Technical Support FAQ:
RealBand 2017

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Last updated:  Thursday, 20 July 2017

All Topics

  1. No Sound / MIDI Driver Setup
  2. What is MIDI?
  3. What is digital audio?
  4. How do I enter notation in RealBand?
  5. What is the best sequence for external effects equipment?
  6. How do I use the 1/8 inch line inputs on my sound card?
  7. How do I connect my computer to an external MIDI synthesizer?
  8. What is the difference between polyphonic and multitimbral?
  9. No drivers are listed in the MIDI Driver Setup dialog.
  10. How do I control what I record and what I listen to?
  11. Why do I get the message 'MIDI device is currently in use by another application' when I launch the program?
  12. Why is there a delay (latency) between when I play a note on my MIDI keyboard, and when I hear the note play through my computer speakers?
  13. How do I record multiple MIDI or Audio tracks simultaneously, or send different tracks to separate ports?
  14. When I record audio in RealBand, why does it not sync up with my other audio or MIDI tracks?
  15. When using Line In/Mic In to record audio, it seems to work fine, but nothing is there when I play it back.
  16. My MIDI tracks are bleeding into the Audio Track when I record.
  17. Why do all my MIDI tracks play with the same instrument? How do I set a MIDI channel and Patch number?
  18. How do I render MIDI to wave and burn an audio CD?
  19. The chord symbols in my song don't show up when I save the song as a MIDI file and import it into another program.
  20. How do I import MP3 files, or save my finished Audio file as an MP3?
  21. When I save my files, the MIDI patch/channel information in the tracks window is not saved properly.
  22. What "sample rate" and "bit depth" should I use when I am working with digital audio?
  23. After mixing audio tracks, I hear Popping (clipping) noises on playback.
  24. Can I make the audible message box alerts, such as "Keep Take?", silent?
  25. How can I easily raise or lower the velocity (volume) of all MIDI notes in a track?
  26. Can I use more than 16 MIDI channels? How do I use more than one MIDI output port?
  27. What is the 'Align Music to Click Track' feature for?
  28. Why can I record only two tracks of Audio at a time?
  29. How do I edit the patches.ini file and create a patch map for my synthesizer?
  30. Why does my recording play too fast (sounds like the chipmunks) or too slow?
  31. Can I import a MIDI file into RealBand and have the chords displayed?
  32. I'm trying to set the volume and pan using the mixer window, but the settings change whenever I play the song.
  33. How do I save my song as a Type 0 or Type 1 MIDI file?
  34. How do I copy a section of one song file into a second song?
  35. How do I use the Punch In feature to fix a section of a recorded track?
  36. When I separate drum sounds to another track, they sound like piano notes.
  37. How do I control my MIDI sounds using the Tracks Window?
  38. How do I control MIDI fades (crescendos and decrescendos) and MIDI volume within a file?
  39. How can I load more than one MIDI file at the same time?
  40. Can I record Digital Audio and MIDI at the same time?
  41. During playback, why is there a delay before my mixer moves (volume, pan, audio effects) are heard?
  42. How do I turn the metronome on or off? Is there a way to save my metronome settings?
  43. How do I synchronize RealBand with another MIDI device?
  44. When I try to record, I receive a message that says "Awaiting MIDI Sync".
  45. How can I split specific notes or other events out of one track and move them to a different track?
  46. How do I use SysEx (System Exclusive) in RealBand?
  47. How do I use RealBand to receive/save bulk SysEx data from my synth? Can RealBand initiate a SysEx dump request?
  48. How can I fade my Audio or MIDI tracks in or out?
  49. Why am I unable to download update patches and other files from your website?
  50. When I try to install the program, I get the message "Setup is not a valid win32 application".
  51. Why is RealBand recording an audio track when I am only trying to record MIDI?
  52. Why do I get a "cannot make connection" error when I try to choose a plugin in the DirectX/VST window?
  53. Why do I get an Error Code 5 when I try to install upgrades or update patches?
  54. How do I access all of the patches available in the Roland VSC and VSC-DXi?
  55. Why do I get a RBSEQ32.DLL error when I try to open the program?
  56. How can I return RealBand to the factory settings?
  57. When I play my external MIDI keyboard, why don't I hear the sound through my selected DXi or VSTi synth?
  58. How do I use DXi and VSTi synths with RealBand?
  59. How is pitch bend data transmitted and interpreted by a MIDI synth?
  60. Where can I find a list of MIDI controllers?
  61. What is the difference between the audio effects under the Edit menu, and the effects that you access from the Mixer window?
  62. Nothing seems to happen when I use the "Split Piano Track into LH/RH" command.
  63. What is the "S" column for in the Event List window?
  64. Error message when exiting the MIDI Driver Setup dialog: "A device ID has been used that is out of range for your system".
  65. Error message when trying to close RealBand: "Cannot create file ... RBToolB05.Ini"
  66. Why do I get distorted audio playback or audio dropouts when I use ASIO drivers?
  67. How do I monitor myself while recording audio with an M-Audio sound card?
  68. Why do I hear a buzz or hum when my computer is connected to an external speaker system?
  69. How can I return the toolbars to their default configuration?
  70. Can I use more than one MIDI channel to play drums?
  71. How can I make my MIDI file 'compatible' with many different computers, so that it plays the way it was intended for a wide audience?
  72. I have made a patch map for RealBand, but I get a syntax error when I launch the program.
  73. How do I select patches on higher banks? What are MSB and LSB?
  74. When using ASIO4ALL, the ports in the ASIO Audio Driver dialog are listed as "Not Connected".
  75. When I try to use the Shift-click in the Notation Window to enter a note one semitone higher, the note is not inserted.
  76. Error message when loading the program: "GetCharWidth function call unsuccessful. Notation display may therefore have problems."
  77. The MIDI Guitar Cleanup function doesn't seem to have any effect.
  78. How can I use a single line input on a sound card to record two tracks simultaneously?
  79. Why are the CDs that I make quieter than professional CDs?
  80. When using a DXi plugin with ASIO drivers, why does realtime play-thru not work while the song is stopped?
  81. Error message when loading the program: "System cannot find file specified at..."
  82. How do I use Native Instruments Bandstand with PG Music software?
  83. When recording from an external keyboard, some notes are not being recorded, are dropping out, or are being sustained when they shouldn't be.
  84. When I try to install the program I get a message that the "setup files are corrupted".
  85. My Audio Track Categories are all listed as "unassigned".
  86. Error message when trying to open audio files: "Procedure entry point WMCreateSyncReader could not be located in the dynamic link library WMVCORE.DLL".
  87. What options do I have for creating a MIDI drum track in RealBand?
  88. There is no sound when I try to preview my audio harmonies in the TC-Helicon window.
  89. When I use the VSC-DXi in Band-in-a-Box® or RealBand, I sometimes get an error message after I close the program.
  90. When using the ForteDXi, the sound cuts out every few seconds.
  91. Which styles are included in each of the RealTracks and RealDrums sets?
  92. Trouble opening the help file on Windows 98 and ME.
  93. I cannot hear the metronome when using a DXi or VSTi synth.
  94. No sound in the Audio Chord Wizard, even though there is sound in the rest of the program.
  95. How do I install update patches for RealBand?

1. No Sound / MIDI Driver Setup

Click here to read a tutorial that explains what to do if you have no sound in RealBand

2. What is MIDI?

MIDI is an acronym for Musical Instrument Digital Interface. The MIDI specification is maintained by the MIDI Manufacturers Association (MMA). We have written a couple of short starter tutorials on MIDI:

There are many other MIDI tutorials on the internet, which you can find using any internet search engine.

3. What is digital audio?

We have written an introduction to digital audio that explains the basic concepts of sound waves, waveform diagrams, and digital recording.

4. How do I enter notation in RealBand?

Band-in-a-Box®, RealBand, and PowerTracks Pro Audio offer one of the quickest methods of notation input. Remember though, they were never developed to be a dedicated notation software package, so some of the problems you may run into will have to do with that limitation. For typical leadsheets though, this notation is more than adequate.

First, you need to be in editable notation mode. Open the Notation Window and look in the Notation Window toolbar. To the right of the [Print] button there are three Notation Mode buttons. Pressing the one in the middle will toggle you into editable notation mode.

When inputting notation, all you do is place your mouse arrow where you want a note and press the left mouse button. This will place a dotted whole note at that position. If it is in the second half of the bar, you will get an automatic 1/2 note rest in the first half. You will still get a dotted whole note in the second half of the bar. Don't worry if the first note you enter isn't the type of note you want it to be. The next note you place will determine the value of the first. Remember that the subsequent note placed always determines the value of the previous note. If you want to shorten a previous note, you can select the rest box and place a rest between the notes at the value you want the previous note to be. Notes inserted between other notes will automatically set the value for the previous note as well.

If you are in 'staff roll' mode, you can change the duration of a note by clicking on it with the right mouse button and then dragging the cursor to the desired end location. Click the [N] button twice to toggle into staff roll mode.

While inserting a note on the staff, there are hotkeys you can use to insert a note one semitone higher or lower. Holding down the [Shift] key will make the note 1 half-step sharper. Holding down the [Ctrl] key will make the note 1 half-step flatter. Holding down the [Alt] key forces the note to be a natural. Note: The shift key is also used to highlight a range of notation - if you want to use it to insert a note 1 semitone higher, left-click the mouse button first (where you want to enter the note), and hold down the mouse button while pressing the Shift key. To delete a note from the Notation, hold down the delete key and left-mouse click on the note. Or you could right mouse click on the note (to edit it), then press the Delete button.

You can change the beat resolution (the number of intervals in one beat) by right-clicking in the time indicator bar above the beat that you want to change. This will allow you to enter triplets in an even feel style, or sixteenth notes in a triplet feel style. The time indicator bar is the narrow space containing the black cursor that moves across the screen as your song is playing.

