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#145193 - 01/04/12 08:53 PM [Post your own Tips and Tricks here] RealTracks vs MIDI (Band-in-a-Box styles).... Compare
PeterGannon Offline
PG Music Staff

Registered: 05/29/00
Posts: 13204
It's easy to get MIDI samples that are as good (or better) than actual instruments.

And if you (magically) got Fats Waller over to your house, and he played your MIDI piano, it would sound fantastic, and blow away almost anyone else playing on an actual piano.
I read an article that Herbie Hancock plays most of the time on a software synth piano (hooked up to 2 Macs, just in case one goes down). So he plays a MIDI piano.

But the key ingredient in this theoretical example isn't "MIDI" vs actual instrument, it is the musician - Fats Waller in this example.

With our RealTracks styles, we have tried to also include the "musician" in the style, by actually recording fabulous musicians. This doesn't happen with our MIDI styles. With our MIDI styles, you just get C7 chord patterns by the keyboard player who made the style.

The term "RealTracks" means "Real Musician, playing on a Real Instrument"

Why try, in words, to debate which approach is better? Why not just listen to the results, compare them, and judge for yourself?

So let’s use are ears for awhile, and judge for yourself if you prefer Band-in-a-Box MIDI styles or RealTracks…

MIDI vs RealTracks (Band-in-a-Box styles)

For the RealTracks demos, all tracks (including the solos) are generated by Band-in-a-Box,
For the MIDI demos, all tracks except the melody are generated. the melody track is not generated, it is a composition played in.

The MIDI synths are the
1. Roland VSC Software (Virtual Sound Canvas), (similar to MS GS WaveTable and Coyote WT Wavetable)
2. Roland Hypercanvas (TTS-1) software (better than the Virtual Sound Canvas, and compatible with all Windwos versions. (32 and 64 bit)
3. Coyote Forte Softsynth
4. Roland SD-20 Hardware Sound Canvas (newer module)
5. Roland SC-155 Hardware Sound Canvas (older module)
6. Ketron SD2 Modules

The demos are of a RealTracks BIAB style, followed by a similar BIAB MIDI style with the 3 synths (1 software synth and a hardware one)
======== JAZZ =====================
RealTracks Jazz Swing http://demos.pgmusic.com/audio/daretocompare/_J140_OS.wma
MIDI Software VSC Jazz Swing: VSC: http://demos.pgmusic.com/audio/daretocompare/J_DIZZY_Roland_VSC.wma
MIDI Software Coyote Forte: http://demos.pgmusic.com/audio/daretocompare/J_DIZZY_ForteDXi.wma
MIDI Software Roland Hypercanvas (aka Cakewalk TTS-1): http://demos.pgmusic.com/audio/daretocompare/J_DIZZY_TTS1.wma
MIDI Hardware Sound Canvas SD-20 Jazz Swing: Ketron SD2: MIDI Jazz Swing: http://demos.pgmusic.com/audio/daretocompare/J_DIZZY_Edirol_SD-20.wma
MIDI Hardware Ketron SD2: http://demos.pgmusic.com/audio/daretocompare/J_DIZZY_Ketron_SD2.wma
MIDI Hardware Roland Sound Canvas SC155 ("older model"): http://demos.pgmusic.com/audio/daretocompare/J_DIZZY_Roland_SC-155.wma

RealTracks Jazz Ballad: http://nn.pgmusic.com/pgfiles/jazzu/misc/slowbal2.wma
MIDI Software VSC Jazz Ballad: http://demos.pgmusic.com/audio/daretocompare/JAZZBAL1_Roland_VSC.wma
MIDI Software Coyote Forte: http://demos.pgmusic.com/audio/daretocompare/JAZZBAL1_ForteDXi.wma
MIDI Software Roland Hypercanvas (aka Cakewalk TTS-1): http://demos.pgmusic.com/audio/daretocompare/JAZZBAL1_TTS1.wma
MIDI Hardware Sound Canvas SD-20 http://demos.pgmusic.com/audio/daretocompare/JAZZBAL1_Edirol_SD-20.wma
MIDI Hardware Ketron SD2: http://demos.pgmusic.com/audio/daretocompare/JAZZBAL1_Ketron_SD2.wma
MIDI Hardware Roland Sound Canvas SC155 ("older model"): http://demos.pgmusic.com/audio/daretocompare/JAZZBAL1_Roland_SC-155.wma

