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Band In A Box
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 Posted: Fri Nov 21st, 2008 02:11 pm
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Dennis Railey
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  I am considering buying Band In A Box to get some demos going.  I would appreciate any input on this program.  I am a drummer so my melodic capabilties are limited to my voice, and single notes on a keyboard.  (maybe a few simple chords)

  I have some questions that hopefully someone can answer.

  Is it user friendly?  I have read mixed reviews about this subject, dont want to end up pulling my hair out and smashing the computer.

  Will it create the music from single notes entered onto the program, and if so will it be of any quality?

  Will it recognize chords by simply singing the song along with a click track?

  Can I choose which instruments will be used, and edit the sounds individually?

 

  Any info on this will be greatly appreciated.

 

 



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 Posted: Fri Nov 21st, 2008 02:21 pm
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TSF-Mike
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I'm going to let Jeff answer your questions as he owns the whole enchilada when it comes to BIAB.  Pretty much, it isn't going to be that simple.  If you are not musically savvy already as far as reading music, playing, chord structure etc, you will not be able to do what you ask.  My bet is there will be a high frustration level as you tinker with all the components.

-Mike

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 Posted: Fri Nov 21st, 2008 02:25 pm
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Dennis Railey
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  Thanks Mike,  you are probably right, as I get very frustrated trying to do the simplest things on a computer



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 Posted: Fri Nov 21st, 2008 07:20 pm
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Jeff Knight
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Dennis

Mike is right for the most part.
If you don't know much about reading
music chords/charts then BIAB will probably have
you pulling ur hair out in a couple days.
I would say that an average user of BIAB
should have at least an intermediate musical
rating to make heads or tails out of BIAB.

A couple good points to take note of:

1) BIAB does have a free 30 day trial period
of the software that you can test it to see
if it works for you. It's a free download from
pgmusic.com

2) It does come with a very lengthy
help section and it has 4-5 training
videos that can be downloaded with
the software that helps you get started
with the user interface and it's functions.
I used everything I could get my hands on
to get me started down the road with BIAB
2 years ago and it has helped me tremendously.

3) If you can make it work like you want
then it can save you thousands of dollars
on studio demos. I purchased the full
2008.5 ver with real tracks for less than
$500.00 and already have created over
35 demos from the software. So you can
see how much money it has saved me
if it costs $250.00 a demo. It paid for itself
after the 2nd demo was finished.

4) You don't have to know how to play an
instrument with BIAB cuz the software does
the playing for you based upon what style
you want to use. Just type in what chords
you want played in each half measure
and the rest is done by BIAB.



5) Real Tracks feature is something new
with the 2008.5 ver. That means there are real
musicians that recorded live licks in the studio
and those real tracks are available to you
in BIAB based upon what chords you
entered. It's basically like looping. The
software does all the work for ya.

6) However, the BIAB software is not the
only software I use to make my demos.
I use N'Track Studio to mix the .wav
files created by BIAB. I drag and drop
each BIAB track into the N'Track software
and have my own mixing console.



This has an advantage cuz you can add
multiple intruments not allowed in BIAB.
Say BIAB is limited to 6 instruments in
a composition. You are not restricted to only
6 tracks in N'Track software. All you have
to do is keep changing your solo tracks
in BIAb then expost it to N'Track software
and you can keep adding as many as your
processor can keep up with. It is only limited to
your puter. That's how I can get a fiddle, a steel
guitar, a dobro and a kick-butt finger picking
Strat lead part when most people can't. Cuz
I export them to extra .wav files and add
them in the mix. Nashville calls that
track stacking.



Now I have shared some of
my secrets using BIAB. And you won't find out
how to do that in any of the help pages or
the tutorial. I learned it on my own :)

Is BIAB worth learning how to operate??

In my opinion: u bet your sweet-butt it is :)

Last edited on Fri Nov 21st, 2008 08:46 pm by Jeff Knight



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 Posted: Fri Nov 21st, 2008 07:53 pm
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Jeff Knight
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some extra pointers

1) You can add external sound fonts to BIAB.
Let's say you create a tune in BIAB but the acoustic
guitar sound is just too cheezy and you want a
better sounding acoustic. Well, you can download
free sound fonts from the internet and add them
to the VSI Plug-Ins and play that track thru the
Plug-In and you got a new better sounding
acoustic guitar. Export that new acoustic
track to a .wav file and drop it in your mixing
software and you have solved your problem
of the cheezy acoustic sound. There are also
some high priced sound fonts out there too
that come in libraries.

2) You can submix your individual drum tracks
volume levels. BIAB comes with 2 different
ways to produce drums. There are sound font drums
and then there are real drums. The sound font drums
can be submixed out with their own volume levels
(eg, the kick can be hotter, snare lower, etc) however
with the Real Drum Tracks they cannot be adjusted
individually. The volume only works on the total track.
Hey I didn't say the software was perfect :)
Just very good ;)

3) You can mix and match styles. Let's say you want
a hillbilly guitar back beat but you want a jazzy
style drum set and you want a metallic bass guitar.
Well you can change your style to the hillbilly genre
and export your guitar track, then change the style
to jazz and export your drum tracks, then change the
genre again to metal and export your bass track.
Drop all that in the mixing console and you have a
new unique sound that BIAB could not produce
before. The different styles you could accomplish
with this technique are endless.