An alternative method to use to enter MIDI notes is the "Piano Roll" window. The Piano Roll window enables precise graphic editing of note timing and duration. You can also graphically edit Note Velocity, Controllers, Program Changes, Channel Aftertouch, or Pitch Bend. To open a Piano Roll window for the current track, go to Window | New | Piano Roll Window. You can read a detailed tutorial about the Piano Roll by clicking the [Help] button in the top-left of the Piano Roll window.

5. What is the best sequence for external effects equipment?

According to experts, the proper order for routing effects is as follows:

  1. Instrument

  2. Compression

  3. Pre-amps

  4. EQ

  5. Noise gate

  6. Modulation effects (chorus, flange, phaser)

  7. Delay

  8. Reverb

6. How do I use the 1/8 inch line inputs on my sound card?

The mic and/or line inputs on many sound cards are miniature stereo 1/8" jacks. Both left and right channels appear in this configuration, sharing ground (3 connections). To use these inputs, you will likely need a stereo 1/8" male-to-two mono (whatever matches your input source) adapter. On most mixers, this will mean two 1/4" male plugs, on some mixers and most home tape decks, this would mean an "RCA" audio connector. Your local electronics store is a good source for any of these adapters.

7. How do I connect my computer to an external MIDI synthesizer?

There are a few different ways you can connect your external MIDI synth or module. These days, USB is by far the most common method used.

USB: There are many MIDI interfaces available that connect to this port on your computer. MIDI In and Out cables connect from the interface to your synth, and you may have to purchase the cables separately.

Sound card (Joystick port): The joystick port (game port) on your sound card has a built-in MIDI interface. The cable that connects to the joystick port is commonly called a Universal MIDI Sound Card Connector. Some sound cards have MIDI in and out ports so you don't need to use the joystick port. In either case, MIDI cables connect to your synth's MIDI In and Out.

MPU-401 or other internal MIDI Interface: An interface (computer card) with MIDI In(s) and MIDI Out(s). This is a small interface card that plugs into a slot inside your computer. MIDI cables are still required to connect to your external module.

Serial or Printer: There are various MIDI interfaces that can connect from these types of existing computer data ports, although the USB port is used much more frequently these days.

Some MIDI interfaces and cables can be purchased directly from PG Music Inc.: Hardware Products.

8. What is the difference between polyphonic and multitimbral?

Polyphony refers to the number of notes the unit can play simultaneously. A trumpet is monophonic, while a guitar can have up to 6 note polyphony (six strings). Your synthesizer might be 16, 32, or 64-note polyphonic. Sometimes, in a complex MIDI file, there are more than 64 notes sounding at a time. In this case, a smart synth will use an algorithm to determine which note to suspend playing so that it might continue.

A 64 voice module can play 64 sounds all at the same time. Some synths use more than one sound/voice to create a fuller sound for some patches. The number of partials (combinations of sounds) a patch uses will determine how many voices will be used for a single note. For example, if you press one note on a patch that has 3 sounds in it (like a layer of piano, strings and brass), you would use up 3 voices of your 64 available. Add a Bass track, (1 note, 1 voice) Drums (4 notes in some places) Guitar (3 notes) ..... well, you get the picture. You are using up the available voices as you add layers to your MIDI song. Remember, this is fluid; as notes are released, more voices become available. It is really only an issue when all tracks play all notes all at the same time. A 64 voice module has a fair number of voices to use so running out of sound is not really an issue.

A synthesizer is Multitimbral if it can produce more than one type of sound at a time. This is usually set to the number of channels the unit has. For example, on a 16 channel unit with 64 note polyphony, the synth can play 64 notes at a time, spread out over 16 different instruments.

9. No drivers are listed in the MIDI Driver Setup dialog.

If you won't be recording MIDI or playing live from an external MIDI synth it is ok if you don't have a MIDI Input driver. It just means that a MIDI input device is currently not installed on your computer, which is quite common.

If you don't have any output drivers listed there, or you don't see a driver that you suspect should be there (input or output), close RealBand and try deleting the files RealBand.INI and RB.CFG from the RealBand folder (usually C:\RealBand). This will restore many of the program's factory settings. You can save a backup of those files before deleting them, in case this doesn't solve the problem and you think you might want to restore your previous settings. When you next launch RealBand, the MIDI Driver Setup dialog should come up automatically. If there are still no drivers there, this means that for whatever reason, the driver isn't installed on your computer. (On Windows XP and earlier operating systems, you can verify this by checking the Windows Control Panel. On Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000, go to Start | Settings | Control Panel | Multimedia -or- Sounds and Multimedia | MIDI. On Windows XP, go to Start | Control Panel | Sounds and Audio Devices | Audio, and look under MIDI Playback).

You will likely need to re-install your sound card or MIDI interface drivers. You can usually download the latest drivers from the manufacturer's website.

Note that MIDI Output Drivers are different from DXi and VSTi synths. DXi and VSTi synths do not show up as MIDI Output drivers. For example, the VSC-DXi will not show up as an 'output driver'. To use a DXi/VSTi synth, click the "re-route MIDI playback to default synth" checkbox or assign DXi synths to tracks individually. There is more information in this FAQ topic.

10. How do I control what I record and what I listen to?

Windows Vista, 7, and higher operating systems

This is controlled by the Windows Volume Mixer, and the Sound settings in the Windows control panel.

Single left-click on the speaker icon in your task bar to change the overall volume level on your PC or mute/un-mute the sound. Click the Mixer button below the volume fader (or right-click on the speaker icon and select Volume Mixer) to change the volume of specific devices or applications that are running on your computer.

To check additional playback settings or to configure your record settings, use the "Sound" settings - accessed from the Control Panel or by right-clicking on the speaker icon and selecting 'Recording Devices' (this opens the Sound window showing the Recording tab).

In the Recording tab, make sure that the device you want to use is not disabled. If it is, right-click on it and select 'enable'. Set your recording level by right-clicking on the device and selecting Properties - then select the Levels tab.

Windows XP and earlier operating systems

This is controlled by the Windows sound card mixer - the Record Control and Play (or 'Volume') Control panels.

To open the Play Control, double-click on the speaker icon in your taskbar, usually at the bottom of your computer screen in the right-hand corner, or go to Start | Programs | Accessories | Entertainment | Volume Control. The Play Control is for OUTPUT; it allows you to choose what outputs you listen to and how loud they are.

To open the Record Control window, click on Options | Properties to open the Properties window, select the 'Recording' radio button, and press OK. The Record Control window is for INPUT; it allows you to choose what you record. For example, if you were recording audio using the line-in on your sound card, you would select 'line-in' as your recording input.

In the Properties window, you can choose which audio device you wish to control (the "Mixer device"). Normally you don't need to change this. You can also select which volume controls you want displayed in the Record/Play Control panels.

You can also open the Windows sound card mixer directly from RealBand. One way of opening it from RealBand is to click on the speaker button in between the input and output meters in the VU Meters window.

Another way that you control audio recording and playback is by choosing your audio input and output drivers. If you only have one sound card you don't normally need to worry about this. There are two places you can configure your audio drivers - in the RealBand program, and in the Windows control panel (assuming you are using MME; ASIO is only configured within the recording program and ASIO driver control panel):

  • RealBand: Options | Preferences | Audio | [Drivers].

  • In the Windows Control Panel: Multimedia (Win 98/ME), Sounds and Multimedia (Win 2000), Sounds and Audio Devices | Audio (Win XP), or Sound | Playback/Recording devices (Win Vista/7).

In RealBand, if you have "Microsoft Sound Mapper" selected as your audio driver, RealBand will use whatever is configured in the Windows Control Panel. If you have a driver *other* than the Microsoft Sound Mapper selected, RealBand will use that driver specifically.

Windows XP and earlier operating systems: Whenever you launch the Windows sound card mixer, it always opens showing the mixer panel for the currently selected audio driver in the Windows Control Panel.

If you get an error message when you try to open the sound card mixer or nothing happens when you try to open it, this means that the selected audio driver doesn't have an associated Record or Play Control window. In this case, the audio device will usually have a separate control/mixer console that you can access from the Control Panel. You will need to check with your sound card documentation if you are not sure where to find it.

11. Why do I get the message 'MIDI device is currently in use by another application' when I launch the program?

This is usually because another program is already using the MIDI driver. A single MIDI driver can generally not be used by more than one application at the same time. The simplest solution is to close this program, then to relaunch your PG Music software. In RealBand, you may be able to select a different MIDI Driver in Options | Preferences | MIDI | MIDI Devices.

You may also be able to find third party applications through an internet search that allow multiple applications on your computer to use the same MIDI driver.

12.Why is there a delay (latency) between when I play a note on my MIDI keyboard, and when I hear the note play through my computer speakers?

You are most likely (1) using a software synthesizer such as the Microsoft GS Wavetable or the Roland VSC as your MIDI output driver, or (2) you are using a DXi/VSTi software synth such as the VSC-DXi or ForteDXi with MME audio drivers. The dialogs to look in are Options | Preferences | MIDI| MIDI Devices and Options | Preferences | Audio.

One characteristic of a software synth is that it takes some time for it to express the MIDI data it receives as sound. In other words, there is a delay between when a note is sent by RealBand (and other MIDI software) and when you hear the note played. This delay is called latency, and is normally a fraction of a second.

Possibilities (1) and (2) above require slightly different explanations, so we'll deal with them separately.

(1) You might be using a software synth like the GS Wavetable as your MIDI Output Driver

In RealBand, the Synth Latency setting in the Options | Preferences | MIDI | MIDI Devices dialog is used to delay the notation and chord highlighting so that it is synchronized with the music during playback. However, note that this is only a visual setting; it doesn't change the actual latency of the driver. There will still be a delay between when you strike a key on your keyboard and when you hear the note played. There is also a setting to for 'Audio Delay' - this is used to synchronize the Audio tracks with the MIDI tracks, this also doesn't affect the actual latency of the MIDI device.

