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#434070 - 10/18/17 12:34 PM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] BIAB as Disruptive Technology
David Snyder Online   happy
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This is a pick up on Matt Finley’s great post on BIAB audiophile.

In order to keep from getting lost in the weeds I started a new thread reflecting on the audiophile post.

First, great post, Matt! Would love to hear some of your new music and albums. Shoot me some links!!!

Here is OP everybody.

http://www.pgmusic.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=434069#Post434069

Now, here comes the cannon blast. Picking up on the "can you use BIAB to make an album" topic.

Matt, overall, your post gets into a thorny issue. Essentially BIAB in its current 2017 state is profoundly “disruptive” as a technology and some people don’t know what to do with that. In 2008 Harvey Gerst was arguing that he used BIAB all the time for demos and didn’t understand the vitriolic comments people made about the product. He finally gave up. And think how far BIAB has come since 2008. BIAB 2017 is mind boggling insofar as the quality of the sounds that can be used in professional productions.

Looking at Harvey’s client roster you would assume that he would not use or promote a non-musical product. You would also assume he knows what he is talking about and is not a con artist. Bob Dylan does not hire con artists. Frank Zappa didn’t either.

http://www.itrstudio.com/about.html

Part of the lingering ignorance about what BIAB can or can’t do (and its evolution as a full-on production tool) has to do with the fact that the music world is crawling with con artists and hucksters and for many of those people BIAB would be seen as a threat to their livelihood and so some paradoxical and nonsensical stuff happens and stupid stuff is said about the product from time to time on other musical forums. But, 90% of what I see going on in music (or any other business today) is marketing hype. It is a triumph of marketing and spin over substance on a colossal scale, everywhere you look, in every nook and cranny.

Here is one classic albeit “micro” example of how this world of hype impacted me and a co-writer:

A friend of mine in LA and I put out an album a few years ago that we were really happy with. Then we got an unsolicited letter from a producer type who said that for $20,000 or something he could help us redo all of our songs to take us over the top “to the top of Golden Charts and sound just like Adele”--and he was very critical. So he sent us some links to his songs. They were HORRIBLE. I would never have posted a single one of them on the forum in my wildest dreams. But he thought he was fabulous. We said no thanks. My friend and colleague, by the way, writes on art, music and technology for a rather large publication I can’t mention. He was not impressed. But he loves the stuff I do with BIAB for sure.

So here is the part I still don’t get:

People will sit around with their synths and beat boxes all day and whip up some stuff I could never listen to and say it is “legitimate” because they did it themselves. God bless them if they want to make this stuff, but heaven forbid if you say you are using Band in a Box as a production tool. Some folks give you that look like “How dare you!” (especially producers or people who just dropped 20 grand in a studio) but then you listen to THEIR stuff and you’re like, “Ugh….well….how should I say this….”

I honestly think that BIAB is at a watershed moment in its history where it has to break across some kind of marketing chasm so that people can just go ahead and admit that it is a wonderful production tool.

But right now, I do highly suspect that other producers like Gerst are using it—but they never tell anyone. They keep it a secret. I don’t think it has to be kept a secret, really, but that is sort of where it is right now as far as I can tell. The people who truly understand the power of the tool just keep their mouths shut and go about their business.

Meanwhile, there is a deluge of snake oil salesmen hitting up every musician I know saying “If you pay me $20,000 I can make you sound legit.”

No thanks. I’d rather do it myself. And oh, by the way, I say to people who scream that you should “play your own instrument”: I do play my own instruments. And I use BIAB. So there.


Now we’re sticky....


smile
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#434071 - 10/18/17 01:03 PM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: BIAB as Disruptive Technology [Re: David Snyder]
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David, here's a link to Matt's CD. I bought shortly after Matt discussed it previously on the forum.

I've also had the privilege of hearing him and his band play live (along with their local symphony orchestra). Much fun. My understanding is that while the songs started in BIAB, everything on the album is a live performance by extremely talented musicians. It's a good listen.
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#434072 - 10/18/17 01:07 PM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: BIAB as Disruptive Technology [Re: jford]
David Snyder Online   happy
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Thanks!!!
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#434075 - 10/18/17 01:26 PM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: BIAB as Disruptive Technology [Re: David Snyder]
Matt Finley Online   content
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Thank you both! John is correct that all the songs on my 2006 CD were written in BIAB from 1993 - 2005, and distributed to the musicians to hear, but were then recorded live in the studio for the CD. This is the same system I still use for concerts: I send my composer's demos of BIAB songs to the group, and we play the concert with no rehearsal needed.

