Upgrade to Sibelius 7 and save 25%

by Daniel Spreadbury on August 16, 2012 · 21 comments

in News

This cute piggy just saved 25% on his upgrade to Sibelius 7 (courtesy 05com on Flickr)

With apologies for the extended radio silence, I’m back with some news. If you’ve been thinking about upgrading to Sibelius 7, but haven’t yet taken the plunge, now’s a great time to get your feet wet: for a limited time, Avid has cut the price of the single-user Sibelius 7 upgrade by 25%. If you’re currently running a single-user copy of Sibelius 6 or earlier, whether you originally bought a professional, academic or competitive crossgrade license, you’re eligible for the discounted Sibelius 7 upgrade.

The discount also extends to the bundles with PhotoScore Ultimate 7 and AudioScore Ultimate 7 (or both), so if you’ve been thinking about adding music scanning or audio transcription tools to your arsenal, there’s never been a better time.

Why upgrade?

You might be wondering whether now’s the time to invest in a new version of Sibelius, given the recent news about Avid’s corporate restructuring. You might have heard that Sibelius 7 is so different to Sibelius 6 that it’s like learning a whole new program. You might even have received an email from an opportunistic competitor offering you the chance to “upgrade” to an inferior product at a favourable price.

Well, the reality is that Sibelius 7 is the best, fastest and most feature-rich version of Sibelius we’ve ever built. It’s the culmination of the work of the dedicated team of designers and programmers here in London who have been working on the product for more than a decade. Speaking personally,  I worked very hard to design the best possible version of Sibelius that I could, and I want everybody in the community to be benefiting from it.

There’s much more to Sibelius 7 than the change to use a task-orientated ribbon UI (we’ll come on to that). Firstly, it’s the world’s only fully-native 64-bit notation software, able to use all of the RAM in your computer so that you can use the most demanding professional sample libraries directly within Sibelius with ease (check out the Sound Set Project to see which libraries can be seamlessly integrated into Sibelius 7).

Secondly, the foundations of the program have been completely rewritten to use a modern, cross-platform application framework, which has provided benefits all over the program: the on-screen display is more beautiful than ever, the difference being especially striking on Windows, which uses the very latest DirectWrite technology for rendering type with sub-pixel anti-aliasing; dialogs look and feel better, with many of them now resizable, and all of them fully mouse and keyboard accessible (e.g. using the mouse wheel to scroll through custom lists, or tabbing through all of the controls); there is much greater support for graphics import and export, including high-quality PDF export directly from within the program, and support for the open vector format SVG for both import and export; the handling of text and typography is significantly improved, with a level of control over font families and styles, and character effects such as tracking, leading, scaling etc. unrivalled by any other notation software (and some desktop publishing software!).

Thirdly, Sibelius is more interoperable than ever. MusicXML import has been improved, and Sibelius 7 supports MusicXML export directly, providing faster and more complete export than the Dolet plug-in. Sibelius 7 now supports the latest ReWire technology from Propellerhead, allowing you to ReWire directly to 32-bit or 64-bit hosts. If you traded up to a previous version of Sibelius from another notation program, you may have struggled to learn Sibelius’s note input method: Sibelius 7 includes a new note input method that is based around choosing the pitch before the duration (rather than Sibelius’s customary approach of choosing the duration before the pitch).

Fourthly, Sibelius 7 includes an astonishingly broad and high-quality sound library, with beautiful sounds recorded by one of Europe’s top orchestras and engineered by a leading sound designer, plus a wide range of vintage keyboards, drums, guitars, synths, jazz and rock instruments, with a variety of extended techniques and tweakable parameters (check out the complete documentation for an idea of just how comprehensive it is). Sounds of this scope and quality have never before been included with any notation program.

Fifthly, the program is full of small touches that collectively make a big difference to how efficiently you can work in it. For just a small selection: the new status bar, that provides detailed information about where you are in the score at a glance; the new, faster way to create time signatures, where you can simply hit T then type (say) 4 Space 4 and hit Return to create a 4/4 time signature; sticky slurs, which automatically extend during note input, and, more generally, sticky lines of all kinds; sticky tuplets, which makes inputting long sequences of triplets much quicker and more efficient; Full Screen mode on Mac; the ability to save your preferred window positions so that every score you work on opens up with Sibelius set up just how you like it; the Inspector window, which shows only the parameters that are contextually relevant, and is completely keyboard accessible; the ability to quickly and easily install new ManuScript plug-ins from directly within the software; the beautiful Plantin font licensed from Monotype Imaging as the default text font in new scores; the Quick Start window, with its handy thumbnails of your recent scores and quicker, more efficient way to start a new score with manuscript papers organised into categories; and many more besides. These small improvements alone would be enough for one of Sibelius’s competitors to call a major new version, but they are just examples of the touches we have tried to add throughout Sibelius 7 to make it faster, smarter and easier.

