Band in a Box

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Jan 26, 2016, 12:36 PM

Does anyone have any experience of the Band in a Box software? I find it interesting as a possible way to turn melody ideas into decent sounding tracks. I’m particularly intrigued by its use of “real” instruments rather than midi. Some of the reviews I have read are pretty hard on the user interface, but otherwise mostly positive.

One worry I have is that I might buy the PRO version for $129 and then find it is too limited in the styles and other features it offers and have to upgrade to one of the pricier versions.

I think this program has been mentioned in a previous thread but that was several years ago and the 2016 version is probably a lot better than previous ones - at least one would hope so.

 
     
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Gavin Sinclair Joined Dec 02, 2014
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Jan 11, 2018, 03:44 AM

I started using Band In A Box (BIAB) this last year. It has been a god send for creating music. I can play basic guitar and record vocals. I also have other good musicians that I work with but being a country musician in Florida it’s hard to find people who play certain instruments like mandolin, fiddle or pedal steel. I got a free version of BIAB from a friend. It was from 2011 and had no real tracks. I purchased one country real tracks set and was able to produce a great traditional outlaw sounding country album called Scars Of The Heart with it. You can find it here… http://sammycountry.com/audio/

A few weeks ago I upgrade to the newest full version of BIAB and the possibilities seem endless. It truely is a great tool for songwriters and independent musicians. Also the forums on the PG Music website are very helpful and have many musicians who are more than willing to help others however they can.

BTW the Brent Mason real tracks are amazing in the full version.

[ Edited: 11 January 2018 03:48 AM by Samuel Davis Jr]

Samuel Davis Jr
BMI Songwriter
http://www.sammycountry.com

 
     
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Samuel Davis Jr Joined Jan 10, 2018
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Jan 11, 2018, 05:16 PM

Hi Samuel,

I ended up buying the PRO version and then upgrading to the Everything Pak during an end-of-the-year sale during which it was available for a ridiculously low price if you were upgrading from any version from the previous year. The promotion is running now until January 15th. I’m not sure that the same offer is available this year, partly because their website is always so confusing.

Like you, I find BIAB incredibly useful.

 
     
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Gavin Sinclair Joined Dec 02, 2014
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Jan 11, 2018, 05:55 PM

Yes they had everything discounted greatly when I upgraded in December. I now have everything that they have released at this point including the extra styles packs. I’ve been playing with it a bit but probably still haven’t scratched the surface of what is possible.

Samuel Davis Jr
BMI Songwriter
http://www.sammycountry.com

 
     
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Samuel Davis Jr Joined Jan 10, 2018
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Jan 11, 2018, 06:07 PM

I’m intrigued by the backing vocals tracks they have added. Have you tried them?

Also, the vido tracks are quite a departure. Not sure how I would use them though.

 
     
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Gavin Sinclair Joined Dec 02, 2014
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Jan 11, 2018, 06:18 PM

I used the backing vocals on one song. They are pretty good. Haven’t tried anything with the video tracks. Dont know if i will. If i do a video for my songs its usually more like a real music video you would see on TV. I need to work on some more of those come to think of it.

Samuel Davis Jr
BMI Songwriter
http://www.sammycountry.com

 
     
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Samuel Davis Jr Joined Jan 10, 2018
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Jan 30, 2018, 08:56 AM
Gavin Sinclair - 11 January 2018 05:16 PM

Hi Samuel,

I ended up buying the PRO version and then upgrading to the Everything Pak during an end-of-the-year sale during which it was available for a ridiculously low price if you were upgrading from any version from the previous year. The promotion is running now until January 15th. I’m not sure that the same offer is available this year, partly because their website is always so confusing.

Like you, I find BIAB incredibly useful.

Hi Beau here…only jokin…

Being a musician, It’s funny to see the BIAB thing, I think it’s really cool if people can get their ideas down, it sure saves years of practise, (It took me 18 months to get the Bach prelude to performance level! - a beautiful piece watch how it should be done…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPfZVflJdp0

exams, learning to read music, theory.

I don’t care about how the music is made, only that people get great joy in making it and listening to it.

