Notion 6 Review

As a composer, you may need to jot down your latest music composition on paper. But this process can be time-consuming and labor-intensive, which is why good music notation software can come in handy. 

There are several ones on the market, so which one do you choose? In this review, we invite you to discover Notion 6, which will allow you to create, read, edit, and print your musical scores. 

So, here’s everything you need to know about PreSonus Notion 6 to help you decide if it’s right for you.

Notion 6 Review: At a Glance

Notion 6 is a professional music notation software for those who compose music and need to easily design sheet music. However, what sets Notion 6 apart from other software of its kind is that the program is a mix of notation software and Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). 

It’s also important to mention that Notion 6 is made by the Notion Music company, which is owned by PreSonus. The company is known for the PreSonus Studio One DAW, which is integrated into Notion 6, giving users the best of both worlds. So, after composing in Studio One, it’s easy to send the note data to Notion for editing and printing the parts.

Also, creating in Notion 6 is very accessible and intuitive to any user, irrespective of the working methods. This is due to the merging of notation software and DAW.


  • Good value for money
  • Good notation quality
  • Simple, result-oriented operation
  • Data interchangeable between desktop and iOS versions
  • Accessibility (Drum Library, Chord Library, Virtual Fretboard)
  • Real-time performance with NTempo
  • Dynamic excerpts
  • Extensive library with sample scores


  • Rudimentary PDF and no EPS export
  • Occupies a lot of hard drive space

How Does the Music Notation Software Work?

You must first download it to your Windows, macOS, or iOS device to get started with Notion 6. After installing it, you can then run it on your laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

After installation, you can compose music, record, or edit notes quickly using a built-in virtual keyboard, virtual guitar fretboard, drum pad, and other virtual instruments. Also, you can listen to your song before composing your piece, thanks to the wide range of samples offered by the application.

In addition, you can type in the lyrics directly or paste them from any digital source. And while there’s a chord library, you can create custom chords too.

The best part is that it’s quite flexible. You can transfer scores from computer to iOS devices and edit them. You can even create a score in Notion 6 on a Mac computer and then finish your work on your Windows tablet.

Moreover, from the comfort of your home or wherever you use Notion 6, you can choose to play your scores using a MIDI controller or a computer keyboard. But if you’re using a MIDI controller, remember to make the app compatible with the device.

And when you’re done, it’s easy to print a score, create a PDF, or even generate tablature and simple lead sheets.

Features of Notion 6

As previously mentioned, the fusion of notation software and DAW capabilities makes creation in Notion 6 intuitive and accessible to any musician. So, let’s see the main features of this software.

Handwriting Recognition

As a composer, do you prefer to use pen and paper when creating your music? If so, the handwriting recognition of Notion 6 gives you the freedom to compose what you want in your own handwriting. Therefore, you can write directly on your paper and use this work in Notion 6. 

Once you write a part, it’ll automatically convert to digital notation with McScript handwriting recognition technology.

High-Quality Samples

The Notion 6 instrument library is packed with high-quality recorded instruments, including the Stellar Steinway piano samples (recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra), guitar samples played by Neil Zaza, bass by American songwriter Victor Wooten, drums by Roy “Futureman” Wooten, piano samples, and many more instruments.

So, if you’re arranging music, you can actually hear the sounds of the instruments you’re writing for, thus reducing the risk of error. It’s then easier to decide which parts need to be changed.

Video Window

If you’re composing on-screen, whether for film, video games, or television, you’ll need a synchronized video window. The creators of Notion have thought of you! 

The software’s video window includes a timecode display. In addition, it’s possible to add markers and select volume, frame rate, and start time. Moreover, Notion 6 can handle all major modern video file formats, including MP4, H.264, MPEG, MOV, AVI, M4V, and 4GP.

User Interface

The desktop version of Notion 6 has a clear and uncluttered interface. Except for the mixer and any embedded video, everything takes place within a window; there are no extra windows with tool palettes, transport buttons, or the like. Let’s see what you’ll find on the various sides of the window.


At the top edge of the main window, there’s a bar that can directly access some important functions and areas of the software. On the far left, you’ll find buttons for Undo and Redo. 

Also, at the top right, you’ll find a row of buttons with which some input help can be shown and hidden. 

Furthermore, a timeline can be found in the upper area, which you can use to orient yourself in the score and quickly jump to another point. The default area has a light gray background. At the same time, the playback or recording position is represented by a bluish line. 