And what about that ribbon? I’ve already written about the ribbon at some length, and I don’t wish to repeat myself, but in summary: yes, the ribbon looks very different to the old menus and toolbar that Sibelius 6 and earlier sported, but it has many advantages. Features are more logically grouped together. More important or commonly-used features are more prominent (with larger buttons located towards the left-hand side of each group, and more important groups located towards the left-hand end of each tab). Commonly-required features that previously required trips into dialogs are accessible directly from the ribbon (such as changing staff size, page size, staff spacing, instrument name visibility, bar number frequency, and so on). Every button and menu on the ribbon has an extended tool tip (called a screen tip) that explains in detail what it does and why you should use it. The ‘Find in ribbon’ box at the top right-hand corner of the window allows you to find practically any feature of the program instantly, simply by typing in one or two keywords. Every single control is keyboard accessible, using a sequence of keystrokes called key tips.

And, of course, you can hide the ribbon if you don’t want to see it (simply double-click a ribbon tab, or click the little green arrow at the top right-hand corner). Once the ribbon is hidden, it, together with the document tab bar below it, takes up no more vertical space than the toolbar in Sibelius 6 and earlier. You can set the ribbon to be hidden by default if you wish (using the options on the Files page of Preferences). Plus I took great care to retain as many keyboard shortcuts as possible from previous versions of Sibelius. If you know how to drive Sibelius 6 or earlier using keyboard shortcuts, you can drive Sibelius 7 using those same keyboard shortcuts, ribbon or no ribbon.

Finally, it’s the only version of Sibelius that’s fully supported on the latest operating systems, including Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion (and it will be supported on the forthcoming Windows 8). And, with your upgrade, you will receive 90 days’ complimentary assisted support by phone or via the online support centre, so if you do encounter any problems getting up and running, Avid’s expert team of Sibelius support staff (who are not affected at all by any other recent internal reorganisations at the company) will be there to help you every step of the way. Plus, of course, you can draw on the expertise of fellow experienced users who freely offer their expertise on the Sibelius user forum.

In summary, I’m very proud of Sibelius 7, and I want everybody to have the chance to use it.

The small print

If you have Sibelius First, Sibelius Student, or another of the cut-down versions of Sibelius, then you’re not eligible for the discounted Sibelius 7 upgrade, but you can still trade up to Sibelius 7 at a very special price.

If you are at an educational institution and you’re using a networked or stand-alone site license, again, you’re not eligible for the discounted single-user upgrade, but (unless you’re in Australia or New Zealand) you can still save 20% on the cost of upgrading your school or university’s site license to Sibelius 7, but be quick, because that offer ends on 30 September.

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

francois August 16, 2012 at 12:05 PM

Can you put the tab bar of sib 7 on the right of the computer screen, since it take so much space vertically compare to the tool bar of sib 6, which was the best of the best btw!!!

Hannes August 16, 2012 at 1:26 PM

So this is AV(o)ID’s answer to the Finale crossgrade deal. While I think, that this is a good deal here and Sibelius 7 is still such a beautiful program, I am deeply cencerned about its future.
While I am wondering how you can just make this post and mention this hard fact just on a side note, know that all of the Sibelius users loved your support over the years and wish you and the rest of the laid off team the best for the future! (…and a possible start to a new scorewriter?)

Daniel Spreadbury August 16, 2012 at 1:46 PM

No, you can’t move either the ribbon or the document tab bar, but as I stated in the post, you can minimize the ribbon, at which point it takes up no more room than the toolbar in Sibelius 6 and earlier did.

Daniel Spreadbury August 16, 2012 at 1:47 PM

Thanks for your kind words, Hannes.

Frédéric Chiasson August 16, 2012 at 3:20 PM

To see this new post makes me a little too optimistic. Does that mean Avid will rehire the English team at some point?

Thanks for all the good work again!

Gordon Thornett August 16, 2012 at 4:31 PM

Great to read this blog, and to see that you are still enthusiastically promoting this product!
I have resisted upgrading to Sib 7, as it seems to represent another steep learning curve, and it’s not long since I’ve got reasonably confident with version 6. What would still concern me about upgrading now would be the future support I’ll inevitably need (and not just for 90 days!) Is it possible to offer any reassurance that such support (especially via the user forum) will be there in the months (and years) ahead?
Once again, many thanks for all your help in the past, Daniel.

Daniel Spreadbury August 16, 2012 at 4:55 PM

If you require technical support beyond the 90-day complimentary period, it’s possible to purchase further support either on a per-incident basis or by buying support for a whole year (which costs the same as buying three per-incident support codes, so you’ll come out ahead if you think you might need to contact technical support more than three times in a year).