For recording or playing live from an external MIDI synth, one solution is to use a MIDI Output Driver with no noticeable latency. This could be the built-in MIDI synth on your computer's internal sound card, or your external MIDI keyboard or sound module. If you prefer the sound quality of the soft synth, you can record using a no-latency driver, and switch back to the soft synth for playback when you have finished recording. You may not have a hardware synth MIDI device to use, in fact most new computers that you purchase come with only the GS Wavetable and no dedicated "sound card".

The second solution is to use a DXi or VSTi synth such as the VSC-DXi, along with ASIO drivers (see below).

Here is some more information about the Roland VSC and Microsoft GS Wavetable software synths. This refers to the older stand-alone non-DXi version of the VSC, which is rarely used anymore because the VSC-DXi is better. However we've included this information for completion.

Roland VSC3 stand-alone MIDI driver (uncommon)

This information is only applicable to the stand-alone version of the VSC, not the VSC-DXi plugin.

The Roland VSC is a software synthesizer based on the sounds from the Roland Sound Canvas hardware sound modules. The VSC's latency, or "Response Time", is adjustable. By default, the Roland VSC has a response time of about 430 to 450 ms (a little less than half a second). This is a safe setting, and will avoid audio drop-outs and glitches even on older and slow computers. If you select the Roland VSC as your MIDI Output Driver and press OK in the MIDI Driver Setup dialog, RealBand will automatically offer to set the latency to 430 ms.

On most modern computers, you can reduce the VSC's latency by a fair bit without experiencing any problems. Depending on how fast your computer is, you may be able to reduce this to about 100 ms or less. This is still not ideal for live playing, but is much better than 430 ms. Follow these steps:

  1. Open the VSC. You can do this by clicking on the VSC icon in your task bar and selecting 'VSC Panel', or by going to Start | Programs | Virtual Sound Canvas 3.2...
  2. Click on the [Setup] button to open the VSC Settings Window.
  3. Click on the Performance tab.
  4. Move the Response Time slider to the left. Try setting it at about 100 ms to start with.
  5. Go back to RealBand and try playing a song. If there are no playback problems, you can move the Response Time slider another notch to the left. 68 ms is often the minimum.
  6. The next step is to go to the Options | Preferences | MIDI | MIDI Devices dialog and set the Synth Output Latency setting to the same value as the VSC's Response Time. When you exit the MIDI Driver Setup dialog, RealBand may ask you if you want to set the driver latency to 430 ms. If so, answer "No".

If you have trouble reducing the VSC latency below 100 ms, the following adjustments in the VSC settings window may improve performance without sacrificing sound quality. See the VSC help file if you want more information on each setting:

  • Click on the Performance tab and uncheck delay and TVF.
  • Click on the Performance tab and turn the load limit up to 90%.
  • Click on the Sound Set tab and select 'Secure Memory at all times'.
  • Click on the Receive Events tab and uncheck any that you do not use (ie - delay, expression...) on all channels.
  • Click on the Device tab, and set 'Direct Sound' to off.

For best results, close as many background programs as possible.

Microsoft GS Wavetable

The Microsoft GS Wavetable is a software synthesizer included with Windows. The sounds are somewhat similar to the Roland VSC, but they are lower quality sounds, and there are fewer of them. The latency of the GS Wavetable varies between different computers with Windows XP - it is usually about 120 ms. On Windows Vista and 7, the latency is higher, about 210 ms. As far as we are aware, there is no way to reduce the latency on any particular computer. Unfortunately, many new computers don't include a sound card with a built-in MIDI synthesizer, so choosing a "no-latency" MIDI output driver for recording may not be an option. In many cases the GS Wavetable is the only MIDI output driver choice, aside from purchasing a dedicated sound card, using an external synth/sound module for output, or using a DXi/VSTi synth (see below).

(2) You might be using a DXi or VSTi software synth with an 'MME' audio driver.

RealBand supports either ASIO or MME audio drivers. One of the main advantages to using ASIO in RealBand is that it allows you to play live from an external MIDI keyboard through a DXi synth with little latency. When using MME drivers with a DXi synth (such as the Roland VSC-DXi or ForteDXi), live playing is routed through the MIDI output driver rather than DXi synth. This is desirable because the latency of your MIDI output driver could be less than that of the DXi synth. However as discussed above, it may not be great if the only 'MIDI output driver' you have is the GS Wavetable. Manufacturers of dedicated sound cards usually have ASIO drivers available. If the manufacturer of your sound card doesn't have an ASIO driver, OR if you are having trouble using a specific ASIO driver, the free ASIO4ALL driver is a great substitute and works very well with most systems.

You select the Audio Driver type in Options | Preferences | Audio. You should normally check the "ASIO Always On" checkbox in the ASIO Audio Drivers dialog (the option is provided in case a particular ASIO driver has a problem with being on constantly - if unchecked, then it's turned off while your song is stopped). If you are using a DXi/VSTi synth, ASIO audio drivers, and have ASIO Always On enabled, you should be able to play your external MIDI controller and hear what you're playing with almost no latency through the DXi synth. You should find ASIO latency settings (also called 'buffer size') in the ASIO driver's control panel. A higher buffer size is 'safer' but more latency. You should start with a high buffer size and gradually reduce it until you start having problems, such as errors or audio glitches.

13. How do I record multiple MIDI or Audio tracks simultaneously, or send different tracks to separate ports?

If you are recording MIDI, RealBand will not record on multiple tracks, but you can record to one track and then use the Edit | Extract Channels to Tracks command to split the track into multiple tracks. This works if there is multiple channel information in the MIDI Stream. Make sure you have each of the MIDI input ports you wish to use selected in the MIDI Driver Setup dialog.

If you are recording audio, you can record either mono (left or right) or in stereo. To access these settings, go to Options | Preferences | Audio. If you are recording both left and right channels, and your audio track is set as a MONO Audio track, the left and right channels will be recorded on to consecutive tracks. If your track is a STEREO Audio track, then both channels will appear on a single track.

If you have a sound card or audio interface that has more than one input port, you can record from each port on a separate track. You can record as many tracks simultaneously as your hardware supports. To set this up in RealBand, go to Options | Preferences | Audio | Drivers. If you are using the ASIO diver type, select each input port that you want to use by control-clicking. If you are using the MME driver type, select each input driver that you want to use, and make sure that Microsoft Sound Mapper is not selected. To record, you simply need to select a single track - RealBand will use as many tracks as it needs to. Note that each Input port is a stereo pair, with a left and right channel. If you select 4 Input Ports, then you would be actually getting 8 input channels, since each audio port has both a left and right channel. This would use up 8 mono-audio tracks.

Note: Multi-port audio recording will only work if (1) the current audio track is a Stereo audio track -or- the current audio track is Mono and the input channel is set to L+R (Options | Preferences | Audio) and (2) there are multiple audio input ports selected in Options | Preferences | Audio | Drivers.

To use more than one MIDI output device at the same time, you first need to select all of the output drivers that you want to use. In the MIDI Driver Setup dialog (Options | MIDI Devices), you can choose more than one MIDI Output Driver at the same time. The top MIDI driver that you have selected is considered to be port 1, the second is port 2, and so on. In the Tracks window, click on the Track Info field, point to "Port", and select the port that you want to use. You will note that it is possible to send different tracks to different DXi synths as well as different hardware devices. For more information on this, see this FAQ topic.

In the same way, it is also possible to output different audio tracks to different ports, however note that if you are sending different tracks to different sound cards, you may have timing problems.

14. When I record audio in RealBand, why does it not sync up with my other audio or MIDI tracks?

Identify if the problem is that (1) a MIDI track is consistently out of sync by the same amount throughout your song, or (2) your MIDI and/or audio tracks drift out of sync over time.

(1) MIDI track is out of sync by the same amount throughout your song

You might be using a software synthesizer MIDI output driver such as the Roland VSC or Microsoft GS Wavetable (check this in Options | Preferences | MIDI | MIDI Devices). Software Synthesizers usually have noticeable latency because the sound is processed by your computer's CPU before being sent to your sound card. This means that there is a delay between when RealBand sends the MIDI data and when you hear it played. You should consider using a DXi synth, such as the VSC-DXi, by checking the box 're-route MIDI playback to default DXi synth' - this would likely solve the problem.

Also, there shouldn't be a problem even if you aren't using a DXi synth, if you are consistently using the same MIDI Output Driver. But if you are having trouble syncing audio and MIDI there are a couple of settings in RealBand that you can use to correct the problem.

  • The Audio Delay setting in Options | MIDI Devices. This will delay the start of audio playback and audio recording, which is useful if you want to attempt to keep audio playback/recording in sync with MIDI, especially if you are using a software based synth for MIDI playback. Normally, you will set this to match the Synth (visual) Delay setting. If you are finding that the audio comes in before the MIDI (MIDI is slower), increase this setting. The audio will be delayed by the amount in milliseconds that you specify. You may have to experiment a little to find exactly the correct delay. Note that while the Synth Latency setting should normally be set to the same value as the Audio delay, the Synth Latency setting is quite different; it is only for keeping the visual display, such as displayed times and highlighting of notes, in sync with MIDI playback. It doesn't have any effect on what you actually hear.

  • The Offset In MS setting in Options | Preferences | Audio can be used to make an adjustment to the timing for the purpose of keeping the MIDI and audio in sync. You can make an adjustment to this setting if the sound card's audio timing is early or late in comparison to the MIDI. For example, if the sound card's audio is being heard later than the MIDI, you can try increasing this setting, which will delay the MIDI timing to match the Audio timing. The default for this setting is 0.

