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#995450 - 02/11/13 08:16 PM Band in a Box Questions  
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Dan Sullivan Offline
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MI
I've been rolling over in my mind the idea of buying a BIAB setup. I'm wondering if anyone who has it it can tell me how easy it is to use? I have a general idea of what it does from the BIAB web site. You can build a band arrangement by inserting the chords and key of the song you're building. Is that about right? Does it come with drum patterns? If so, are they pre-programed or do you have to program them yourself? How long did it take you to learn how to use it? What are some of the pros and cons of BIAB?


Write from your heart, not what you think others want to hear.

https://dansullivan2.bandcamp.com

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/dansullivan2
#995520 - 02/12/13 12:44 PM Re: Band in a Box Questions [Re: Dan Sullivan]  
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Ray E. Strode Online content
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Ray E. Strode  Online Content
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Well Dan,
When all else fails read the directions. I don't have any music program but there is or was a free program you can download and try called Audacity. You might try that before you buy a program like BIAB. I believe some here also use a program called Reaper. Any of those Programs should have all the instructions included in the Program.

Last edited by Ray E. Strode; 02/12/13 12:47 PM.

Ray E. Strode
#995566 - 02/12/13 04:22 PM Re: Band in a Box Questions [Re: ]  
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Dan Sullivan Offline
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Ray, Thanks for the tips.

Carl, Thanks for the in-depth review of BIAB. It answered most of my questions. With the learning curve and the style and rhythm limitations it imposes, it probably isn't for me.


Write from your heart, not what you think others want to hear.

https://dansullivan2.bandcamp.com

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/dansullivan2
#995570 - 02/12/13 05:25 PM Re: Band in a Box Questions [Re: Dan Sullivan]  
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Kevin Emmrich Offline
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Crozet, VA
Dan,

... and now for the "rest of the story..."

I am not even sure what Ray is talking about, so I'll let that one go.

Ha, ha -- I am not going to say that Carl_B is wrong (it's his opinion on a subjective topic), but I'll just say I pretty much disagree with him across the board.

I bought it in December 2008 and released my rpmchallenge CD in February 2009 using BIAB as the main supporting "band". So while there might be a big learning curve, it doesn't take too much to learn that 10% that you will use 90% of the time. Learning all the nuances will take awhile.

What you have to decide is what do you want it for -- and then go to the BIAB user song showcase section and decide if you can get the sounds out of it that you want. In my opinion, the style and rhythmic "limitations" are user limitations, not BIAB limitations.

PG Music is one the best customer service companies there are and they never force you upgrade. If you decide to upgrade, they have great deals for existing customers.

If you have any specific questions, feel free to ask me.


"It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The 'hard' is what makes it great."
Kevin @ bandcamp: Crows Say Vee-Eh (and Kevin @ FAWM 2017)
#995577 - 02/12/13 05:57 PM Re: Band in a Box Questions [Re: ]  
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... It really comes down to what Dan wants to do with it. I personally think it is good enough to do "vanity" type CD's that you can post for sale on bandcamp or CD-Baby. It is tough to justify paying $4,000 to $12,000 in a recording studio for stuff that won't really sell in the open market (and the reason it won't sell doesn't have anything to do with the quality of the songs -- but that's another discussion).

If you can afford to record everything is a real pro studio with good musicians and a good engineer and producer, then that is the way to go.

For recordings that can end up a notch below pro recordings (but still sound very good), BIAB is an excellent tool.

By the way, welcome to JPF Carl!


"It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The 'hard' is what makes it great."
Kevin @ bandcamp: Crows Say Vee-Eh (and Kevin @ FAWM 2017)
#995597 - 02/12/13 08:38 PM Re: Band in a Box Questions [Re: ]  
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Brian Austin Whitney Offline
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Buy a used but good keyboard (something like a used Korg M1 or Roland or even something like an ESQ-1 from defunct Ensoniq which all have sequencers on board and depending on the model and age, can have all the sounds you'd need to far surpass band in a box.

