Dare to Compare: MIDI synths and RealTracks

Below are audio demos comparing various MIDI software and hardware synths with each other, and with RealTracks. Note that the software synths are only available on the Windows platform. The Quicktime instruments or Apple DLS synth on Mac is similar to the Roland VSC.

For the RealTracks demos, all tracks (including the solos) were generated by Band-in-a-Box. For the MIDI demos, all tracks except the melody are generated; the melody track is a composition played in.

The "Dare to Compare" demos play a clip using a number of different MIDI synths one after the other, then play a RealTracks clip that uses a similar style to the MIDI style.

The following MIDI synths are used in these demos:

  • Coyote WaveTable: A DXi softsynth included with Band-in-a-Box, and similar to the Microsoft GS Wavetable.
  • Roland VSC (Virtual Sound Canvas): Only compatible with 32 bit versions of Windows.
  • Cakewalk TTS-1 (aka Roland HyperCanvas): Higher quality than the VSC and compatible with all Windows versions. Bundled with Cakewalk Music Creator ... Buy Cakewalk Music Creator
  • Coyote ForteDXi: Softsynth that includes higher quality samples than the Coyote WaveTable. Compatible with all versions of Windows XP and higher (32 and 64 bit) ... Buy Forte DXi (free 30-day demo)
  • Roland SD-20 Sound Canvas: Newer hardware sound module.
  • Roland SC-155 Sound Canvas: Older hardware sound module.
  • Ketron SD2 Module: Modern high-quality pocket size hardware sound module.

Points to remember if you are comparing RealTracks to MIDI...

  • The term "RealTracks" means "Real Musician, playing on a Real Instrument." With our RealTracks styles, we have included the "musician" in the style, by actually recording fabulous musicians. On the other hand, MIDI styles just contain chord patterns based on a C7 chord, played by the keyboard player who made the style.
  • There are more MIDI styles in Band-in-a-Box®than RealTracks styles, so you might use a MIDI style because there isn't a RealTracks style available.
  • Mixing MIDI and RealTracks styles can be done easily in Band-in-a-Box. You can get the best of both worlds by doing this, and the RealTracks will usually make the MIDI sound more realistic.
  • MIDI styles are more editable than RealTracks styles. If you plan on doing a huge amount of editing, consider using a MIDI style. Otherwise, small audio edits can be done using a DAW like RealBand.

Jazz

Jazz SwingMIDI style = J_DIZZY.STYRealTracks style = _J140_OS.STY

Dare to Compare - all synths + RealTracks
Individual song demos
RealTracks Demo
MIDI synths:
  • Coyote WT
  • Roland VSC
  • Cakewalk TTS
  • Coyote Forte
  • Roland SD-20
  • Roland SC-155
  • Ketron SD2

Jazz BalladMIDI style = JAZZBAL1.STYRealTracks style = _SLOWBAL.STY + RealTracks Soloists.

Dare to Compare - all synths + RealTracks
Individual song demos
RealTracks Demo
MIDI synths:
  • Coyote WT
  • Roland VSC
  • Cakewalk TTS
  • Coyote Forte
  • Roland SD-20
  • Roland SC-155
  • Ketron SD2

Smooth Jazz (Breezy) MIDI style = KGBALLAD.STYRealTracks style = _JBRZTSS.STY

Dare to Compare - all synths + RealTracks
Individual song demos
RealTracks Demo
MIDI synths:
  • Coyote WT
  • Roland VSC
  • Cakewalk TTS
  • Coyote Forte
  • Roland SD-20
  • Roland SC-155
  • Ketron SD2

Slow BossaMIDI style = BOSALITE.STYRealTracks style = _BOSSANY.STY

Dare to Compare - all synths + RealTracks
Individual song demos
RealTracks Demo
MIDI synths:
  • Coyote WT
  • Roland VSC
  • Cakewalk TTS
  • Coyote Forte
  • Roland SD-20
  • Roland SC-155
  • Ketron SD2

Rock & Blues

Blues ShuffleMIDI style = BONNIER.STYRealTracks style = _TBLZSHR.STY + alternating RealTracks Soloists

Dare to Compare - all synths + RealTracks
Individual song demos
RealTracks Demo
MIDI synths:
  • Coyote WT
  • Roland VSC
  • Cakewalk TTS
  • Coyote Forte
  • Roland SD-20
  • Roland SC-155
  • Ketron SD2

Rock BalladMIDI style = C2_HIND.STYRealTracks style = _BALBMS1.STY

Dare to Compare - all synths + RealTracks
Individual song demos
RealTracks Demo
MIDI synths:
  • Coyote WT
  • Roland VSC
  • Cakewalk TTS
  • Coyote Forte
  • Roland SD-20
  • Roland SC-155
  • Ketron SD2

Country

Slow Country 12/8MIDI style = C~CRYSTL.STYRealTracks style = _CRYSTAL.STY

Dare to Compare - all synths + RealTracks
Individual song demos
RealTracks Demo
MIDI synths:
  • Coyote WT
  • Roland VSC
  • Cakewalk TTS
  • Coyote Forte
  • Roland SD-20
  • Roland SC-155
  • Ketron SD2

Other

Celtic JigMIDI style = CELT_JIG.STYRealTracks style = _CELTJIG.STY + recorded accordian melody

Dare to Compare - all synths + RealTracks
Individual song demos
RealTracks Demo
MIDI synths:
  • Coyote WT
  • Roland VSC
  • Cakewalk TTS
  • Coyote Forte
  • Roland SD-20
  • Roland SC-155
  • Ketron SD2