(2) MIDI and/or Audio tracks drift out of sync over time

If you are only working with audio, or your tracks don't remain consistently out of sync by the same amount as described above, check to see if you are using more than one sound card. In other words, are you are playing back different tracks through different sound cards? It is possible that the clocks on your sound cards are not perfectly in sync.

There are two places you can configure your audio drivers:

  • In RealBand: Options | Preferences | Audio | [Drivers].

  • In the Windows Control Panel: Multimedia (Win 98/ME), Sounds and Multimedia (Win 2000), Sounds and Audio Devices | Audio (Win XP), or Sound | Playback/Recording Devices (Win Vista/7).

In RealBand, if you have "Microsoft Sound Mapper" selected as your audio driver, RealBand will use whatever is configured in the Windows Control Panel. If you have a driver *other* than the Microsoft Sound Mapper selected, RealBand will use that specific driver. Make sure you don't have the Sound Mapper selected in addition to another driver. To correct this problem, you will most likely need to use a single sound card for audio playback.

Another thing that we have encountered that might cause tracks to drift out of sync, is if the sound card is recording and playing back at different sample rates. This seemed to be a somewhat common issue with some SoundBlaster cards. The first thing you can try is to set RealBand to 48 KHz sample rate, which is done in Options | Preferences | Audio (File type pull-down). If that doesn't help, take a closer look at your sound card's software and make sure that it is set to the same sample rate as RealBand.

If that doesn't help, try some of the suggestions in this FAQ topic for improving audio performance on your computer.

15. When using Line In/Mic In to record audio, it seems to work fine, but nothing is there when I play it back.

Most likely, your Windows Recording Control is not set up properly. You have to tell Windows what device(s) you are recording from. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Launch the VU Meters by going to the Window menu and clicking on 'Show VU Meters'.

  2. Click on the Speaker Icon found in between the Input and Output VU meters.

  3. Select the desired input (Mic, Line In, etc...) and set the respective recording level.

  4. To ensure that you have connected properly, play a note from your instrument, or sing a couple of notes into the Microphone. Monitor the Input VU meter for a signal.

Note: You can also launch the Record Control window by doing the following:

  1. Double click on the little speaker in your System tray (right next to the clock on your desktop), or go to Start | Programs | Accessories | Entertainment | Volume Control. You should now see the Play Control Window.

  2. Go to the Options Menu and select Properties.

  3. Select Recording, then press OK. This will bring up the Record Control Window.

If you are plugging a microphone into the mic-in on your sound card and are having trouble recording, even though "mic" is selected in the Record Control window, this is probably a limitation of the microphone jack on your computer. On most computers, the microphone jack is intended for computer mics, not music mics. The solution is to plug your microphone into a pre-amp or mixer, and use a Line level out to Line-in on your sound card.

16. My MIDI tracks are bleeding into the Audio Track when I record.

The Windows multimedia mixer can be found at Start | Programs | Accessories | Entertainment | Volume Control. It allows you to choose what outputs or devices you want to listen to and how loud they are. From this control you can also set whichinstruments are available for recording, and their volumes.

If you have enabled a device to record in the recording section of the Windows multimedia mixer, it will get recorded along with the mic or line input. Only the input(s) that are being recorded from should be selected. In general, unless the output of the sound card is being routed back from a mixer to be recorded again, or the PCI Sound card has a different way of routing, it will be a Windows mixer issue.

17. Why do all my MIDI tracks play with the same instrument? How do I set a MIDI channel and Patch number?

When recording MIDI in RealBand on several tracks, it is best to force the channel and the instrument for each track. In the Tracks window, you can select a track by clicking on the Track Number field. If you right-click on the MIDI icon, a menu will pop up allowing you to select various parameters for the track. Point to 'Channel' and select any channel from 1 to 16. You can choose any channel, but channel 10 is reserved for the drums. If you want to have different instruments on different tracks, you need to assign unique channel numbers to each of the tracks. To choose your program/patch number/instrument, right-click on the MIDI icon, and point to 'Program'. You can also use the 'Patch Select' dialog.

18. How do I render MIDI to wave and burn an audio CD?

We've written a detailed tutorial explaining how to render your MIDI tracks to digital audio and burn a CD.

Note that the quickest and easiest way to render to wave is to go to Audio | Merge Audio and DXi Tracks to Stereo Wave File. This method requires that you are using a DXi synth for MIDI playback. As long as you are, it will convert your entire song - both audio and MIDI tracks - to a stereo wave file. For more details, please click here to read our tutorial about this.

19. The chord symbols in my song don't show up when I save the song as a MIDI file and import it into another program.

The standard MIDI file specification doesn't include a universal way to embed this type of information, so the chord names are stored in the MIDI file from RealBand, PowerTracks Pro Audio and Band-in-a-Box® as 'manufacturer specific' MIDI META-events. The chord symbols will show up in all PG Music Inc. programs that display notation. Note that if you load a .MID file that contains these META events into a non-PG Music Inc. program/sequencer, and re-save the file, the META event (i.e. Chords) will not be saved into the new file.

20. How do I import MP3 files, or save my finished Audio file as an MP3?

To save your song as an MP3 file (or another compressed audio file type), select Audio | Merge Audio and DXi Tracks to Compressed File. Choose a name for your file and press [Save]. A dialog will appear asking which format you wish to compress the file in. For MP3's, choose MPEG Layer-3. This option will appear if you have an MP3 codec installed - more information on this below.

As with most audio/MIDI editing programs, RealBand operates on wave files in a raw format; this is necessary for cutting/copying/pasting, and other forms of waveform editing. However, RealBand supports the Microsoft Audio Compression Manager (ACM) facilities, which means that you can convert from (import) and to (export) any compressed-format audio file.

In order for this import/export feature to work, you must have the appropriate CODEC installed in the ACM. You can see a list of the CODECS installed in your system by accessing (Windows 95/98/ME/2000) the Control Panel | Multimedia -or- Sounds and Multimedia | Devices, or (Windows XP) Control Panel | Sounds and Audio Devices | Hardware. If you do not have an MP3 codec installed there, RealBand won't be able to import/convert an .MP3 file, and you will receive a "driver cannot do the requested conversion" error. If you see a codec there and you still get an error, check to see if it is a decode-only codec. On Windows XP - Control Panel | Sounds and Audio Devices | Hardware | Audio Codecs (Properties) | Properties. On Windows Vista, try going to Help | About | Technical Support Information in Windows Media Player. To solve the problem: Due to licensing restrictions and patents on MP3 technology, we can't include MP3 codecs with our software. There are a couple possible solutions - (1) The latest version of Windows Media Player includes an ACM-compatible MP3 codec, l3codecp.acm, which you should find in your Windows\System32 directory, and it can encode MP3's at high bitrates. This codec may or may not be enabled on your computer though. Or, (2) Search online for an MP3 codec that you can download and install. Or, (3) Save your file as a stereo wave file and do the conversion from wave to MP3 in a third party program.

With an MP3 Codec installed in your system, RealBand should be able to import and play MP3 files, and export raw Wave files (tracks) from within RealBand to the encoded format. If you are finding that RealBand is able to convert some MP3's but unable to convert others, this suggests that the MP3 codecs installed on your system can only handle certain MP3 formats. Also, RealBand Version 10 and earlier cannot convert some MP3 formats, such as MP3 files with variable bitrates. Version 11 and higher have an improved MP3 conversion utility which is compatible with a wider variety of MP3 formats.

21. When I save my files, the MIDI patch/channel information in the tracks window is not saved properly.

In the Options | Preferences | Files dialog, look for the setting "Don't save forced Ch META event in .MID files". When checked (enabled), this setting overrides the forced MIDI channel settings in the Tracks Window, and the forced channels won't be recalled the next time the file is loaded. This prevents RealBand from saving the forced MIDI channels in the Tracks Window into .MID files. This META event is only recognized by PG Music programs.

If you want the forced channels to be recalled when you open the file with RealBand, disable this setting. If you are saving to a MIDI file and the patch info isn't saving properly, enable this setting, and use the Edit | Rechannel All Tracks command to convert the actual MIDI data in the tracks to the forced channel so that a forced channel isn't needed.

22. What "sample rate" and "bit depth" should I use when I am working with digital audio?

Always use the highest bit-depth and sample rate for best results, but be aware that higher bit depth and sample rates mean much larger files. Also, you will want to check what your sound card is capable of recording at. Higher quality and newer sound cards will support higher sample/bit rates. In RealBand, you can choose your audio file format in the Options | Preferences | Audio dialog. Versions 8 and higher support up to 24-bit, 96 KHz. Versions 7 and earlier only supported up to 16-bit, 44.1 KHz.

Bit depth: The more 'bits', the better the dynamic range (i.e. difference between quietest and loudest signal- or the number of 'discrete positions' of the amplitude.)
Sample Rate: The sample rate is measured in Hertz (Hz) which is the scientific way of saying "per second". 44.1K Hz means that there are 44,100 samples in one second of music.

The Nyquist Theory, states that the highest reproducible 'frequency' is exactly half of the sample-rate. In otherwords, if you record at the 44.1K rate, the highest audible 'frequency' you would be able to 'hear' upon playback would be 22K. (assuming your speakers were even capable of responding to 22k- i.e. very good tweeters) Since our hearing usually tops out at about 16K, this isn't much of an issue (sound processing issues aside). However, if/when you record at 22K (sample rate), the resulting highest frequency reproducible would be only 11K, which is similar to FM-radio fidelity.

There are many different opinions on how much of a difference recording at higher sampling rates and bit depths makes. In general though, you will get better results if you start with a very high-quality file and sample down from there if desired.

