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#119032 - 07/01/11 02:17 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Help me spend my money: advice on USB audio interface and DAW software
jazzwombat Offline
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Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 457
Loc: Balmer, Merlan, USA
I recently upgraded to a new Windows 7 64-bit computer (Core I5, 2500K, 3.3G) with 16 gb RAM. In the process, I want to upgrade from my old EMU USB audio/midi interface and Sonar 4 LE software. The only requirements I have for the interface is that it must be USB 2 (or 3) and it has to have at least 4 mic/analog inputs, with phantom power, plus midi inputs, and at least four analog outputs. Of course, it has to work with BIAB, but that's a given, right? I like Sonar 4 and thought to buy Sonar X1 Studio, but I'm open to suggestions. My major use of my DAW is recording my saxophone over backing tracks. If the backing tracks are midi, I pipe through a Ketron SD2, which then inputs through analog.

I was seriously looking at the M-Audio Fast Track Ultra interface, but after reading a recent post here and other reviews around the web, I'm a bit nervous about that idea.

So, here's your chance to help me spend my hard-earned money. What USB audio/midi interface and DAW software would you buy? I'd like to keep the total cost of hardware and software to $500-600, but I might go higher if the increased cost translates to better quality.

If you have a minute, please offer advice, suggestions, etc. I know many of you have DAWs, so let me know what your opinions are, please.

Thank you!

The wombat of jazz aka Bob


Edited by jazzwombat (07/01/11 02:18 PM)
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#119033 - 07/01/11 02:26 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Help me spend my money: advice on USB audio interface and DAW software [Re: jazzwombat]
Matt Finley Online   content
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Registered: 07/12/00
Posts: 16807
Loc: Hudson Valley & Lake George NY
Bob, couple of thoughts.

First, about SONAR, I have X1 after using SONAR 3, 5, 7, and 8.5. Be aware that all those were very similar to version 4, but X1 is a very different animal. I like it, but it takes some relearning. Most of the deal-breaker bugs are fixed now but a couple of very specific ones remain. There's more to this, of course, if you need it.

Second, about M-Audio, I also read some warnings here about drivers and Windows 7 64-bit. It is my understanding that the problems people experienced were mostly a year ago, and that the drivers have been updated and things work fine now. Others may have a different view, but my Fast Track Pro works great.

ps I LOVE Windows 7 Pro 64-bit, running from a SSD boot drive. Not one BSOD in over a year!

also ps: forgive some repeated info. I see you are the same poster where we corresponded about having two soundcards.


Edited by Matt Finley (07/01/11 02:31 PM)
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BIAB 2018 PC Audiophile. Software: SONAR, Samplitude or Mixcraft, Adobe Audition, Ozone, Encore; Win 10 64 Pro. Hardware: custom i7, 16 Gb RAM; Roland Integra-7, Focusrite 18i20 (2), TCE Finalizer, Behringer X-Touch, Adam sub & monitors.

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#119034 - 07/01/11 03:16 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Help me spend my money: advice on USB audio interface and DAW software [Re: Matt Finley]
jazzwombat Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 457
Loc: Balmer, Merlan, USA
Quote:

also ps: forgive some repeated info. I see you are the same poster where we corresponded about having two soundcards.




Hi Matt,

Hey, sometimes I need to hear things several times before they sink in, so repeat away
Seriously, nice to hear some good things about the M-Audio interface. Its specs are impressive and it's the right price. I just hate hearing of the problems.

Thanks for the advice!


Bob
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#119035 - 07/01/11 03:33 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Help me spend my money: advice on USB audio interface and DAW software [Re: jazzwombat]
eddie1261 Online   content
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Registered: 04/08/11
Posts: 4016
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
My M-Audio Fast Track Pro 2 is on it's 3rd computer and has not complained yet. And their support is very good, just like here. Web page with a user forum....

