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Band in a box for ideas? Virtual Instrument Plugins
Old 28th July 2017
  #1
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Thread Starter
Band in a box for ideas?

Hi Everyone

I write my own stuff and have always done so, i record all the instruments etc, kind of in the goo goo dolls acoustic rock vein

never ever thought of this program but a buddy showed me it last night, he does the same type music i do.

he mainly uses it just to switch between chords and ideas and hear what a "band" might sound like as a full arrangement. I thought it was actually pretty cool. just to generate ideas and arrangements, sounds, ideas

i had never even heard of it before, and when i saw it before he showed me how he used it i thought "cheating"! lol

but honestly i liked how it gave you a full picture and ideas and could be helpful

just curious if anyone uses it here? what you think?

i also thought the full blown version at like 700 bucks was crazy but the PRO is like 199? and that was ok, but have no idea the differences

thanks much
Old 28th July 2017
  #2
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timemist's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by trock View Post
I write my own stuff and have always done so, i record all the instruments etc, kind of in the goo goo dolls acoustic rock vein

never ever thought of this program but a buddy showed me it last night, he does the same type music i do.

he mainly uses it just to switch between chords and ideas and hear what a "band" might sound like as a full arrangement. I thought it was actually pretty cool. just to generate ideas and arrangements, sounds, ideas

i had never even heard of it before, and when i saw it before he showed me how he used it i thought "cheating"! lol

but honestly i liked how it gave you a full picture and ideas and could be helpful

just curious if anyone uses it here? what you think?
I believe it was originally designed for a karaoke tool, which if you're into that, I suppose it's a great choice. I'm not into that, but I do have a copy of the program nonetheless.

As a writer, it's good for sketching out ideas. It can also be good for practicing an instrument. Another area it can be used for is for quickly determining you have the right key for song before moving to real production.

That said, I would not recommend it as your means of producing the song. But if you use it as a "sketchpad" to assist you in viewing what to "paint" then it's a good tool.

As for price, I'd say go for the lowest price option and save the rest of your money for production tools (e.g. Komplete, Superior Drummer, etc.).
Old 29th July 2017
  #3
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Thread Starter
Hey

thanks for the reply

Yes I have cubase 9 and a host of gear for actual recording, which is how I have always done it. My friend also has a nice setup. this would be for just trying out ideas and story boarding

things like that

i was just really impressed with this new 2017 version and how helpful it was to write with, test ideas with, and hear backing music and different ideas. then trying different chords, keys and voicings instantly

i was always kind of a purist with my songs but it doesnt take away at all from your ideas, it just really enhanced the idea, or if you were stuck gave you other ways to approach.

anyway, had never heard or seen it before, it was recommended to him by a guy in nashville he is working with on his stuff
Old 29th July 2017
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trock View Post
i was always kind of a purist with my songs but it doesnt take away at all from your ideas, it just really enhanced the idea, or if you were stuck gave you other ways to approach.
To use an analogy, if you were to create a painting, you'd start with some sketches in a sketch book to capture and try out ideas. You would still make the actual painting (song) using a blank canvas with paints and brushes, but those sketches from your sketch book give you an idea of what your final painting will be.

Band in a Box is like a sketchpad. Nothing more, but it still has value. Cubase is like the blank canvas, paints, and brushes.
Old 29th July 2017
  #5
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Thread Starter
very well put!

i am going to try out the basic version

thanks much!
Old 29th July 2017
  #6
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Lenzo's Avatar
You can also use this for individual solo or ensemble instruments. If you need a horn accent or line, dobro, pedal steel, violin, etc for production, it can be handy if live musicians aren't available or in the budget.
L.
Old 29th July 2017
  #7
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Thread Starter
Very good point, he showed me some of that as well and i forgot til you mentioned it. He would just add some things to give the song a flavor or hear an idea. it was pretty cool.
Old 29th July 2017
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trock View Post
when i saw it before he showed me how he used it i thought "cheating"! lol

just curious if anyone uses it here? what you think?
I tried it and what you said: composition-wise it's "cheating" plain and simple. IMO anyone who writes something using it should give it co-writing credit. The only way I could see that not being true is maybe if you only used the backing percussion/bass part of a "style" (I wish there was an easy way to do that, but it also has one of the worst UIs/workflows of any program I've ever seen).

