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#442688 - 12/04/17 11:26 PM [UserTracks (and other add-ons)] Re: Plenty of issues & shortcomings still to fix (for staff & others interested) [Re: Jim Fogle]
Jon Thomas Offline
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Registered: 12/18/15
Posts: 172
Originally Posted By: Jim Fogle

Why not put it on a wishlist?


That's a good idea - even though I'm sure that at PG they are well aware of the current issues with th UT features.
Anyway, here's my wishlist:

- allow more flexibility in the timing requirement, as Icelander already stated. I think this is really the most relevant problem, because it really, really limits the quality and the kind of "usable" UTs that we can make. Icelander explained the issue very well, I'm not going to repeat it here. But this is really crucial.

- limit the amount of key transposition. This is also a big issue. Right now you can avoid wild transpositions from the BIAB playback engine, but you have to create 12 keys UTs (and set the BIAB playback to avoid any transposition), which is an enormous waste of time, hard drive space etc (imagine creating 12 keys performances for ALL variations, chords, substyles etc). Instead, if you create, say, a 6 keys UT, the BIAB playback engine should transpose at most by 1 semitone, not more (which would just fine, you dont lose much quality at all if audio is transposed by 1 semitone or two). As far as I can see, this is not what happens now. You get wild transpositions, no matter what. So, the solution could be:
A. make sure that the BIAB playback engine transposes only for the minimum necessary amount of semitones, at any given chord
B. give the user the ability to set the maximum amount of transposition (as a global setting, or as a song setting)

- implement holds, stops etc

I'm still hopeful smile



Edited by Jon Thomas (12/04/17 11:28 PM)
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#442806 - 12/05/17 11:13 AM [UserTracks (and other add-ons)] Re: Plenty of issues & shortcomings still to fix (for staff & others interested) [Re: Jon Thomas]
Jim Fogle Offline
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Registered: 08/20/11
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Look at the POP style templates posted in 2014 shortly after the UserTracks feature was introduced. You will see that you must make 50 UserTracks to enable the UserTracks to work properly over every available tempo between 50 - 300 BPM. The default is enabled so Band-in-a-Box makes it easy to overlook just how many RealTracks are needed for a guitar part played at different tempos. Take something "common" and "standard" like the Hank series of acoustic guitar rhythm tracks. Look inside the folders and you'll see there are bunches of audio tracks. You'll also notice there are bunches of folders to accomodate tempo changes. There is a lot of audio for just that one series. Same with some of the piano RealTracks. I understand why it takes a lot of audio to create a UserTracks once I look at RealTracks more closely.

RealTracks has an option so RealTracks automatically substitute when tempos change. Is that true of UserTracks? Don't know. Do we still need 50 UserTracks to cover all available tempos since élastique Pro by zplane has been upgraded to V3.1.11? Don't know.

Truthfully, the main use I've found for UserTracks is to fulfill a musical arrangement need specific to a song project. For example you want a specific guitar riff to play. Within that constraint a UserTracks works fine but outside of that song many people likely will not find the UserTracks very useful.
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#442809 - 12/05/17 11:26 AM [UserTracks (and other add-ons)] Re: Plenty of issues & shortcomings still to fix (for staff & others interested) [Re: Icelander]
jford Offline
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Registered: 12/20/00
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I think that, much like Bob Norton and his MIDI styles, were UserTracks to work mostly the same as RealTracks (and yes, it should take more than one minute and one take to create quality UserTracks) with holds and shots and ending and multiple chords and tempos, then that opens up a market for semi-pro players to create additional commercial-grade content for BIAB. But until all the issues are resolved, it's going to be perceived as a novelty and folks won't invest the time in creating that content.

The MIDI stylemaker (even with it's shortfalls) is pretty stable and mature and has a lot of capability for the average user to make really nice styles in the same quality as PGMusic provided styles. I think an overhaul to the StyleMaker user interface is in order, but it does work and it works well if you know what you're doing.

The same should be true of the UserTracks process.

