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PreSonus Notion 6 Review

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PreSonus Notion 6 Review

PreSonus Notion 6 Review

Notion 6 from PreSonus is the next revelation in music notation software.

Yes, there are other offerings of music notation software, but none that can do what PreSonus’s Notion 6 can do and at a price that others cannot beat.

If you are already familiar with using music notation software, then Notion 6 should be a breeze.

If you are not, I strongly suggest viewing the tutorials from PreSonus. Within a few minutes of looking around in Notion 6, I was off and running to see how quickly and easily I could create an orchestral string piece. Within a matter of just a couple hours, I created a short twenty bar piece for violin, viola, cello, and bass. It was an assignment for a class I was doing, which was to create a piece, based off of only 4 or 5 notes for a motif type theme:

Of course, more notes are used in the lesson, but the motif itself cannot consist of more than 4 to 5 notes based on the lead instrument, which in this case is the violin.

Next you may be wondering, “Why is music notation software being reviewed for a bass magazine?”

Well, first, as bassists, we like to expand and explore our creativity, as I know many that do. Second, I know quite a few bassists that actually write notation for themselves and different instruments that may be used for studio recordings or live performance.

While writing in Notion 6 may seem familiar with other notation software where you have note and rest lengths, time signatures, lyrics, articulations, variations such as whammy bar, slides, tuning adjustments, vibrato, string bends and releases that work for all instruments, and adding bars, repeats and coda’s… there is more. Notion 6 can be used as a standalone piece of software composing traditional notation, tab, chord symbols, and lead sheets, while being able to connect to any DAW with midi and audio streaming or being able to connect with Studio One for even better productivity, even over the network. Connectivity is done with ReWire.

Composing to picture is another great feature, where many different formats are supported.

While Notion 6 is available for MAC and Windows, it is also available for IOS, however the feature set is different for IOS.

Notion 6 has handwriting built in for Windows with support for Surface pen on Surface, but will also work on all Windows tablets and touchscreens. On MAC, you can use the mouse or if you have an iPad or iPhone you can use Duet to turn them into an external display with Duet. The handwriting feature is spot on for MAC. I installed Duet on my iPad and iMac and was able to enter notation on the iPad using a bamboo pen and my finger and it worked really well. The same is for the piano keyboard or guitar fretboard, where you can use both to enter notes. You can enter single or multiple notes as the same time. Speaking of entering notes, when you are on any specific instrument, you can write what you like without limitation, however if it falls outside the normal range of the instrument, you won’t hear it.

Drums can be entered in the following genres including funk, jazz, rock and world, and these genres include different fills and loops, as well as being able to create your own. Templates are included for creating your score for full orchestra, chamber orchestra, string orchestra, SATB (vocals and piano), big band, jazz combo, lead sheet, string quartet, wind quintet, brass quintet, or you can create your own and add the instruments you want.

The mixer is really handy, allowing you to adjust volume, mute and solo each instrument, use the buses to control effects, eq’s and compression, and also allowing you to add external VST’s with the plug-in manager, including effects and instruments.


For instance, I was able to add Amplitude 3 as an effect into the mixer, and I was able to add Absynth into the VST instruments, so the combination of effects and instruments you can have with Notion 6 is endless! When I added Absynth to the Rock Band template, it added it to the score and it was named properly.

I suppose you are wondering about the sounds of the instruments…

I have to tell you, the included instruments samples are nothing short of amazing. Samples from the London Symphony Orchestra, recorded at Abbey Road Studios, guitars by Neil Zaza, Bass by Victor Wooten, Drum Kit by Roy Wooten, Olympus Micro Choir and Lakeside Pipe Organ by SoundIron, VST support, and PreSonus effects. In addition to all of that, there are four VST presets that are provided by Sample Logic. The orchestral samples are woodwinds, strings, percussion, and brass, and all samples are included with the purchase of Notion 6.

Instruments can be added to your score at anytime, so if you get halfway through, nothing to worry about… just add the instrument you need and it will be added to the score, ready for you to add to your composition already in motion.

If you are in need of additional sounds, the Notion Expansion all-pack is available from PreSonus.

There is so much in Notion 6 from PreSonus; it gives you everything you need for composition, orchestration, and film scoring. I’ve used quite a few other pieces of notation software, and I have not seen one yet that compares to Notion 6. Now that I have mentioned other notation software, but not by name, I should let you know that you can export between the different notation software using .xml files.

Also included with Notion 6 is the Notion Score Library.

This is great for teachers and students alike, as it is a great teaching and learning tool when it comes to orchestration and compositions. Some of the scores included are Handel’s Messiah, works from Mozart, Tchaikovsky, and many more. You can also use them for accompaniment.

Check out Notion 6 from PreSonus for all your composition and orchestration needs!

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