I have to ask why so many inputs? Don't you put everything on it's own track? If you are going to record in real time, just use a mixer and pan L&R. Advantage is speed. Disadvantage is that one player's clams hurt the whole take. Discreet tracking let's you tweak one track only, like I have to do with my foghorn like vocals....
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#119036 - 07/01/11 04:18 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Help me spend my money: advice on USB audio interface and DAW software [Re: eddie1261]
jazzwombat Offline
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Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 457
Loc: Balmer, Merlan, USA
Quote:


I have to ask why so many inputs? Don't you put everything on it's own track? If you are going to record in real time, just use a mixer and pan L&R.




I have limited space (desk space) and didn't want to add additional hardware, so I wasn't interested in getting a mixer, but I understand why it would help. I really only need 4 analog inputs (2 Mics and 2 plugs -- for the Ketron) plus the midi, but I got burnt on my EMU, which only has two, so I figured err on the side of too many this time . I wish I had a better reason, but no.
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#119037 - 07/01/11 04:32 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Help me spend my money: advice on USB audio interface and DAW software [Re: jazzwombat]
eddie1261 Online   content
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Registered: 04/08/11
Posts: 4016
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
When I ran out of space, I built UP. Made some stacking shelves, bought a table top 12 space rack to screw everything in to.... but everybody's studio is different in what they have and how they use it, so it really is a case of what works for you. And the older school you are (like me) you know "your way" to do it.

For me, I do BIAB first. Then I put it through a mixer that has a digital reverb looped through it. I then record the BIAB tracks panned left and right to track 1 and 2 of an 8 track Tascam direct to disc recorder. Then I sing onto track 3 and 4. That leaves me 5,6,7 and 8 for additional keyboards, harmonies that come from a vocoder, guitar parts....

But again, that's just what I do and it isn't necessarily the way everybody does things.

On topic, that M-Audio Fast Track will work for you.
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If you say "I can't" ..... I'm pretty sure you won't.

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#119038 - 07/01/11 07:13 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Help me spend my money: advice on USB audio interface and DAW software [Re: jazzwombat]
MusicStudent Offline
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Registered: 12/08/02
Posts: 5472
Loc: Chicago
Quote:

I know many of you have DAWs, so let me know what your opinions are, please.






Do you know what is available in REAPER? It is quite impressive.

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#119039 - 07/01/11 07:32 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Help me spend my money: advice on USB audio interface and DAW software [Re: MusicStudent]
Noel96 Offline
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Registered: 10/31/08
Posts: 12576
Loc: Australia
Hi Bob,

Like Dan above, I now use Reaper as my DAW. I used to use Sonar (from versions 4 through to 7). Then I started hearing some terrific productions in the User Showcase forum on here where people used Reaper for the final product. Reaper has a great deal going for it. Once you learn to use it, the user interface is incredibly versatile and gives very professional results.

Also, the Cockos plugins that come with the software are excellent (these days I pretty much only use these plugins even though I have around 500 other ones).

Lastly, there is some terrific documentation available for Reaper to help you get the best out of it. I purchased a couple of PDF books from the Cockos website that are fantastic and I also purchased a hardcopy book through Amazon. Because of these books, I'm understanding Reaper in 12 months a whole heap more than I ever understood Sonar in 6 years.

What is amazing is that Reaper is incredibly cheap to buy.

Regards,
Noel
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#119040 - 07/01/11 07:58 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Help me spend my money: advice on USB audio interface and DAW software [Re: Noel96]
MusicStudent Offline
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Registered: 12/08/02
Posts: 5472
Loc: Chicago
Ya, what Noel said..
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#119041 - 07/01/11 11:01 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Help me spend my money: advice on USB audio interface and DAW software [Re: MusicStudent]
jcspro40 Offline
Expert

Registered: 04/16/03
Posts: 824
Loc: Ohio-USA
I am also a Reap user, but if you use midi a lot, then you might want to take a long look before you buy. All tho the midi works fine for my needs, there are folks who say it is missing a lot of every day workflow parameters....