My $0.02 worth.
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#442881 - 12/05/17 03:42 PM [UserTracks (and other add-ons)] Re: Plenty of issues & shortcomings still to fix (for staff & others interested) [Re: Icelander]
Jon Thomas Offline
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Registered: 12/18/15
Posts: 172
Jim
it's true that if you want to create a good quality UT you need to record a lot of audio. That's out of the question. Also, tempo is not really the problem with UTs. The problem, as I see it, is that:

1) even if you create A LOT of audio, in many case the UT will still sound bad, when changing chords, because of the extreme timing precision requirement that Icelander was talking about. Now, for some UTs this is not too much of a problem (when you don't have legato between chords, for example - I did create some UTs that sound absolutely perfect!!). But for (many) other kinds of UTs this problem makes it almost impossible to have them sound good, no matter how much audio you record, no matter how precise you try to be. Anyway, on this issue Icelander is much more competent than me and I think he explained it already very well

2) the other problem is also not about the tempo, but about key transposition. If during playback you set the song so that key transposition is allowed, with UTs you get some weird transpositions that don't seem to make musical (or logical) sense. If I have a recorded audio with the C major chord, and BIAB needs to play a Db major chord, I would want BIAB to transpose my C chord by 1 semitone, which would be totally fine. Instead, what happens is that I hear transpositions of MANY semitones (so for example not from C to Db, but from G to Db, or so ... I'm just guessing here), which is not only sounds really bad, but it's also unnecessary, since BIAB can use my readily available C major to be transposed into Db!
So, at the moment, there's only one solution to this problem: to record a 12 keys UT, and forbid key transposition with the song setting parameter during playback. Which is ok, it does lead to good results, but it's VERY inefficient. Why not allow the user to control the maximum number of semitones that BIAB transposes during playback instead? It would be a much more efficient way to manage the issue. In this way, I could record audio not to (unnecessarily) cover all keys, but to make a better UT with more variations etc.

Jford,
I totally agree with you. I think that PG will address this, eventually. I don't see why not, really. But BIAB is a very complex program and I guess that UTs are not a top priority. I think it's understandable. Maybe many users don't care about UTs, I dont know. I guess time will tell.


Edited by Jon Thomas (12/05/17 03:44 PM)
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#443006 - 12/06/17 08:08 AM [UserTracks (and other add-ons)] Re: Plenty of issues & shortcomings still to fix (for staff & others interested) [Re: Jim Fogle]
Icelander Offline
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Registered: 11/11/12
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Loc: Iceland
Originally Posted By: Jim Fogle
Great idea! Why not put it on a wishlist?
The simple answer to this rhetorical question is: Because it's redundant, since what he was basically proposing falls under what the function is already supposed to be able to do!
And specifically requesting for a function to actually work is not something any of us should ever have to make around here, for any function smirk
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#443011 - 12/06/17 08:16 AM [UserTracks (and other add-ons)] Re: Plenty of issues & shortcomings still to fix (for staff & others interested) [Re: jford]
Icelander Offline
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Registered: 11/11/12
Posts: 2853
Loc: Iceland
Originally Posted By: jford
The MIDI stylemaker (even with it's shortfalls) is pretty stable and mature and has a lot of capability for the average user to make really nice styles in the same quality as PGMusic provided styles.===The same should be true of the UserTracks process.
I have to agree and I'd even argue that as things are right now, by using the Stylemaker approach coupled with some decent sound plugins, you're far more likely to get dependable results.
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#443012 - 12/06/17 08:27 AM [UserTracks (and other add-ons)] Re: Plenty of issues & shortcomings still to fix (for staff & others interested) [Re: Jim Fogle]
Icelander Offline
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Registered: 11/11/12
Posts: 2853
Loc: Iceland
Originally Posted By: Jim Fogle
RealTracks has an option so RealTracks automatically substitute when tempos change. Is that true of UserTracks?
I just spotted this in the midst of your li'l "essay" there and thought I'd clarify: The answer to that question is No.
See, the Tempo swapping RT's are all listed and clearly defined (e.g. at what tempo one should take over from another) in a specific file, for which there's no equivalent assigned to Usetracks (nor can we apply any of its very confusing 'UT settings' to define our own ourselves). As for the stretching engine, that one does work on Usetracks (as it does with any audio file used in the program), but you would still want to create specific UT for each given tempo range (like I've done with my EleFfred sets for example), if your goal is to be able to confidently use it over a very wide tempo spectrum.