Happy Editing !!!! :)

Last edited on Fri Nov 21st, 2008 08:51 pm by Jeff Knight



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 Posted: Fri Nov 21st, 2008 08:00 pm
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Jeff Knight
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One last key ingredient to make your demo sound great.

Is to export each individual BIAB track to 1 .wav file.



eg, mute all tracks except the 1 you want. If it
is the drum track, then mute all but the drums.
Now export what you hear to a .wav file and re-name
it 01-Drums-SongTitle .



Now un-mute all the tracks
except for what track you want next. Mute all the
tracks except for the bass track. Export that
.wav file to a folder and re-name to 01-Bass-SongTitle.
You keep doing this until you have all the tracks
you need to make your demo.



Don't forget about
the solo tracks as well :) You ask, why do I have to do
this ??? Well the reason is simple, it allows you
to mix the tracks like areal recording studio. While
BIAB does an excellent job of creating those
tracks for ya, it lacks a lot in the mixing console
respect. So when you drop each track you created
into the mixing software (I use N'Track) then you just
add vocals from there and mix it down like a real recording
studio.

Last edited on Fri Nov 21st, 2008 08:53 pm by Jeff Knight



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 Posted: Fri Nov 21st, 2008 08:17 pm
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Dennis Railey
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  Jeff, thanks for all the info.  I think I can probably work through the musical end of it.  I can read and write sheet... I just cant play. 


 



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 Posted: Fri Nov 21st, 2008 09:10 pm
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Jeff Knight
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Now to add vocals, I don't use BIAB to add vocals.
I use a mic hooked directly into my external mixing board
then out to my soundcard. Then it is recorded directly
into N'Track software. It is my preference to totally
mix down the music to 1 stereo .wav file. This is
called my music sub-mix and I start a whole new
song in N'Track and import that music track
(posted in yellow) then add vocals one track at a time.
See groupings of tracks in timeline mean harmonies
with the lead vocal.




Then I mix it down for a run and start my .mp3 recorder.
N'Track can produce a master mix demo but it won't be
in a small .mp3 format. It will be in .wav format. So to get it
to .mp3 I play the mix through my soundcard and capture
it into .mp3 with the recorder and I get a quality 44.1 GHZ
mp3 demo for posting to soundclick or anywhere I want to
post it on the net in the smallest space available.



And that's purdy much how I do my home demos :)
Maybe it can help you along the way. Best wishes ;)





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 Posted: Fri Nov 21st, 2008 09:27 pm
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Jeff Knight
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Now to answer your questions more specifically :)

Is it user friendly? 
For everything this software can do,
it is about as user friendly as it can be
given it's complex capabilities



Will it create the music from single notes entered onto the program, and if so will it be of any quality?
Yes, it has the ability to create music from
single melodic lines entered into the program.
But I don't write my music like that so I don't use
that feature. But YES it is available. There is a section
in the help that covers this area. As far as the quality,
if you don't like the quality of the sound in BIAB, you can
always add new soundfonts to make it sound anyway
you want it to sound. It's very flexible :)


Will it create music by simply singing the song along with a click track?
NO, it cannot do it live!!! But it can from an imported .mid or .wav
file. However the click track is not needed cuz you can change
the tempo to anything you want after its imported and use the click
track in BIAB from there on out. But by this time, you have the
option for a full set of drums, why would u need a click track
after that??? :)



Can I choose which instruments will be used, and edit the sounds individually?
YES, you can. I do it on every demo I make. However, there are some
limitations. Real tracks that are already pre-recorded and dropped
in as loops cannot be altered indivudually. But the sound font instruments
can. My explanation above gives you insight how to mix different
instruments into your tune. Have fun and hope this answers your questions :)



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 Posted: Fri Nov 21st, 2008 09:54 pm
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Jeff Knight
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the demo outcome of the screen shots above

"Twas the night ole Santa got mooned"

http://www.knightzone.com/music/santa-got-mooned-final-mix-01.mp3

All the music in this demo were created from BIAB
except for the fiddle track, that was an external loop
from efiddler.com. Everything else came from BIAB
with Real Tracks and added VST soundfonts :)



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 Posted: Fri Nov 21st, 2008 10:12 pm
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Dennis Railey
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Cant ask for more than that!  How much do I owe ya?  I'm kind of getting excited about it.  There might be others who will benefit from this also.