Then again, you can grab it for $40 at the moment, which gives you updates to 4.99...at the is something you don't find too often....
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Custom Core2Quad 3.2Ghz, 8gb memory, 1gb nVidia dual monitor card, 1tb OS HDD, 2 2gb Internal HDD, 8tb External HDD, dual LG 27" Monitors, Win7 x64 Ultimate, BiaB/RB 2017, Reaper 4.75, Mixbus 32C, IK Multimedia / iZotope / Plug & Mix VST-VSTi Collections

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#119042 - 07/02/11 07:52 AM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Help me spend my money: advice on USB audio interface and DAW software [Re: jcspro40]
Tommyc Offline
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Registered: 01/08/11
Posts: 2487
Have you tried Real Band as a DAW ? Comes free with Biab and is loaded with some very usable plug-ins . My M-Audio works with everything, not always with the ASIO drivers that came with it . Save your money for Biab updates !

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#119043 - 07/05/11 06:11 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Help me spend my money: advice on USB audio interface and DAW software [Re: Tommyc]
Reg Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 08/11/08
Posts: 22
Want great sound, rock solid drivers and monitor's that will blow you away, not for the faint of heart price wise. I this case the saying "you get for what you pay" apply's here.

Interface= RME USB Fireface UC $1298.00 CAD

Powered Monitors= Focal CMS 65 $825.00 CAD each

Total= $2948 CAD +tax

Most people try to reproduce what they hear on commercial recordings right?, well, you can't do it on the cheap. Get a great interface with solid driver's and great sounding monitor's and you won't regret it. RME are known all over the world for there rock solid driver's and clean pre-amps under XP, Win7 x86 or 64. Go demo this gear and you will buy. This equipment is top notch and will last a lifetime. You only need to buy once and be happy.

And for Daw, if you do a internet search you will find many. the better come with a little learning curve. But in the end you'll be glad you put your head to it. Nuendo and Cubase come to mind here witch is what I use. Pro to the max, jam pack with very usefull features. Lot's to think about here but, how serious are you about making music that will satisfy your ears. Food for the soul here.

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#119044 - 07/05/11 07:23 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Help me spend my money: advice on USB audio interface and DAW software [Re: Reg]
jcspro40 Offline
Expert

Registered: 04/16/03
Posts: 824
Loc: Ohio-USA
Quote:

My major use of my DAW is recording my saxophone over backing tracks. If the backing tracks are midi, I pipe through a Ketron SD2, which then inputs through analog.

I'd like to keep the total cost of hardware and software to $500-600, but I might go higher if the increased cost translates to better quality.

The wombat of jazz aka Bob




I think 2k + is a little out of the price he was looking for!

No matter WHAT software & hardware you go for, just MAKE SURE that there are solid drivers for Win 7 64bit, and that the software is 64bit capable. One reason that I did not go for Win7 64 until a few weeks ago was because of the buggie M-Audio drivers for my Delta 66. In Win7 32bit they were fine, in 64 they were....not....

Triple check the SW and HW to make SURE that it has good Win7 64 bit support, and you will be good to go....
_________________________
Custom Core2Quad 3.2Ghz, 8gb memory, 1gb nVidia dual monitor card, 1tb OS HDD, 2 2gb Internal HDD, 8tb External HDD, dual LG 27" Monitors, Win7 x64 Ultimate, BiaB/RB 2017, Reaper 4.75, Mixbus 32C, IK Multimedia / iZotope / Plug & Mix VST-VSTi Collections

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#119045 - 07/05/11 10:10 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Help me spend my money: advice on USB audio interface and DAW software [Re: jcspro40]
eddie1261 Online   content
Veteran

Registered: 04/08/11
Posts: 4016
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
If he is buying a new interface, there will be Windows 7 drivers. Used gear.... ah, now we are dealing with a different breed of cat!

Gotta believe for 2 large he gets Windows 7 drivers... LOL!!!
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If you say "I can't" ..... I'm pretty sure you won't.