REalTracks Smooth Jazz (Breezy): http://demos.pgmusic.com/audio/allstyledemos/_jbrztss.wma
Another RealTracks, playing over same chord changes as the MIDI ones, with a soprano sax solo instead of the melody: http://nn.pgmusic.com/pgfiles/jazzu/misc/KGBALLAD_Realtracks.WMA
MIDI Software VSC Smooth Jazz: http://demos.pgmusic.com/audio/daretocompare/kgballad_Roland_VSC.wma
MIDI Software Coyote Forte: http://demos.pgmusic.com/audio/daretocompare/KGBALLAD_ForteDXi.wma
MIDI Software Roland Hypercanvas (aka Cakewalk TTS-1): http://demos.pgmusic.com/audio/daretocompare/KGBALLAD_TTS1.wma
MIDI Hardware Sound Canvas SD-20 http://demos.pgmusic.com/audio/daretocompare/KGBALLAD_Edirol_SD-20.wma
MIDI Hardware Ketron SD2: http://demos.pgmusic.com/audio/daretocompare/KGBALLAD_Ketron_SD2.wma
MIDI Hardware Roland Sound Canvas SC155 ("older model"): http://demos.pgmusic.com/audio/daretocompare/KGBALLAD_Roland_SC-155.wma

RealTracks Slow Bossa : http://demos.pgmusic.com/audio/allstyledemos/_bossany.wma
MIDI Software VSC Bossa: http://demos.pgmusic.com/audio/daretocompare/bosalite_Roland_VSC.wma
MIDI Software Coyote Forte: http://demos.pgmusic.com/audio/daretocompare/BOSALITE_ForteDXi.wma
MIDI Software Roland Hypercanvas (aka Cakewalk TTS-1): http://demos.pgmusic.com/audio/daretocompare/BOSALITE_TTS1.wma
MIDI Hardware Sound Canvas SD-20 http://demos.pgmusic.com/audio/daretocompare/BOSALITE_Edirol_SD-20.wma
MIDI Hardware Ketron SD2: http://demos.pgmusic.com/audio/daretocompare/BOSALITE_Ketron_SD2.wma
MIDI Hardware Roland Sound Canvas SC155 ("older model"): http://demos.pgmusic.com/audio/daretocompare/BOSALITE_Roland_SC-155.wma

========= ROCK, BLUES ==================
RealTracks Blues Shuffle : http://nn.pgmusic.com/pgfiles/jazzu/misc/BluesEPianoGuitar.WMA
MIDI Software VSC Blues Shuffle: http://demos.pgmusic.com/audio/daretocompare/bonnier_Roland_VSC.wma
MIDI Software Coyote Forte: http://demos.pgmusic.com/audio/daretocompare/BONNIER_ForteDXi.wma
MIDI Software Roland Hypercanvas (aka Cakewalk TTS-1): http://demos.pgmusic.com/audio/daretocompare/BONNIER_TTS1.wma
MIDI Hardware Sound Canvas SD-20 http://demos.pgmusic.com/audio/daretocompare/BONNIER_Edirol_SD-20.wma
MIDI Hardware Ketron SD2: http://demos.pgmusic.com/audio/daretocompare/BONNIER_Ketron_SD2.wma
MIDI Hardware Roland Sound Canvas SC155 ("older model"): http://demos.pgmusic.com/audio/daretocompare/BONNIER_Roland_SC-155.wma

