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Adjusting volume, panning and reverb

You’ve already used dynamics to adjust the volume of your music. However, you may want to adjust the volume of the entire document or change the balance between instruments on a global scale.

By the end of this lesson you will know how to:

  1. Use the Mixer or Studio View to adjust the volume
  2. Set the panning levels for more realistic stereo playback
  3. Add or control the amount of reverb on your score


For optimum Garritan instrument playback, you should avoid setting the Mixer's master volume too high. An excessive default level will often result in distorted playback when using Garritan instruments. If you need to increase the playback volume, you should first increase your system volume and/or the volume on your computer speakers before increasing the master volume in Finale's mixer.

To adjust the volume for an individual instrument or the full score

  1. Choose Window > Mixer.
  2. Drag the sliders for the Piano ([Staff 1] and [Staff 2]) down to decrease the volume.
  3. To adjust the volume for the entire score, drag the slider for the Master controls down to decrease volume.

If instruments are out of balance, it is usually best to reduce the volume for the instruments that are too loud, rather than increasing the volume for those that are too soft. Also, just like an old-fashioned manual mixing board, the volume sliders in Finale's Mixer aren't automated. Finale's Mixer works best as a "set it and forget it" board, where you choose values that will work well for your entire score.

Tip: The Mixer controls can be left open and adjusted while your file is playing back to make real-time changes to the balance and panning of your file.


Panning refers to an instrument’s relative position in the stereo mix. An instrument that is panned left will sound mostly (or, if it’s panned all the way left, entirely) from the left speaker, whereas an instrument that is panned dead center will sound equally from both speakers, and therefore sound like it is coming from the middle of the sound stage.

Choosing appropriate panning helps create a realistic stereo image and allows individual instruments to be clearly distinguished, even in large ensemble scores. When you create a score using Finale’s Setup Wizard, Finale tries to assign the best panning setup for the instruments you have chosen.

To adjust an instrument's panning position

  1. Choose Window > Mixer.
  2. Drag the knob at the top of the Clarinet controls all the way to the left side to place it entirely in the left channel.

Tip: You can also adjust these settings in the Score Manager by entering exact MIDI values (from 0 to 127).


Reverb allows your computer to model the acoustics of a performance space — for instance, a large concert hall, or an intimate jazz club. Reverb for Garritan instrument playback is handled in different ways, depending on whether Play Finale Through MIDI or Play Finale Through Audio Units is selected in the MIDI/Audio menu.

To adjust reverb when Play through Audio Units is selected

  1. Choose MIDI/Audio > Audio Units Banks & Effects.
  2. Select Ambience from the Effects or Master Effects column.
  3. Click the pencil icon to the right to open the interface.
  4. Drag the slider for Dry Gain to the right.
  5. Drag the slider for Wet Gain to the left.

Noteman says: Applying Ambience Reverb during playback demands a lot from your computer. If you are experiencing playback problems, you should consider reducing the Quality/CPU setting in the Ambience Reverb window — this lessens the strain on your computer, at the expense of a reduction in reverb quality.

Adjusting these settings will boost the overall volume level and reduce the overall reverb to a more neutral level. You can also choose from any of the factory presets from the pull-down menu allows you to choose from a number of preset room sizes - various ballrooms, concert halls, jazz clubs, etc.

For information on customizing these reverb settings, consult the entry on Garritan Ambience.

To adjust reverb when Play through MIDI is selected

  1. Choose Window > Mixer.
  2. Select a preset reverb level under the Master controls or adjust it manually by clicking the white dot and dragging it around the knob.
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