Do you have any suggestions on what to use besides Cubase or a vsti within cubase to write the notes etc.? An easier way that cubase's, I feel Cubase SX 3 is a lil buggy and difficult. I want to import back into cubase the midi score that I write in another program
i have done it from sibellius and encore into sonar... and it works... but some key instruments, like piano had to be re- recorded by hand because of the dynamics and expression... most notation software can export to standard midi files... and that's the way to go about it...
have to agree that the scoring function in SX3 is cumbersome and limited. apparently it has been redone in cubase 4.0 but after my experiences with the scoring function in SX3 i just cannot be bothered going there again.
i also went with sibelius 5 and have been v. happy. no major criticisms. v.v. easy to learn with a simple and clean interface.
my only real criticism is the sound library that comes with it is not great quality and with only the basics in terms of instrument articulations. you can get around this to some extent if you have compatible VSTi.
however not all VSTi libraries will run in sibelius - even some kontakt libraries wont i.e kirk hunter orchestral libraries even though both sibelius and KH use kontakt as the sampler.
i just use sibelius for basic midi mock-up and get a v. basic idea down and then export the midi to the sequencer. no problems.
overall sibelius is a great tool.
never used finale but i am sure it is also excellent.
I really think you should see 'scoring' and 'how it sounds' as two different goals, thus needing (imho) two different programms.
I also use Cubase as my DAW, but when I want to write a score (even from a Cubase project), I export to a MIDI-file, which I load in Sibelius. Often for the readability (is that a word?) of a score notes need be changed so that it looks better, but sounds worse.
I really can't imagine sequencing in Sibelius. Maybe only for very small projects and solely for the purpose of needing the score. The score function in Cubase ain't that great.
But for notation, I think Sibelius is the best recommendation. It's easy to learn and gets greats results.