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MIDI playback not working

Postby motet » Wed Feb 13, 2019 11:56 pm

I have a new computer and have installed Finale 2005b, 2011, and 2014.5. MIDI playback works for 2005b and 2011, but not 2014.5. VST playback does work for 2014.5, though it complains of some missing file and offers to uninstall (I don't use VST playback so don't care about that much).

I have filed a support ticket but am not hopeful. Has anyone had and solved a similar problem? The new system is a Dell XPS8930 running Windows 10 Professional.
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Re: MIDI playback not working

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Re: MIDI playback not working

Postby Bill Reed » Thu Feb 14, 2019 12:04 am

Are you using the same audio settings for all the versions?
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Re: MIDI playback not working

Postby motet » Thu Feb 14, 2019 12:14 am

Yes, as far as I know.
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Re: MIDI playback not working

Postby zuill » Thu Feb 14, 2019 3:12 am

Using ASIO?

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Re: MIDI playback not working

Postby motet » Thu Feb 14, 2019 6:43 am

I don't think so. Something called Realtek HD Audio.
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Re: MIDI playback not working

Postby mmike » Thu Feb 14, 2019 11:39 am

MIDI/Audio > you have checked Play Finale through MIDI?

MIDI/Audio > Device Setup > Audio Setup > have you chosen an Audio Driver? Direct Sound should work, or ASIO if you have it (ASIO4ALL usually works well)
Source > your speakers / Settings > is the volume up?
Test Audio Output > you should hear a beep

MIDI/Audio > Device Setup > MIDI Setup > at MIDI Out have you chosen a device? (any one of them should work and will then also show in the Score Manager)
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Re: MIDI playback not working

Postby motet » Thu Feb 14, 2019 5:31 pm

MIDI works with other versions of Finale‚ and VST works with this one. I've been through all the settings, tried pointing at an older SoftSynth sound font, etc. I suspect it's just a bug. Not sure what I'll do, since it sounds like the newest version of Finale breaks articulations in old files in the name of being able to stack them, something I almost never do. I use MIDI to listen back for mistakes; VST seems like a lot of bloat, and actually muddies the waters.
Last edited by motet on Fri Feb 15, 2019 7:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: MIDI playback not working

Postby motet » Thu Feb 14, 2019 6:40 pm

I am downloading the v26 demo and will try it. If I install it and don't like it, is it going to make a mess, stealing file associations or overwriting fonts?
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Re: MIDI playback not working

Postby Bill Reed » Thu Feb 14, 2019 7:54 pm

I don't think there's any functional difference between the MIDI SoftSynth and the VST SoftSynth , so if that works I'd just go with it.
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Re: MIDI playback not working

Postby motet » Thu Feb 14, 2019 8:40 pm

I tried switching to VST and the instruments are assigned to SmartMusic SoftSynth (SmartMusic?), but it sounds like the instruments are playing in a shower stall.
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Re: MIDI playback not working

Postby Peter Thomsen » Thu Feb 14, 2019 10:34 pm

Bill Reed wrote:I don't think there's any functional difference between the MIDI SoftSynth and the VST SoftSynth …

This is a misunderstanding.
There is no such thing as a “VST SoftSynth”.

When you play Finale through MIDI (e. g. via the SmartMusic SoftSynth), the sounds are created via mathematical formulas (similar to vector graphics).
This means that the playback does not require much RAM - but the sounds may sound somewhat “artificial”.

When you play Finale through VST, the sounds are played as audio samples of real instruments (similar to bitmap graphics).
This means that the sounds can be much more convincing than the MIDI sounds - but the playback requires a lot of RAM.
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Re: MIDI playback not working

Postby Bill Reed » Fri Feb 15, 2019 1:13 pm

That's true of the wider world of VSTi instruments. But the SmartMusic SoftSynth you play through MIDI is the same as the SmartMusic SoftSynth you play through VST; both synthisized instrument sounds. Garritan is sampled sounds, though RAM usage there is also minuscule.
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Re: MIDI playback not working

Postby motet » Fri Feb 15, 2019 5:48 pm

How can I make VST SoftSynth sound like MIDI SoftSynth? As I say, it's a mushy mess of reverb.
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Re: MIDI playback not working

Postby mmike » Fri Feb 15, 2019 6:45 pm

When you look at MIDI/Audio > VST Banks and Effects, do you see any effects (such as Garritan Ambiance) loaded either under Banks / Effects or Master Effects? If so, set them to none (---)
What sounds are you using for what kind of instrumentation? The Smart Music Soft Synth sounds are notoriously horrible. Why are you so set against using the Garritan sounds? Your new computer can certainly handle it.
But if you aren't concerned with any somewhat realistic playback and if you are just using playback to check notes, why not just use a simple piano sound?
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Re: MIDI playback not working

Postby motet » Fri Feb 15, 2019 7:36 pm

Turning off "Garritan Ambience" helped--thanks!

To me, the SoftSynth sounds are reasonable approximations for the purposes of checking. I want to hear the blend, which is why I don't use piano. I only played with Garritan a little several years ago, but it seemed like for it to sound "good," one must add a lot a reverb, which as I said muddies the water. I don't find it realistic. I want a sound as if I am conducting and can hear if someone makes a mistake, rather than being at the back of a 2,000-seat very live concert hall. When I tried tamping down the reverb on the Garritan instruments they sounded much worse than the SoftSynth sounds, almost unrecognizable.
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Re: MIDI playback not working

Postby motet » Fri Feb 15, 2019 7:49 pm

Finale support is dismal. I filed the ticket mid-day Wednesday, heard back 24 hours later with "try reloading MIDI driver" (which I had already tried but tried again and reported that it didn't work) and have not heard back again another 24 hours later. I'm expecting instructions on recreating my preferences file next, followed by a weekend-long delay. I can live with the SoftSynth-through-VST solution, though, and thank you all for that suggestion.
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Re: MIDI playback not working

Postby mmike » Fri Feb 15, 2019 8:00 pm

I also use playback only for checking. If I need/want to create a good audio version I go to a DAW, infinitely more flexibe and useful (I find). However, even for checking notes and blends in Finale I would really suggest you give it another try with VST Garritan sounds. They are really quite good and if you assign your instrument groups to different banks, you have a lot of control. I find it best to assign different ARIA players to each bank. With the ARIA player you can also control Ambiance or Convolution reverbs from within each ARIA (Effects). Rather than assigning a reverb to the output (Master Effects) in VST Banks and Effects, which can indeed muddle everything, use it sparingly on certain groups, e.g. on strings, but not on piano, etc., possiby even with different types of reverbs and environments/decay times. It sounds more complicated than it is. Invest a ittle time in figuring it out (maybe make a template or several with all this set up already) and you'll live happily ever after .... (me thinks)
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Re: MIDI playback not working

Postby motet » Fri Feb 15, 2019 8:07 pm

OK, thanks--I will experiment. SoftSynth is not ideal--with enough instruments playing, things tend to get lost. Maybe this is the kick in the pants I need.
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Re: MIDI playback not working

Postby motet » Fri Feb 15, 2019 9:20 pm

Heard back from MM support. "Reload MIDI driver" was their only suggestion, so I told them to close the ticket.
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