In the middle is the Transport and Performance section, with options for Conductor mode (NTempo), navigating through lettered sections (Rehearsal Letters), MIDI step recording, recording the tempo on the NTempo track, and the Metronome. This is followed by the usual transport buttons and a time code and level display.

In addition to the handwriting mode, there’s an integrated virtual keyboard and a drum library. This library has ten pads and various templates for drum rhythms that can be easily inserted into the score with a mouse click. 

Moreover, a virtual guitar fretboard and a chord library are also available. Plus, there are two buttons that call up the score manager (for adding/removing instruments and assigning the sounds) and the mixer on the far right.


At the bottom of the screen is the input palette. From there, you can select notes, rests, accidentals, and all other imaginable notation symbols and insert them into the score with a click or keyboard shortcut. 

On the far right of the palette, there are instrument-specific symbols and techniques to choose from, which change depending on the selected instrument. This way, you have the most common specific instructions for all instruments at your fingertips.

Note Input (Step)

In step input mode, notes and rests are input using a combination of a MIDI keyboard and a computer keyboard. And there are many keyboard commands that speed up input and avoid using the mouse in the best case. 

In principle, there are no surprises when entering step notes, and it works the way most other notation programs in the market do. Also, once you get used to the Notion keyboard shortcuts, you can quickly work with them.

Note Input (Real-time)

This Notion 6 feature allows you to input notes while recording. These notes are automatically converted into music notations in real-time. To start real-time recording, all you have to do is click on the staff and bar where you want the recording to begin. After clicking on the Record button, a small dialog box opens to change the precount options. 

Another click then starts the recording. Now you can play on a connected MIDI keyboard and hear the selected sound for the relevant staff.

Notion 6 usually interprets the recording correctly if you play cleanly. In addition, the software behaves intelligently. For example, it doesn’t insert any meaningless semiquaver rests if you don’t hold a quarter note long enough. However, some post-processing is sometimes necessary for more complex passages, but it works well overall.

And if you value musical playback quality, you should record as much as possible in real-time instead of entering the notes step by step. Notion 6 remembers the actual played note lengths and velocities and uses them during playback. At the same time, it stubbornly orients itself to the notated note values in a step recording.

Import and Export

When it comes to import and export, Notion 6 has everything you normally need. It can import and export standard MIDI and Music XML, which will help you collaborate with musicians using other music notation applications and DAWs.

Moreover, you can export the audio playback as WAV (up to 32 bit) and MP3. In addition to the stereo sum, individual instruments can be exported as well. And there’s a direct upload option for SoundCloud. 

What we do miss are professional functions for creating print-ready PDFs. For example, on the Mac, only the PDF creation integrated into the operating system is available in the print dialog; the Windows version has a separate menu item for exporting PDFs. 

Unfortunately, there’s no option for exporting graphics and creating EPS files. Publishers who want to print professionally might miss some functionality here.

You can also import files from other notation software, such as Sibelius and Finale. The best part is that you’ll get all your exchanged files backed up immediately. 


Notion 6 is available for download after purchasing it on the online shop and creating a user profile. You’ll then receive a registration code and can load the individual components of the software.

The installer for the actual program is quite small at just under 100 MB and ends up on the hard drive in no time. 

However, after installation, the 200-sample sound library occupies around 9.3 GB on the hard drive. This is significantly larger than most competitors. But the various components of the library can be loaded and installed individually. So, if you don’t need all the components, you don’t have to install everything. 

Of course, the instructions (quick guide and reference manual) are also available for download; these can be called up directly from the software.

Prices and Plans

You can buy this software for $149.95. Also, you can get twice the samples of the existing Notion library when you opt for the Notion expansion bundle pack going at $299.99.

Furthermore, there’s a Notion 6 for Studio One artist bundle suitable for individuals who own studios which you can purchase for $99.95.

The Bottom Line

Notion 6 stands out among music notation software because it’s equipped with a large collection of good quality playback sounds for your music. So, you can always count on it to create your next masterpiece!

In addition, this software is quite flexible and allows you to work on the same project on multiple devices such as your PC or iPhone, depending on which is convenient for you.

However, it occupies a large amount of space on your device. But, considering the extensive sample collection it comes with, it’s easy to sacrifice some space on your hard drive.