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I know some of you use Notion, which seems to combine the best of the Sequencer and Notation worlds. I'm impressed with what I've heard, especially Tim Berringer's work. My question is, can I import my pieces I've done in Sonar, into Notion? Or would I have to re-enter everything? On that hinges my decision to purchase the software. It looks like a great deal, but if I have to start over, well, with several full-scale orchestral works to deal with, I may have to remain in Sonar Prison.

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Notion imports both MIDI and music xml, the latter being much more accurate.  So long as Sonar exports one of those, you can save some work.  

Mr. Goat

The waltz timing question would be a performance thing.  Notion is designed with a very robust set of features for live performance of your scores.  check out "N-Tempo" on their site.  

But seriously, if you're gonna buy it, get it now while it's still not too expensive.  the expansion libraries are cheap and if they don't have quite what you want, it supports any VSTi.  Although, I just use the stock library.


With N-Tempo, You literally conduct your score. You can add subdivisions in any measure you like for tempo changes (just like a real conductor does).  You simply tap your keyboard, or whatever controller you want to use and play what you want to hear.  Any conductor will tell you, opera is the hardest thing to conduct. N-Tempo is being used to drive full productions of all manner of musical theatre worldwide right now.  If it can handle that, It can certainly play an authentic viennese waltz.  What sucks is Prosonus (recently acquired notion) doesn't have a demo any more of the software, at least not yet.  But will all sincerity, I'm certain it can achieve the timing effect you want.


Notion is actually not an notation app.  It is a very robust DAW that uses NOTATION as it's gui,instead of a multitrack environment.  You edit the playback of every note in the score.  This can be achieved using the notes themselves, MIDI realtime, Step Time, or you can go into piano roll mode and edit them that way to tweak as much as you like.  Then there are the randomization features.  I've been using DAW and Scoring Software since the early 90's.  I sold Audio/MIDI products for several years, I've used it all. Notion is a new animal.  If they got their notation (engraving) up to the same pro standards as Fin/Sib, those two companies would be in serious distress.


I so wish they had a demo, if you go to thier Youtube channel, they have really good tutorials that will show you how it really works etc.  As far as sound, it supports any VSTi you like and there are already very well tweaked custom rules for some of the more popular libraries.  But I just use the stock library and I find it quite adequate for many things, it's the entire LSO recorded in Abbey Rhoad.  Just listen to my stuff and consider that I do NOT engage in really any of the aforementioned 'background' tweaking.  I use the notation exclusively, then i just export the wav. done.  It is also 64 bit and can export 32 bit audio.  Oh, and it's cheap...for now.

I swear, I don't work for Presonus.


So, I could use Cinematic Strings 2 in Notion? I see on their site that you can use Garritan, Vienna Special Edition and EWQLSO Gold, all of which I have. If you, Tim, have gotten such good results out of the box with Notion, and I am producing mixing monstrosities using super-powerful Sonar, it's looking like a nobrainer at this point. I've got to do something, I'm just not getting anywhere. If I can indeed import my stuff into notion and go from there, I'm sold.

Notion has many strengths but it’s best known for superb playback. The orchestral samples were recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra at the legendary Abbey Road Studios. Guitar samples were performed by Neil Zaza, bass samples by Victor Wooten, and drum samples by Roy “Futureman” Wooten. There’s a wonderful Steinway piano, too. All were painstakingly recorded by top engineers using the best equipment. You get a wide array of dynamics, articulations, and performance techniques.

Although Notion comes with a generous sound library, you are by no means limited to the included sounds. Buy high-quality, yet inexpensive new Notion add-on instrument packs from the ever-increasing library at the PreSonus Marketplace. Use your favorite VST instruments and libraries, too—they work great with Notion.

Notion ships with several rules templates for other orchestral VST libraries, so for instance, when you load an instrument for Vienna Symphonic Library Special Edition, you can quickly and easily write dynamics, effects, and instrumental techniques into the score without ever having to see the VSL interface or programming key switches. An exclusive Notion feature enables you to simply click and select from drop-down menus to create custom rules for any VST library, without having to edit XML files. With these features, you can mix sounds from libraries and experiment with combinations without concern about syntax errors.

From their website

Bearded One, I can't tell you how many times I have tried to learn how to EQ. I have studied tutorials, and I just don't seem to get it. Until somebody comes over to my house and shows me, I will remain incapable of this esoteric art. I'm seriously considering taking a class or engaging a tutor. But then, I think, why not just try a different approach? Maybe just trying a new program will somehow cause something to click in my poor brain. I know, sounds like magical thinking. but it's only 150.00 or something, what the hell?

Sir Goat,

I started using Cubase in the 90's (v1.5).  And did so through 5.0.  I even still have a hardware key somewhere hehe.  I love cubase and if it came with a full library as large as Notion's stock libary and they hadn't seriously watered down the scoring editor over the years (soon to be remedied), I would still be using it.  Btw, i will be sure to pass on your comments with the LSO and the staff at Abby Road regarding the poor quality of the library.