Rock Ballad: http://demos.pgmusic.com/audio/daretocompare/_BALBMS1.wma
MIDI Software VSC Rock Ballad: http://demos.pgmusic.com/audio/daretocompare/ROADHOG1_Roland_VSC.wma
MIDI Software Coyote Forte: http://demos.pgmusic.com/audio/daretocompare/ROADHOG1_ForteDXi.wma
MIDI Software Roland Hypercanvas (aka Cakewalk TTS-1): http://demos.pgmusic.com/audio/daretocompare/ROADHOG1_TTS1.wma
MIDI Hardware Sound Canvas SD-20 http://demos.pgmusic.com/audio/daretocompare/ROADHOG1_Edirol_SD-20.wma
MIDI Hardware Ketron SD2: http://demos.pgmusic.com/audio/daretocompare/ROADHOG1_Ketron_SD2.wma
MIDI Hardware Roland Sound Canvas SC155 ("older model"): http://demos.pgmusic.com/audio/daretocompare/ROADHOG1_Roland_SC-155.wma

===== COUNTRY =======================
RealTracks Slow Country 12/8 : http://demos.pgmusic.com/audio/daretocompare/_CRYSTAL.wma
MIDI Software VSC Country http://demos.pgmusic.com/audio/daretocompare/C~CRYSTL_Roland_VSC.wma
MIDI Software Coyote Forte: http://demos.pgmusic.com/audio/daretocompare/C~CRYSTL_ForteDXi.wma
MIDI Software Roland Hypercanvas (aka Cakewalk TTS-1): http://demos.pgmusic.com/audio/daretocompare/C~CRYSTL_TTS1.wma
MIDI Hardware Sound Canvas SD-20 http://demos.pgmusic.com/audio/daretocompare/C~CRYSTL_Edirol_SD-20.wma
MIDI Hardware Ketron SD2: http://demos.pgmusic.com/audio/daretocompare/C~CRYSTL_Ketron_SD2.wma
MIDI Hardware Roland Sound Canvas SC155 ("older model"): http://demos.pgmusic.com/audio/daretocompare/C~CRYSTL_Roland_SC-155.wma
=========== OTHER ===================
RealTracks Celtic Reel: http://demos.pgmusic.com/audio/daretocompare/_CELTJIG.wma
MIDI Software VSC Irish Jig: http://demos.pgmusic.com/audio/daretocompare/CELT_JIG_Roland_VSC.wma
MIDI Software Coyote Forte: http://demos.pgmusic.com/audio/daretocompare/CELT_JIG_ForteDXi.wma
MIDI Software Roland Hypercanvas (aka Cakewalk TTS-1): http://demos.pgmusic.com/audio/daretocompare/CELT_JIG_TTS1.wma
MIDI Hardware Sound Canvas SD-20 http://demos.pgmusic.com/audio/daretocompare/CELT_JIG_Edirol_SD-20.wma
MIDI Hardware Ketron SD2: http://demos.pgmusic.com/audio/daretocompare/CELT_JIG_Ketron_SD2.wma
MIDI Hardware Roland Sound Canvas SC155 ("older model"): http://demos.pgmusic.com/audio/daretocompare/CELT_JIG_Roland_SC-155.wma

Some points to remember:
- There are many 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, to get the style you're looking for.
- MIDI styles are more editable than RealTracks styles. If you plan on doing a huge amount of editing of the parts, to add in different specific segments, consider using a MIDI style. If you are happy with the results as is, or just need to do a few copy and paste edits, you can use RealTracks and edit them in a DAW like RealBand (or Sonar etc.)


Edited by Andrew - PG Music (04/01/15 02:10 PM)
Edit Reason: updated links
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Peter Gannon
PG Music Inc.

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#145194 - 01/05/12 08:39 AM [Post your own Tips and Tricks here] Re: RealTracks vs MIDI (Band-in-a-Box styles).... Compare [Re: PeterGannon]
Keebo Offline
Apprentice

Registered: 03/23/09
Posts: 193
Good info, tips, and examples. Thanks Peter.

Another good reason to let the Realtrack session musicians record via MIDI controllers when creating new MIDI styles.