But it is soooo satisfying being able to play, it’s like having a family you never know how good it is until you have one.

Rich

 
     
Rich Joined Jan 06, 2018
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Jan 30, 2018, 10:06 AM

Good for you Rich, for taking the time to learn such a prolific piece of music. Bach truely was a genius.

I find it a little condescending that you think Band in a Box users don’t know theory or play instruments. There are many great guitar players who use the program to pactice their craft. Just check out this video testimony. https://youtu.be/vMHpGbT2m6k

Now I’m not one of them, but i am a classically trained musican with a degree in vocal music. I also play a bit of guitar and piano. I love country music though and i don’t know how to play many of the traditional country instruments like fiddle, banjo, pedal steel guitar etc. Band in a Box makes it possible to add those instruments to my songs without sending them out to Nashville and spending thousands of dollars to be produced by someone who may or may not share the same vision. And you know what? It is soooo satisfying to hear my songs realized the way i hear them in my head over and over again. It’s like having a pocket full of studio musicians in my computer at all times, but you’ll never know until you have one.

Samuel Davis Jr
BMI Songwriter
http://www.sammycountry.com

 
     
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Samuel Davis Jr Joined Jan 10, 2018
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Jan 30, 2018, 10:14 AM
Samuel Davis Jr - 30 January 2018 10:06 AM

Good for you Rich, for taking the time to learn such a prolific piece of music. Bach truely was a genius.

I find it a little condescending that you think Band in a Box users don’t know theory or play instruments. There are many great guitar players who use the program to pactice their craft. Just check out this video testimony. https://youtu.be/vMHpGbT2m6k

Now I’m not one of them, but i am a classically trained musican with a degree in vocal music. I also play a bit of guitar and piano. I love country music though and i don’t know how to play many of the traditional country instruments like fiddle, banjo, pedal steel guitar etc. Band in a Box makes it possible to add those instruments to my songs without sending them out to Nashville and spending thousands of dollars to be produced by someone who may or may not share the same vision. And you know what? It is soooo satisfying to hear my songs realized the way i hear them in my head over and over again. It’s like having a pocket full of studio musicians in my computer at all times, but you’ll never know until you have one.

Hi Samuel

I see why you would find it condescending, it wasn’t my intention, to be honest I really don’t know too much about it, I suppose it’s no different from me using a midi editor to play some instruments that I don’t have, or can’t play, or use Melodyne to create vocal harmonies that are out of my range, so fair comment Samuel.

To anyone else out there I might offend - It wasn’t meant to be, I really think anyway of making music is great, as I said in my original post.

Rich

 
     
Rich Joined Jan 06, 2018
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Jan 30, 2018, 04:02 PM

For what it’s worth, I’ve definitely paid attention to the way Gavin has progressed over the last
couple of years! I think the sound quality is great!!! And I was really impressed with his latest
Sax arrangement, but as a guitar player I find that the programs are repetitious and lack ‘human
dynamics’. However, I guess a real Sax player would probably say the same thing :)

 
     
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JAPOV Joined Jul 02, 2006
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Jan 31, 2018, 04:32 AM

I’m going to look more into it, I am after a pedal steel guitar type sound and I don’t know anyone who can play one, except Gavins friend Beau, who lives in the mountains.

BIAB, could be just what I need.

Gavin, Thanks for the tip.

Rich

 
     
Rich Joined Jan 06, 2018
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Jan 31, 2018, 10:44 AM

Unfortunately, the BIAB promotion just finished. They seem to run one every year in December, which spills over into January, offering great savings.

Tony is right about no program being able to recreate the human touch. If I were a guitar player, I would probably notice it more. Because my songs tend to be so melody/lyrics driven, the guitars, with a few exceptions like my NPR song, probably get a lot less emphasis than is the case with some here, who build songs from a riff. For me, it starts with the voice or melodic instruments (fiddle, sax etc.) and the rest is background and texture, which BIAB is able to provide. I have dozens of melodies swirling in my head, many with half completed lyrics. BIAB is like having your own band, that you can go to and say, “Hey guys, I have this song…” The difference is that this band has infinite patience as you play around with the arrangement.