Edited by Icelander (12/06/17 09:05 AM)
Edit Reason: Correcting mistakes
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#443144 - 12/06/17 06:58 PM [UserTracks (and other add-ons)] Re: Plenty of issues & shortcomings still to fix (for staff & others interested) [Re: Icelander]
Jim Fogle Offline
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Registered: 08/20/11
Posts: 3853
Loc: Winston-Salem, NC USA
Eddie,

Thanks for the clarification.

I propose a good starting point is for PG Music would be to add an explanation for each setting in the UserTracks Development Settings screen. The explanation should be added to both the Band-in-a-Box and RealBand user manuals. I can't find it in either 2017 version.

That's been one of my annual wishlist requests since 2014.


Attachments
UserTracks Development Screen.jpg


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Jim Fogle
2018 BiaB (519) UltraPlusPak RB 2018 (Build 5)
Cakewalk by Bandlab - Sonar Home Studio - Cakewalk Music Creator 6 - Audacity
i3 laptop, 64bit Win 7, 8 GB ram, 480GB HDD
Music at: http://fogle622.wix.com/fogle622-audio-home

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#443182 - 12/06/17 11:28 PM [UserTracks (and other add-ons)] Re: Plenty of issues & shortcomings still to fix (for staff & others interested) [Re: Icelander]
Jon Thomas Offline
Apprentice

Registered: 12/18/15
Posts: 172
Mr Gannon,
thank you, that would be surely very useful.
However, I have a feeling that it wouldn't solve the problems that have been highlighted in this thread, but I could be wrong of course - for example, the "beat / bar markers" section in the settings is still "mysterious" to me smile so, I don't know .. maybe knowing how to use this setting would help in decreasing the artifacts that are heard when chords change in UTs with "legato-like" performances? I'm not sure. Anyway, explaining these settings would certainly be a very welcome help, and at least it would help us to have a better picture about what are the areas in which the "UT engine" needs improvements, and to clarify what users can and cannot do with UTs at the moment.
Thank you for listening!


Edited by Jon Thomas (12/06/17 11:29 PM)
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#443184 - 12/06/17 11:42 PM [UserTracks (and other add-ons)] Re: Plenty of issues & shortcomings still to fix (for staff & others interested) [Re: Icelander]
balbuena Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 12/04/13
Posts: 56
Hello to all please excuse me, I do not speak English so I use a translator.
Could Peter Gannon tell us if the usertrack problems mentioned above are likely to be solved in 2018, thanks for the response and good music to all.

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#443336 - 12/07/17 10:07 AM [UserTracks (and other add-ons)] Re: Plenty of issues & shortcomings still to fix (for staff & others interested) [Re: Icelander]
PeterGannon Offline
PG Music Staff

Registered: 05/29/00
Posts: 13453
Jim: >>> I propose a good starting point is for PG Music would be to add an explanation for each setting in the UserTracks Development Settings screen

Jim,
Yes, thats a good idea. We should get to that in Jan. 2018.

Balbuena: >>> Hello to all please excuse me, I do not speak English so I use a translator.
Could Peter Gannon tell us if the usertrack problems mentioned above are likely to be solved in 2018, thanks for the response and good music to all.

Balbuena,

Hopefully we can address many of them.

Peter
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#443414 - 12/07/17 02:34 PM [UserTracks (and other add-ons)] Re: Plenty of issues & shortcomings still to fix (for staff & others interested) [Re: PeterGannon]
Icelander Offline
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Registered: 11/11/12
Posts: 2853
Loc: Iceland
Originally Posted By: PeterGannon
>>>
Hopefully we can address many of them.