IMO its best use is for live performers to use as a backing "band." I can also see using it as a learning tool. But for songwriting...blatant cheating and therefore something in that way IMO to be not only avoided but scorned. lol @ someone typing in some chords, picking a "style" and saying "look I wrote a song!" You can even have it create a melody for you, which takes the cheating/pretending you wrote something that final step in which you merit basically zero composition credit. Of course many people are more than happy to look the other way and do so as they can't come up w/it themselves; to each their own.
Old 29th July 2017
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timemist View Post
To use an analogy, if you were to create a painting, you'd start with some sketches in a sketch book to capture and try out ideas. You would still make the actual painting (song) using a blank canvas with paints and brushes, but those sketches from your sketch book give you an idea of what your final painting will be.
Not quite. A more accurate analogy would be you hand someone else the brushes and THEY sketch something out. But you chose which brush and color and maybe said "paint some lines like this over there" (etc), so you go "I made this."

I do see what you're getting at though, and yeah if you don't use what it comes up with but rather just "that kind of a sound," the sketchpad thing applies. i.e. not the actual notes or phrasings that it creates. (Repeat that IT created)


Quote:
Originally Posted by trock View Post
it doesnt take away at all from your ideas, it just really enhanced the idea,
I see its already lured you to the dark side Oh well. Again yeah it depends how its used...but my impression of how its used composition-wise by most is not simply to hear an idea, but to USE what it spits out, either directly or copying what it did.
Old 29th July 2017
  #10
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Thread Starter
I don't disagree Bill, my friend though had written the whole song already on acoustic guitar. what he did then was "hear" it with ideas as a backing band, and that he could play with live.

i would probably only use it once a song was fully done, or if i was stuck on say a bridge, i would try different chords and structures. but i wouldn't be using it to just toss out ideas fom the beginning.

live it would be pretty awesoem though. i jsut have my acoustic and me, and to put together backing tracks if i played out was somethign that crossed my mind

it did allow him to hear his bare bones acoustic song though in different genre's? so you could have a rockin background or a simple piano accompaniment or hear a trumpet part you heard in your head and then could hear live

just like any tool, auto tune where you change up the melody or add harmonies you can't sing but hear, its all in how you use it.

i would have to go to cubase and then play all the parts myself which would then of course probably lead to changes as i played them and heard things and changed things as they happened
Old 29th July 2017
  #11
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Yeah cool, I can see how it could be very helpful that way. I actually got an old version from someone and tinkered on it a bit...and did do what I just said (not really realizing what it did or how at the moment) and did "write" a song by just tossing out some chords and playing w/the styles. The pisser is I liked it and I liked what the app did with it, some of the phrasings etc. At first I got fired up thinking, wow I could easily write some songs and have all my backing instrumentation right there, I won't have to painstakingly do it all note-by-note on my workstation. But then everything I said above hit me and I was really ticked, lol. The say the devil's in the details and that can apply here because it will happily take care of all the details for you. But again doing it that way isn't really composing. But as you said, it's all how it's used....I get how it could be a great tool.

The way I put it to someone was this: The great thing about it is you can come up with stuff so easily. The bad thing about it is you can come up with stuff so easily.
Old 29th July 2017
  #12
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I've been composing in nuendo but yes band in the box was the first one I worked with 17 years ago. I also do some quick things in frooty loops but nuendo 7+nek does what 2 progams did for me, plus I got sheet music with tablature too.
Old 31st July 2017
  #13
I've used BiaB for years for various tasks. My version is pretty old, I'll admit, so not sure what it's like now. It's great for woodshedding and for sketching out songs during songwriting. You can quickly rough out various approaches, test out different rhythms. Some of the generated parts are pretty reasonable, too. I mean, I've been sequencing drum parts since 1981, so the glamour of that craft has faded a bit for me. Now, retired to only serving my own recording/production needs as a songwriter, it's not uncommon for me to start with a very basic generated drum part and tinker it to fit the song as my recorded arrangement develops.

