Dorico vs Finale

If Dorico forms into a full DAW that would be AWESOME! However, it’s unlikely, at least for a while and if it doesn’t I plan to eventually invest in Nuendo…

I believe that the view expressed by Ian is the view of the passionate young user. We need you to help us as much as you may benefit from our suggestions.

Hi David,
Thank you for your observations.
If you have better suggestions for ensuring that music notation apps benefit from DAW features - and that music notation be introduced to young people - than adding full blown music notation features to DAWS - and ensuring that DAWs are as musical as they are technical - I would love to hear what they are. I am not claiming to have the entire answer to young people not being musically educated - I’m just linking a few things that I think could improve together.

I have never really understood the product strategy here. Nuendo and Cubase are about 97% the same product, with Nuendo having a few extra features that target those producing movie soundtracks. I don’t see how it makes sense to maintain two separate product lines, but I guess the numbers must work out for Steinberg.

Functionally it makes little sense to me because you can only get so far in the movie scoring business producing atmospherics in a DAW. If you ever hope to get to the big time, you will have to be able to produce excellent scores for studio musicians, and be ultra-productive at that. That would seem to point toward great integration between Nuendo and Dorico. Perhaps that too small a market – probably under 1000 people actively engaged in composing, orchestrating and notating movie scores for major movies that will employ a human orchestra. If you add Broadway to that, maybe the numbers are better, but I suspect that market has been all Finale and will likely remain so due to inertia.

I wouldn’t imagine that young people are turning to Finale. I presume (but I stand open to correction) that they aren’t turning to music notation apps generally. But this then leads to my argument that the best chance to win them is to put traditional music notation into DAWs - which they are turning to.

From my investigations I conclude that there a host of features provided currently by Nuendo not in Cubase - native Dolby Atmos and a pile of useful features for working with picture and for doing advanced audio repair. I think that companies that produce a product which does everything one could want to do should have confidence that young people - who are going to be more technical than generations that came before them - will turn to them. Especially as immersive audio and creating more and more music to picture becomes the thing.

I think that the environments you are describing @cparmerlee people are using every feature available for composition, making demos, recording, and score making. In those cases the DAW is used massively - but not solely.

I doubt they are producing notated scores for studio orchestras using the capabilities built into any DAW, with the possible exception of StudioOne and Notion (two separate products, but well integrated.)

If they are producing scores, it is probably at the end of the compositional phase, when they might send MIDI to the notation program. And that has received a massive amount of attention in Dorico 4. So perhaps Steinberg sees that as the primary workflow for people who primarily compose directly in the DAW.

I’m sorry - I meant to say that people in the film industry are using all of the features of ALL available apps - not DAWs. But that since they use DAWs to the max they would always choose a DAW app which also had in built notation capabilities if there was such an app. My bad.

Film/Video-Game Scoring is my end goal so that’s essentially why I’m choosing Nuendo. The couple extra features can go a long way!

I believe that one day, Dorico may be that software but only time will tell!

For the students at the university where I teach, I’d guess 80% use MuseScore, and the remaining 20% use Finale, Sibelius, Dorico, and various web-based notation programs whose names I can’t remember. As MuseScore is free, it has come to completely dominate the college market in the past 6 years or so. I’m dealing with jazz students for whom notation is still important though, as they are all trying to write music for performance with their own groups. I would imagine most of them use Logic for mixing projects too.


Indeed. The delta between Cubase and Nuendo is right there at the video game scoring.

I have not done a rigorous comparison lately, but the last time I looked seriously, it seemed that Cubase had many features that were not in Nuendo, or that arrived 9 months earlier in Cubase, and these were more for the singer-songwriter, drag-and-drop rapper or liver performer niches.

Nonetheless, it seems the common ground is so great that I hardly see the logic in maintaining two completely separate product bases for this. I would have thought one common codebase could address all the target markets, perhaps by grouping certain features as “movie producer edition” or such.

@cparmerlee Is there some way you are able to know that the code base is not the same?

