Michael Z. has done a great job laying this out and I can't add much except to say the audiophile version is worth every dime, if only for the bass and the drums.

There is so much misinformation about Band in a Box in general and so much erroneous, misinformed, out of date, and utterly clueless information in some of the posts about BIAB here, I will try and help.

1.) It is a fallacy to say you cannot make a record quality production with BIAB. That is insane. You can. If you have been in a studio you know they spend a day on the drums for each song. The BIAB drum tracks sound great and are always in the pocket, and if you double them and add the right EQs, you can get really, really close to a live drum sound. Especially if you add fills and such with any number of drum sampler programs. But you have to know how to mix and EQ.

2.) If you go into a studio and record a bass part you will in many cases get a bass part that sounds like the .wav files you will get out of BIAB in so many genres. You use that track that in your DAW just like you would any bass part, recording live or not. Then you have to EQ it of course, but that is part of the mixing process so there is not much difference.

3.) BIAB can get you very close to a live studio sound if you are doing songs "in the pocket." If you want a drifting sound, something that is more helter skelter, with a lot of retards and tempo changes and weird indie noises or garage band sounds it won't work. But if you want to sound just like The Rolling Stones (or almost any other "tight" band you can think of in any genre) and you take the time to learn, you can. If it is a drawback, BIAB often always sounds "too good." It is hard to make it sound sloppy unless you add in your own sloppy parts. And some people dig the "sloppy" sound so those people won't like it. Don't get fooled or bamboozled by uninformed BIAB critics or blowhards right off the bat though if those people ostentatiously say they want their music to sound "real" and then blab on and on about what a travesty BIAB is. First ask those critics to let you listen to their stuff. It if sounds like they just wandered out of a crack house, go ahead and give BIAB a chance.

4.) Most people who use it well use the Real Tracks as a "bed" and add their own guitar playing, singing, piano playing and stuff like that. It is the same thing you would do in a studio. If you look at the EQing VSTs on the market, you can have exactly the same stuff on your computers that the members of U2 have on theirs.

5.) Again, to say you have to go into a "real" studio to get a professional production is absurd. Taylor Swift didn't on her last album. She sang in a guy's apartment.

6.) I have heard some people using BIAB in their home studios that make stuff that sounds much better than what is on the radio.

7.) I have heard people talked into doing $5,000 recordings in a "real studio" that sound like....well, you know what the word is.

8.) For the forum record, Michael Zaneski who uses BIAB in some production work (as one tool OF MANY) has created many productions that are not just "demos" they are in fact productions. If anyone argues that, go search this forum and see if you can find where the disputing poster has ever actually WRITTEN or POSTED a song. Yep. Guess what. You probably already know the answer. Of course it is harder to keep a blowhard off a music forum than it is to keep a troll out of a fairy tale.

I hope this helps and feel free to ask me anything else offline in a PM if I can provide further insights.

David Snyder, Composer, Author
Singer-Songwriter, Producer
Regional Chapter Coordinator, NSAI