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#5533 - 05/13/08 04:31 PM [Band-in-a-Box Wishlist] band in a box GUI
guitarsonic Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 05/10/08
Posts: 34
Loc: Germany
hello,

it would be great if you can redesign the GUI. In this state it looks old-fashionned, more like a random collection of functions and is therefore not very productive.

There are great GUI designs out there (Cubase, ...) which you could imitate.

Best regards,

AT Nguyen

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#5534 - 05/29/08 09:03 AM [Band-in-a-Box Wishlist] Re: band in a box GUI [Re: guitarsonic]
Michael Khor Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 12/02/02
Posts: 60
Loc: Malaysia
Hi, BB GUI has improved over the years but at rather very slow and conservative pace, probably to keep its appearance vintage BB pre-2000. I would suggest all to look at how User Interfaces are done in other complex apps like Photoshop/Photo-Brush and Sony DVD Architect for redesign ideas. Even better, go all the way to look at MS Office latest smart "ribbons".

Some changes could be :
1. Limit the double rows screen ivories to more realistic 10 octaves. (This will release some screen real estate.) Maybe increase to four rows to show each part more separately.
2. Allows the icon & button toolbars to have options for smaller neater / compact sizes and also without titles.
3. Use tabbed interfaces to organize toolbars and sub-menu dialogs. e.g. Style Category selection could be faster with shorter tabbed lists instead of one long vertical listings.
4. Besides spinner for entering values, use horizontal or vertical slider line to set value which also gives us visual cue.
5. Wide displays are becoming the norm, hence gives options put buttons on the left/right instead of top/bottom.
6. Icons color scheme can be more pastel shades instead of the bright basic colours to make it less distracting or kindergarten feel.
7. Translucent option for ivory, toolbars and windows(eg Big Lyrics, Conductor, StyleMaker) would be a great "gimmick" or helpful.
8. Multi-files can be edited and cut-paste between them.

BB is fast on even relatively slow old PC because of its tight programming. However PCs today can easily cope with GUI stuffs and memory requirements.
There are pro & con with each changes that must be weighed, e.g. tabbed interface would required two clicks if a needed button is hidden, hence reducing its accessability.

regards
michael

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#5535 - 05/29/08 09:33 AM [Band-in-a-Box Wishlist] Re: band in a box GUI [Re: Michael Khor]
Lawrie Offline
Expert

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 1439
Loc: NSW, Australia
G'day Michael,
I agree, there is significant room for improvement in the BIAB UI - after 6 months I'm still having trouble finding things, but please, the lousy m$ "Stupid Ribbons" in office 07 is, IMHO, not a good idea - that would definitely drive me nuts.
_________________________
--=-- My credo: If it's worth doing, it's worth overdoing - just ask my missus, she'll tell ya laugh --=--
You're only paranoid if you're wrong!

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#5536 - 05/30/08 11:10 AM [Band-in-a-Box Wishlist] Re: band in a box GUI [Re: Lawrie]
guitarsonic Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 05/10/08
Posts: 34
Loc: Germany
new GUI should improve in my opion these things:

- a more intuituve approach
- a more logical workflow
- a more streamlined interface (what you don't need right now should not be visible)

it would not be great if you can do one thing by many different ways. This redundancy just makes things more confusing. Concentrating on best practices should help (also to reduce the size of user manual)

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#5537 - 05/30/08 02:02 PM [Band-in-a-Box Wishlist] Re: band in a box GUI [Re: guitarsonic]
jford Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/20/00
Posts: 10616
Loc: Pensacola, Florida
Quote:

what you don't need right now should not be visible




One of the problems with this is that many people use BIAB in different ways. So what you need right now is different that what I need right now. Someone who uses BIAB to compose will use a different set of tools than one who uses BIAB to gig live, which will be different from someone who is mainly into bringing in MIDI files to jam along to, which will be different from someone who uses BIAB as a somewhat limited, but useful recording studio. So what should be visible? If you polled folks, my guess is that the answer would be, well show me everything I (and that's I with a big capital letter) need. Might not be what you need.

