Hi Jane,

Very nice to meet you.

BIAB (yes, it's Band-In-A-Box) since 2012 works mostly with phrase generated audio. Stored inside BIAB are 20,000 hours of audio recordings played by professional studio musicians. The user inputs chords into BIAB and then chooses a "style" from among thousands, then after pressing "play" the internal BIAB algorithm sorts out what audio to capture for your song. So in a nutshell what BIAB does is generate semi-specific audio, based on the user's input--audio (files) that can then be chopped up, edited, and anything else you would do in a DAW.

The newest BIAB can go right inside your DAW, as a VST plugin these days, as well, but I still prefer to import audio into the DAW myself.

Out of the box, you can get acceptable results with very little learning curve, other than writing chords, choosing a style, and hitting play, then if you like what you hear, either export as audio into your DAW, or use BIAB as a VST plugin inside your DAW.

To get really pro-results, there's a bit of work involved. I cross-fade and composite two or three performances, choosing the best bits..

I also use the midi functions (in BIAB) that can provide midi of the exact same audio performance. This comes in really handy if you want a "virtual instrument" to play in unison or in harmony with a particular BIAB performance aka audio file of that performance.

I use virtual instruments in addition to BIAB. I don't play them from a keyboard, but "write" the midi info into my DAW, and then assign that info various virtual instruments. The quality of the music relies partly on the writing, but mostly on the quality of the virtual instruments you are using, and the amount of time you are willing to tweak the midi info to make the results sound better. Good virtual instruments, like those that run in Native Instruments "Kontakt" sampler can be fantastic. But still a performance may need tweaking.

To make really good demos from the desktop, you need a good DAW and a sampler like Kontakt (all the best virtual instruments aka "libraries" are written for Kontakt), and BIAB can be the icing on the cake, because it truly is like having a stable of great studio musicians at your disposal. Many here use just BIAB and a DAW, and get perfectly good results.

If you have specific melodic ideas you want in your music--this is not something BIAB can do. As good as the studio musicians are, they aren't mind readers. This is why virtual instruments/libraries running in a good sampler like Kontakt can be very important. If writing specific melodies is something you want in your music, then you will definitely need good virtual instruments. NEVER use the midi soundfonts that come with Windows. Those are horrible. AT least be using the instruments that came packaged with your DAW, and learn how to tweak various midi CC parameters (such as vibrato) to get more "expressive" realistic sounds, then you're off to a great start..

It took me a few years to get anywhere near good, using all of the above (and Melodyne for pitch correction), and can get expensive if you start lusting after lots of virtual instrument libraries, cuz some can run a few hundred bucks. My LA Scoring Strings cost me, I think, $800 bucks, back almost a decade ago now, and I still haven't learned the software as well as I could..

But if you are in for the long haul, maybe it's worth it.

If you have a vision of what you want to make, then that will set you in motion with the actual doing..Don't expect great results overnight, but keep at it, and over time, you will hear your hard work pay off.

To hear BIAB in action, head over to the MP3 forum..several members here use the software, such as Vic and Deej. Vic uses BIAB more exclusively in his demos than Deej or myself, so his might give you a better idea of what your can do with BIAB. Also, check out the BIAB listening forum that's part of their site. Some really good producers share their stuff there.


Last edited by Michael Zaneski; 04/10/19 10:30 PM.

Fate doesn't hang on a wrong or right choice
Fortune depends on the tone of your voice

-The Divine Comedy (Neil Hannon)
from the song "Songs of Love"
from the album "Casanova" (1996)