Peter
Hear hear! smile

Oh, and if this is indeed happening, then by all means please make sure to provide some video clips to go with, especially for the obscurely named UT "Development" section - and with audible examples of what changing those many confusing parameters actually sound like when checked/unchecked (very important!). That whole section is in my view the very heart of UT (or perhaps the 'brain' is more fitting) and the essential key to creating a UT product worth the effort in the first place.

p.s. I guess my 'rant' wasn't quite as finished as I thought after all crazy


Edited by Icelander (12/07/17 02:36 PM)
Edit Reason: Correcting mistakes
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#443421 - 12/07/17 02:56 PM [UserTracks (and other add-ons)] Re: Plenty of issues & shortcomings still to fix (for staff & others interested) [Re: Icelander]
JohnJohnJohn Offline
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Registered: 06/25/12
Posts: 2174
I was Very Excited when User Tracks were first added to BIAB. But then, based on the issues with them I have just assumed they had been abandoned by PGM. Does this thread mean they are going to be finished and fully implemented? It has always been a great idea.

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PG Music News
Band-in-a-Box® 2018 for Windows Build 520 Available!

Band-in-a-Box® Version 2018 for Windows users can download the latest free patch update, Build 250, here.

Summary of changes for Build 520 since 519 (July 17 2018):
Added: Save As style feature has support for MIDI velocity changes if volumes aren’t 90 on mixer when saved.
Added: Support for MIDI velocity changes in styles. Use the Misc-More dialog in StyleMaker to set velocity changes in MIDI styles.
Fixed: [Style Memos etc] button was not visible in the Style Editor -> Misc dialog.
Fixed: Bar lines would not display properly in the Audio Edit window if launching through the menu item "Audio Chord Wizard (Audio Edit)".
Fixed: Hitting the Return key while in the Audio Edit window might trigger Loop Screen mode.
Updated: PDF Manual and Help.

User Blog - Recording and Processing Vocals Using RealBand...

Joanne Cooper's latest blog post is a "start to finish" of how she records and processes vocals for her songs using her three "go-to" programs: RealBand, Melodyne, and Nectar from Izotope (with a little help from Band-in-a-Box...)!

Check out this blog post here.

Video - Using MIDI SuperTracks in Band-in-a-Box® for Windows!

Learn how you can add MIDI SuperTracks to your Band-in-a-Box® song?

Using MIDI SuperTracks in Band-in-a-Box® for Windows!

Video - Using MIDI SuperTracks in Band-in-a-Box® for Mac!

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Using MIDI SuperTracks in Band-in-a-Box® for Mac!

Musician Brent Mason in the Studio Recording RealTracks!

Before leaving Nashville, Tobin caught up with Brent Mason recording some future RealTracks in the studio.

We can't wait to hear them!

Video - Adding RealTracks to Your Band-in-a-Box® Song

There are 300 RealTracks Sets available (over 2,500 RealTracks!), and here at PG Music we have this to say about them: You'll want to use RealTracks in all of your projects... and you can!

But what if you're not sure how to add them to your Band-in-a-Box® song? We have a video for that! Click here to watch...

Save Notation Window as a Video with Band-in-a-Box® 2018 for Mac

Did you know... Band-in-a-Box® 2018 for Mac allows you to save the Notation Window as a video? What a great way to share your songs with users, and LEARN from the notation as you listen!

From the program manual:
[Save As] | Save as video
-In the Make Notation Video dialog, select a track at the upper left corner. (Note: The dialog title says “Make Chord Sheet Video” until you select a track.)
-You can also set the dimension (width/height) of the video and select the number of frames per second and a specific codec.
-Press the [OK - Render Video] button to start rendering the video. When the video has been created, press the [Show Video File] button.
-You can then double click on the file to watch the rendered video.

Note: A special use of this feature is to combine a Video RealTracks (new with version 2018) with the corresponding notation in a single video. This creates an educational video, which shows the actual performance with notation/tab, playing over your chord progression! To do this, right-click on the Master button or one of the track buttons at the top of the main screen and select Render Video(s) from the menu.

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