Thanks.
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#145195 - 01/05/12 12:03 PM [Post your own Tips and Tricks here] Re: RealTracks vs MIDI (Band-in-a-Box styles).... Compare [Re: Keebo]
Robh Offline
Veteran

Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 4164
Loc: California
Peter, my only thought about the comparison page is that VSC is a very bad example of midi tracks, even TTS would pale in comparison to RT in sound quality. To do a real solid comparison would it not be better to use the very best midi synth available? I mean maybe mixed down MP3s from the Ketron unit, or maybe a top flight softsynth like kontact or something similar?
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#145196 - 01/05/12 01:37 PM [Post your own Tips and Tricks here] Re: RealTracks vs MIDI (Band-in-a-Box styles).... Compare [Re: Robh]
PeterGannon Offline
PG Music Staff

Registered: 05/29/00
Posts: 13204
Hi Rob,
Good suggestion.
Yes, we have just added links to MIDI demos for the MIDI Modules
1. Roland SD20 Sound Canvas (we sell the current one, which is the SD50 http://www.pgmusic.com/rolandsd50.win.htm

2. the Ketron SD2 http://www.pgmusic.com/ketronsd2.htm

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Peter Gannon
PG Music Inc.

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#145197 - 01/06/12 11:14 AM [Post your own Tips and Tricks here] Re: RealTracks vs MIDI (Band-in-a-Box styles).... Compare [Re: PeterGannon]
Rachael Offline
Expert

Registered: 05/18/07
Posts: 1616
Nice comparisons. Back a few years ago, I was sold on BIAB when RealDrums were introduced as Midi drums sounded too 'perfect'. The post is about RealTracks. I'm not asking for links to these demos using RealDrums but I would certainly notice a big difference. The hardware synths do sound nice for the most part.

R

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#145198 - 01/06/12 10:41 PM [Post your own Tips and Tricks here] Re: RealTracks vs MIDI (Band-in-a-Box styles).... Compare [Re: Rachael]
Pat Marr Offline
Veteran

Registered: 10/25/08
Posts: 7263
Loc: Winston-Salem, NC
Excellent way to show the difference in quality between the various sound options. People deciding which MIDI route to take will benefit from the comparison. And I hope some people who were previously not interested in the real tracks will hear what they are missing.

thanks for posting!

I agree that it would be interesting to offer a version of each demo using Garritan or other high quality sound library.

I think members of the forum would also benefit from hearing the difference in the same song played through the same sound source..
1) played straight out of BIAB, no CC tweaks
2) the same song, same MIDI module, but fully tweaked out.

(I bet MIDI hard and soft synth sales would increase dramatically after that demo.)


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#145199 - 01/07/12 07:46 AM [Post your own Tips and Tricks here] Re: RealTracks vs MIDI (Band-in-a-Box styles).... Compare [Re: Pat Marr]
carkins Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 11/30/10
Posts: 349
WOW!
What a difference to my ears between the Ketron and Roland examples and the VSC example.
Makes the VSC sound like something from Toys R Us!

Would there be that same difference if you were using the sound banks from a Casio or Yamaha midi keyboard if that's possible (new to midi)?

How about a midi keyboard, external synth, shoot out to determine which is the best value for a newbie (price vs sound quality) all playing the same song with the same or no effects?

Maybe as a separate Midi Forum defining the parameters.
I'm sure there would be lots of opinions and contributions from some of the the midi-philes out there.

Could be interesting and informative.
Carkins

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#145200 - 01/07/12 08:10 AM [Post your own Tips and Tricks here] Re: RealTracks vs MIDI (Band-in-a-Box styles).... Compare [Re: carkins]
MarioD Online   content
Veteran

Registered: 12/27/03
Posts: 9681
Loc: Hamlin NY

Peter, thanx for adding the Sound Canvas SD-20 and the Ketron SD2 in your comparisons.

Quote:

WOW!
What a difference to my ears between the Ketron and Roland examples and the VSC example.
Makes the VSC sound like something from Toys R Us!