With the move towards immersive audio I can’t imagine why Steinberg wouldn’t create Nuendo Elements and Pro instead of continuing with Cubase. Since that and other scoring for picture features is what puts Nuendo ahead of Studio One.

And finally I believe I’m correct in saying that Nuendo has every single feature of Cubase and then some - that no features exist in Cubase that do not exist in Nuendo.

I guess I wonder Fred what happens - not while people are in learning institutions - but after they leave. I imagine that outside of learning institutions that paid apps are used only by more committed users - pros and committed amateurs. (And therefore if one wants a future one must appeal to them - and not just older people in that category but young people getting into music).

I’m going to regret this, I just know it. First, I think behaviorally you are subscribing to the school of "If I say it over and over, with lots and lots of words and more passion; that will make it true and cause people to come around to my point of view. A big “nope” on that one. Just saying.

Second, your post above is false on the face of it. Nobody in the film industry (or anywhere else) uses “all the features of all available apps”. They use what they are comfortable and productive using, according to their needs, habits, history, taste, and personal style of working.

EX: Mr. “Doctor Who Man” (for a certain season of the show) as he was introduced to me by a client, still writes for Film and TV, and gets inspiration from writing and performing with hardware synths and sequencers. I don’t think he cares a whit for most DAW or any notation capabilities that you assert “they would always choose” and use to the MAX.

There are various well known Film and TV composers who talk about their process online that would disprove your absolute statement. Performing artists who turn to film, are different than composer / conductor / orchestrators like John Williams, are different from Koji Kondo who has written using Mario Paint before.


Hi @gdball - you are joining in at a late stage in a longer discussion – maybe this is why you’ve concluded that my opinion is repetition without substantiation – I’ve given clear reasoning above for why DAW features are preferable for all composers of traditional music notation. With the exception of those who can’t afford them financially – or have issues using a computer.

I don’t know what to say if you thought that I was saying that every single person in the film industry uses every single feature of every single app. I hope you will realise that cannot be my view – instead I must be making a general statement about a group of people.

I am not trying to take your hammer. I am trying to say that when all we have is a hammer everything looks like a nail.

Well, that’s certainly the challenge for anyone producing paid notation software; to offer a product that someone would be willing to pay for. I have no idea what styles and genres of music you write or produce, but in jazz where there is live interaction between musicians playing acoustic instruments, there is always going to be a need for notated music whether pencil, printed parts from notation software, or iPad. The notated music is the essential required feature, any mockup or other audio, while perhaps quite helpful, is not essential to the end performance.

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This is becoming one of those threads again. I’m not going in.


No. You’ve given reasoning for why DAW features are preferable for you. Your views are just that - yours. They’re clearly not shared by all the composers of traditional music notation in this group, let alone the rest of the world, so please stop trying to speak on all of our behalfs.


You are wrong @pianoleo. I have made a case (which your reply doesn’t engage with in any way) for why people who must create traditional music notation should want DAW features that provide them with the same power as a word processor with an outline view provides writers. You say I cannot speak for others - but you are missing something - my argument isn’t about personal preferences (as it might be if I was suggesting a particular design for an app) - it is a matter of logic. I’ve only said that it would be preferable for those who produce traditional musical notation to have full flexibility in dealing with the musical content. Argue with that - tell me “No - I think that it would be better if composers had their hands tied behind their back in the following respects”. It seems to be a somewhat challenging task from where I sit.

The fact that my views aren’t to this point shared by people in the group (the kind of argument any group which is functioning as a tribe makes) is actually not relevant. It only matters whether what I am saying is logical - sound.

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Until there’s a DAW that can deal with genuine polymeter and independent tempo (just to name two things), DAWs are arguably more of a straitjacket than pencil and paper. edit: complex tuplet ratios too - is there a DAW that can handle those?

Intentionally extreme examples, sure, but I hope you’ll agree that a DAW isn’t the most flexible compositional tool out there.

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