For more information, see our introduction to digital audio

23. After mixing audio tracks, I hear Popping (clipping) noises on playback.

Clipping is due to sound card saturation. We've written a tutorial on this, called Taking out the Thwack, available in the archives.

24. Can I make the audible message box alerts, such as "Keep Take?", silent?

In Options | Preferences | General, there is a setting for "Silent Message boxes". If this is enabled, it will prevent RealBand from making a beeping sound in most situations in which a message box is displayed.

You can also turn off the audible alerts in Windows by going to the Control Panel | Sounds..

25. How can I easily raise or lower the velocity (volume) of all MIDI notes in a track?

To raise or lower the velocities of notes, you can use the Edit | Change Velocities command. This command lists you increase or decrease the velocity values of notes within the marked area of all selected tracks by a specified percentage. The Percentage setting determines how the velocity values are changed. For example, a percentage of 100% results in no change. A percentage of 50 would reduce the velocity values by half. A percentage of 125 would increase the velocity values in the track by 25%.

Another way you can change the velocities of notes is by using the Edit | Velocity Dynamics command. This command will 'compress' or 'expand' the velocity values of notes within the marked area of all selected tracks. RealBand will determine the average velocity of all notes with the marked area. The Percentage setting will cause the velocity values to be moved either closer or farther away from the average velocity. A percentage of 100% results in no change. A percentage of 50% would compress the velocity values so that they are all 50% closer to the average velocity.

In either of these cases, you can use the Data Filter to determine exactly which notes to affect.

You could also use Edit | Replace | Note to change velocities. For example, if you want to make all of the notes the same volume, you could use this command. Set the search value to 0-127, and the replacement value to a single number (for example 127-127 for maximum velocity).

26. Can I use more than 16 MIDI channels? How do I use more than one MIDI output port?

The MIDI standard uses 16 channels. These means that on each MIDI port, you can play up to 16 instruments at a time. If you want to use more than 16 instruments, you need to use more than one MIDI port. Also, if you want to use one synth to play a particular instrument, and another synth to play a different instrument, You will need to use more than one port. For example, you might want to use your drum machine to play the drum sounds while your keyboard synth plays the piano sounds.

In the Tracks window, click on the track number field to select the track, then right-click on the MIDI icon. This will produce a menu where you can choose the port. In Options | MIDI Devices | Output Drivers, select all the drivers/ports that you wish to have available. The first one in the list that's highlighted will be port 1. The second one that's highlighted will be port 2, and so on. You can "move selected devices to top" to choose the order of the ports. If you are using a DXi synth, the number of channels you can use is quite large, since multiple instances of a particular DXi can be running, each using 16 channels.

27. What is the 'Align Music to Click Track' feature for?

This command is for people who wish to align a track of music that was recorded in 'free time' to a click track. The idea is to take a free time track and then have RealBand adjust the times of the events so that the music becomes a normal track that is in sync to the metronome and displays nicely in the notation window.

Suppose you recorded track number 1 in free time. You could then record, or enter, a click track on track number 2. You would record or enter a C Note on the click track at the location of each beat in the song. If the song speeds up and slows down you would have to make sure the timing of the click track corresponds with the beats of the free-time track. In other words, the click track follows the pace of the free-track rather than any metronome in RealBand. When the Align command is executed, RealBand will align the free time track so that the time locations of all the events will correspond to the beats in the click track.

There is detailed information about this feature in the RealBand Help Files. Select Track | Align Music to Click Track, and click [Help].

Note 1: Some programs also insert tempo changes to mirror the tempo changes of the original performance - RealBand doesn't. This is because the artificially inserted tempo changes usually sound worse than a fixed tempo.

Note 2: Recording a click track is easiest done from an external MIDI keyboard. The note you need to use to record a click track is middle C - all other notes will be ignored. So, when recording the click track, you will be tapping the note middle C. It is also possible to record a click track without using an external MIDI synth. You can use the Drum Window to accomplish this. To open the Drum Window, click the Drum button in your toolbar. If the Drum Window button does not appear there, add it to your toolbar using the little arrow on the right-hand side of the toolbar ('Add/Remove buttons'). You can record from the Drum Window in RealBand simply by pressing Record and mouse-clicking on the drums in that window. Once you are finished recording, press Stop. RealBand will ask if you want to keep recorded notes from .dll, to which you will answer yes. You may need to move the drum window out of the way by clicking and dragging it, because the 'keep take' dialogs will appear beneath the Drum Window plugin. The 'High Bongo' drum sound is equivalent to the note C5 (middle C), so this is the drum sound you will use. You can also use the keyboard shortcut '[' instead of mouse-clicking the high bongo drum. Any other drum sound could be used as well, provided that you transpose the track to middle C after you are finished.

28. Why can I record only two tracks of Audio at a time?

Symptoms: Error messages for each port after port 1 - 'Format Info not Found', 'Cannot open ACM stream', ' Error Closing output file'.

In the audio drivers menu, (Options | Preferences | Audio | Drivers) check to see that Microsoft Sound Mapper is not highlighted in addition to your sound card drivers. Only your Sound card drivers should be highlighted, unless you only want to use the default audio driver selected in the Windows Control Panel.

29. How do I edit the patches.ini file and create a patch map for my synthesizer?

There are some patch maps available for download from our website at: http://www.pgmusic.com/support_miscellaneous.htm.

If you do not find your synth listed there, or you would like to expand on one of the patch maps already created, please see our tutorial: How to create a patch map for RealBand or PowerTracks.

30. Why does my recording play too fast (sounds like the chipmunks) or too slow?

You may also get the error "The waveform device can't play this format" when you try to play the file. This is most likely a sample rate problem. The sample rate is the number of audio samples taken per second; the higher the sample rate, the more samples per second and higher the quality of the file. Often the problem is that you have RealBand set to record at a higher sample rate than your sound card supports for playback. The audio file type setting is found in the Options | Preferences | Audio. You may need to choose a different file type. Check the documentation or settings for the sound card to determine what the sample rate is.

31. Can I import a MIDI file into RealBand and have the chords displayed?

Chord names are not stored in MIDI files, since the standard MIDI file specification doesn't include a universal way to embed this information. However, RealBand has a feature called the Chord Wizard that will analyze any MIDI file and interpret what the chords are. Go to the Window menu and click on Chords to open the Chords Window. Press the Opt. button to open the Chords Window Options dialog. If 'Auto interpret chords' is set to 'Always', RealBand will automatically interpret and display the chords for any MIDI file that you import.

You can also type in your own chords manually in the Chords or Notation window. To allow chord entry in the Notation Window, put a checkmark in the "Ch" box. You can only input chord symbols that RealBand recognizes - the same as those used by Band-in-a-Box®. Here is a list of chords recognized by RealBand

32. I'm trying to set the volume and pan using the mixer window, but the settings change whenever I play the song.

Your MIDI tracks have embedded volume/pan controls. Select one of your tracks and press F2 to open an event list for the track. Look near the beginning of the event list for "VolCtrl: 7" and/or "PanCtrl: 10". You will need to delete these events if you want to use the mixer window to control volume and panning. You will probably need to do this for each of your MIDI tracks; if so, a quicker way is to select all of your MIDI tracks and press F2 to open an event list for all of the tracks. This information also applies to reverb (ReverbCtrl: 91), and chorus (ChorusCtrl: 93). If you have imported a MIDI file from Band-in-a-Box®, the MIDI file will have these controllers, unless you disabled the saving of volume/reverb/chorus/panning controls in Band-in-a-Box®.

33. How do I save my song as a Type 0 or Type 1 MIDI file?

Select File | Save. In the 'Save as type' menu, select either "MIDI File" (this is type 1), or "Type 0 MIDI File". Type in a file name and save the file to the directory of your choice.

34. How do I copy a section of one song file into a second song?

If you want to copy part of a MIDI track from one song to another, you could simply use Edit | Copy and Paste:

  1. In the source file, select the part of the track that you want to copy. You can highlight the part using the Bars Window, or use the commands under the Block menu.

  2. Select Edit | Copy and choose what you want to copy in the dialog that pops up.

  3. Open the destination file, and position your cursor where you want the paste to begin.

  4. Select Edit | Paste. Use Edit | 1-Track Paste if you need to select your destination track.

To copy part of an audio track from one song to another, use the 'Save/Load Scrap' commands. You can also use this for MIDI tracks.

  1. In the source file, select the part of the track that you want to copy. You can highlight the part using the Bars Window, or use the commands under the Block menu.

  2. Select Edit | Copy. This loads the selected area into the scrap buffer.

  3. Select File | Save Scrap, and type in the file name of your choice.

  4. Open the destination song file, and select File | Load Scrap. Choose the file that you saved. This loads it into the scrap buffer.

  5. Position your cursor where you want the paste to begin and select Edit | Paste, or 1-Track Paste if you need to choose the desination track.

35. How do I use the Punch In feature to fix a section of a recorded track?

The Punch In dialog (Options | Punch In..) allows you to enable or disable Punch In.

  • When Punch In is disabled, recording will occur at any point within your song, and the new data will be merged with any existing events if the track is a MIDI track, or will overwrite existing data if the track is an Audio track.

  • When Punch in is enabled, recording will only take place during the period that you set as your From and Thru values in the Punch In dialog. Recording will only take place during this period, and will overwrite any existing data there.

An alternative to punching in is to record into a different track, then cut and paste the parts together afterwards.

36. When I separate drum sounds to another track, they sound like piano notes.

When you split notes out of one track, you need to make sure that you have assigned a channel to the new track. Channel 10 is usually the drum channel. On channel 10, each MIDI note corresponds to a different drum sound, instead of a different pitch of a single instrument like the rest of the channels. You set the channel by right-clicking on the MIDI icon in the Tracks Window. Every track needs to have a channel assigned in order to play the right patch or sound.

