Finale is capable of creating presentable demo mixes. We’ll explore tools and methods used to create the best possible result.
- Score Dynamics
- The Mix Window
- Score Manager Levels
- Assign New Banks in the Score Manager
- AU Banks & Effects
- Player Options: Effects, Instrument Controls
- Gain Structure
- Device Setup: Cache settings
The first step to getting a good mix in Finale is using dynamic markings in the score that you think will give good results when the score is being read by musicians.
Marks such as “Piano” and “Forte” are entered with the expression tool.
Crescendos and decrescendos are entered with the Smart Shapes Tool.
The sounds that ship with Finale in Garritan Instruments for Finale are frequently out of balance. Some plucked strings such as Mandolin or Harp, and solo orchestral woodwinds, tend to overbalance the rest of the score. Drums and percussion tend to be too quiet.
The Mix Window
The next step will be the Mix window. Adjusting these faders during playback will help you to get acceptable relative levels.
The effects controls in the Mix window have no effect on Audio Units instruments – they only work on Finale’s internal midi sounds. You’ll be assigning and adjusting effects in the Audio Units Banks and Effects window.
There may be times when even the faders in the mix window won’t do the job. When that happens, you need to assign the instrument to a new Bank you can control independently.
Assigning New Banks in the Score Manager
You can do this in the Score Manager, where we can change an instrument’s Bank assignment.
Try putting all the too-quiet instruments in one new Bank (you can assign up to 16 of them) and assign all the too-loud instruments to another, then adjust the levels in Audio Units Banks and Effects.
AU Banks & Effects
In Audio Units Banks and Effects you can
- Set the relative levels of your Banks
- Add audio effects plugins
- Edit Aria Player’s settings, controls, and effects.
You may want to add a compressor into a Bank’s effects slot if you want to give an extra boost to your “too-quiet” bank.
Setting Aria Player Options: Instrument Controls, Mixer and Effects
In the Aria Player window, the tabs on the right side of the player open screens for individual instrument controls, a mixer for the Player, and the effects options for the Player.
Some instruments have controls specific to that instrument, including portamento and Length settings for strings. (Musicians would understand the length setting to refer to Sostenuto). Start by selecting an instrument in the bank to bring up its controls.
The Mixer is another tool for adjusting the relative levels of instruments in a particular bank.
The Effects in the players use relatively little processor power, and have plenty of different reverbs to get you close to what you’re looking for.
Adjusting Gain Structure
If you’re getting dropouts in playback, there are two different things that may be causing it.
One possible cause might be your Gain Structure. This refers to the adjustment of relative levels of audio within the application’s output path.
You might be getting what they call “internal clipping” from all the instruments together being too loud for the system to handle. Bringing down the individual Bank levels can help. After that you can restore the Master volume until you can hear your mix with good presence, without the dropouts. Once you’ve done that, you’ve modified your Gain Structure.
Configuring Device Setup: Cache settings
Another cause of dropouts might be that the Buffer size is too small. We find this in MIDI/Audio>Device Setup>Audio Setup.