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#119046 - 07/06/11 09:57 AM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Help me spend my money: advice on USB audio interface and DAW software [Re: eddie1261]
jazzwombat Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 457
Loc: Balmer, Merlan, USA
Thanks for the help and useful advice.


FYI: Right now, I am leaning towards the M-Audio Fast Track Ultra and Sonar X1...

Best regards,

Bob aka jazzwombat
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PG Music News
RealBand 2018 Build 5 Update Available!

RealBand 2018 customers can download the latest free patch update here: http://www.pgmusic.com/support.realband.htm#2018_5

Summary of Changes for Build 5
Added: When generating the input file for saving as an MGU/SGU SongMode128= is saved to the input file.
Added: Localization support for 2018.
Added: flyby hints to new dialogs.
Fixed: Save As with a filename greater than 128 chars could cause an error 123 plus access violation.
Fixed: Rebooting RealBand after a filename with 128 chars was saved could cause an access violation.
Fixed: Pressing the Change button in the Event List Window could result in an access violation if an event was not a Note event.
Fixed: When running in Win 10, and using BBW or PT to generate audio harmonies, an error would occur saying that you need BB 2011 or PT 12 to generate audio harmonies.
Fixed: Midi Thru Method was not being saved to the .INI file. It always reverting to Track-Specific when booting up RealBand, even if the user manually changed the setting to Global in the Midi Thru Settings dialog.
Fixed: Delete All Notes on This Peg menu item in notation window right-click menu was missing.
Fixed: Potential crash on exit (having to do with the DLL attempting to free up a dynamic array that was passed to it).

Band-in-a-Box® 2018 Build 512 Update Available!

Band-in-a-Box® 2018 for Windows customers can download the latest free patch update here: www.pgmusic.com/support_windowsupdates.htm#512

Summary of changes for Build 512 since 510 (Feb 15 2018):
Fixed: "Load SoundTrack Song" and "Load song with RealDrums Audio" buttons in the Sound Track dialog were not working.
Fixed: After returning Band-in-a-Box to factory settings the File Open dialog would default to the bb\Data\Lib directory.
Fixed: Choosing a custom chord sheet font would ignore any color choice made in the font selection dialog.
Fixed: Drum names were sometimes truncated in the RealDrums MultiDrums and Quicklist dialogs.
Fixed: Exporting a MIDI file might cause the error, "MIDIConv.exe no found".
Fixed: Mixer changes were not undoable, and would not cause user to be prompted to save their song when exiting.
Fixed: Static in RT2438 and other various RealTracks fixes.
Fixed: StylePicker database various updates. Some styles were displaying the wrong feel (swing/even) in notation. A few styles incorrectly showed missing Drums.
Fixed: The audio latency setting would increase every time leaving the Windows Audio Devices dialog.
Fixed: The Download Manager folder name defaulted to 2016 instead of 2018.
Updated: Help file.

PowerTracks Pro Audio 2018 is Here!

PowerTracks Pro Audio 2018 is here! PowerTracks Pro Audio 2018 includes many new features and enhancements:

Windows Audio (WASAPI) driver support. This allows for low latency audio recording/playback without requiring ASIO. Note that this supports 1 stereo input plus 1 stereo output at a time. For multiple inputs/outputs, you should continue to use either MME or ASIO.

ABC Notation format support. You can save a track of notation in a popular ASCII text format to import into other programs, or you can paste this format into a user forum as a way of sending the track (usually the melody and chord symbols) to other users without having to attach a file.

The built-in Audio Chord Wizard detection in the Chords window automatically detects the chords of the song, based on the audio data from all non-muted audio tracks. This works similar to the standalone Audio Chord Wizard, except that it uses the current bar lines of the existing song.

