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[Finale] Features and settings of third-party VST/AU sound sources

Finale comes with a sample sound source called Garritan Instruments for Finale (GIFF), which is of decent quality, and since setting up third-party VST/AU sound sources is a bit troublesome, I guess there are many people who have been using GIFF only for playback. 


Until now, I have to say there has been little information in Japanese about how to set up third-party VST/AU sound sources in Finale. In this article, based on the currently available English information, I will show you how to set up Garritan sound sources which is also developed by the Finale’s developer MakeMusic Inc., and third-party sound sources such as Note Performer in Finale 27.


1. Finale's built-in playback sound source


First of all, to confirm the basics, there are two types of playback sound sources included in Finale: Garritan Instruments for Finale (GIFF), which is a sample sound source, and SmartMusic SoftSynth (SMSS), which is a MIDI sound source.


Generally, you can get good results by using GIFF with classical pieces and SMSS with rock/pop pieces.


These two sound sources can be switched by selecting either “Use Audio Units for Playback”* or “Use MIDI for Playback” from the MIDI/Audio menu. “Use Audio Units/VST” has a wider range of functionality, and if you select this option, you can mix MIDI sound sources and Audio Units/VST sound sources in the same file depending on the settings in Score Manager.


*For Windows version, “Use VST for playback”.


2. Type of external sound source


When Finale's built-in GIFF and SMSS are not enough, external sound sources such as third-party VST/AU sound sources are used, and these can be roughly divided into the following two types.


Instruments with sound maps (Garritan instruments and Note Performer)

Sound sources without sound maps (general third-party VST/AU sound sources)

Below, I’d like to explain each setting method.


2-1. Instruments with sound maps (Garritan instruments and Note Performer)


A “sound map” is an internal file that stores a list of tone samples prepared for a particular sound source, and serves to map the tone samples to Finale's instrument database.


The Garritan sound source provided by MakeMusic as well as Finale, and the Note Performer provided by the third party Wallander Instruments are special external sound sources which have sound maps that Finale recognizes, so you can simply install them and switch the sound source by taking the following two steps.


(1) Select in Finale's “MIDI/Audio Menu > Sound Map Priority”

(2) Execute “MIDI/Audio Menu > Reassign Playback Sound”


Garritan sound source and Note Performer sound map related files are arranged as shown below. These are automatically placed during installation, but you can also reinstall them manually, for example if you uninstall and then reinstall Finale for some troubleshooting purpose.


[Mac]

  • Macintosh HD/Library/Application Support/MakeMusic/Finale 27/MIDI Device Annotation/(sound source name).xml *

  • Macintosh HD/Library/Application Support/MakeMusic/Finale 27/Data/(sound source name).soundmap


[Windows]

  • C:\ProgramData\MakeMusic\Finale 27\MIDI Device Annotation\(sound source name).xml *

  • C:\Program Files\MakeMusic\Finale\27\Data\(sound source name).soundmap


*These .xml files are prepared for some percussion instruments, and are generated only for Garritan sound sources, not Note Performer.


2-2. Sound sources without sound maps (general third-party VST/AU sound sources)


Third-party VST/AU sound sources that do not have sound maps must be installed and manually configured to play in Finale.


Below, we will introduce how to set it up using the third-party sound source “BBC Symphony Orchestra” as an example, based on the method introduced in the knowledge base of Finale’s developer, MakeMusic, Inc.


[Settings on Mac]


(1) Launch Finale and specify the instrument on the Score Manager.


(2) Select “MIDI/Audio Menu > Audio Units Bank/Effects” to open the Audio Unit instrument setup dialog box. (Shortcut is option+⌘+U)


(3) Select the third-party VST/Audio Units plug-in from the first bank (channels 1-16) in the “Instruments” column on the left.


(4) After selecting the sound source, click the pencil icon to the right of it.


(5) Then, the player for that sound source will be opened in the Audio Units Viewer, and you will be able to select the tone and adjust the volume, reverb amount, etc. Basically, the settings are complete.


[Troubleshooting on Mac]


If your plugin does not appear in the list, please follow the steps below to make sure it is installed correctly.


(1) Close Finale.


(2) Move to the location described below.

/Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/Components


(3) Confirm that the VST/AU plug-in components are placed in this Components folder. If not, check how to properly install third-party plugins.

(4) If the plug-in is installed but not displayed in the list, execute “MIDI/Audio Menu > Device Setup > Reload Audio Units Plug-in”.


(5) If the plug-in is still not available even after performing “Reload Audio Units Plug-in”, close Finale, hold down the Option key, and open the “Go” menu at the top of the Mac screen. Select “Library” and move to the following level.


~/Library/Application Support/MakeMusic/Finale 27/PlogueEngine


(This is the library folder in the user hierarchy.)


(6) Delete the two cache files “au_filter_x64.cache” and “au_x64.cache”, restart Finale, and check whether the plugin is available.


[Settings on Windows]


For Windows, you may need to manually install the VST plugin's .dll file. An example of this is explained below.


(1) Close Finale.


(2) Copy the VST plug-in .dll file to the following folder.

C:\Program Files\Common Files\VST2 or VST3 *

*If you do not know the location of the .dll file for a VST plug-in, please contact the support department for that VST plug-in to find out the location of the .dll file for the plug-in. Also, make sure you are copying the correct version of the .dll file for use with Finale 27, which is a 64-bit application.


(3) Start Finale and specify the instrument on the score manager.


(4) Select “MIDI/Audio Menu > VST Bank/Effect”.


(5) Select a VST plug-in from the first bank (channels 1 to 16) in the “Playback Sound Source” column.


(6) After selecting the sound source, click the pencil icon to the right of it.


(7) Then, the player for that sound source will be opened in the VST Viewer, and you will be able to select the tone and adjust the volume, reverb amount, etc. Basically, the settings are complete.



[Troubleshooting on Windows]


If the plug-in is not yet available in Finale, proceed to the steps below.


(1) Select “MIDI/Audio Menu > Device Setup > VST Plug-in Management”.


(2) The VST plug-in management dialog box will appear, so click the “Add” button.


(3) Specify the directory (folder) of the missing plug-in and click the OK button. (This process may take some time as Finale scans, and the program may appear unresponsive.)


(4) Check whether the plugin is available.


If the plugin is still not available after managing the VST plugins above, delete the associated cache files using the following steps:


(5) Close Finale.


(6) Change the settings to display invisible files using the method here.


▼Windows: Displaying invisible files


(7) Move to the following hierarchy and delete the files “vst_filter_x64.cache” and “vst_x64.cache”.


C:\Users\(username)\AppData\Roaming\MakeMusic\Finale 27\PlogueEngine


(8) Restart Finale.


ーーーーー


For users of notation software, not just Finale, I’d recommend Note Performer 4 (¥22,374, price as of April 2024), which is easy to install, easy to operate, high quality, and inexpensive.


However, there are many third-party VST/AU sound sources that are as high quality and cheap as Note Performer. I hope this article will help you try them out.

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