(I'm guessing the fellow who felt like it 'cheating' was thinking of the melody generation tools, which are... interesting, but which I've seldom found useful for my own practice. Robo-arranging is one thing, but I'd be as unlikely to rely on bots for the melody as I would for the words to my song.)
Old 31st July 2017
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bill5 View Post
I do see what you're getting at though, and yeah if you don't use what it comes up with but rather just "that kind of a sound," the sketchpad thing applies. i.e. not the actual notes or phrasings that it creates. (Repeat that IT created)
Yes, that is precisely what I meant. I suspect that the OP is saying is that the other writer is "cheating" by doing something like importing the full BIAB output into his/her DAW, adding a few FX, and calling it My Magnum Opus.

If so, that is neither writing or composing, rather it's Robomusic. If that floats someones boat, fine. But I don't see value in doing things that way.

So I'll summarize my points of the best uses I see for this software:
  • Use it for karaoke to practice voice or an instrument
  • Use it to quickly find the best key for a vocalist
  • Use it to discover how certain genres might work (or not) for your song
Old 31st July 2017
  #15
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Thread Starter
hey

he did show me where you could literally export all the WAV files into his DAW and just mix it then, but he doesn't do that. he is just storyboarding with it and generates ideas, changes, sounds with it. once that is done he will then go record his version of things all by himself. so he doesnt actually use any of it in his final product.

for live use though he will use what he put together in BIAB and roll with it.

i have oh about 100 songs sitting there uncompleted because I am stuck here and there in parts of them. i was thinking of putting them in as they are and then at the parts where i am stuck, trying out different things just to see what happens.
Old 31st July 2017
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timemist View Post
Yes, that is precisely what I meant. I suspect that the OP is saying is that the other writer is "cheating" by doing something like importing the full BIAB output into his/her DAW, adding a few FX, and calling it My Magnum Opus.

If so, that is neither writing or composing, rather it's Robomusic. If that floats someones boat, fine. But I don't see value in doing things that way.

So I'll summarize my points of the best uses I see for this software:
  • Use it for karaoke to practice voice or an instrument
  • Use it to quickly find the best key for a vocalist
  • Use it to discover how certain genres might work (or not) for your song
Totally agree.

I would add possible use as a "backing band" (i.e. for a live performance)
Old 31st July 2017
  #17
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timemist's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by trock View Post
i have oh about 100 songs sitting there uncompleted because I am stuck here and there in parts of them. i was thinking of putting them in as they are and then at the parts where i am stuck, trying out different things just to see what happens.
I understand, and can see how that might be useful. However, given the amount of uncompleted songs you have, you'd probably benefit more by finding someone to collaborate with and fully develop what you have.
Old 1st August 2017
  #18
Gear Nut
 

BIAB is a tool

I've used Band in a Box for years as a songwriter. It's a valuable tool in my songwriter toolbox.

It helps me flesh out ideas and it helps me store ideas. Because of the available styles I have often completely changed the rhythm and 'feel' of a song that previously was just sitting there - unremarkable - just by experimenting with different styles.

I don't ever use anything from the program in my recordings other than the drums sometimes and occasional the bass gtr. I will export them into the DAW and use them as the click/scratch track so the session guys get the feel and rhythm I'm looking for.

Here's an example of a song that was completely transformed by trying different styles. In this one I did end up using the drums right out of BIAB (highly edited of course).

Old 1st August 2017
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwillms View Post
I don't ever use anything from the program in my recordings other than the drums sometimes and occasional the bass gtr.
I've looked at that myself. Ever try tapping out drums on a keyboard? Wow it sucks. And I've little interest in buying a drum synth kit and mucking w/learning how to play it, although I won't totally rule it out.
Old 2nd August 2017
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by bill5 View Post
I've looked at that myself. Ever try tapping out drums on a keyboard? Wow it sucks. And I've little interest in buying a drum synth kit and mucking w/learning how to play it, although I won't totally rule it out.
Back when I got in the game, there was no such thing as sequence capture. Heck, there was no such thing as MIDI. Everything was sequenced. On the grid, of course, as a rule. (Some sequencers had a memory/storage gobbling free time mode but that was a whole 'nother collection of worms.)

So, for me, coming from having to sequence back then 'blind' by ear alone, working in the DAW piano roll is slickness itself.
Old 4 days ago
  #21
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I've just downloaded a trial version of this
But how do you insert chords to play your own song.
As soon as I put my own chords in and press play. Not only does it play my chords but it also plays some backing that biab has self generated
And it sounds crap.

It doesn't recognise irig for guitar
And if i import a song from my daw none of the real drums work.

Any ideas
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