Setting up your MIDI keyboard and external speakers to work with a program like Finale can be a bit tricky. Let's walk through the setup step by step. If this is the first time you're connecting your system, place your computer MIDI keyboard controller and speakers where you want to use them. Make sure that everything is turned off. First let's connect the controller to the computer, and this can be done a couple of different ways. If you have an older controller that only has MIDI inputs and outputs, you'll need to connect the MIDI output of the keyboard to the MIDI input on a MIDI interface. Then connect the MIDI interface to your computer using a USB cable.
Now, I am using a newer keyboard controller that has a USB connection, and is connected directly to the computer via a USB cable. If you have external speakers, let's connect them, but first let me ask you a question. Are using an audio interface? If you are, you can connect the interface to the computer, and then connect the speakers to your system via the monitor outputs on your audio interface. If you aren't using an audio interface, you can connect the speakers to your computer's line output, or if there is one, to the headphone output.
Now, there are a number of different cables that you might use here, so please check the connections. For example, the headphone output on your computer is likely to have a 1/8 inch stereo phone plug, sometimes called a minijack. At the other end, you might need two RCA, quarter inch, or XLR connectors to connect your speakers. I suggest that you find out exactly what you need, and purchase a cable with the right connections at a music store, or an electronics store. It's best not to cobble together a cable using adapters. Now that your system is set up, go ahead and turn on your computer and your MIDI controller.
Leave your speakers off for now. If you haven't installed the driver for your keyboard controller or MIDI interface, please check the manufacturer's instructions, and make sure that the device is properly installed. Let's go head and launch Finale. So I am going to double-click the shortcut here on the Desktop, and open that, and I am going to go ahead and close the Launch window. Now let's go to the MIDI/Audio menu, and let's choose Device Setup, and MIDI Setup. In this window, you can either choose to click the Auto-detect Input Devices, or you can also click the dropdown menu, and from the available list of MIDI devices there, you can choose what you're using to be using.
I am using an M-Audio Axiom Pro keyboard, so I will choose that. Over in the MIDI output, I would suggest you choose the SmartMusic SoftSynth. There are a couple of other options here, but this is probably the best option for when you're just doing your basic work. I am going to click OK. Let's go up to the MIDI/Audio menu one more time, and when you choose Play Finale through MIDI, it will route it directly to that SmartMusic SoftSynth. Let's go to the File menu, and let's choose New, and Default Document.
I want to do this to check to make sure that my keyboard is working. So I am going to choose the Simple Entry tool. It's this one right here. I am going to Control+Click in that first measure to set my cursor position, and now I should be able to play on my controller, and enter notes. [Notes] Let's go back to the MIDI/Audio menu, and back down to Device Setup. Let's choose Audio Setup, and make sure your speakers are working.
So in this window, you can click this dropdown menu and if you have an audio interface hooked up to your system, you can choose the ASIO drivers. In this case, we are just using the DirectSound input on my computer. Then down at the output, you can click the pop-up menu here, and you can choose the option to where your speakers are hooked up. Now, if you are using an audio interface, you might see something like the RME Hammerfall, where it says speakers there, or if you're using Apogee Duet, you might see that listed.
So I will click OK, and we will test this by clicking this little Test Audio Output button. So go ahead and turn on your speakers at this point, but don't turn them up very loud, because we don't know how loud this is going to be. So I will click this, and we hear the test tone, and now we know that we've got sound working. But go ahead and click that a few more times, and you can turn your speakers up, and adjust the level so that it's appropriate. So now that you've gotten your system set up, we are ready to start using Finale.
- Setting up the hardware and software
- Creating a Finale score document
- Importing files
- Viewing and navigating documents
- Entering and editing notes with the mouse, keyboard, and real or virtual instruments
- Understanding measuring basics and music spacing
- Adding lyrics
- Notating music on a grand staff
- Notating choral music with layers
- Notating for guitar, including tablature and Smart Shapes
- Recording in real time
- Adding expressions and articulations
- Formatting scores
- Printing scores
- Exporting documents