Looking for good composition software on Mac. No actual recorded tracks- it'd be all Kurzweil PC-88 inputted MIDI. Must-haves include fairly easy ability to just jump in and start composin', a music score notation interface, very realistic quality of the instruments (i.e., that my midi inputted keyboard can still sound like a darn good bass guitar), and decent ability to refine the sound quality. [more inside]
I ran this question by songsmith extraordinaire cortex and the Music Talk group, and figured- what the heck, lets ask the teeming hordes one last time before I run out and spend $500+.
I've been wanting to start doing some composition again. Often I'll just improvise some random stuff on my (real) piano, and occasionally think "Ooh, that sounds nice!", and then my brain will start looping that, building up, adding in parts. I can't really control that- it just plays without me being able to stop it, but it gets too many instruments coming in to really manage currently. I'd like to take the ideas in my head and get them out in a way that lets me build up the layers quickly while I can remember and control them, and then tinker/edit as needed.
My basic needs as noted in the main question are:
- Relatively easy learning curve to at least start crafting music
- Notation interface, among others
- Good quality sound fonts for fake instruments
- Good post-processing when I mature my skillset, to refine and polish the sound to be passably good for MeMu posting
I currently have a Mac Pro 8-way with tons of RAM and a Kurzweil PC-88 with a midi-to-USB connector. I don't like the built-in sounds (the keyboard's probably 10 years old, but sturdy, weighted, full-size
) so it'd be strictly a far quicker interface for playing than clicking on a score sheet with my mouse. For what it matters, the type of music I'd be writing would vary highly. It might be some classical or Michael Nyman repetitive bullshit nonsense using chamber instruments one day, and a Muse-inspired sonic wall the next.
From my asking of cortex and then the Music Talk group, it sounds like Logic Studio/Pro
is the clear winner at present, largely because of it's notation interface along with competitive editing/sound manipulation features. A notation interface would at least initially be my preferred way of creating music, although with the option to then used to make decent sound adjustments/mixing/spatial creation so that the music doesn't sound like crap (I mean, beyond of course my not-a-lent-assclown compositions being teh suck
I'm all ready to run down the street to the Apple store on my lunch break and buy Logic Studio- unless someone has an even better suggestion- but my concerns are this:
1) The reviews by users on Apple's own site suggest that Logic 8 (which is still 32-bit) is sluggish, buggy, and not well supported by Apple like previous release. People seem to prefer Logic 7!
2) How does it sound, really? I mean, I won't be a cortex inputting yukele strumming from an actual instrument; everything I use- guitar, bass, violin, piano, drums- will be entirely in software starting from MIDI. My only previous experience with MIDI years ago is "it sounds like total shit". I'm hoping the technology has improved significantly, if not perfectly. :)