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Anyone out there have a sure-fire recommendation with a laptop computer and then a piano keyboard that work brilliantly together?  I'm looking for great Finale playback sounds for symphony, rock band, and chorus.  My PC and Yamaha piano communicate poorly (older keyboard) and my laptop sometimes crashes at overload.  Would like to start fresh with a good pair.  PC or Mac?  Yamaha weighted keys preferred.  Any great suggestions?

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Does your keyboard connect with your computer via USB or do you use a MIDI interface. I am still using a Yamaha DX7, but when I upgraded my computer this fall to a Dell XPS 8920, the drivers for the (very old) Yamaha UX-96 MIDI interface did not work. A simple MIDI-to-USB cable from Amazon did the trick.

 

I generally buy a little more computer than I need, figuring new software will likely come out before I want to buy a new CPU. I bought my previous Dell in 2010.

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Anything modern will connect through USB so that’s really not an issue. Find a keyboard or keyboard controller you like. If you like Yamahas with weighted keys, then get one.

 

Finale is cross platform and has a low footprint when it comes to resources—if you’re comfortable with Windows, n reason to switch platforms.

 

Your question is on the order of I need a car and I want airbags. What should I buy? They all do nowadays. What else do you want or need a computer to do?

 

Virtual Instrument libraries (VIs) can tax resources so that might be a consideration. Do you work with video (or want to)? Portable or desktop? What other apps do you use or want to? Are you a film composer? Do you use a DAW (or want to?) What else do you do? And so on...

 

Although we can offer advice, the questions are the ones you need to ask yourself. Finale with Aria/GIFF will run on anything as long as it is a 64 bit OS.

 

I am looking at the new 8 Core iMac Pro. I won’t go into details but I know why I want one (just don’t know if my budget can handle it yet). My current iMac is also a 2010 but it has been souped up with a couple of 2T SSDs and 32g RAM so I’m still good (sorta kinda)

 

Don’t get me wrong. I’m as happy as anyone to help spend money that isn’t mine. I just don’t have enough info to make a recommendation.

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To explain what I should have explained better before by asking you how your present MIDI keyboard connects with your computer:

If your MIDI Kbd connects to your computer through a MIDI inerface, you might be able to keep your current Kbd and update the MIDI interface for a lot less than the cost of a new MIDI Kbd.

https://www.amazon.com/Yamaha-UX16-Midi-Interface/dp/B0002E2S1I 

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Thanks for your comments Mike and J Adrian.  It helps. Yes, I'm sure I've been having trouble due to the age of my keyboard - and frankly, it's not one I love.  I do love Yamaha's and probably will go that route.  I'm also at the end of memory in my laptop, a Lenovo Yoga, and memory can't be added to it easily or cheaply, so I figure this is a good time to invest in a new combo.

Basically, I'm a musical theatre composer, and will be writing a rock opera.  I've never been totally happy with just the Garritan Aria sounds and so if there's a keyboard out there that manufactures wonderful brass, strings, and drumsets/timpani, that's what I'm looking for.  Have always heard that MAC works better with Finale than Windows, but have been a Windows guy forever.  Would be a big learning curve, but worth it if it makes for better work and flexibility.

Out of all I'm looking for, the big three are: not having a computer crash on me when in the middle of composing, having a keyboard I love to play as a pianist, and having the playback of my arranged work sound extraordinarily good with its instrumentation sounds.

 

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Having it communicate well in hyperscribe would help also...

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>Out of all I'm looking for, the big three are: not having a computer crash on me when in the middle of composing, having a keyboard I love to play as a pianist, and having the playback of my arranged work sound extraordinarily good with its instrumentation sounds.<

 

I'd work on the keyboard controller. You have so many choices but it really is a personal thing like any instrument—the more you enjoy it, the better. Does it need to have great onboard sounds? Not for us to say but some of them do (but are they the sounds you want to hear?). If you play live, then yes might be the answer. If live is not a factor then the best one might be  controller only where you do everything with VIs.

 

I prefer the Mac OS but spent enough years in day jobs that required Windows. Now that Finale 25 and Win 10 have each been out over a year, I wouldn't be afraid to stay with what I know. Just because I am looking at new Macs doesn't mean you need to. Finale can trigger almost anything if you are set up right as long as you have the resources.

  

Absolutely check out the various VI libraries out there. Some are quite CPU and RAM resource hogs but most are not. VSL is one of the biggies and many run it on a slave computer. Your VIs and DAW will determine how much horsepower your computer needs to have.

 

 

Finale is limited to only one audio track, however. Anything more needs to be done in a DAW. Some of us who compose in Finale export the tracks via MIDI or MusicXML and assign the sounds in a DAW. Others do the reverse (I never compose in a DAW). Rewire is designed to link Finale with a DAW letting you, say, have all of your instrumental tracks in Finale and the vocal tracks in your DAW of choice. As good as Finale can be in triggering VIs, you will find that any DAW is better at crafting a performance. Your workflow is up to you but you need to have a good idea as to how you want things done as that will determine the computer you need and vise versa.

 

Speaking only for myself. I have never used Finale as a performance tool. I need it to work and give me an impression of the desired results and no more. Though I have lots of VI libraries, only Garritan Instruments for Finale (GIFF), Garritan Personal Orchestra (GPO 5) and Garritan Harps get triggered by Finale. Everything else goes through Digital Performer or is printed and passed out to live performers. My keyboard controllers are inexpensive with velocity sensitive keys and no weighting. My other MIDI input devices are a Korg PadKontrol and an iPad. I, however, am not you.

 

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Mike, thanks for your input - no pun intended.  It helped a lot.  I, like you, only use Finale to compose and don't use it as a performance tool to speak of.  However, if I'm doing a workshop reading of my musical, it is helpful to make CD's or audio files of the music for my actors so to help them learn their music a bit faster...

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Yep. These are the things to think about before you make an investment in new hardware.

 

BTW, there are those who do it all from a good laptop (I am not one of them). It can be done but you may want to look at using an external monitor or two in your studio, especially if you will also be incorporating a DAW into your workflow. External drives—one to house your VIs and another dedicated to automatic backup is also a good idea. There is no technical reason for housing your VIs in an external drive other than storage capacity so, if your new machine has a ton of capacity... External, automated backup is a must, however. 

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