Notation Enhancements:
-X/8 time signature support. This is a special method of displaying 6/8, 9/8, or 12/8 time signatures in the Notation window.
-The Duplicate previous chord in notation right-click menu lets you quickly duplicate the previous chord (group of notes on same peg) without having to reenter it.
-Delete highlighted notes in notation right-click menu lets you delete all highlighted notes.
-Delete all notes on this peg in notation right-click menu lets you delete all notes on the nearest peg that was clicked on.
-You can now enter Section Numbers. Previously, you could enter letters (A-Z) only, but now you can also enter numbers (1-9).

...a full list of the new features in PowerTracks Pro Audio 2018 is available at http://www.pgmusic.com/powertracks.features.htm

http://www.pgmusic.com/powertracks.htm

#TBT - The Beginning of Xtra Styles PAKs for Band-in-a-Box®

We released the much-loved Xtra Styles PAKs in August 2016! This release included 164 RealStyles for Jazz, Country, Rock-Pop, and Singer/Songwriter and worked with any Band-in-a-Box® 2016 or higher UltraPlusPAK, EverythingPAK, or Audiophile Edition!

Xtra Styles PAKs were such a hit... we couldn't stop making them! Since their introduction, we've released 3 more PAKs with a total of over 600 Xtra Styles in all!

Want to hear what other program users are doing with their Xtra Styles? Visit our Xtra STyles Contests forum to hear all the songs submitted during previous song contest we've had: http://www.pgmusic.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=postlist&Board=102&page=1

Learn more about Xtra Styles PAKs and listen to their demos at http://www.pgmusic.com/xtrastyles.php?os=win.

Band-in-a-Box® Customer Feedback - Feel The Love!

Check out some great feedback we've received on our Facebook account from program users:

"I have been using Band-in-a-Box for years. It is the anchor of my music gigs as well as my fun in my studio. I have used other software but Band-in-a-Box is my main go to."
-Jack T.

"Love Band-in-a-Box. As someone who played professionally for 20 years and retired from live performing years ago, I still love music. Band-in-a-Box allows me to create fun arrangements which I can sing over or play over. There are THOUSANDS of different variations plus you can enter any chords you like and create any chart. It's also great for creating background tracks for videos and audio content for websites, training etc. And like everything else in the world . . . it may not be right for everyone. For those who love music and don't have the time to shed five or six instruments it's way cool."
-Vinnie R.

"This program has completely changed my playing for the good. I can experiment with playing chords and leads over various scenarios that I can quickly create and change. Love this program. I use it nearly every day."
-Dave R.

"I bought my first version in 1994 and have progressed to 2018 version. I use it to create backing tracks for live music performance. I currently have over 2,000 songs performance ready. If you can and type, and use mouse it will work for you."
-Roger M.

"The premiere reason for me for buying this program; it has given me the freedom to fully complete the foundation for my songs without the confinement of limited minded musicians. After the song concept is complete, it can then be presented those musicians to play as a cover song. Also writing a song with a band gives them partial ownership of your idea... not cool... especially since they may have fought your idea every step of the way.. Every member of an organized band should own a copy of this program to compose or to even give legitimate composition alternatives to the original songwriter."
-Paul V.

Thanks everyone!

Support for ABC Notation Format in Band-in-a-Box® 2018 for Windows!

ABC notation is the simple text-based notation system used by musicians worldwide to store chords, melody, and lyrics of songs. Now with Band-in-a-Box® 2018 for Windows you can open and save songs in ABC notation format!

To save the song in ABC notation format, press the [Save As] toolbar button and choose Save as ABC notation file from the menu. Once opened, select a track that you want to save and choose your other criteria - The [Copy to clipboard] button will copy the file to the clipboard (that you can then paste it into other programs). The [Save as File] button will let you type a name and select the destination in your hard drive.

Band-in-a-Box® Song Title Browser Requests Forum

Have you stumped the Song Title Browser feature in the Band-in-a-Box® StylePicker?

If you tried to search for a popular song and this feature didn't offer you any listings, we'd love it if you'd let us know in our Wishlist forum here.

Posting your requests to this forum really does work - we used it to increase the database with the Band-in-a-Box® 2018 release!

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