I have no idea what you mean by lightweight. I use Digital Performer one of the original MIDI apps and considered the best by many of us that use it. $499 or $395 competitive upgrade from a qualifying product (including Logic).
Last year, someone at Apple tried to limit this package to Education customers until Marketing overruled them by pointing out that these apps are designed to sell Macs and not the other way around.
ReWire code is depreciated and no longer available. Unless Windows users have access to the old code and DAWs that support it, it no longer works (Digital Performer hasn’t since version 9). The MacOS is different—even though the RW code is now gone, Finale is now able to broadcast MIDI (Master) and apps like DP are able to “listen” through CoreAudio (Slave). It is no longer bidirectional as it was when ReWire was still available, however. I have not tested this with Logic but don’t know why it won’t work. I’m out of town for a few days but can post screen shots on how to set this up. It still works on Apple Silicon Macs without requiring Rosetta 2.
If by "lightweight" you mean cheap, yet useful to use with Finale I'd suggest Cubase Elements (60€). It's a very good, and flexible MIDi sequencer (very good graphic interface), you can use any VST instruments (including Finale's and/or Garritan GPO, many effects, reverb. etc.) and you'll have a lot of control of mixing sound versions (including automation, grouping, etc.) of Finale created scores. You would work from imported MIDI files created in Finale. Elements does not support XML imports, only Cubase Pro can do this (but that's epxensive). You can download a trial version for free (of Cubase Pro, with many more audio recording features, which you don't need), which will nevertheless acquaint you with its MIDI features and what Elements can do. Here - https://www.steinberg.net/cubase/trial/
Cross Platform: REAPER - Probably the lightest of the light. Can Import and Export MusicXML. Decent Score Editor (for a DAW). Full ReWire Support (Host and Slave). Doesn't have some of the QoL Composition Features, though (Articulation Maps, etc.) unless you can bolt them on with a script.
REAPER takes a bit of configuring to make it your own. It is VERY raw out of the box. I believe you need to employ some workarounds for Video Support, as well.
Windows: Cakewalk by BandLab ($0 - formerly SONAR Platinum). Supports ReWire (Host Only). Has some nice composition features. Basic Score Editor. Articulation Maps. Arranger Tracks. Very decent MIDI Editing. Video Support for scoring. Probably the best WASAPI support in a DAW for people who just want to play back through laptop speakers (or through headphones plugged directly into one) while on the go.
macOS: Just get Logic Pro, unless you require something else for a specific reason. REAPER is available there, but... It feels like it's worth too much trouble just to save $140 (assuming you don't need a commercial license, which costs more than Logic Pro X).
If you want to do end-to-end composition in one solution, then get Dorico Pro. Dorico is literally designed for people who want to do everything from Composition to MIDI Editing, Playback and Output (Print or Digital Audio) in one software solution. It's basically the Cubase of Notation Software.
Cubase Elements is not usable because Cubase dropped ReWire Support in v12 and Elements cannot import MusicXML. Additionally, it costs more than other DAWs that offer a superior feature set for most people - particularly on Windows, where Cakewalk by BandLab is available for $0.
Ableton Live 11 and Studio One 6 have also dropped ReWire Support.
If you depend on ReWire for a DAW <-> Notation Software workflow, you will either find yourself forced to sit on older version of DAWs, or you need to adjust your workflow so that you aren't stranded when it is dropped from the product you use.
Unfortunately, MOST DAWs do not import MusicXML.
Those that I know of that do - correct me if I'm wrong - include: Cubase Pro, REAPER, and Logic Pro X.
Digital Performer is used by some people who started using it a long time ago, but I would not recommend it on Windows. It is quite buggy there. But I'm not sure if it imports MusicXML. I don't remember seeing the option when I tried, so I'm thinking the answer to that is no.
Plus, it's too expensive - even as a crossgrade - to be worth it for this purpose.
GPO sounds worse than HALion Symphonic Orchestra, so unless you're buying it specifically to use in Finale for better sounding playback (it is better than GIF), there is no point getting it to use in another DAW. Other libraries of sound better at similar price ranges and are far easier to use when the Notation software isn't doing all of that heavy lifting in the background.