Carkins, this proves exactly what those of us who like MIDI have been saying all along; the more money you put into sound samples the better the output. There are hard and soft synths that can make both the Ketron and Sound Canvas sound like they were from Toys R Us, I just wish that I could afford them
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64 bit Win 10 Pro - the latest BiaB and RB - Roland Octa-Capture audio interface - a ton of software and some hardware.

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#145201 - 01/07/12 09:25 AM [Post your own Tips and Tricks here] Re: RealTracks vs MIDI (Band-in-a-Box styles).... Compare [Re: carkins]
Pat Marr Offline
Veteran

Registered: 10/25/08
Posts: 7263
Loc: Winston-Salem, NC
Quote:

WOW!
What a difference to my ears between the Ketron and Roland examples and the VSC example.
Makes the VSC sound like something from Toys R Us!

Carkins




when Roland VSC first came out, I loved it because it made MIDI sound so much better than what I was hearing when a MIDI file played on the web through my browser. I suppose a lot of people (maybe the majority) have never heard MIDI played EXCEPT through a web browser.

It would also be a good comparison to include that for at least the first demo. After one, I don't think anybody will click on the IE demo again. But it MIGHT make some people realize that there's more to MIDI than they THOUGHT.

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#145202 - 01/07/12 09:39 AM [Post your own Tips and Tricks here] Re: RealTracks vs MIDI (Band-in-a-Box styles).... Compare [Re: MarioD]
Kemmrich Offline
Expert

Registered: 02/27/07
Posts: 1814
Of course the realtracks versions don't have any of the "signature riffs" that seem to be present in the midi driven audio. If you have to have signature riffs, then you need midi or play them yourself. The realtracks shine (to me) when using instruments to support original numbers with additional "live instruments" and vocals on recordings.

I can't see why anyone needs to insist on midi-only or realtrack-only. They are compatible. However, I do see Note's point where he wants to play/compose everything from a "self-satisfaction" point and to get the backing tracks to do EXACTLY what he wants. I just want the end result to sound good. If I am playing live, I won't be using any backing tracks (but I am not pedantic about that point, either).
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#145203 - 01/07/12 12:03 PM [Post your own Tips and Tricks here] Re: RealTracks vs MIDI (Band-in-a-Box styles).... Compare [Re: Kemmrich]
MarioD Online   content
Veteran

Registered: 12/27/03
Posts: 9681
Loc: Hamlin NY
Quote:

I can't see why anyone needs to insist on midi-only or realtrack-only. They are compatible.




EXACTLY

Both are different tools for us to use or not use as we see fit. Personally I use both but the majority of my music contains MIDI generated parts. I like midi for the exact same reasons as Notes does. However I have some clients who just need backing tracks for their songs, mostly copies of songs they want to have for their children/grandchildren and friends. For this purpose RTs are perfect. Fast with a great sound, i.e. I don’t have to put a lot of time into creating MIDI parts. My clients are very happy with the results, as I am.

Fighting over what’s better MIDI or RTs is like fighting over what’s better a Chevy or a Ford IMHO. There will never be an end to either battle!
_________________________
I'm a wooden spoon, lead paint, no car seat, no seat belt, no bike helmet survivor

64 bit Win 10 Pro - the latest BiaB and RB - Roland Octa-Capture audio interface - a ton of software and some hardware.

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#145204 - 01/07/12 01:17 PM [Post your own Tips and Tricks here] Re: RealTracks vs MIDI (Band-in-a-Box styles).... Compare [Re: MarioD]
MitchC Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 08/19/11
Posts: 581
DITTO THE "EXACTLY"

(from another post..)

I honestly just do not understand this whole MIDI vs RB/RT debate. There is no debate. They both do different things. It's not an 'either / or' situation.

To the point of this thread, to the OP, here is a tune I did string swells on... and it happens to incorporate BIAB, Real Band, using primarily Real Tracks. If there were Real String tracks I probably would use them. There are not, so I needed MIDI. Using Piano Roll, entered my string parts, renedered them with Garritan Personal Orchestra. And lastly, a live lap steel track. Every tool used was the right one for my particular need. Each element was necessary, and one does not negate the value of the others.