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http://www.jamwave.com/artist.aspx?AID=5567

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 Posted: Fri Nov 21st, 2008 10:55 pm
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SundownSam
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I have been asking both of my musically talented sons all kinds of questions about BIAB...and some of the others that are out there.  I want so much to learn how to do this sort of thing.  But after reading all the things Jeff just wrote and seeing all the illustrations he posted...plus seeing what all it takes just to put it all together, I seriously have my doubts about being able to master it!  I've sat in on some of the things Danny has done and I'll be honest with you...it all looks Greek to me!  I may, at some point and time, still try to do it...but I no longer feel as confident as I once did!  At least now though...if I do decide to give it a shot... I know a little more about what lies ahead.  Between this, and what I've watched Danny do, I've also gained a much greater appreciation for what you musicians have to go through to produce a song!  And also, as a result of what I've just seen, I think I need to do something really nice for my son!  

Jeff, thanks for the info on this...I think it will be very helpful to a lot of us!  



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 Posted: Sat Nov 22nd, 2008 04:25 am
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Jeff Knight
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Dennis, lol
u don't owe me a dime just continue being a loyal
patron here at the forum. We aim to please :)
I just hope it was helpful ;)

Mike, you might want to make this thread a sticky
so in case the same questions are asked over again
it can be answered without a second thread. Plus,
some may want to reference this thread in the future
when working with their BIAB software :)


Dennis Railey wrote:
Cant ask for more than that!  How much do I owe ya?  I'm kind of getting excited about it.  There might be others who will benefit from this also.



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 Posted: Sat Nov 22nd, 2008 04:29 am
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Jeff Knight
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Sara, first of all, don't let it intimidate ya.
It's just a piece of software. Just like a Cadillac,
it may look fancy, but it still operates
with a steering wheel, a gas pedal and a brake
like the other ones do :) But I will say it does
take time and patience to make it all work
together :)


SundownSam wrote:
I seriously have my doubts about being able to master it!    



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 Posted: Thu Nov 27th, 2008 01:28 pm
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Arthur Holt
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Jeff,

Thanks for posting this useful tutorial . I have been learning this Biab and you have cleared up alot of stuff for me. I am planing to buy this program soon .

Last edited on Tue Dec 30th, 2008 09:44 am by Arthur Holt



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 Posted: Thu Mar 19th, 2009 11:53 am
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Arthur Holt
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Jeff, I wanted to say thanks again for posting this info here, I have had my band for three months they don't argue , fight or drink my beer so we are getting along fine he he he.Plus the play what I want .

 I have to say this is a great piece of software. I have six songs that sound pretty darn good and the best part I'm having a ball and I like what I hear.

So a big thank you.

Art



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 Posted: Mon Mar 23rd, 2009 02:00 am
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Jeff Knight
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and a great big your welcome .... ;)



Arthur Holt wrote:
Jeff, I wanted to say thanks again for posting this info here, I have had my band for three months they don't argue , fight or drink my beer so we are getting along fine he he he.Plus the play what I want .

 I have to say this is a great piece of software. I have six songs that sound pretty darn good and the best part I'm having a ball and I like what I hear.

So a big thank you.

Art



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 Posted: Sun Apr 5th, 2009 12:47 am
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Drakien
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ladies and gentlemen, all i really want to know about this biab software is, as it seams to be very complex, and i would be just so lost in in it.

i would like to open biab start with a blank song, but with a pop folk country 4/4 100bpm style, and just use real guitar to lay down chord progressions, soi can listen to a more complex arrangment than just majour and minor chords.

i dont know if this is possible...but i need it to be a better songwriter with a better pallette of chords....

i did here a mp3 sampe of just guitars made with biab and it sounded quite real to me....

any ideas or lesson workthroughs anyone knows about..

thanks i advance..



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 Posted: Sun Apr 5th, 2009 05:34 am
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Jeff Knight
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Drakien
BIAB will do what you describe below. It has a lot more
chords than just major and minor. I believe there are over 30
variations of every chord for your use. If it's not in the pallette
then you can add your own by playing the notes on the inboard
piano keyboard or guitar and it will save your new chord in
the pallette for next time. If you want to input chords from
a real guitar wav or mp3 file and it will figure out the chords
and timing for you and show you on your blank song template.
In the newer version of BIAB (2008.5 or newer) there is an
option from the menu to "jazz up" the chords and it re-writes
your chords with some thing different each time you hit
"generate". There is no tutorial from PGMusic for what
you are asking. I only know cuz of trial and error and experience.
I have played with this software for over 2 years.
Best wishes


Drakien wrote:
ladies and gentlemen, all i really want to know about this biab software is, as it seams to be very complex, and i would be just so lost in in it.
i would like to open biab start with a blank song, but with a pop folk country 4/4 100bpm style, and just use real guitar to lay down chord progressions, soi can listen to a more complex arrangment than just majour and minor chords.
i dont know if this is possible...but i need it to be a better songwriter with a better pallette of chords....
i did here a mp3 sampe of just guitars made with biab and it sounded quite real to me....
any ideas or lesson workthroughs anyone knows about..
thanks i advance..



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 Posted: Mon Jan 25th, 2010 11:00 pm
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Solon
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Excellent thread here Jeff, thank you!  I just bought the newest version of BIAB a couple of days ago.  Hoping it hasn't changed too much.  I'm using a MAC so I don't know if PC is different version.  On that note, do you know of a decent mixer software for MAC similar in quality and cost to N'Track? 



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