What is JetStream Finale Controller?

I have been working with a small group of dedicated Finale users for over a year on an exciting new productivity tool for Finale which we are calling JetStream Finale Controller.

A few months ago, we started a sign-up on the JetStreamFinale.com website for people who were interested in the JetStream project, and the response had been amazing.

However, over the last few months we have received a handful of emails from people indicating that what JetStream does, how it works, what tools are required to run it are not completely understood by everyone.

So, I thought I would take a stab here at clearing up any mystery of what JetStream Finale Controller is, in advance of our planned July 1st release.

Q: I’m not fully ‘getting’ what this JetStream is all about. Do I have to purchase some hardware beforehand? Is it a purely software ‘thing’?

A: The short answer is that JetStream Finale Controller is a powerful plug-in suite for Finale that can potentially work with a variety of third party hardware or software tools, although our initial release has a narrower focus.

The flagship setup, which is the most fully-featured version of JetStream, works with the Elgato Stream Deck, which is a third party product you will need to purchase (or subscribe in the case of the iOS or Android app) to use JetStream. JetStream Finale Controller itself will always be free.

If you are a Keyboard Maestro user, on July 1st, we also plan to release a slightly scaled-down version of JetStream Finale Controller for Mac users.

(Power KM user note: the Keyboard Maestro version of JetStream features all of the Lua power-user scripts but will have none of the menu and dialog selection functions which you likely have already programmed as needed.)

Elgato’s Stream Deck is available in several configurations. There are two hardware versions, a 15-button configuration and a 32-button configuration (XL) which are hardware boxes with tactile buttons and a backlit screen that plug into your Mac or Windows computer’s USB port. These sit on your desktop next to your regular keyboard. This is what the regular 15-button Stream Deck looks like:

Elgato’s regular Stream Deck hardware retails for around $130, street price.

There is also a mobile version of the Stream Deck “platform” for both iOS and Android. These work over a wifi network with your computer. (these apps both require a monthly or annual subscription).

Q: How does JetStream do what I saw in the video? The demo keeps ‘cutting’ to a row of icons / buttons but no info at all as to where these buttons came from.

A: Those buttons are part of a dedicated set of shortcuts called a “Stream Deck Profile”. If you are signed up on our mailing list, you will receive a download link when we launch. Once you have downloaded and installed JetStream, you can check for updates from right within the JetStream profile:

You will also be able to launch applications like Finale, the Aria Player, or even the Stream Deck Configuration Editor (for more advanced use such as copying buttons into a custom set you create).

Shortcuts on the Stream Deck hardware or Mobile can either trigger a specific function or can act as a folder, allowing navigation to more functions. For instance, in the above screen shot, the keypad numbers button is a folder, which provides you with a numeric keypad group, in case you are using Finale on a laptop:

JetStream Finale Controller can double as a USB numeric keypad.

Within the UI of this profile are two distinct “classes” of functions.

The first type are a number shortcuts which access Finale’s own menus and dialogs. Of course, you *could* do these types of operations manually, but these button shortcuts automate everything to make much quicker work of everything.

One advantage of JetStream over programming and remembering keyboard shortcuts is that JetStream’s graphics make every tool’s function instantly identifiable to any Finale user at a glance:

Finale tool selection buttons on the JetStream proXL. Note the subfolders for access to other Finale palettes.

The second group of functions is essentially a powerful suite of plug-in macros, written in the Lua scripting language. These powerful tools allow you to make transformations to your music such as quickly entering dynamics (or quickly making them louder or softer), changing noteheads or arranging chord voicing.

Q: Do I open other screens to click on the icons? This rather important bit of info seems to be missing in all the info I’ve seen so far.

A: Everything you need is laid out on the Stream Deck button array – the regular Stream Deck and Mobile version have a 3×5 matrix of buttons, while the hardware XL version has a 4×8 button matrix. Navigation is done using functions grouped into logical folders.

Finale has literally hundreds of possible tools and functions and so our group has worked very hard to find consensus on how to best group tools and functions intelligently.

So, the short answer is, yes, you click on folder buttons to access specific groups of functions. For instance, if you are entering dynamics, you open the Dynamics group folder and enter dynamics from that “page” of the JetStream profile. If you are entering articulations, you navigate to the Articulations group folder.

In some ways, this is similar to how you might access tools in Finale via menus and palettes, but with the added benefit that you don’t need to program any shortcuts, and you can also see everything available at a glance without having to open Finale’s Selection dialogs. We’ve also made every effort to group similar functions you might use concurrently together.

Q: It appears that I need to program the buttons in JetStream Finale Controller from my computer. Is this the case?

A: Everything to get started will be provided. You should not need to program anything, although there are some steps to get everything installed properly.

(With version 2, we plan to include an installer to make things even easier in this regard.)

To clarify, there *is* a program installed on your computer provided by Elgato to run the Stream Deck on your Mac or Windows computer. This shows up in the menu bar. This application is what provides the interface for both the hardware and mobile apps.

Jetstream Finale Controller is a Profile for Stream Deck which we provide, and is specifically for use with Finale. JetStream opens up in the Elgato application on your computer, which in turn, broadcasts the button images to your Stream Deck and at the same time, receives instructions about which button is being pressed via USB or WiFi from Stream Deck. This host application provides ongoing two way communication between your computer and Stream Deck or Stream Deck XL via USB, or over WiFi with your iOS or Android device.

It’s really very much like having a small external monitor with a touch screen… So, all of the heavy processing is actually done by your computer.

JetStream can work (once you get everything set up the first time) without any additional steps.

Of course, advanced users of JetStream will probably wish to create their own customized sets for your their workflow by copying and pasting buttons to new task groups. As you add new buttons to to your custom Current profile on the computer, you will see the buttons on your hardware or mobile device update in real time.

Q: Do I need to download a program in addition to JetStream?

A: Yes, as well as what we provide, you will need to download the Elgato Stream Deck software for your operating system from Elgato’s Downloads Page and install it. This allows the JetStream profile we provide to communicate with Finale and is required for both the hardware and Mobile versions of Stream Deck.

The buttons are editable from the application on your computer and are also visible on the interface itself. Be careful not to delete any of the buttons in the main JetStream profile!

Q: Do I need anything open on my computer besides Finale? I don’t want to have to switch between windows to select the buttons!

A: You work in Finale as you normally do. The Elgato application (or the Keyboard Maestro application) will work behind the scenes so the only window you need open is your Finale score.

The only reason you’ll ever need to open the Elgato’s application is to Configure the Stream Deck – for instance, if you wish to copy some shortcuts into a new folder to create a your own custom shortcuts group, you would choose the JetStream Current configuration from the menu to open it.

I hope this has been helpful. Don’t forget to sign up at jetstreamfinale.com to get the download link when JetStream v1.0 is released!

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