"Indispensible software, good accuracy"
Version: SmartScore 10.3.2
Good accuracy, fast and intuitive editing features.
Somewhat steep learning curve. Accuracy is sensitive to edited image quality. Works well only with particular scanners. Help and documentation could be better.
I find it difficult to imagine that the previous reviewer and I are using the same software. In fact, my version is 10.3.3 for PC, not Mac; while I'd be surprised to find such a significant difference between versions I have no way of verifying. I've found Smartscore Pro to be absolutely indespensible for my needs. I sing in the tenor section of a small church choir and sight-read poorly. I scan and edit the sheet music and can usually go from scan to a playable practice version within about 45 minutes for 8-10 pages. Scanned accuracy varies significantly with quality of the printed original, but spending time up front using the software's image editing features can pay off with significant increases in recognition accuracy. Image editing features are reasonably intuitive. High recognition accuracy is acheivable, but I've found it to be sensitive to features that are not all completely obvious. For example, careful manual de-skewing of the image seems to be needed. I also greatly improved recognition accuracy (on an older version) by replacing my all-in-one scanner with one of the Epson models listed as being supported by the manufacturer.
No OCR music recognition software will give 100% accuracy. I find the music editing functions a joy to work with. The split screen view shows the scanned image and the recognized music together. Many errors are marked for easy identification. Menu palettes are comprehensive but slow to access. Learning to use the extensive set of quick keys is essential for fast editing. One example of a user-friendly editing feature: shift-clicking on any symbol (note, rest, etc.) converts the cursor to that symbol for insertion or replacement making it unnecessary to go to the palettes or quick keys to select that symbol.
Playback features are exactly what I need as a tenor who usually has the harmony, not the melody! The software provides effective tools for managing parts. I can easily amplify or re-voice my part compared to the others, mute all other parts, mute my part, etc. I can easily replay particular sections, for those tough passages,by selecting with the mouse. The software can toggle between time signature or play-as-written modes - this is particularly useful for many hymns.
On one issue, the previous reviewer and I may be in agreement. I've found the printed and on-line documentation to be of less-than-stellar quality. For version 10.3.3, the on-line manual has an index which is searchable by page number. However, the page numbers are all wrong. This seems to be an issue that could have and should have been caught and fixed ealier.
To sum up: Over the years I've found Smartscore to be vastly superior to trying to manually enter music or taking the time for piano lessons! This is the fastest way I've found to go from page to playable. That said, it can require more of an investment in both time and money than is first apparent. In particular, it needs a dedicated scanner in a time when these are becoming less common compared with all-in-ones. If you're willing to make such an investment, Smartscore 10 can pay off big.
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"False advertising, worthless software, abysmal service"
Version: SmartScore 10.3.2
interesting music-editing features
hopelessly inaccurate scanning of sheet music and PDF file; crashes on my Mac; hijacks my interface to PrintMusic
I bought SmartScore Songbook X (ver. 10.3.2) as an "upgrade" from SmartScore Lite, which came bundled with Finale PrintMusic (made by a different software manufacturer, MakeMusic). I bought the $99 + shipping upgrade expecting Songbook would serve as a seamless transition from my "raw" music to Finale PrintMusic, which I use to edit and output my music. SmartScore Lite had yielded very poor results scanning printed sheet music, and I hoped for a big improvement with SmartScore Songbook.
After receiving the Songbook package and working through the tutorials in the "Introduction to SmartScore" manual, I tried processing a short PDF file (of public-domain opera music) I had downloaded from the Internet. But SmartScore Songbook introduced so many errors into the music that I decided it would cost me less time and effort to enter the music note-by-note into PrintMusic, than to clean up the mess presented by SmartScore. This, despite the claim by software manufacturer Musitek, on its web page soliciting the upgrade, that SmartScore can "recognize almost any PDF image including...web-based files." Worse still, every time I've tried scanning sheet music -- even very clearly printed music -- into SmartScore Songbook, I've gotten worthless results, with SmartScore often crashing. (I use an iMac with an Intel Core 2 Duo, running Mac OS Leopard, ver. 10.5.8). To top off the disaster, SmartScore Songbook hijacks my interface between sheet music and Finale PrintMusic, substituting itself as the music-editing program and providing no way to export my scanned music into PrintMusic.
I emailed Musitek to complain about the poor processing of the PDF file, attaching a copy of the original file. Several days later Musitek replied that the PDF file I had downloaded from the web was "quite degraded and appears to be dithered (shot full of holes)." They smugly dismissed the inconvenience of all the introduced errors by claiming: "it would take someone familiar with SmartScore's editor 5-10 minutes to clean up the page..." In my reply, I admitted that the file was degraded on close examination, but argued: "To the human eye..., all the notes, staff lines, beams and slurs in that file are perfectly readable and unambiguous. In light of that situation, it seems to me that your software should be able to convert it to at least 95% accuracy... Since [SmartScore] Songbook has proved worse than useless to me, I want to return this product for a full refund."
Musitek denied my request for a refund on the startling basis that "you were not misled and...the software you have installed continues to function normally." When I filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, Musitek resorted to its boilerplate legal argument: "Because of its intangible nature, digital software is normally not returnable..." and refused to address the issue of their software frequently crashing on my computer and hijacking my interface to PrintMusic.
My scanning hardware is an HP Officejet 6310 All-in-One machine, which probably makes it difficult for me to get useful results. Musitek recommends recent-model Canon or Epson scanners and cautions against All-in-One scanners. Unfortunately, I don't have the desk space to install a dedicated scanner. Even so, my HP Officejet scanner is TWAIN-compliant, and I've tried the work-around scanner settings recommended by Musitek -- but still got worthless results.
Scanning of sheet music from paper or PDF files seems to be the weak link in written music-processing software. I've also gotten disappointing results scanning sheet music with PhotoScore Lite, which comes bundled with Sibelius First. Also, when I tried using PhotoScore Lite to scan the same PDF file that SmartScore Songbook butchered, PhotoScore also introduced a mess of errors.
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