Not much on debates so this will be my last on the MIDI vs Real Tracks thing...

The tune, if interested:

http://soundcloud.com/mitchc-1/beyond-the-reef-hi-c6

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#145205 - 01/10/12 05:15 PM [Post your own Tips and Tricks here] Re: RealTracks vs MIDI (Band-in-a-Box styles).... Compare [Re: Kemmrich]
PeterGannon Offline
PG Music Staff

Registered: 05/29/00
Posts: 13204
We added a few more synths....


Software Roland Hypercanvas (TTS-1)
- note: this is available as a purchase from us (you buy Cakewalk Music Creator ($39), and it includes this great synth. http://www.pgmusic.com/musiccreator.features.htm

Software Coyote Forte $40
http://www.pgmusic.com/coyotefortedxi.htm

Hardware (older) Roland Sound Canvas SC-155
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PG Music Inc.

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#145206 - 01/11/12 09:33 AM [Post your own Tips and Tricks here] Re: RealTracks vs MIDI (Band-in-a-Box styles).... Compare [Re: PeterGannon]
filkertom Offline
Expert

Registered: 01/03/06
Posts: 1968
Loc: Ann Arbor, MI
+1 on the Exactly. I love Real Tracks, I love MIDI, I use 'em together.
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#145207 - 01/25/12 07:57 PM [Post your own Tips and Tricks here] Re: RealTracks vs MIDI (Band-in-a-Box styles).... Compare [Re: filkertom]
Keith McIntyre Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 06/28/02
Posts: 40
Loc: San Diego
Really nice post. I appreciate hearing the various softsynth tracks.

To me midi vs realtracks comes down to application. RTs are much better at reproducing instruments that have a lot of humanistic nuance. Like the sax. So much of playing the sax is in the embrasure. Without spending a LOT of time tweaking midi controllers it is really hard to get a convincing sax.

Mallets hitting a metal bar are much easier to model. Velocity is pretty much all you need.

Midi works great for sequencing synths, where there really isn't a "standard" timbre to compare the timbre to.

BIAB midi styles are good, but they don't put the care into tweaking the specific midi instrument that is required to get realistic timbres on brass, woodwinds, and strings. Keyboards and percussion are more approachable from the vantage of timbre. It's the physics of the instrument...

But the premise that RTs and RDs possess more musicality comes into play with keyboards and percussion. They do have more human feel (imperfections and nuances that the human ear expects of a live musician).

IMO RT/RD is superior to midi styles regardless of which synth is used - with the caveat that there is a RealStyle that matches the style you want to play. Midi provides more flexibility to paint soundscapes using electronic instruments (synths).

I use BIAB for jazz accompaniment. I want live musicians playing acoustic instruments without paying for them. RealStyles are GREAT!

YMMV :-)

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Fixed: Chord sheet fonts were limited to a maximum size that would not quite fill the cells. This would cause superscript extensions to sit too high above the roots.
Fixed: Elastique stretching items were missing from the RealTracks Settings dialog.
Fixed: If pasting a single line of text into a layer using the layer context menu, nothing would be pasted.
Fixed: If pasting multiple lines of text into a layer, the last line would be skipped.
Fixed: Shift+Arrow keys were not working to highlight regions on the chord sheet.
Fixed: The "Select Hi-Q MIDI Patch Plugin" menu item should be available to the Melody, Soloist, and Thru tracks.
Fixed: The Help button in the MultiDrums dialog did not do anything
Fixed: The media player in the Hi-Q patch dialog did not have a volume control.
Fixed: The number pad keys 0, 1, 2 would trigger looping features are inappropriate times (eg. when in the song memo, or when selecting the chorus ending bar, etc.)
Fixed: The visual metronome would take over the StylePicker window when playing song demo.
Fixed: When running Band-in-a-Box with factory settings the floating mixer would appear in the top left corner of the screen the first time it was opened.
Fixed: When the "auto-resize" is enabled for the floating mixer, stopping playback should only move it back to the maximized position if it was in that position prior to playback.

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