I'm not saying that there can't be some consolidation and streamlining of features in the interface, just the recognition over the years that many people have posted comments to the effect of, "I don't need or use this feature, so why is it even here". As if...
_________________________
John

HP Win10Pro-64, 8GB
ASUS Win10Pro-64, 16GB
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H/W-Behringer U-Phoria UMC404HD, Casio Kbds
S/W-BB/RB2018/Sonar/Reaper/Studio One/Samplitude/MixBus/Notion/Finale/Noteworthy/NI Komplete/Halion/Garritan/IK
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#5538 - 05/30/08 04:53 PM [Band-in-a-Box Wishlist] Re: band in a box GUI [Re: jford]
guitarsonic Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 05/10/08
Posts: 34
Loc: Germany
>>Someone who uses BIAB to compose will use a different set of tools than one who uses BIAB to gig live, which will be >>different from someone who is mainly into bringing in MIDI files to jam along to, which will be different from someone who >>
>>uses BIAB as a somewhat limited, but useful recording studio

I agree with that. The multifunctional aspect of BiAB is both its strength and its weakness, especially when its functions are not channeled into workflows. Until now the GUI just looks like a "table of content" of book. Redesign GUI does not simply mean rearraging the buttons but much more: you have to define clear workflows and incorporate them into the interface.
One step forward could be the fact that the user could choose at the beginning from different project types. Depending on the project type chosen the GUI is then customzed to fit. What I am saying is that functions could be grouped more together to serve the given context.

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#5539 - 05/30/08 11:13 PM [Band-in-a-Box Wishlist] Re: band in a box GUI [Re: guitarsonic]
PeterGannon Offline
PG Music Staff

Registered: 05/29/00
Posts: 13456
>>> it would not be great if you can do one thing by many different ways. This redundancy just makes things more confusing. Concentrating on best practices should help (also to reduce the size of user manual)

I disagree. Best practices allow for many ways to do the same thing. How many ways can you copy text for example (button, keystrokes Ctrl-C/Ctrl-Insert/Alt E-C, right click, menu item). Best to have the option available when people need it.
_________________________
Have Fun!
Peter Gannon
PG Music Inc.

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#5540 - 05/30/08 11:30 PM [Band-in-a-Box Wishlist] Re: band in a box GUI [Re: PeterGannon]
PeterGannon Offline
PG Music Staff

Registered: 05/29/00
Posts: 13456
Thanks for the suggestions.

>>> 1 . Limit the double rows screen ivories to more realistic 10 octaves. (This will release some screen real estate.) Maybe increase to four rows to show each part more separately.

There are 6 instruments that play at once, at non-overlapping areas of the keyboard, that's why there are more than 10 octaves.

>>> 2. Allows the icon & button toolbars to have options for smaller neater / compact sizes and also without titles.

These can all be done via Prefs- Display - Toolbar mode.

>>> 3. Use tabbed interfaces to organize toolbars and sub-menu dialogs. e.g. Style Category selection could be faster with shorter tabbed lists instead of one long vertical listings.

Good idea. We plan something like that for the styles window.

>>> 4. Besides spinner for entering values, use horizontal or vertical slider line to set value which also gives us visual cue.

Also good.

>>> 5. Wide displays are becoming the norm, hence gives options put buttons on the left/right instead of top/bottom.

What are you referring to here. What buttons are on top/bottom?

>>> 6. Icons color scheme can be more pastel shades instead of the bright basic colours to make it less distracting or kindergarten feel.
- I like the colors, but interestede to see what others think.

>>> 7. Translucent option for ivory, toolbars and windows(eg Big Lyrics, Conductor, StyleMaker) would be a great "gimmick" or helpful.

Yes, that would be good. Will look into it.

>>> 8. Multi-files can be edited and cut-paste between them.

Now you can import a file to append it to current file. That allows copy and paste. I agree that copy/paste between would be good too,
_________________________
Have Fun!
Peter Gannon
PG Music Inc.

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#5541 - 05/31/08 09:25 PM [Band-in-a-Box Wishlist] Re: band in a box GUI [Re: PeterGannon]
WienSam Offline
Veteran

Registered: 01/16/05
Posts: 4900
Loc: A corner of Vienna, Austria, t...
Well, I somewhat disagree with all of the above (though that may not be very helpful). Take a look at Melodyne or Cubase - not exactly User Friendly (which BIAB certainly IS). I have recently had to download training videos for both of these products (in the case of Melodyne it is over 3.5 hours long - in the case of Cubase it necessitates about 9 hours of video training through 3 levels) in order to be able to use them. As all I need Melodyne for is to correct vocal pitch and timing, as opposed to full creation with BIAB, I find that over-simplification is NOT the way to go. If it needs 3.5 hours of video to learn how to pitch correct and quantise, then BIAB would need 24 hours of video at least...

As to the colour scheme - I am perfectly happy the way it is. I kind of like the bold colour scheme.