Bear in mind there were no RealDrums until two years after I recorded my CD, and RealTracks until three years after. That was one of the main points I made in another thread, that BIAB has come along so far that I could layer a RealTrack in with live studio tracks, and it sounds great. I'm not to the point that I would make a CD with all BIAB backing tracks, but it's getting closer.
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#434078 - 10/18/17 02:01 PM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: BIAB as Disruptive Technology [Re: David Snyder]
Matcham Offline
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Loc: Byron Bay, NSW, Australia
Interesting post, David, and I'm sure it will provoke a lot of discussion. Now that I'm a total BIAB convert here are a few observations about how it is received.

Most musos I talk to have heard of BIAB but few know much about it. Some tried it in its early days with its plinkety midi sounds and haven't cottoned on to Realtracks. Others tried BIAB early on and say they could never get theirs heads around the software.

Musos I've demonstrated BIAB to are super impressed with the sounds. Always. They're still mostly scared of the interface based on past experience, and they're bothered about themselves and others losing work.

My listeners initially feel let down when I explain how I created the track. Then they're curious and interested and maybe even impressed. Still they wonder what chemistry might have happened if I used 'real' musos. (Must admit I do too sometimes.)

Electronic music and therefore sampling is the norm for younger artists. I see kids all the time creating music from found sounds. That's the world they live in and they don't have a problem with it. I suspect it's more of a problem for older artists for whom 'authenticity' has a different meaning, especially where real instruments are concerned.

I agree that BIAB is disruptive but as part of a music trend that is becoming more reliant on sampled sounds at the expense of studio recorded musicians. It's just that BIAB's sampled sounds are more acoustic than electronic. I'd be surprised if a lot of demos aren't recorded using BIAB, and I'm sure a lot of music licensing creators (eg Taxi members) are using BIAB to create tracks. Nevertheless BIAB still has a long way to go in market growth provided they can keep competitors at bay.



Edited by Matcham (10/18/17 02:02 PM)
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#434079 - 10/18/17 02:07 PM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: BIAB as Disruptive Technology [Re: David Snyder]
MarioD Offline
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David, I agree about BiaB has to break some kind of marketing barrier. But IMHO that will not happen until a few things happen. Some are going 64 bit, a more modern GUI, a rewrite of the menus, etc.

I know that this will tick off some of the users here but I have had musicians say BiaB sounds great but the layout is terrible and I will never use any 32 bit software.

Many of use don't care about these things but the younger generation does. Personally I would like to see those things happen.

Like you I also play instruments and I also use BiaB. Plus I am not ashamed to admit it!

YMMV
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#434085 - 10/18/17 03:10 PM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: BIAB as Disruptive Technology [Re: David Snyder]
JohnJohnJohn Offline
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Great post David! I have some thoughts (surprise!)

First regarding telling others about using Band-in-a-Box my short answer is...don't! There are way too many pissing matches just begging to be fought with friends, fans, musicians, producers, etc. Just steer clear of all of those and keep your "secrets" to yourself!

And since I have rarely if ever been a sneezer (Seth Godin's definition; not the one in Urban Dictionary!), I have very little interest in promoting the product since I do not receive royalties or discounts for doing so.

Next, as to why Band-in-a-Box is not more widely accepted and acknowledged I think there are several reasons and below are just a few I thought of...

1) As you pointed out, there is great skepticism that the product will do what it claims. When I first bought it in 2012 I was quite skeptical as it sounded too good to be true. Were it not for the enthusiasm here in the forums I probably would have taken a pass on it. Even when I was entering my credit card I did not believe it did what they said and I was prepared to exercise the 30 return option!

2) The price to get started is fairly high; it will not usually be an impulse purchase. And the cheaper packages do not deliver the true BIAB experience since they include such a limited subset of RealTracks.

3) BIAB makes it super easy to create an awesome classic country song, a cool classic rock and roll song, a beautiful classic surf song and I guess classic jazz songs. But note the word "classic". To me it is a whole lot harder to create something that sounds fresh and in line with 2017 popular music. Maybe part of that is the modern music is more complicated and does not follow the classic song structures and maybe BIAB could just use some modernizing when it comes to RealTracks. I know someone is going to jump in and tell me it will produce perfect 2017 music but if so I have not figured out how to do that!!

4) On a related note, there is likely a concern among professional musicians that using a product like BIAB to write original songs is risky because many of the RealTracks have an almost signature sound that can make songs sound too similar to each other.

5) The interface still looks and feels outdated and is still too complex and confusing. I know this will start a firestorm among some folks around here but younger people care about the interface and overall ease of use! That is why you see such sleek GUIs being offered for almost every other modern music product.