I have racks full of keyboards in the basement (27 of them) but I could likely replace them all with a new keyboard from Yamaha or Korg. Roland seems to be cutting back on their workstations so options are becoming limited. I know someone who bought a super cheap Yamaha PSR (which is considered non-pro) Keyboard for a couple hundred dollars and he's recorded stuff good enough to put out on CD. He's a guitarist and bassist, so he puts real tracks down for those along with the keyboard stuff.

Brian


Brian Austin Whitney
Founder
Just Plain Folks
jpfolkspro@aol.com
Skype: Brian Austin Whitney

"Don't sit around and wait for success to come to you... it doesn't know the way." -Brian Austin Whitney


#995598 - 02/12/13 09:04 PM Re: Band in a Box Questions [Re: Brian Austin Whitney]  
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Kevin Emmrich Offline
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BIAB does NOT have any sounds of its own on the midi side -- you have to use soundfonts or hardware synths (like the ones you mentioned above) to get music out. Of course BIAB does have the "real drums" and "real tracks" which are better than midi-generated sounds because they are, well, real musicians playing phrases on their instruments.

However, as Carl_B pointed out, sometimes you won't find the exact phrase you need - and you have to resort to midi, do it yourself or compromise your vision of the song. This has only happened a couple of times to me and I have learned how to adapt.

The power of BIAB is the ability to type in a chord progression, sections, tags, repeats, etc and then choose the instruments that you can't play and voila -- a full production arrangement. You can do the same thing with a midi keyboard, but it is more work and you need to shell out some serious money to get all the excellent sounding samples to make midi sound great.

Everything is a trade-off. Being able to do it all should be the goal, though (ha, ha).


"It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The 'hard' is what makes it great."
Kevin @ bandcamp: Crows Say Vee-Eh (and Kevin @ FAWM 2017)
#995607 - 02/12/13 11:57 PM Re: Band in a Box Questions [Re: Kevin Emmrich]  
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Dan Sullivan Offline
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Dan Sullivan  Offline
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Carl, Brian and Kevin, Thanks for all the helpful information. The songwriting part is easy. The hard part for me has always been getting a half-ass bare bones recording of the song! BIAB seems to get some pretty good sounds for other people. I've always liked what Kevin does with it.


Write from your heart, not what you think others want to hear.

https://dansullivan2.bandcamp.com

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/dansullivan2
#995635 - 02/13/13 02:26 AM Re: Band in a Box Questions [Re: Dan Sullivan]  
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Michael LeBlanc Offline
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hey Dan,i have BIAB.I don't play any instruments except for the harp,barely.BIAB has helped me get some kind of music to my lyrics.I'm just begining to understand chord progressions,that's the hard part for me.Lyrics are easy,getting the melody out of my head and into BIAB then onto a cd has been a great experience for me.A lot of trial and error but i love it.Depending on which BIAB you may get,there are tons of real instruments to choose from.One day i'm gonna get pretty good at it though.Plus everybody shows up on time when it's time to play!Good luck with whatever you choose!Mike

#995673 - 02/13/13 01:48 PM Re: Band in a Box Questions [Re: Brian Austin Whitney]  
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Sue Rarick Offline
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Just a point about the Yamaha PSR. Like your friend I use an old PSR, someone was actually getting ready to toss. I just plug in the MIDI connections and use a Steinway app on Sonar and get great results. The only downfall is that a PSR is not touch sensitive but this cn be offset by altering attack etc. in the app settings.

#995681 - 02/13/13 02:46 PM Re: Band in a Box Questions [Re: Sue Rarick]  
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Dan Sullivan Offline
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Dan Sullivan  Offline
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Michael, From the sounds of your recent recordings, You've got some interesting sounds already out of BIAB. It sounds like it's just what you needed to put some meat on the bones of your songs. Thanks for giving me your insight.

Sue, Thanks for your comments. I've got a couple keyboards with MIDI connections. It's playing the keyboard that has me reaching for a PBR. Thanks again.