Always try before you buy. Much of the info in Nathaniel's highly opinionated list is out of date and no longer accurate. Since this is the Finale forum and not Comparative DAW, I'll leave it at that.
I will give him one thing. The suggestion from a Windows user that Logic Pro is the only DAW that Mac users should use is one of the funniest things I've read all morning. It is, however, quite inexpensive since one can buy under $200 and include FinalCut Pro, Main Stage and another pair of AV apps (and phone support though this is not advertised).
About a year ago, someone at Apple tried to limit this to the EDU Store. That was quickly overruled by Marketing. These apps, like all from Apple serve a single purpose: They sell Apple hardware—so anyone can buy this bundle. When purchased, one gets emailed five codes to enter while logged into the App Store—any you don't need, you can give away.
Logic does import MusicXML 3.0—I do wish that more DAWs did—and still works with ReWire from Finale in listening mode through CoreAudio. Digital Performer, likewise though this is neither acknowledged nor supported by MOTU. I'm in no hurry to upgrade to Ventura so I have no idea if ReWire will still work in the current MacOS.
The suggestion from a Windows user that Logic Pro is the only DAW that Mac users should use is one of the funniest things I've read all morning.
The suggestion was not that.
The suggestion is that Logic Pro is the DAW macOS users should de facto towards, since it's among the lowest LTCO while being fairly complete as a package for composition in addition to offering a good OOTB UX that doesn't require the amount of work something like REAPER requires to create a productive composition environment. It's also very well documented and covered, and it's made by Apple, so generally doesn't run into issues with macOS updates that may break things in other applications (not bugs, but changes to the OS that require developers to modify their software for compliance).
Unless there are reasons for choosing something else over Logic Pro, it often isn't worth paying more for a competing offering unless you need something that can run on Windows (or Linux) in addition to macOS. And that is less of an issue since M1 has brought the cost of capable Macs down considerably (e.g. M1 Mac Minis are significantly cheaper than their Intel equivalents were, and totally usable for music production and scoring).
Additionally, I'm assuming that the person is only wanting the DAW for creating mockups, so I'm not really putting much weight into things like insane audio editing functionality (Spectral Editing, advanced wave editing) or production features like Clip Launchers, etc.
If you want a DAW for recording a live orchestra and editing audio, then I'd probably modify my suggestions.
If you are referring to me calling DP quite buggy on Windows, it is still rather finicky there. I know from experience ;-) If you live on macOS, you probably haven't put it through its paces there. I wasn't referring to ReWire, which I haven't really used in years.
No problem. Also, I used macOS from 2013 to 2020 so I'm definitely not out of touch with the platform ;-)
I just choose not to use it moving forwards. I like being able to build a desktop and upgrade it as I go along, CPU, RAM, GPU, Storage... everything. It's generally cheaper, especially when I can move parts over to a new build.
If you bought Logic through Mike’s link, you also got Main Stage ($29.99) for playing live, Final Cut Pro ($299.99) for editing AV plus two other extremely useful video apps, Motion ($49.99) and Compressor ($49.99) that some of my friends use for stunning video effects.
If you bought it through Nathaniel’s link, you only bought Logic and that’s ok.
Crap like this
You don't need to get Logic bundled with anything to get it for $200
while correct, is not helpful no matter how hard he pats himself on the back for trashing someone else’s post.
Some of Nathaniel’s information is no longer true but he doesn’t know how much things have changed since 2020. Mike pointed out that Apple does have phone support if you need it.
The price of FCP is irrelevant to someone who doesn’t want or need it, or has a different NLE that they use. What does that have to do with the question asked, anyway, or what I initially posted that he responded to? You know he loves to go on tangents like some dimentia patient.
Thanks for letting us know what those apps do, though
But, go ahead. Scour the forum more to post behind me and defend your BFF.
Pretty sure I said nothing about Apple’s support, which is one of the best aspects of the company and their products. The Apple Store is 10 minutes away. I have no need to complain about support. All of my mobile devices are still Apple products, among other things.
Practically nothing with Apple has changed since I owned an M1 MBP, except newer SoCs and macOS revisions being released.