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#434098 - 10/18/17 05:13 PM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: BIAB as Disruptive Technology [Re: Matcham]
David Snyder Online   happy
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Thanks, I have a funny story coming up here in a sec....

smile
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#434099 - 10/18/17 05:14 PM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: BIAB as Disruptive Technology [Re: MarioD]
David Snyder Online   happy
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Thanks Mario!
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#434100 - 10/18/17 05:37 PM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: BIAB as Disruptive Technology [Re: JohnJohnJohn]
David Snyder Online   happy
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Hey JohnJohnJohn,

Great reply man! Very eloquent!

Hey something really, really funny happened just now that is so in line with what we are talking about I had to share. It really made me laugh, thinking about these posts.

So, I just left my songwriter's meeting at a huge music store here that sponsors us for meeting space, and a guy showed up who is the top guitar instructor there, a multi-instrumentalist from Berklee, who plays and teaches guitar (wicked, wicked chops), violin, viola, cello, saxophone, brass, flute and bass.

I played him something Floyd and I are working on and about to release (and a few other things done in BIAB recently) over the PA system in the large rehearsal space. Played it loud. Really loud.

After they were done, he stared at me. This is the nearly exact avalanche of words that came out of his mouth next and I am not lying.

"D....., where the....did you finds those musicians! Those people are killer man! Jeez. What the...! I never heard a drummer so tight!! Man! What studio did you do that in? The B3 is killer!!! Man, let me be in your band. Please. These songs are epic. I want to play in your band man. I have a bass player and a drummer and we can practice here. Some of the other master instructors here are gonna want to play too. Can they play? Can I put a horn section together for you man? We can be like the E Street band. We can kill it dude. Do you want to start practicing next week? My manager is probably gonna wanna sing some back up vocals. Will you let her?? We can use our sound stage to practice on. What do you say man? Are we on? These songs are huge. Hey, where in the ....did you find people who can play like that? Man, I am going to have actually practice! Ha! Ha! I don't even know what some of those chords are! What WERE those bridge chords? Wow."

Direct quote. Verbatim.

I said..

"Uh, ok man. I just wanna play acoustic and sing the songs. Whatever you say. Pull the band together buddy."

He said:

"I'm on it," and walked out front to start talking to people.

So, maybe there is something to this whole Band in a Box thing after all.

Hmmmmmmmmm.

What to do. What to do.
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#434117 - 10/18/17 08:35 PM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: BIAB as Disruptive Technology [Re: David Snyder]
JohnJohnJohn Offline
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Originally Posted By: David Snyder
What to do. What to do.

Well, if that is a true story my hat is off to you! You got someone's attention (without copping to using BIAB) who can maybe bring the real musicians and work with your songs! I hope it works out for you!!

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#434131 - 10/18/17 09:57 PM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: BIAB as Disruptive Technology [Re: David Snyder]
Charlie Fogle Offline
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JohnJohnJohn Quote: " 3) I know someone is going to jump in and tell me it will produce perfect 2017 music but if so I have not figured out how to do that!!"

Matcham Quote: "Electronic music and therefore sampling is the norm for younger artists. I see kids all the time creating music from found sounds. That's the world they live in and they don't have a problem with it."

BIAB is more than capable for producing perfect 2017 music. Here's why.

2017 music is loops, samples and synthesizers. Young artists do create music from found sounds. What that means is they spend hours searching for and extracting samples from commercial songs and midi libraries. A young artist may cannot afford a thousand dollar library but can learn to find and sample high quality sounds from commercial recordings other artists have produced using the high quality, expensive library. The sampled sound is brought into a synth and the synth plays new original music using the sampled sound.

While BIAB generated tracks may sound classic, dated and similar. BIAB generated tracks that are sampled will not sound in that classic, similar manner. There are more than 2,500 hours of pristine recorded Real Tracks available to be sampled and looped into modern music. The instrument can easily be generated for sampling as an isolated, pristine instrument. The sampling potential is nearly limitless.

I recently took an online midi programming course that was quite eye opening to how pop, edm, house, rap, and country music are constructed. There was extensive discussion and demonstration how modern musicians work entirely in the box to locate, extract and make sampled music from commercial recordings. isolating a clean sound from multiple instruments playing can take some dexterous cutting and pasting. The producer never mentioned BIAB or any similar program. He did have expensive libraries for his synths. Using samples and loops, tracks at a length of 4 to 8 bars are generated, quantized and duplicated to the length of the song. This is repeated for 4 to 6 additional sampled synth tracks to create a beat, bass, chord progression and melody. The song is then structured into the intro, verse, chorus and bridge as desired. Additional tracks of acoustic instruments, vocals, backing vocals and fills are added.