Peter, you have designed and developed what is, to my mind, the most User Friendly and most capable music generation and recording software available ANYWHERE.

What's more, although I do use Cubase from time to time (purely in collaboration situations with those who have yet to experience PTPA), PTPA is simplicity in itself. I even use PTPA to record and mix my VOICEOVERS (i.e. no music involved at all).

Thank you so much for such wonderfully designed, adaptable, user friendly programmes.

Pro viso, my opinion is that of a singer-songwriter and voiceover artist who plays some guitar (if only to support his vocals). I am not an instrumentalist (though I have studied several instruments from the wind and string sections).

Of course, there is always room for improvement but I, for one, will not be too happy if you deviate too far from the ways things already are. What next? Press one button to compose an entire song? All FX at the touch of a button are generically applied?
_________________________
Follow That Dream

Sam
Karaoke King

--------------------

Turning that corner again - I have to keep following that dream, no matter what

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#5542 - 06/01/08 06:37 AM [Band-in-a-Box Wishlist] Re: band in a box GUI [Re: WienSam]
jford Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/20/00
Posts: 10616
Loc: Pensacola, Florida
Quote:

>>> 5. Wide displays are becoming the norm, hence gives options put buttons on the left/right instead of top/bottom.

What are you referring to here. What buttons are on top/bottom?




Hi, Peter -

I could be wrong, but this sounds like he's looking for dockable toolbars to me, where you can take the tool bar and move it to any side of the screen (top/bottom/left/right), or detach it into its own separate window.

Quote:

>>> 8. Multi-files can be edited and cut-paste between them.

Now you can import a file to append it to current file. That allows copy and paste. I agree that copy/paste between would be good too,




I read this as having a multi-document interface, where you can have several BIAB songs open in their own windows (such as Microsoft Word allows you to open word processing multiple documents open at the same time), and then move between them, as well as cut and paste between them. This prevents having to open/close individual documents, and once open, each document remembers where it's at. That way, you can more easily work between the two. I would definitely like to see this feature, as well.
_________________________
John

HP Win10Pro-64, 8GB
ASUS Win10Pro-64, 16GB
HP Win7Pro-64, 8GB

H/W-Behringer U-Phoria UMC404HD, Casio Kbds
S/W-BB/RB2018/Sonar/Reaper/Studio One/Samplitude/MixBus/Notion/Finale/Noteworthy/NI Komplete/Halion/Garritan/IK
Web-http://www.sus4chord.com

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#5543 - 06/01/08 10:29 AM [Band-in-a-Box Wishlist] Re: band in a box GUI [Re: jford]
MarioD Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/27/03
Posts: 11336
Loc: Hamlin NY
Quote:

>>> 8. Multi-files can be edited and cut-paste between them.

Now you can import a file to append it to current file. That allows copy and paste. I agree that copy/paste between would be good too,




I read this as having a multi-document interface, where you can have several BIAB songs open in their own windows (such as Microsoft Word allows you to open word processing multiple documents open at the same time), and then move between them, as well as cut and paste between them. This prevents having to open/close individual documents, and once open, each document remembers where it's at. That way, you can more easily work between the two. I would definitely like to see this feature, as well.




+1
_________________________
My mind is like my Internet browser: 19 tabs open, 3 of them are frozen & I have no idea where the music is coming from.

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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#5544 - 06/01/08 04:29 PM [Band-in-a-Box Wishlist] Re: band in a box GUI [Re: PeterGannon]
Michael Khor Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 12/02/02
Posts: 60
Loc: Malaysia
Quote:


>>> 1 . Limit the double rows screen ivories to more realistic 10 octaves. (This will release some screen real estate.) Maybe increase to four rows to show each part more separately.

There are 6 instruments that play at once, at non-overlapping areas of the keyboard, that's why there are more than 10 octaves.



IMHO, it could be more useful visually and for editing if the keyboards show actual positions of the notes being played (based on midi note or actual frequency scale). The free VanBasco Karaoke Player had a great Midi Output display for all 16 channels.

Quote:

>>> 2. Allows the icon & button toolbars to have options for smaller neater / compact sizes and also without titles.

These can all be done via Prefs- Display - Toolbar mode.



True, and BB has well-crafted 24-pixel sized icons. Suggest to add option for smaller 16-pixel icons (BB menu can also benefit from this icon size).

Quote:

>>> 5. Wide displays are becoming the norm, hence gives options put buttons on the left/right instead of top/bottom.

What are you referring to here. What buttons are on top/bottom?