37. How do I control my MIDI sounds using the Tracks Window?

There are 6 things in RealBand that determine what MIDI sound you hear. These are all found in the Tracks Window. On the left hand side of each track is the Track number. Right-click on the MIDI icon beside the track number field to set the track parameters.

  1. Channel - This is where you assign 1 of 16 MIDI channels. Each track should have a unique channel number.

  2. Port - If you have more than one port, you can select it here. You use this if you are sending different tracks to different MIDI synths.

  3. Program - This is where you choose the program\patch number\Instrument. You can also use the Patch Select dialog.

  4. Bank - If your synth has patches on higher banks, you use this to access them. This is also called MSB or Controller 0. If you have a patch map for your synth, you can also use the Patch Select dialog to choose patches on higher banks.

  5. LSB - Some synths also need this number to access higher bank info. This is also called BankLSB or Controller 32.

38. How do I control MIDI fades (crescendos and decrescendos) and MIDI volume within a file?

Both controllers 7 and 11 control volume. Controller 11 (Expression) controls the varying sound values within a track, while Controller 7 (Volume) controls the mixing of sound levels with other tracks. Other more complex methods may be required where sophisticated bend and othermodeling software is used.

To obtain a fade, use Controller 11, not Controller 7. Volume should be controlled via the Mixer when ever possible. The advantage to having both a volume and an expression control is that it allows you to add dynamics to your song and still maintain the relative balance between different instruments. Ensure that all tracks have Controller 11 value 127 at the start which switches the Expression on fully each time the song is started from the beginning.

39. How can I load more than one MIDI file at the same time?

You can do this by loading the first file into RealBand, then loading the second file as a scrap file. With the first file loaded, go to File | Load Scrap and select the second file - you have now loaded it to the clipboard. You can use Edit | Paste or 1-Track Paste to paste the scrap file where you want it.

40. Can I record Digital Audio and MIDI at the same time?

Yes you can. To record Digital Audio and MIDI at the same time, first make sure you have selected the correct recording input in the Record Control mixer. Select an audio track and simply start recording your audio while playing the MIDI device. If RealBand receives MIDI data while you are recording, it will be placed on the next available track. RealBand will also offer to put any recorded audio on the next available track if you are recording MIDI. You can enbable/disable this feature in Options | Preferences | Audio.

41. During playback, why is there a delay before my mixer moves (volume, pan, audio effects) are heard?

The default buffer settings ensure that playback will not stutter for users with slower computers. However, this also means that it can take a while to hear the effect of mixer changes or DirectX edits during playback. There are settings in RealBand that you can use to control this. Go to Options | Preferences | Audio.

  • If you reduce the 'Output Buffer Milliseconds' value, the response to mixer moves will be faster. The lower the setting, the quicker the program will respond when you change volume, pan, mute, or effects settings for an audio track. 1000 milliseconds (1 second) usually is good overall setting for fast enough response, while still leaving enough buffers to avoid audible dropouts or clicks. If you have a reasonably fast CPU (over 1 GHz), try a 'Track Buffer Size' setting of 8192 and an Output Buffer Milliseconds setting of 500. This will reduce the buffering delay substantially.

  • The 'Quick Volume Change' setting, if enabled, will cause RealBand to quickly stop and restart playback in response to any volume or panning changes to an audio track, or muting/unmuting of audio tracks. There may be a slight delay or glitch before the change occurs. If this setting is disabled, then there will be a delay equal to the Output Buffer Seconds setting before you hear the change.

42. How do I turn the metronome on or off? Is there a way to save my metronome settings?

The metronome settings are found in the Options | Metronome dialog. By default, the settings are saved in your .SEQ files. If you would prefer to make the settings stay the same between songs and RealBand sessions, check the box that says "Keep these settings permanent".

If you cannot hear the metronome when using a software synth, see FAQ topic 130.

43. How do I synchronize RealBand with another MIDI device?

Sometimes it is necessary to synchronize a MIDI sequencer such as RealBand with another MIDI device so that they start at the same time, play at the same tempo, stop at the same time, and so on. A MIDI sequencer can control playback timing by sending certain MIDI timing messages to another device. The other device receives the messages and adjusts its playback accordingly so that the two stay in sync. The device that sends the MIDI messages is known as the "master". The other device is know as the "slave". There are a few different types of MIDI messages that are used. Here are some useful definitions.

SMPTE: Pronounced "Simtee". This is a standard time code developed by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers. It uses the format hh:mm:ss:ff (hours, minutes, seconds, frames).

MTC (MIDI Time Code): This is a MIDI message used to synchronize playback between MIDI devices. It controls timing by specifying the exact location from the beginning of the song. The timing data is similar to SMPTE.

MIDI Clock: This is a MIDI message used to synchronize MIDI devices by controlling the playback rate (tempo). Unlike MTC it does not use a time code to specify the exact location from the beginning of the song.

SSP (Song Position Pointer): This is a MIDI message that tells a slave where to start playing (Position).

MIDI Start/Stop: MIDI Start and MIDI Stop messages tell a slave to start or stop playback.

MIDI Continue: This is similar to MIDI Start, but is used to start playback in the middle of a song.

To use RealBand as a slave, select one of the following from the Options | Sync Source menu.:

  • MIDI Sync: This will allow RealBand to respond to MIDI Clock and Song Position Pointer.

  • MTC/SMPTE: This will allow RealBand to respond to MIDI Time Code.

When you press Play with either of these options selected, RealBand will wait for the appropriate MIDI sync message from the other MIDI unit before starting playback.

To use RealBand as a master, go to the Options | MIDI Out dialog and enable one or more of the following settings:

  • Send MIDI SPP: If checked, RealBand will send Song Position Pointer.

  • Send Realtime messages: If checked, RealBand will send MIDI Clock, and also MIDI Start, Stop, and Continue messages.

  • Send MIDI Time Code: If checked, RealBand will send MIDI Time Code.

For more information on the settings in this dialog, click the Help button.

If you are having any trouble, you may need to consult the documentation for your other MIDI device to find out how it receives and sends these MIDI messages.

44. When I try to record, I receive a message that says "Awaiting MIDI Sync".

To resolve this problem, go to Options | Sync Source,and select 'Internal'.

45. How can I split specific notes or other events out of one track and move them to a different track?

If for example, you wanted to move all of the kick drum notes from your drum track, you would first select the whole track, then choose Cut from the Edit menu. Make sure the "Use Data Filter" box is checked. When the Data Filter dialogue comes up, make sure that only "notes" is checked, and change the note range to "C2" through "C2" (C2 is the kick drum 1 for General Midi).

Once the cut is completed, select your destination track, and choose 1-Track Paste from the Edit menu. This should paste only the kicks into the new track, and leave the original track "kickless". Note that the Data Filter can be used in a similar way to cut and paste other types of events in your track, not just notes.

46. How do I use SysEx (System Exclusive) in RealBand?

Any SysEx data embedded in a MIDI file is transmitted in real-time while the song is playing. You can view/edit the SysEx data in the Event List window. You can also use the built-in SysEx librarian (Window menu | SysEx) to transmit, receive, and edit banks of SysEx data.

The Event List window can be used to view and edit SysEx data in a MIDI file. In the Event List editor, SysEx data will show up as black events on track 1. To insert a SysEx message, press the [Ins] button, select 'SysEx',and press OK. To edit a SysEx event, click on it and press the [Change] button. In either case, the SysEx Events dialog will open.

  • Load from file: This lets you load a .syx file containing SysEx data.

  • Receive: This lets you transmit SysEx data from your synth to RealBand.

  • Request: This launches the Dump Request dialog within which you can issue a dump request to your synth.

  • Delete: This lets you delete the event all together.

Note: If your SysEx event is very large, you may experience stuttering when it is transmitted during playback so we recommend limiting the size of the SysEx events to 128 bytes or less.

SysEx Window

RealBand also has a SysEx Window (Window Menu | SYSEX), which is actually a built-in System Exclusive librarian. It allows you to transmit or receive SysEx data. You may also load and save MIDIEX compatible SysEx files. The SysEx librarian can hold up to 24 banks of system exclusive data. Since the librarian stores all data on disk as opposed to memory, the size of the SysEx data is limited only by the amount of free disk space.

  • Receive: This command lets you receive a data dump from your synthesizer to the currently selected bank. When you execute this command, a message box will pop up to indicate that the sequencer is ready to receive the dump. You may then dump the data from your synth and all the data received will be stored in the current bank. A dialog box will show the progress of the dump. When your synth is finished dumping the data, you may then press the OK button to let the program know that the dump is finished.

  • Transmit: Sends the data in the current bank out via MIDI. A dialog box will inform you that a send is in progress. If you wish to cancel the transmission after it has started, you may press the cancel button, and the transmission will be stopped.

  • Request: This option allows you to initiate a dump request by sending a dump request to your synthesizer. Simply choose an instrument from the available choices and press ENTER. You may be prompted for the channel or patch numbers if the instrument requires them. After sending the dump request out the MIDI OUT port, the program will then receive any data that is sent from your synth as if the receive command had been executed.

  • Load: This command will load a MIDIEX compatible SYSEX file into the currently selected bank.

  • Save: This command will save the currently selected bank on disk in MIDIEX compatible format.

  • Name: Lets you choose the name for the current bank of SYSEX data.

  • Auto: When this option is enabled, the bank will automatically be transmitted via MIDI when loaded from a .SEQ file. The letter 'A' will appear to the right of the bank name if the bank is to be Auto-Transmitted.

  • Port: This setting determines the output port through which the SYSEX data will be sent out via MIDI. If the selected port is greater than the number of ports available, the data will be sent out the highest available port. For example, if the port setting for a bank is set to '2' and there is only one MIDI output driver installed, the SYSEX data in the bank will be sent out through port 1.