A lot of forum members are familiar with Graham Cochran of The Recording Revolution. He made a recent Facebook post where he demonstrates some of these techniques and interestingly samples A Savage Garden vocal piece from 4th of July. It is around the 5:35 mark I believe.

I tried to post the link but was unable to get it to open. For those who have Facebook, they can access his FB page to watch it.

He also posted a similar video on YouTube - Here -

There are literally thousands of hours of audio in BIAB available for sampling.

Charlie
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#434139 - 10/19/17 12:10 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: BIAB as Disruptive Technology [Re: David Snyder]
lambada Offline
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Registered: 12/18/06
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Interesting posts. I have to say, I agree with johnjohnjohn, but who knows, it's nearly Xmas! I'm counting on my Voicelive 3 Ext and Reaper / iZotope to give me the modern sound. The only problem is my lack of talent.. cry .... What's for sure is the BIAB/Realband get you into the ball park for a lot of areas.


Edited by lambada (10/19/17 12:11 AM)
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#434143 - 10/19/17 02:45 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: BIAB as Disruptive Technology [Re: JohnJohnJohn]
BlueAttitude Offline
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Registered: 11/30/07
Posts: 1001
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: JohnJohnJohn


4) On a related note, there is likely a concern among professional musicians that using a product like BIAB to write original songs is risky because many of the RealTracks have an almost signature sound that can make songs sound too similar to each other.

This is true.
I tend to avoid realtracks that have a distinctive riff for this very reason, and now only use the ones that are more generic.
I almost always record my own guitar tracks, but I recall a couple of years ago I used a realtrack guitar that had a great riff that I liked for a blues tune. Couple of weeks later someone else posted a blues tune using the same realtrack. 12 bar blues, same riff, basically the same song with different lyrics :P

But, using the more generic realtracks is not a problem, and the more tracks you can record yourself the better off you will be at coming up with something unique IMHO.

Originally Posted By: JohnJohnJohn

5) The interface still looks and feels outdated and is still too complex and confusing. I know this will start a firestorm among some folks around here but younger people care about the interface and overall ease of use! That is why you see such sleek GUIs being offered for almost every other modern music product.


Agree 100% that it needs a facelift. I've been using the program since 2002 and it hasn't changed that much. Doesn't bother me, but someone new looking at the program might be put off by the dated interface.

Good post BTW David!

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#434160 - 10/19/17 06:46 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: BIAB as Disruptive Technology [Re: David Snyder]
Guitarhacker Offline
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Registered: 04/03/09
Posts: 5302
I need to get back to the songwriter meetings.... all the good stuff happens when I'm not there.


Yeah, I've had that battle... uhhh, I mean "discussion", in the Sonar forums a few times. I'd post a song done with BB and when people asked, I told them who was playing and the war would commence. Everything from I'm cheating to ....well you can imagine. It would usually end up stating that recording itself was cheating and disingenuous since it wasn't organic and live. Oh well, you can't please everyone. I eventually stopped including the info on the players and PM'ing anyone who asked "who played the steel, or the fiddle" to kind of keep the conversation on track regarding the recording crits I was seeking.

I had one guy over there who runs a few professional studios in another state make the comment that the fiddle in one of the tracks sounded so real that he could "hear the rosin on the bow".... quite a compliment knowing who this guy was and the quality of the work he was capable of doing.

I think most people are threatened by the quality of the sounds when compared to what they can personally do. I'll be the first to admit that the studio players are way beyond what I could conjure up trying to play B3, fiddle, piano, and yes, even some of the guitar work. Especially if I try to emulate it with midi and samples. The biggest thing is the quality of the sounds. I might be able to play a more interesting guitar part..... lead or rhythm, but nailing the quality of the recorded acoustic guitar.... hard to do.

My main argument point to the ones who were against using BB was this. If you can't or don't play a particular instrument, you have to hire someone to do it for you. What's the difference between hiring someone in a session and using BB? Do you consider hiring session cats to be cheating? Of course not. For me, it is essentially the same thing. The big difference is that if I'm writing and recording a lot, I don't have the budget to be hiring top quality musicians to do demo sessions on my songs. And we all know that the folks listening to the music don't want to hear amateurish sounding players and bad quality music. Financially, BB works better for me in that regard. Furthermore, you couldn't afford to hire Brent Mason and some of the other top players for your sessions anyway, or wait until they could schedule your session. If I need Brent at 10pm or 10am, BB makes him available instantly.

David, did you ever tell the guy the truth about the session players and break his heart?
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