Above image is a mock-up of BB main windows at 800 pixel width on a regular WXGA screen. The extra left area is simply filled with toolbars icons+texts and a portion of the Conductor Window. You can see that the extra space freed-up can be used to endless possibilities and for new features and designs like a modern part selectors/controls.

Currently BB insists to fill the whole screen display upon start-up and after that its various windows cannot be correctly re-size. We can however trick BB to use a smaller display size by adjusting Windows Display Properties before starting BB, and then without closing BB, restore back Windows Display Properties to actual size.

Hence, an easy and quick implementation here is for BB to add an option to set its Windows size manually (eg.XGA 1024x768).
Note: The Conductor Window icon text has a typo error "Conduction Window".

Quote:

>>> 6. Icons color scheme can be more pastel shades instead of the bright basic colours to make it less distracting or kindergarten feel.
- I like the colors, but interestede to see what others think.



BB could add files for user-designed icons besides the current Prefs-Colors Selection.

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#5545 - 06/01/08 06:11 PM [Band-in-a-Box Wishlist] Re: band in a box GUI [Re: Lawrie]
Michael Khor Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 12/02/02
Posts: 60
Loc: Malaysia
Quote:

G'day Michael,
I agree, there is significant room for improvement in the BIAB UI - after 6 months I'm still having trouble finding things, but please, the lousy m$ "Stupid Ribbons" in office 07 is, IMHO, not a good idea - that would definitely drive me nuts.



M$ latest ribbon look is a definite shock for a lot of people, but it goes to show how much M$ is willing to "re-invent" all its products UI.
PG and teams can research and pick the best UI for future BB releases, and move away from its Atari origin to today's Duo/Quad-core era.

BB can benefit from UI methods like "sliding accordian" to hide/display icons, both sideways and vertically.
e.g. to cater for different users' roles, look at how Spybot S&D implement the left sidebar in a vertical hide/display UI.

I hope other users can also join in and give useful specific examples of UI that could work in BB.

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#5546 - 06/01/08 08:10 PM [Band-in-a-Box Wishlist] Re: band in a box GUI [Re: Michael Khor]
guitarsonic Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 05/10/08
Posts: 34
Loc: Germany
one improvement could be greying out those options which are not possible in the current use case. i suspect that some crashes just result from not allowed operations.

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#5547 - 06/01/08 09:57 PM [Band-in-a-Box Wishlist] Re: band in a box GUI [Re: Michael Khor]
Lawrie Offline
Expert

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 1439
Loc: NSW, Australia
G'day Michael,
Quote:


M$ latest ribbon look is a definite shock for a lot of people, but it goes to show how much M$ is willing to "re-invent" all its products UI.
PG and teams can research and pick the best UI for future BB releases, and move away from its Atari origin to today's Duo/Quad-core era.

BB can benefit from UI methods like "sliding accordian" to hide/display icons, both sideways and vertically.
e.g. to cater for different users' roles, look at how Spybot S&D implement the left sidebar in a vertical hide/display UI.

I hope other users can also join in and give useful specific examples of UI that could work in BB.




It's not so much a "shock" as the need to relearn products people have been using effectively for over a decade. I have customers who can't find anything in that ribbon. They just want to work, not play with what to them seems to simply be a new toy.

IMHO m$'s real angle here is - new look = increased sales 'cos people need to have "the latest and greatest" but different is not necessarily better... In the business world it is a huge cost in staff retraining. My customers mostly turn it off.

Spybot's UI is more welcome. I note that it is not dissimilar to Outlook in some respects which, of course, makes it more familiar as well.

I would welcome multiple documents and resizable windows in BIAB. I currently run dual 22" flat panels so it isn't as much of a problem but it is certainly a limiting factor. Given that we don't seem to be able to get more than 4 bars across the screen then dockable toolbars would also be welcome. That way I can get more effective use of my screen real estate.

Actually, being able to have multiple documents (songs) open and to control windows size would allow me to have a song on each screen... Good for all kinds of stuff - I use this in Noteworthy Composer a lot for copy and paste between works and occasionally templates I have setup.
_________________________
--=-- My credo: If it's worth doing, it's worth overdoing - just ask my missus, she'll tell ya laugh --=--
You're only paranoid if you're wrong!