How much is Cubase nowadays? $500? Notion is $149 USD.  Can it do everything Cubase can?  Of course not.  Can Michael get better renderings, I disagree.  Out of the box, I'm almost certain he will.  Notion is designed for people just like Michael.  Not to mention, Sonar is one of he most widely used DAW's in tandem (via Rewire) with Notion so really, he would just be enhancing his arsenal worst case. 

Also, I'm curious what you deemed false in the above verbage from their site?  Marketing tone aside, I can confirm all those features to be factual and functioning.  I'm also curious which of my posts you heard.  If it was the latest orchestral thing, as I mentioned in the post, that is from Notion 2.0 about 6-7 years ago so yeah, it's not that great and I made this clear in my comments.  

But yeah, Cubase is the best multi-track style DAW there is and always has been, I agree.  I stopped using it because, even with a fancy tone module, my GM sounds were getting tiresome and sound libraries were expensive and one more thing I had to learn to manipulate. With Notion, I just put in my notes,articulations, dynamics etc. and it was immediately better to my ears with little to no effort.  Would the same effort suffice in a professional film scoring situation?  No, but neither would simply using Cubase.  Sure, you can do it.  You can also do it with Notion.  But there isn't any program in existence which qualifies as a silver bullet. If you wanna do something pro, you're gonna use many different tools.  I don't think that is the approach Michael is going for.  I think he just wants his files to sound 'not wretched' without having to spend more time 'producing' than composing.  Maybe I'm wrong.  But that is exactly the premise which Notion was based upon.


No, you're absolutely right. It does go in one ear and out the other (or in my eyes and out the hole in my head).

The Lonely Goat said:

Far be it for me to stop you spending your retirement fund :-).

The concept of eq is simple and at the most basic level it involves doing a sweep to find where an offending harmonic is and taming it. There are so many youtube tutorials out there but I admit, it's finding the one that addresses your level of knowledge or it will just go in one ear and out the other. Yes! I just did say that. Spank me till I squeal.

Tim, you are correct, I just want to get back to composing and stop frittering away my time trying to be something I will never be, a sound engineer. I envy those who can do both, but I'm just not lucky enough to be one of them. Also, Kristofer mentioned about preferring the actual notes to the vaunted piano roll. I have never used the piano roll. Sonar does have a primitive notation view, which is where I actually work. Along with the event list, where I put in volume changes and a few other things. In fact, I have produced scores of all my works, and they are all on file at the Copyright office. So I think you folks have helped me make the decision to try Notion. I'd been considering it anyway. At this point, sonar really does feel like a prison. And it's even outdated, being version 8.5. No way I'm upgrading to their completely redesigned X Series (for 200.00), essentially a whole new DAW. Notion seems to be at least a promising alternative. Thanks for all the help, and please continue the discussion, no need for the thread to be over if folks still have things to say.

I have been using Notion before. It was very goog software, especially for orchestral works. I am composing quite much for piano and there was some limitations. That's why I moved to Sibelius. My experience is from using Notion version 4. After that they have published version 5. It is possible to import scores in very common xml-format to Notion. If Sonar is able to export in same format, moving should be possible. If your scores are very complex, there will be almost certainly corrections to do.


I have really enjoyed reading this thread. Thank you for starting it, and I do feel your pain, my friend. I am going through the same issues at this time, but I want to go from Finale to Pro Tools 11. I haven't even had the guts to barely open it yet, but I truly want to make the best renderings not only for my clients but for myself. The more I hear my music performed live, the less I trust my music to others. It's like performers either inspire me or destroy me, so that's why I'm now looking to make my own recordings. I have found that better samples do help. Now I feel like I have wasted my money on inferior products such as Garritan. As of right now I have only one library from CineSamples: CineBrass Core, but next month I am going to spend around $2000 getting more serious with this goal.

I am not advertising Finale. It is simply a notation software, and when I work on it I can feel its limitations concerning renderings, but with libraries such as CineSamples it does make my life a little bit easier. CineSamples already has the reverb and the panning. When I use their products I do not ever have to worry about them and they sound great out of the box. Here is a small sample of a hymn using CineBrass Core that I just put into Finale. All I did was add the notes, a little dynamics, a little tempo, and there you go. This sample did not take me but 20 minutes max. Here's the sample:

Tim, can you tell me specifics on how Notion could improve on this?

Goat, is Pro Tools good for midi or should I look into Cubase, or Digital Performer? All I want to be able to do is: play in the parts and edit them.

Kris, I am sorry that you are having issues with Finale. I have found that Finale has a harder time with the Garritan sounds than with others. Weird I know, and I do not know why.

I do not use anything other than the stock library, stock articulations, stock reverb.  There is also a compressor and an eq plugin that comes with the software, but I don't even use them. The templates come already panned when you open them up. All I do is input notes (all the ways are available), then articulations/dynamics.  Then I just export it as a wav. The results, to me, are much better than 90% of what I hear on the net from people who use Fin/Sib with Garritan and others. Does that answer your questions?

Also, I know you directed this question to Sir Goat, but I will chime in and say that Cubase is the most well-rounded tool out of all those you mentioned.  I would spend the money on it if I was looking to spend that much.


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