Write from your heart, not what you think others want to hear.

https://dansullivan2.bandcamp.com

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/dansullivan2
#995731 - 02/13/13 10:06 PM Re: Band in a Box Questions [Re: ]  
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Dan I would go somewhere between Carl and Kevin. BIAB is a great tool and the learning curve is not as steep as some alternatives. It can produce some great results especially for those who do not have great playing skills. It does however have limitations. Now these limitations can be a drawback for some who want more sophisticated control but are less for those with little playing ability. Some of the pre programmed patterns are cheesy and midi sounding unless you go for high end plugins and the full compliment of available styles. That said Kevin has produced some great tracks using this program.....but he would using any program. I tried BIAB out a while back. At first I thought it a toy just to be messed around with but after delving a bit deeper into the menus I discovered it has a lot of useful tricks and in the right hands a good tool to aid folk when writing a song and producing a demo.

#995769 - 02/14/13 10:27 AM Re: Band in a Box Questions [Re: BIG JIM MERRILEES]  
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Brian Austin Whitney Offline
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So Carl, why are you logged in as Carl_B instead of December Rock Star?

Syntax is always a give-away.


Brian Austin Whitney
Founder
Just Plain Folks
jpfolkspro@aol.com
Skype: Brian Austin Whitney

"Don't sit around and wait for success to come to you... it doesn't know the way." -Brian Austin Whitney


#998643 - 03/07/13 03:29 PM Re: Band in a Box Questions [Re: ]  
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Ian Ferrin Offline
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With a little creativity, I don't see why selected BIAB tracks couldn't be used in a pro recording. For example, just using the rhythm guitar. Or just using horn fills in the into/interludes to add spice. I think using a BIAB track for one of your players could probably be done on a lot of tracks and a lot of really good musicians might be 'tricked'. I think the homogenized sound of BIAB might be a result of all the tracks playing together, but the individual tracks by themselves often sound good.. by themselves. I'm probably going to get it actually...


Soundclick http://www.soundclick.com/ianferrin
Soundclick2 http://www.soundclick.com/ianferrininstrumentals

'Hammers don't build houses. People build houses' - Me

What happened before the big bang? What's the universe expanding into? Did you know the speed of gravity is the speed of light?
#998645 - 03/07/13 04:36 PM Re: Band in a Box Questions [Re: Ian Ferrin]  
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Kevin Emmrich Offline
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I did my RPM CD using BIAB on 8 of the 11 tracks (and on one track I only added a cello and fiddle part). I think the key to having BIAB sound the best it can be is to mix in as many live recorded parts as possible (as Ian suggested above). Of course, re-generating many takes of the BIAB and cutting and splicing in only the best would help, too -- but I am too lazy for that much work.

My RPM 2013 CD at Soundcloud


"It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The 'hard' is what makes it great."
Kevin @ bandcamp: Crows Say Vee-Eh (and Kevin @ FAWM 2017)
#998781 - 03/08/13 08:07 PM Re: Band in a Box Questions [Re: Kevin Emmrich]  
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Kevin, what level of investment do you have in BIAB? Is BIAB pro enough, or do you have to but a bunch of extras to make it worth while?

Thanks for your help!

Jason

#999410 - 03/14/13 01:13 PM Re: Band in a Box Questions [Re: jblackwrites]  
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Kevin Emmrich Offline
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Originally Posted by jblackwrites
Kevin, what level of investment do you have in BIAB? Is BIAB pro enough, or do you have to but a bunch of extras to make it worth while? -- Jason


I have been on a business trip and just saw this post!

I have had BIAB since the first windows version back in old days ('95?) -- but I never used it. So I upgraded in 2007 -- still never used it (ha, ha). Finally in 2009, I got the everything PAK (upgrade price again) and I upgrade once a year for $149 + s/h. There are two upgrades offered each year now -- but I only get December upgrade.

Is BIAB pro enough? That's a hard question to answer. It is "pro enough" for my usage, but that doesn't mean much. BIAB has an audiophile version where all the real tracks are wav files, but I just go for the ~160kbs WMA file version. If you were a great mixer (and recorder of your own vocals and instrumentation), you could get pro CD quality releases put together.

I hope that helps a little.