Rich and Samuel are both right about musical theory. You do need a bit of theory to use BIAB, if only to be able to plot chord progressions, etc. The more you know, the better your results are likely to be. However, it does expand the horizons of those with limited technique on those instruments that tend to form the base of a song - guitar and piano. I write my songs on the piano and very occasionally guitar, but I know I can’t play them well enough to perform. So I hand them over to the band and add the melodic instruments and voice. It is a form of cheating, but it’s fun.

And there’s the rub. I end up with these songs that I could never perform live because my band is in my imagination. Since live performance is pretty much the only way to make any money in music these day, I guess I’m not in it for the money.

 
     
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Gavin Sinclair Joined Dec 02, 2014
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Jan 31, 2018, 10:51 AM
Gavin Sinclair - 31 January 2018 10:44 AM

Unfortunately, the BIAB promotion just finished. They seem to run one every year in December, which spills over into January, offering great savings.

Tony is right about no program being able to recreate the human touch. If I were a guitar player, I would probably notice it more. Because my songs tend to be so melody/lyrics driven, the guitars, with a few exceptions like my NPR song, probably get a lot less emphasis than is the case with some here, who build songs from a riff. For me, it starts with the voice or melodic instruments (fiddle, sax etc.) and the rest is background and texture, which BIAB is able to provide. I have dozens of melodies swirling in my head, many with half completed lyrics. BIAB is like having your own band, that you can go to and say, “Hey guys, I have this song…” The difference is that this band has infinite patience as you play around with the arrangement.

Rich and Samuel are both right about musical theory. You do need a bit of theory to use BIAB, if only to be able to plot chord progressions, etc. The more you know, the better your results are likely to be. However, it does expand the horizons of those with limited technique on those instruments that tend to form the base of a song - guitar and piano. I write my songs on the piano and very occasionally guitar, but I know I can’t play them well enough to perform. So I hand them over to the band and add the melodic instruments and voice. It is a form of cheating, but it’s fun.

And there’s the rub. I end up with these songs that I could never perform live because my band is in my imagination. Since live performance is pretty much the only way to make any money in music these day, I guess I’m not in it for the money.

Gavin

I think it’s fantastic that you are able to create music, it really doesn’t matter how you do it, you’re getting the buzz.

Not knowing anything about BIAB, is it like this… write the time signature (s), key signature (s),chord structure, then pick the instruments to play it, I have no idea, sorry.

Regards

Rich

 
     
Rich Joined Jan 06, 2018
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Jan 31, 2018, 11:19 AM

Rich, there are a lot of videos on the internet that show you what it is and how it works better than I could.

There are many different ways to use the program from a practice guide to providing most or even all the instrumentation for a song. One thing it won’t do is write a song - that’s still up to you, thank goodness!

From a software development point of view it is quite amazing and perhaps the most amazing thing about it is that it allows those who know how to use it properly (I’m not there yet) to produce songs that sound more natural than most of what passes for pop music today.

 
     
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Gavin Sinclair Joined Dec 02, 2014
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Jan 31, 2018, 11:30 AM

Gavin, Well I was totally convinced by it, hence my question about collaboration with the pedal steel player, Beau.

Such a nice guy…

Rich

 
     
Rich Joined Jan 06, 2018
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Jan 31, 2018, 11:49 AM

Hello Gav, Samuel, Rich, and Japov,

I really started looking at BIAB when Gav started this thread and it really interested me.  The more I keep reading and researching, the more I am intrigued by this software.  I don’t use any type of DAW, most of my recordings are one shot deals, guitar and vocal simultaneously, on an Olympus VN 6200 PC voice recorder, and a few I’ve done on a Tascam DP-008EX multi track recorder.  Needless to say I can’t multi track with the VN 6200, and I am not versed on a lot of instruments I’m relegated to guitar, keyboard, stomp boxes, and voice through a Sure PGA48 mic on the Tascam.  This is the reason I am considering BIAB, keep on talking it up, and give us your true experiences with it as you go.  Best wishes,

Speak soon

Music is an international language, say it with a song.

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Deacon Joined Aug 30, 2009
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