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View Full Version : Accompaniment Software--anyone using it?



Christie
10-31-2011, 04:15 PM
Hi, I know Gerald Ross wrote in a while back on another board to report his success with Band in a Box. We have looked into this and wonder what level is sufficient for someone who just wants to do some simple jamming? We were looking at the MegaPak. Comments? Am a bit worried as it looks complicated and it is somewhat expensive--could buy another cheap uke!

We are PC based but we do have an Android phone as well. I've seen some simpler and cheaper programs: Chordbot and EasyBand Studio for Android. Also, saw some freeware that might work for PC called ImproVisor. Anyone have comments or experience with any of these?

Thanks for your help.

OldePhart
10-31-2011, 05:22 PM
I use an old version of Band-in-a-Box (2007) once in a while. It's okay for creating backing tracks. It's dismal for live playing, though. I don't know if that's improved with newer versions or not.

The problem with any affordable sequencing software is you ain't gonna fool anybody. Even though many of the styles that come within Band-in-a-Box are decent and use "real drums" the result still has that machine-precision that screams - "this was done on a computer!" Sometimes a BIAB track is better than nothing - but if you're planning to market your music I'd avoid it for anything but basic percussion, maybe.

I don't know if it's still going on but a few years ago all of the sites that support marketing indie music started getting flooded with a lot sequenced crap. This probably coincided with the release of BIAB, Garage Band, and Acid loops. For some reason, the idea of paying for poorly produced sequenced crud doesn't sit well with me. :)

John

23skidoo
11-01-2011, 02:25 AM
The latest iteration of Band In A Box has 'Real Tracks' and 'Real Drums' which are based on actual recordings from studio musicians - they sound pretty amazingly good, in truth. The basic application comes with very, very few of these, though - you really have to buy all the extra 'packs' of Real samples to get a 'live' kind of sound. The alternative is the pretty cheesy Midi 'computer generated' music sound. It's also much cheaper just to buy one of the bundled packages up front rather than adding additional Jam Packs piecemeal, over time.

There is kind of a steep learning curve, but it's a really useful program. I've been working on jazz guitar for the last year or so and it's been pretty invaluable. I'm sure there are cheaper options that will work just as well, but I think BIAB is pretty well worth the money if you want to be able to generate nice sounding backing tracks with relative ease.....

OldePhart
11-01-2011, 01:11 PM
Hey, skidoo, do the newer versions of BIAB allow native input of time signatures other than 4/4? That's the biggest thing I didn't care for in BIAB 2007 is it is very difficult to enter accompaniment with time sigs in 6/8, or 9/8, for example.

The MP3 importer that converts MP3 files to chords would also be a lot more useful if it didn't try to depict everything as 4/4 time.

John

Shastastan
11-01-2011, 01:20 PM
The latest iteration of Band In A Box has 'Real Tracks' and 'Real Drums' which are based on actual recordings from studio musicians - they sound pretty amazingly good, in truth. The basic application comes with very, very few of these, though - you really have to buy all the extra 'packs' of Real samples to get a 'live' kind of sound. The alternative is the pretty cheesy Midi 'computer generated' music sound. It's also much cheaper just to buy one of the bundled packages up front rather than adding additional Jam Packs piecemeal, over time.

There is kind of a steep learning curve, but it's a really useful program. I've been working on jazz guitar for the last year or so and it's been pretty invaluable. I'm sure there are cheaper options that will work just as well, but I think BIAB is pretty well worth the money if you want to be able to generate nice sounding backing tracks with relative ease.....

I've been using BIAB since 2007. We use it for backing tracks mainly, but Real Band is a pretty decent DAW. We use fake books in conjuction with BIAB for gigs, but we are amateurs and not commercial. I like some of the uke stuff you can do with it such as uke chord charts on notation. However, We are uke beginners and do not use BIAB for any gigs where we might play our ukes. If someone just wants something to playalong to, they can buy a lot of karaoke tunes from Amazon to download for less than a buck. We use some of those tunes and then write the notation to go with them in Sibelius and/or BIAB. YMMV

PhilUSAFRet
11-01-2011, 03:52 PM
Some old keyboards with synthesizers and recording capabilities in thrift shops that will probably be fun

23skidoo
11-02-2011, 02:29 AM
Hey, skidoo, do the newer versions of BIAB allow native input of time signatures other than 4/4? That's the biggest thing I didn't care for in BIAB 2007 is it is very difficult to enter accompaniment with time sigs in 6/8, or 9/8, for example.

The MP3 importer that converts MP3 files to chords would also be a lot more useful if it didn't try to depict everything as 4/4 time.

John

John - never had a problem with uncommon time signatures - seems pretty straightforward with the latest version (which is the first I've used.....) Also never tried to import an mp3, either..... What I really like about the program is the flexibility is manipulating the song structure. I mainly use it practice improvisation - also use it to practice scales and arpeggios in a 'song format', following the changes. You can tell the application which measures are the head and which are the chorus and tell it how many choruses you want to play. In fifteen seconds, you can set it up to repeat whatever you'd like for as long as you'd like and get to playing......

Christie
11-07-2011, 07:11 PM
Thanks for all your feedback. Since we are where mail takes months and importing can get complicated and spendy, we've decided to ride a bike with trainer wheels first. Found some "jam tracks" to our liking (and that we can download--no waiting!) and will see what more we may want in the future (possibly from accompaniment software). Meanwhile tried a demo of some Android accompaniment software and think it is not "there" yet. Thanks for the hint to get karaoke tracks. Didn't know jam tracks existed--we are that naive and isolated. So, for now, we have new material to play with and learn from. BIAB still on the menu--maybe a XMAS present.

garywj
11-07-2011, 07:59 PM
Last week I did my first video using Band-in-a-Box. I like the program very much. It is fun to jam with. If you want to hear what the newest version sounds like go to my YouTube link below and look for my latest video. There are many many styles to choose from. I'm not very proficient with the program yet, but the accompaniment is customizable. It's better than I expected. On this post I talk about how I did the video: http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?55554-First-video-with-new-band Hope this is helpful.

1300cc
01-03-2012, 12:39 PM
Thanks for all your feedback. Since we are where mail takes months and importing can get complicated and spendy, we've decided to ride a bike with trainer wheels first. Found some "jam tracks" to our liking (and that we can download--no waiting!) and will see what more we may want in the future (possibly from accompaniment software). Meanwhile tried a demo of some Android accompaniment software and think it is not "there" yet. Thanks for the hint to get karaoke tracks. Didn't know jam tracks existed--we are that naive and isolated. So, for now, we have new material to play with and learn from. BIAB still on the menu--maybe a XMAS present.how did you go about this.....i was thinking of just buying a casio digital piano which comes with different rhythm......i dont know if someone have done this.....