There’s no reason to fear the user forum at the Sibelius web site will disappear, nor that the expert users who offer their help and assistance so generously will vanish.

Chris Wimlett August 16, 2012 at 7:23 PM

I think a lot of people have been concerned about the fate of the “dedicated team of designers and programmers here in London”. Are the rumours of their dismissal false?

Neil Sands August 16, 2012 at 8:40 PM

No Chris, they’re not false. Only wish they were.

Paul Johns August 17, 2012 at 3:15 AM

Thanks for this, Daniel–it makes me feel not quite so badly that I upgraded just before the closing of your offices.

I’m glad to see that you’re around for the interim; I’m sorry to read in the comment above that it appears you won’t be around long.

THANK YOU for all you have done for Sibelius and for us, and please extend my hearty thanks to all of your colleagues.

I worked for Microsoft for 16 years, and the feat of doing a major release of an app more complicated than Microsoft Word on both OS’s in six languages (including a Far East language) with a team a fraction the size of the Word team (smaller than the ribbon team, I think) is amazing. Any manager with a brain would do everything they could to keep such a team from leaving, let alone push them out.

Again, THANKS, and all the best to you!

A. Eric Heukeshoven August 17, 2012 at 5:19 AM

Daniel,

In the face of all the ongoing angst surrounding Avid’s announcement, you are truly to be commended for steadfastly remaining the gentleman you are. While corporate management tries to save their own assets, you remain above the fray by endorsing the very product they are cutting the heart and soul from.

Peter Roos August 17, 2012 at 7:00 AM

Great post Daniel, ten points for you for being such a stand up guy even in these hard times. Good tip about the tempo, I didn’t know that, I always learning something new and cool from your posts. Hope you will stick around despite the pencil pushers at Avid.

Michel Heydemann August 17, 2012 at 10:06 AM

I also want to say that Sibelius support was absolutely outstanding and above excellence, specially the one Daniel was providing on the forum. I never had problems solved so quickly for any software product I ever used.

As others said, this company name of which says a lot about its spirit of management, is really stupid to dismiss so talented people. I have no doubt Greed and Avidity will be properly refunded in some future.

Thanks, hats off, and best of luck to everybody in the UK Sibelius Team.

Jeferson Mesquita August 17, 2012 at 2:15 PM

Hi good morning, I’m from Brazil my name is Jeferson work with music in church as of worship leader. First I would like to thank you too, I started to love this blog because sibelius, are fantastic materials and tips written here, thanks to an article (http://www.sibeliusblog.com/news/new-m- audio-KEYSTATION-mini-32-includes-sibelius-first /) sibelius first discovered that I would meet perfectly and managed to get it thanks to a tip from the blog also at a great price I bought the M-audio Keystation 32 with him in it came the sibelius first 6 bought for $ 66 at amazon with over $ 39 I got the sibelius first 7. If you add it up it was an excellent plan to purchase Sibelius 7 after purchasing the Full version trade-up I would spend another $ 199. Thank you have a great program with a low cost.

Simon Whiteside August 17, 2012 at 6:36 PM

I concur with the comments above – especially the excellent comment by Paul.

Dismantling the small, highly skilled and focussed team behind a world beating product, is an act of sheer madness.

Such teams are worth their weight in gold, and rarer than unicorns.

Engela August 18, 2012 at 6:03 PM

I cannot find the right words, so I suppose I will be repeating what all the above (and the hundreds before) have said: Daniel, thank you so much for all the support we’ve all enjoyed and appreciated from you and your wonderful team. It is extremely difficult to imagine the road ahead without you guys, but I know you would want us to go forward and encourage and support all Sibelius users! Thank you again. Kind regards

Chris Wimlett August 18, 2012 at 6:34 PM

Is it just coincidence that the offer ends on the same day as the London is reported to be closing?

Andrei August 18, 2012 at 8:15 PM

Thank you, Daniel, and the whole Sibelius team!
Sibelius has revolutionized and transformed my professional life , to say the least. I have invested heavily in Sibelius-engraved sheet music since Ver. 4, and cannot imagine being without it.
Not one day goes by when I don’t find a reason to thank you…
Best of luck to all of you!
Thank you, personally, Daniel, for the always prompt, precise, and helpful advise and trouble-shooting…
Gratefully,
Andrei Pricope

Gerhard Torges August 23, 2012 at 5:17 PM

Dear Daniel!

I’d like to thank you also for the excellent piece of Software Sibelius is and has been over the years, for your patience and kindness anwering our questions, for forgiving my silly stupidies when I was a beta tester.
I cannot imagine a company and a product with a better customer support than Sibelius Software UK had, nor do I know one.
I wish you and the whole London team all the best for the future!

Thank you.

Gerhard

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