While industry experts like Philip Rothman and Robert Puff have applauded the inclusion of 64-bit support in the new version of Finale, a more casual observer may ask; “What does that actually mean for me?” To some, one of the biggest features in the new Finale may not seem like a feature at all. Of course, we believe it is. Today we’re sharing some of the thinking behind Finale’s 64-bit support. More importantly, we’ll also describe some of the ways it can benefit you.
Bit size refers to how much data you can move and access through your computer. More bits are better and often translate into faster performance. While 64-bit processors were once extremely rare (like the Cray-1 super computer in Los Alamos), today they’re the standard.
Operating systems are all shifting to 64-bit as well.
“You haven’t been able to buy a 32-bit mac for a decade, and it’s expected that Apple will soon drop all support for 32-bit applications,” said Michael Johnson, MakeMusic’s vice president of professional notation. “While Windows has always been a little more cautious in their march towards the future, there will come a time when Windows will drop 32-bit support, too.”
So first and foremost, Finale needs to be a 64-bit application to remain viable on future operating systems.
“A tremendous amount of work went into making Finale a 64-bit application, and it was done because we’re in it for the long haul,” said Fred Flowerday, MakeMusic’s senior vice president of product strategy. “There are many features and enhancements we’d like to see in Finale but which are not possible without first establishing a strong technical foundation in 64-bit. By taking the long view and investing in this foundation, our goal is to provide greater benefit for all Finale users and ensure the long-term viability of Finale.”
Okay, so Finale will continue to work well into the future. That is obviously good news for those of us with a long-term investment in using the software. But what does 64-bit mean to those of us who use Finale today?
Many high-end sound libraries are 64-bit only. These libraries can now be used directly within the new Finale, without additional intervening software. In addition, 32-bit applications, like previous versions of Finale, are limited in the amount of samples they can load into memory. Top libraries will quickly use up this 2 or 3 gig limit. Today’s Finale, however, allows you to load much larger libraries. Your only limit is the amount of memory you have installed.
Don’t use premium sound libraries? You’ll appreciate enhanced stability and speed improvements, some directly related to the 64-bit work, and some that are not. As noted in Philip Rothmans review, performance in the new Finale; “demonstrates real improvement in some key areas.” Even in areas where performance isn’t yet improved, 64-bit compatibility is likely a necessary first step toward further enhancements.
Laying the Foundation for Additional Improvement
In developing a 64-bit version, Finale developers laid the groundwork for forthcoming advancements. This has great potential both for increasing performance and future feature development. Moving forward, working on 64-bit software allows developers to access better, more modern development tools that can also increase advances in Finale faster.
“Not only can advances be made faster, they can be shared with Finale users faster, said Mark Adler, MakeMusic’s notation product manager/senior editor. “We are set up to easily deliver smaller, free-of-charge releases that represent our plan for continuous development and continuous release. Finale 2014.5 is a great example of the kind of feature-rich free update we plan to share in the future; between major releases.”
What Future Improvement is Important to MakeMusic?
Michael Johnson offers his top three: “Performance, rendering (the speed it takes to draw things on the screen), and playback. Those are the big three that touch everybody’s life.”
While Michael pauses to recognize there have always been select Finale users who claim to have no need for playback (because their audiation is perfect), he adds:
“When you wait a few seconds for this or that, it adds up over time. In extreme cases this can arrest your creative momentum. More often the cumulative effect simply presents a hurdle in getting more done in less time. Our goal is to have everything play and draw instantly, and today’s Finale sets the stage for that future.”
Fred adds: “Our ultimate goal is to get your music in front of musicians more efficiently.”
Check out the new Finale for yourself – at no charge. Try the free trial version today.