  • Delete: This simply deletes the data from the currently selected bank.

  • Send All: This transmits all the banks out via MIDI.

  • Edit: This command is for experienced MIDI users who wish to edit the bytes of the currently selected bank. You can also type in SYSEX data if the current bank has no data in it. A dialog box will pop up in which you can edit the bytes. The bytes are edited as hexadecimal numbers. The bytes are shown separated by spaces. The SYSEX data will look something like this example: 'F0 41 10 42 12 40 11 02 10 1D F7' . Each SYSEX message should start with 'F0' and end with 'F7'.

Note: If you save a song as a .SEQ file, the SysEx data will be saved within the file. However there are differences in the way SysEx data is saved in .MID files since it must be saved as SysEx meta events. If you save the file to a .MID, SysEx information will be saved, but the banks won't have any names when a .MID file is loaded back into RealBand. In addition, if a bank has multiple SysEx messages in it, such as a bulk dump, each individual SysEx message is saved separately into the .MID file. If more than the maximum number (24) of SysEx meta events are read from a .MID into RealBand, the additional banks will be added to bank number 24.

Some common SysEx messages you may see at the start and end of a MIDI file

  • General MIDI Mode On (resets GM devices to default settings): F0 7E 7F 09 01 F7

  • Roland GS Mode On (Resets GS devices to default settings): F0 41 10 42 12 40 00 7F 00 41 F7

  • Yamaha XG Mode On (Sets XG devices to XG Mode on): F0 43 10 4C 00 00 7E 00 F7

There is more information about SysEx in FAQ topic 70 and FAQ topic 71

47. How do I use RealBand to receive/save bulk SysEx data from my synth? Can RealBand initiate a dump request?

If your goal is just to have RealBand receive a dump by initiating the dump from your synth (such as by pressing a certain button on the synth, or executing a certain comand from the synth's control panel), then you would just press the [Receive] button in the Sysex window. Then it's just a matter of entering the command on the synth's control panel to get it to transmit the SysEx, and RealBand will download the sysex as it is received from the synth. Here are the basic steps:

  1. Plug a cable from the MIDI OUT of the synth to the MIDI IN on your computer/interface.

  2. Set the synth to send a Bulk Dump. You will have to refer to your synth documentation to find out exactly how to do this.

  3. In RealBand, go to the Window menu and select Sysex.

  4. Press [Receive].

  5. Select the "Send Bulk" command on the synth. RealBand should show "Receiving Data".

  6. Set info like 'port', if applicable

  7. Give the Bank a name and press [Save].

If your goal is to have RealBand itself initiate the dump request, you can use the [Request] button in the SysEx window and choose your synth from the list. We have included dump requests for some popular synths with RealBand - these appear in the list. If your synth is not listed there, you would first need to enter the appropriate macros in the PT.DRM file, based on the SysEx implementation chart for your synth. This should be in the User's manual for the synth. You will find the PT.DRM file in the root RealBand folder (ie, C:\RealBand), and it can be opened and edited with a simple text editor such as NotePad.

48. How can I fade my Audio or MIDI tracks in or out?

MIDI tracks:

  1. Go to the Bars window, and using the mouse, highlight the section of Bars (and Tracks) to be faded.

  2. Go to Edit | Fill, and select 'Controller'.

  3. Enter the start and end values. For example, if you were fading in, you might enter 0 as your start value (no volume), and 127 as your end value (full volume).

  4. Press OK and type '11'. Controller 11 is Expression. It is a volume control that you use within a track for fading.

Audio tracks:

  1. Go to the Bars window, and using the mouse, highlight the section of Bars (and Tracks) to be faded.

  2. Select Edit | Audio Effects | Gain Change.

  3. Select Fade In or Fade Out and press OK.

Note: You can also record mixer moves.

49. Why am I unable to download update patches and other files from your website?

Please see this sales FAQ topic.

50. When I try to install the program, I get the message "Setup is not a valid win32 application".

If you are trying to install a program that you downloaded, you might get this error if the download did not finish properly or the file is corrupt for some reason. Delete the file that you downloaded, restart the computer, and try downloading it again.

If you get the error when trying to install a program from a CD, your computer may be having trouble reading the CD.

  • First, try rebooting your computer and closing all running applications.

  • Examine the disc for large scratches and warping. If the disc is dirty, use a disc cleaning kit or wipe the disc surface with a soft, lint-free cotton cloth. Wipe from the center to outer edge of the disc, not in circles.

  • If possible, try the CD in another drive. If it works in another drive, the original drive may not be reading it properly.

If it appears that your CD is damaged, you may contact us about obtaining a replacement CD.

51. Why is RealBand recording an audio track when I am only trying to record MIDI?

RealBand has a feature that will allow audio to be recorded even when the current track is MIDI. It will offer to keep the audio take on the nearest available blank track. This can be a "lifesaver" in those situation where you wanted to record audio, but you accidentally selected the current track as a MIDI track.To disable this feature, go to Options | Preferences | Audio, and uncheck "Always Record Audio too, if current track is midi".

Note that if you were doing the opposite - recording an audio track - RealBand would also record MIDI if it received MIDI data from your synth.

52. Why do I get a "cannot make connection" error when I try to choose a plugin in the DirectX/VST window?

That error means that RealBand was able to find the plugin listed on the system, but when it tried to 'make a connection' to the plugin, an error occurred.

There are a few possible reasons why this could occur.

If the plugin used to work on your system:

  • The plugin may have been installed/registered at some time in the past, but was later either deleted or moved on your hard drive. Windows thinks a plugin exists if there are proper entries in the registry. If the registry entry doesn't point to the real location of the plugin (because it was deleted or moved), an attempt to connect will fail.

  • One of the RealBand configuration files could have an error in it.

To resolve the problem, try uninstalling and reinstalling the plugin. In the case of the PG Music DirectX plugins (for example, PG Reverb, PG Dynamics, etc.), they can be uninstalled using the Add/Remove Programs window, where they show up as "PG Music DirectX Plugins". You can install the plugins either by reinstalling RealBand, or by double-clicking on the file pgdx_plug_*.exe in your RealBand folder (* will be the version of the plugins included with your version of RealBand). If that doesn't help, try closing RealBand and deleting the DX (or DXi/VST/VSTi as the case may be) configuration file from your RealBand folder. The files are DXiPluginList.ini, DXPluginList.ini, VSTiPluginList.ini, and VSTPluginList.ini.

If the plugin has never worked on your system:

  • Because of the nature of the DirectX specification, there are some Microsoft plugins that sneak in on the Audio Plugin list because they fit the 'description' of a DX plugin, but were never intended to be used in an audio sequencer program as a user plugin. RealBand has an exclusion list that can be used to prevent particular plugins from being displayed. To edit this list, in the DirectX Window click on Options | Edit DX Exclusion List.

  • A few of the third-party-written plugins were coded as copy-protected and bundled with specific software (not PG Music Inc. software). RealBand can find them from Windows, since they are the right kind of plugin and they exist in the registry. But since RealBand doesn't know the 'secret handshake', the plugin declines an attempt to connect. You could check with the manufacturer that you obtained the plugin from to find out about this.

  • The plugin may be intended to be used with audio programs like RealBand, but there may be something wrong/corrupted with it. Or, for some reason it is compatible with some host the plugin writer tested with, but doesn't happen to be compatible with RealBand.

53. Why do I get an Error Code 5 when I try to install upgrades or update patches?

The complete error message may be: "An error occurred while trying to replace the existing file: DeleteFile Failed; code 5. Access is Denied".

This is usually because you have the application open when you are trying to install the update. Close the program and try installing the update again. If the application appears to be closed and you are still getting this error, reboot your computer.

54. How do I access all of the patches available in the Roland VSC and VSC-DXi?

The Roland VSC has two modes.

  • GM2 mode gives you access to the 256 GM2 patches.

  • GS Mode gives you access to around 900 patches. This is the same sound set as in the SC88Pro Sound Canvas.

To choose the mode that you want to use, launch the VSC controller window and press either the GS or GM2 mode button (stand-alone version), or press the [Setup] button (DXi plugin version). To see a list of instruments included in GS and GM2 mode, click the [Help] button in the VSC, then click on 'Instrument List'.

Click here to download Roland VSC patch maps for Band-in-a-Box® and RealBand. The following two files are included:

  • Patches.ini: This is for RealBand or PowerTracks Pro Audio. Rename the existing patches.ini file in your RealBand folder to patches.old (this keeps a backup of it), then copy the downloaded patches.ini to the RealBand folder. You will then be able to choose any patch on the VSC using the Select Patch dialog in RealBand. There are two patch lists - one for GM2 mode and one for GS mode.

  • Roland_VSC_(GSMode).PAT: This is for Band-in-a-Box®. Copy this file to your BB folder. You will then be able to select any patch on the VSC by doing one of the following:

    1. If you have the VSC set to GM2 mode: In Opt. | MIDI Driver Setup, under the GM2 Support menu, select 'General MIDI 2 support'. This will allow you to choose any of the 256 GM2 patches by simply using the Instrument pull-down menu or GM2 button on the main screen of Band-in-a-Box®. (.PAT file not needed for this)

    2. If you have the VSC set to GS mode: In Opt. | MIDI Driver Setup, under the GM2 support menu, select 'Roland GS'. To select one of the 900 patches supported in GS mode, click the [+] button or go to Opt. | Utilities | Choose patch from higher bank and choose the Roland_VSC (GS Mode).PAT file.

55. Why do I get a RBSEQ32.DLL error when I try to open the program?

Complete error message: "This application has failed to start because RBSEQ32.DLL was not found."

