but people like it and it's free and it will export pdf I understand.

Dane Aubrun said:

I was thinking about publishing software and it seems to have the things I look for (provisionally) but it must be pretty damned expensive. I waded through masses of hype but....nowhere the price mentioned. 

I'm not really interested in sounds or effects, just writing out neat score and ripping parts. 

Timothy Smith said:

Ingo I don't think Dorico goes on sale for a few more weeks. Not sure how reliable this info is. I received it second hand.

I ended up buying the Spitfire Albion One library. Time will tell if I will use it. I hear good reviews on it as the sort of "staple" library from Spitfire. We'll see.

I had to buy another SSD to store it on since it's like 55gb compressed and 80gb uncompressed .  I  use Samsung drives. . Newegg had a decent deal on a 500gb. I have 3 other 500gig SSD's in my computer and they are all getting filled up.

I mainly use midi to vsti when I compose orchestral music so it's easier for me to use Studio One and send the midi to Notion for the printed page notation stuff. I doubt I'll be looking at Dorico. I did hear it's going on sale in a few weeks though.If I had Cubase I would be seriously on that.

I'm probably more interested in Cubase at 50% off. That's a really good price for that program even if you need a dongle. I just don't have the time to learn a new DAW . Cubase is probably unmatched in midi implementation capability. If I can't do it with what I have now I need my head examined. When you have GAS  just one more DAW sounds good. One more DAW looks like one more guitar or one more...take your pick. I can get around Cakewalk fast. It  prints notation but doesn't have anything like Notion. For that reason I'll use my 2nd favorite DAW for compo to notation work. Might still work it up in Cakewalk and export it to SO4 for refinement.

I use Notion for notation work. (I use Cakewalk for my DAW). It's a budget-priced but very impressive program.

Just a quick mention of something - if anyone on this thread has a publisher who purchases their work based on recorded samples (w/ or w/o score), please contact me, I have an idea I'd like to discuss with you - 

Michael, Yes I see you over on the Cakewalk forum on occasion. Good to see you here! It is a nice program. You've also used the program when it was 599.00 correct?  Differences are it lacks some of the third party plugins that the older version had, but receives updates and feature additions under new ownership. The double benefit to us is the new version "sees" all of the synths and plugins that are connected to the program we had before.

I guess I can tell you this now since I have nothing to disclose. I was a beta tester for Cakewalk, but excused myself from the responsibility because I didn't have the time to do it any more. I will say that experience has confirmed to me that the program is progressive and moving ahead with funding from the new owner. Very smart people are at the helm of it.  Elastique time stretching is a good example of  something they didn't have to do but decided to do for the users. I don't think those kinds of things will stop happening. I'm not really thrilled about the Bandlab app, but to me it's inconsequential.

Notion is a great  program and it's easy peasy with SO4 simply export>export to notion> built right into the program. Similar to the relationship between Dorico and Cubase.

Back to libraries...........Most composers I talk with mix up libraries to add variety. I think you've done that have you not Michael?

Gav if anyone is connected to a publisher and doesn't have a setup for libraries or know how to utilize it I would be interested to help, but I will obviously need something in advance for my efforts. I have a lot invested in this and it takes time.

Tim, I started with Cakewalk Home Studio in the late 90s. My last pre-Bandlab version was Sonar 8.5.3. Never did the upgrade to the X or Platinum series. Tried Reaper for about a year when they put in their notation editor (which is excellent by the way), but came back to Cakewalk when I heard it was being abandoned. I needed to know I could still use it indefinitely, in case Reaper just became too much of a workflow-killer, which it did. Was actually using Sonar Studio 8.5 because Producer had some glitches, and Studio worked better. So, that was going to be my DAW in to the future. I tried Cubase but the workflow could not compare to Sonar. There really is no other DAW that has, for me, the right workflow. Then, Bandlab came along, and I was ecstatic. My plugins from Sonar, like the LP 64s, work. So now I have in effect Sonar Platinum, minus some of the plugins. But all the ones I had in Sonar. Things are great now. It almost seems to good to be true, but apparently it is. A top level DAW for free. amazing.

As for libraries, yes I use several, the result of never having had the audacity to plunk down a thousand or more dollars for a really great collection, but instead picking off the low-hanging fruit here and there. If I had it do over, I probably would spring for Vienna Cube. Fortunately, they are now having decent sales, making their stuff affordable to hobbyists and pros alike.

The new Cakewalk forum is good, but I hope they never do away with the old one. There is more wisdom concerning this stuff than anywhere, literally thousands of posts, and countless solutions to just about any problem you can think of. Craig Anderton is a true giant in this world. And scook has the answer to every problem, usually in about two hours of posting it. Only problem is it's hard to fond stuff there, the search has always been screwed up. but at least for now they're leaving it up. It would be great if they could just archive it, and present it as a vast knowledge base.

Good to meet another CbB user here!  Yes, it will be interesting to see how the future develops over there. So long as scook and Craig and a few others stay around questions will be answered.  Since Gibson let Craig go I think he's migrated more into Studio One territory. I've seen some of his articles. He isn't exclusive to Cakewalk and seems to be writing articles for Studio One. I don't think Cakewalk will ever be out of his blood though. He has too much of his time invested in it. I have noticed since he left Cake, he isn't as reluctant to bring out perceived problems with Cakewalk. I think you get a more objective picture now and he doesn't seem like as much of a fanboy.

On the old forum, ha...I had over 7000 posts on it. I didn't get to carry my post count over to the new forum like Bapu did. There are probably many more questions hitting the board now that more newbs are using the software. I have always thought the people involved make Cakewalk something really special compared to anyone else.The "deals" part of the forum is where I heard about the Spitfire deal. Anyone looking to buy DAWs and plugins, and libraries should put that on their short list.

So far I have these libs to mix up for orchestral work


-Kirk Hunter Diamond

-Albion One (recent purchase)


-Hyperion Strings

- 20 or so various 3rd party libraries, organs, harps, flutes, medieval etc.

-Epic Drums

-Joshua Bell Violin

The list doesn't include anything synth I didn't list any of that because it isn't expressly orchestral. Doesn't include any of my real instruments.

There are more intimate Spitfire collections. 

I'm still using a few GPO sounds, believe it or not, mostly woods. And a few EWSO sounds. Love that bassoon. But more and more I am gravitating to Vienna. I have the Special Edition I, plus Epic Orchestra, which I got from taking them up on the Vepro 7 deal. And just recently I got Appasionata Strings (Synchron version). Also I have Cinematic Strings from Australia. They are probably the best string library that is very affordable (300.00). You can make good music with stuff like this, but the quality of the sounds is only one thing. you also have to work very hard to get them to sound good. And the music itself is more important than anything. Lousy orchestrating isn't going to work no matter what libraries you're using, or how hard you work to make it sound good.

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