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#5548 - 06/02/08 08:47 AM [Band-in-a-Box Wishlist] Re: band in a box GUI [Re: Lawrie]
guitarsonic Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 05/10/08
Posts: 34
Loc: Germany
>... It's not so much a "shock" as the need to relearn products people have been using effectively for over a decade
>... My customers mostly turn it off

vice versa, new potential customers are turned off because of the outdated GUI design. It's the question what you familar with. I think BIAB is so successful because of its content not because of its GUI. At the moment there is no other product which can compared with BIAB (GuitarPro is very much limited to guitar as instrument). Supposed there would be one with a more modern GUI design then I will go for it. There are some reviews out there where other people also complain about the GUI. I am not talking about the veterans who used BIAB over many years.

The problem is that PG music keeps adding many new features without changing much the GUI over the years. each GUI design started out with certain key concept. When you keep adding new feature without changing the GUI you will end up with a mismatch. For the veterans each new release means only a incremental learning process because they work with the product in such a long time. However, for newcomers this GUI is certainly not very intuitive and attractive.

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#5549 - 06/02/08 03:21 PM [Band-in-a-Box Wishlist] Re: band in a box GUI [Re: guitarsonic]
filkertom Offline
Veteran

Registered: 01/03/06
Posts: 2028
Loc: Ann Arbor, MI
I admit that I wouldn't object to a little modernizing of the GUI, at least to bring it that much more into line with current conventions. Dockable toolbars and tabbed windows -- maybe even a dockable tabbed subwindow as in Acid or Reaper -- would be aces. You could put the Styles, the RealTracks, and our hypothetical we wants it my Preciousssss mixer down there....
Quote:

>>> 8. Multi-files can be edited and cut-paste between them.

Now you can import a file to append it to current file. That allows copy and paste. I agree that copy/paste between would be good too,


Appending doesn't work very well if you keep running into that (everybody say it with me) 255-bar limit.

And we've already got a color-scheme system; just open Preferences and click on Colors. Although I will grant that all them pastels simply don't look hep enough....
_________________________
Best,
Tom Smith
My Music at Bandcamp
Win10/64 • i5-3570K • 16 GB RAM
Audiophile 192 • BIAB 2017 • Reaper 5
AKG C1000S • Behringer Xynex1002

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#5550 - 06/02/08 07:50 PM [Band-in-a-Box Wishlist] Re: band in a box GUI [Re: filkertom]
WienSam Offline
Veteran

Registered: 01/16/05
Posts: 4900
Loc: A corner of Vienna, Austria, t...
Dockable toolbars and tabbed windows would not go amiss. Those who want to stay with the 'Classic' look still could while others could customise the layout to their hearts' content
_________________________
Follow That Dream

Sam
Karaoke King

--------------------

Turning that corner again - I have to keep following that dream, no matter what

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#5551 - 06/02/08 08:09 PM [Band-in-a-Box Wishlist] Re: band in a box GUI [Re: guitarsonic]
Lawrie Offline
Expert

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 1439
Loc: NSW, Australia
G'day Guitarsonic,
Quote:


vice versa, new potential customers are turned off because of the outdated GUI design. It's the question what you familar with.





umm, I think you missed my reference - I totally endorse updates to the BIAB UI - I find it very unintuitive (sorry Peter). My comments were regarding the m$ "stupid ribbon". It is the single most complained about aspect of office 2007 that my customers have. Much, much worse that when "clippy" appeared on the scene, my customers all turned him off too. Complete waste of time and CPU cycles.
_________________________
--=-- My credo: If it's worth doing, it's worth overdoing - just ask my missus, she'll tell ya laugh --=--
You're only paranoid if you're wrong!

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#5552 - 06/03/08 04:02 AM [Band-in-a-Box Wishlist] Re: band in a box GUI [Re: Lawrie]
Michael Khor Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 12/02/02
Posts: 60
Loc: Malaysia
BiaB UI improvement project can be piecemeal basis such as option to set main window size (instead of currently grabbing the whole screen) and dockable toolbars, or go the whole way to re-look at how PG and team would have program BiaB if they are to start today. Fresh start might need a lot of resources, new skills and open mindsets, but I think this would benefits everyone in the long term.

For starter, to replace the current Practice Window and clean up the long list under the menu item Window, BiaB New Gen has a re-organised new main control panel /dashboard / switchboard with tabbed buttons to switch between different workspaces/widgets/tools/lessons/makers/builders/etc.

Secondly, Workspaces or Windows like Chord Sheet, Notation, Leadsheet or Piano Roll can all be open simultaneously (should there be a need for this). Hence BiaB NG is now a fully multi-threaded program.

Hoping that the "Future Looks Bright" for BiaB NG

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