"It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The 'hard' is what makes it great."
Kevin @ bandcamp: Crows Say Vee-Eh (and Kevin @ FAWM 2017)
#1003679 - 04/15/13 08:06 AM Re: Band in a Box Questions [Re: Kevin Emmrich]  
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Ian Ferrin Offline
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Ian Ferrin  Offline
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I went ahead and bought BIAB (actually it was my birthday present) and am not disappointed. We got the audiophile version from this place for $475, which is WAY cheaper than buying it direct:

http://www.midi-store.com/PG-Music-Band-in-a-Box-Audiophile-Version-2013-PC-p-20787.html

It's basically a very sophisticated loop manipulation program. The audiophile version comes in at ~800GB which I went ahead and transferred to an internal drive, which I'd recommend doing if you have the space.

I'm almost done w/ my first tune which I'll post in the mp3 forum shortly. IMO it's a pretty amazing software.

Dan, re your original ease of use question, I'll say that upon 1st booting up it was pretty overwhelming. The main interface is built around a chordsheet and there're LOTS of icons and lots of ways to manipulate the audio and midi info. But after watching a couple of basic tutorials and consulting the documentation just a bit, I was able to render out pretty good tracks for a tune. Also, I got really quick and helpful responses to a few questions in the user forum. They have a very active and helpful user base.

Peace,

Ian


Soundclick http://www.soundclick.com/ianferrin
Soundclick2 http://www.soundclick.com/ianferrininstrumentals

'Hammers don't build houses. People build houses' - Me

What happened before the big bang? What's the universe expanding into? Did you know the speed of gravity is the speed of light?
#1003702 - 04/15/13 11:09 AM Re: Band in a Box Questions [Re: Ian Ferrin]  
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Dan Sullivan Offline
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Ian and everyone else, Thanks for the reviews and comments about BIAB. You gave me a lot of of useful information!


Write from your heart, not what you think others want to hear.

https://dansullivan2.bandcamp.com

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/dansullivan2
#1003774 - 04/16/13 06:45 AM Re: Band in a Box Questions [Re: Dan Sullivan]  
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Ian Ferrin Offline
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Ian Ferrin  Offline
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This Song I just put up in the mp3 forum is ALL BIAB except the piano and vocals. It's my 1st BIAB tune and I'm pretty impressed.

Peace,

Ian


Soundclick http://www.soundclick.com/ianferrin
Soundclick2 http://www.soundclick.com/ianferrininstrumentals

'Hammers don't build houses. People build houses' - Me

What happened before the big bang? What's the universe expanding into? Did you know the speed of gravity is the speed of light?
#1003810 - 04/16/13 11:33 AM Re: Band in a Box Questions [Re: Ian Ferrin]  
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Dan Sullivan Offline
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Dan Sullivan  Offline
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Ian, You squeezed a great performance out of the BIAB. That's a pretty impressive demonstration.


Write from your heart, not what you think others want to hear.

https://dansullivan2.bandcamp.com

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/dansullivan2
#1003818 - 04/16/13 12:56 PM Re: Band in a Box Questions [Re: Dan Sullivan]  
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 10,529
Kevin Emmrich Offline
Kevin Emmrich  Offline


Top 10 Poster

Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 10,529
Crozet, VA
That's just not fair, Ian -- ha, ha. Great use of BIAB, but really it is the writing, piano playing, singing and production talent that makes the tune sound so good.

P.S. The PGMusic web site has been down for a day or two it seems. I wonder what is going on???


"It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The 'hard' is what makes it great."
Kevin @ bandcamp: Crows Say Vee-Eh (and Kevin @ FAWM 2017)
#1004237 - 04/19/13 04:27 PM Re: Band in a Box Questions [Re: Kevin Emmrich]  
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 1,230
Ian Ferrin Offline
Top 200 Poster
Ian Ferrin  Offline
Top 200 Poster

Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 1,230
Close to WalMart
Thanks guys,

Being a keyboard player, I think, might give me more usage out of BIAB than guitar players. IE, the keyboard stuff in BIAB sounds more obviously looped to my ears than the guitars. The other thing I did was mix the drums pretty loud. That pretty much covers over the chord transitions which is where BIAB sounds most obviously looped, (and weakest) to me.

Peace,

Ian



Soundclick http://www.soundclick.com/ianferrin
Soundclick2 http://www.soundclick.com/ianferrininstrumentals

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