A Big Week Ahead

A lot of research, planning, and work culminates this week with some exciting things. We’re changing notation programs, installing acoustics improvements in the studio, and completing vocal tracking of Mike’s demo with a visit from a Tony-winning Broadway star.

Switching to Sibelius

I’ve had misgivings about Finale’s seriousness toward the Mac ever since Sibelius released their Mac OS X native app 18 months before Finale. Some of Finale’s OS X implementation (i.e. printing parts as PDF) are still broken even after 5 paid upgrades. Finale’s yearly upgrades are $100, the file formats are not backwards compatible so upgrades are essentially mandatory, yet serious bugs remain unfixed and new features are rarely worth the cost (either pandering to the education market or playing catchup to Sibelius). In addition, I couldn’t even launch Finale 2008 (a “MOTU bug”, they said), but it mysteriously fixed itself in Finale 2009.

We’ve demoed Sibelius 6, tested MusicXML file transfers out of Finale, and had our friend and professional music copyist Alden Terry give us a quick walkthru of Sibelius. The tipping point was Sibelius’ support for ReWire – a potentially exponential timesaver letting us sync vocal arrangements in real-time to our DP projects. We’re convinced, and today we start our transition.

Most of the Sibelius vs. Finale posts I came across were horribly outdated, so I will be live-blogging our transition – warts and all. Look here for my series of blog posts about switching from Finale to Sibelius.

Acoustic Improvements

Last fall, we reconfigured our studio (featuring a snazzy custom desk from KK Audio). This new layout made the acoustic imperfections in our room even more troublesome, but theme park season and general lack of acoustic theory kept me from addressing it.

I saw a college friend’s studio pictures on facebook, and he pointed me in the direction of RealTraps. Mike and I had been reluctant to just ignorantly plaster our walls with (honestly, ugly) acoustic foam, so the panel design already appealed to us. I’ve been corresponding with RealTraps’ on-hand acoustics expert “JWL” who looked at photos of our room and was really helpful in identifying what configuration would give us the most improvements.

I’ve measured our room’s frequency response in its current state, and I’ll do the same afterward. Look here for the results!

Broadway’s Alice Ripley

Mixing is progressing nicely on the 3-song demo for the new Kevin Del Aguila/Michael Shaieb musical, The Astonishing Return of… The Protagonists!. The last vocalist is now confirmed, as Mike wrote earlier.

This Thursday, we’re happy to have Alice Ripley (Next To Normal, The Rocky Horror Show) joining us in the studio singing the part of “Eagle Woman”.

(Fans of Go-Go Beach will also know her from demo track #14: “The Love That Cannot Be”.)

Alice recently won a Tony award for the role of “Diana” in the Broadway musical Next To Normal, and we’re thrilled to have her back again.