This may occur if you installed an update patch into the wrong folder, or somehow moved the RealBand application file (RealBand.EXE) outside of the main RealBand folder. You can resolve the problem by moving reinstalling RealBand or reinstalling the update patch, making sure to select the correct destination directory. By default, RealBand installs to C:\RealBand. If you aren't sure where you have RealBand installed, you can check by right-clicking on the shortcut you use to open the program and selecting Properties.

56. How can I return RealBand to the factory settings?

RealBand uses the files listed below for configuration. If you want to restore RealBand to the factory settings, you can delete or rename these files. The next time you launch RealBand, new configuration files will be created. This can help solve or troubleshoot odd and unexplainable problems you are having with the program. The files are found in the root RealBand folder, usually C:\RealBand. Important: You must have RealBand closed when you do this.

We recommend renaming the files (rather than deleting them) or saving a copy of them somewhere else on your hard drive so that you have a backup of your old configuration. For example, you could rename RealBand.ini to RealBand.old. Later, if you find that you need to restore your previous settings, you can delete the new RealBand.ini file that RealBand will have created, and rename RealBand.old to RealBand.ini

Note: Some people have trouble finding the files because Windows hides file extensions. In any folder on your computer, go to the Tools menu and click on Folder Options, then click on the View tab and make sure 'Hide extensions for known file types' is unchecked. On Windows 98/ME, the Folder Options item is found under the View menu.

  • RealBand.ini. This file contains most of the global RealBand settings, especially the settings in the Options | Preferences and Options | MIDI Devices dialogs. It also has a list of the most recently accessed song files.

  • RB.CFG. This file contains information about your sound card setup.

The two files above contain most of your program settings; it is usually only necessary to delete those two files. Other settings files include:

  • RBToolB05.Ini. This file contains your main toolbar setup.

  • DEFAULT.RWS. This file stores your most recent Window setup when you exit the program.

  • DXPluginList.ini. This file has the name and location of the DirectX audio plugins that RealBand has found on your computer.

  • DXiPluginList.ini. This file has the name and location of the DXi synthesizers that RealBand has found on your computer.

  • VSTPluginList.ini. This file has the name and location of the VST audio plugins that RealBand has found on your computer.

  • VSTiPluginList.ini. This file has the name and location of the VSTi synthesizers that RealBand has found on your computer.

57. When I play my external MIDI keyboard, why don't I hear the sound through my selected DXi or VSTi synth?

You must be using an ASIO driver for "DXi/VSTi play-thru" to work, because this feature requires a low latency driver. In RealBand, you can set this up by going to Options | Preferences | Audio, and selecting ASIO as the Audio Driver Type. This requires that you have ASIO drivers for your sound card installed on your computer. If you aren't sure, you should check with the sound card's documentation or manufacturer.

58. How do I use DXi and VSTi synths with RealBand?

There are basically two different ways that you can use DXi or VSTi synths for playback. You can choose a single DXi/VSTi synth to play all tracks, or you can assign DXi/VSTi synths on a track-by-track basis.

Choosing a single synth to play all tracks: The easiest way to use a single DXi or VSTi synth for all of your MIDI tracks is to go to Options | MIDI Devices and place a checkmark beside "Re-Route MIDI playback to default DXi Synth". In the "Default DXi Synth" combo box, choose the synth that you want to use and press OK. Now all of your MIDI tracks will use the DXi synth you have selected. If you want to view the control panel for the synth, you can click on the [DXi] button in the main RealBand toolbar. If you want to select a default VSTi synth, you must first open the DirectX Window and manually add the VSTi synth to your plugin list. To do this:

  1. Click the DXi button in the toolbar, or click any of [Edit DXi] buttons in the Track Info fields. To find the [Edit DXi] button, click the Track Disclosure button (the little triangle) in any of the Track Info fields.

  2. In the top plugin combo box, select "Add VSTi Plugin".

  3. Navigate to the location of the VSTi plugin .dll, select it, and press Open.

  4. The VSTi plugin will appear in your plugin list from now on - you won't need to do this procedure again unless you reinstall RealBand. It will show up near the bottom of the list as "<VSTi>synthname". Note that native VSTi plugins that you have added to the list have brackets surrounding "VSTi" and appear near the bottom of the list.

Assigning synths on a track-by-track basis: If you want, you can use different synths for different MIDI tracks, or use DXi/VSTi synths for some tracks and non-DXi/VSTi synths for other tracks.

Note:

  • DXi and VSTi tracks will use your audio driver for playback. In Options | Preferences | Audio | Drivers, if you have Microsoft SoundMapper selected for Audio Output, playback will be through the default audio driver you have selected in the Windows Control Panel (Sounds and Audio Devices or Multimedia). If you have an audio driver other than the SoundMapper selected, playback will go through that driver.

  • RealBand supports DXi/VSTi play-thru as long as you are using an ASIO driver. See FAQ topic 88 for more information.

  • If you want to render your song to a wave file, you can use the Audio | Merge audio and DXi tracks to stereo wave file command to quickly convert your DXi/VSTi and audio tracks to a wave file.

  • RealBand scans for DXi plugins automatically, but VSTi synths need to manually be added to the list of plugins. To add a VSTi plugin to the list:

    1. Click the DXi button in the toolbar, or click any of [Edit DXi] buttons in the Track Info fields. To find the [Edit DXi] button, click the Track Disclosure button (the little triangle) in any of the Track Info fields.

    2. In the top plugin combo box, select "Add VSTi Plugin".

    3. Navigate to the location of the VSTi plugin .dll, select it, and press Open.

    4. The VSTi plugin will appear in your plugin list from now on - you won't need to do this procedure again unless you reinstall RealBand. It will show up near the bottom of the list as "<VSTi>synthname". Note that native VSTi plugins that you have added to the list have brackets surrounding "VSTi" and appear near the bottom of the list.

59. How is pitch bend data transmitted and interpreted by a MIDI synth?

A Pitch bend message is encoded with two 7-bit data bytes (as per the MIDI spec). All MIDI data bytes have a range of 0 thru 127. The MIDI status bytes all have values between 128 and 255, so it is illegal to send data bytes bigger than 127, or they will be misinterpreted as status bytes (note on, note off, controller, etc). So if you want to encode values bigger than 127, the MIDI spec uses two or more data bytes. Pitch Bend uses two data bytes. The 7 bits of the MSB (most significant byte) and the 7 bits of the LSB (least significant byte) are combined to make a 14 bit possible range of values. Fourteen bytes can count from 0 thru 16383. A Pitch Bend of zero is considered to be halfway up in that range, so most software subtracts 8192 from the 'true 14 bit value' to display the pitch end value. That's why most programs, including Band-in-a-Box® and PowerTrack Pro Audio, display the pitch bend range -8192 thru +8191.

There is a pitch bend range controller message that tells a synth how far to stretch a note in response to pitch bend messages. Many synths have a front-panel setting for that if you push enough buttons. The most common setting is +/- 2 semitones, which is the GM standard, but some synths have a default of +/- 3 semitones, and some guitar controllers/synths use +/- 12 semitones. You should probably set the synth to a pitch bend range of +/-2 if you want to play third party files. The pitch bend data is the same number range in all cases (0 thru 16383), but the synth just stretches its pitch a different interval in response to the pitch bend data.

Some synthesizers may ignore the LSB in Pitch Bend messages, and only have 256 actual pitch bend locations. Even if a synth doesn't transmit or receive the LSB, that data value is just treated like it is zero. So if you had a controller that only sends 128 pitch values, the received numbers (if you slowly move the pitch bend wheel up) would be 0, 128, 256... on up to 8191. If you slowly move the pitch bend wheel down, the received numbers would be 0, -128, -256, on down to -8192. A synth which ignores the LSB would pretend that the LSB is always zero, regardless of what value the sequencer is actually transmitting.

Both Pitch Bend data bytes are encoded in each single Pitch Bend message. The MIDI spec also provides for higher-resolution of other controllers if you send two consecutive messages. It is questionable how many synths can respond to hi-res information. The first 32 controllers are MSB's, and the next 32 controllers are LSB equivalents. For instance, in theory you could transmit continuous values 0 thru 16383 for controller 1, if sending message pairs of controller 1 for the MSB, and controller 33 for the LSB. The trick would be finding a synth that does something other than ignore controller 33.

60. Where can I find a list of MIDI controllers?

Click here for a general reference of the 128 MIDI controllers, accompanied by a description of each one.

61. What is the difference between the audio effects under the Edit menu, and the effects that you access from the Mixer window?

The audio effects that you access via Edit | Audio Effects... are not real-time effects, which means that you have to add these effects while the song is stopped, and they take some time to process. These effects are also "destructive". This means that when you apply these effects to your track, you are permanently modifying the audio data on the track. What we suggest you do is to duplicate your track before applying one of these effects - that way you have a copy of the original track if you are not happy with the results.

The audio effects that you access in the Mixer window - ie, by clicking on one of the FX buttons - are non-destructive, real-time DirectX effects. You can apply these effects and make adjustments to them in real-time while the song is playing. You can experiment with them as much as you want without modifying the raw audio data on your track.

Note: If you hear a delay between when you make a change to an effect and when you hear the change, the information in FAQ topic 65 may help.

62. Nothing seems to happen when I use the "Split Piano Track into LH/RH" command.

When you go to Track | Split Piano Track into LH/RH, RealBand analyzes the track and determines what notes would most likely be played with the left and right hands. "Left hand notes" are assigned to channel 8, and "right hand notes" are assigned to channel 9. This doesn't automatically place them on separate tracks however. To put the left and right hands on separate tracks, go to Edit | Extract Channels to Tracks. Notes on channel 8 (left hand) will be placed on track 8, and notes on channel 9 (right hand) will be placed on track 9.

63. What is the "S" column for in the Event List window?

This tells you which events are in the currently selected region. If you see a little box beside an event, this means that the event is within the selected region.

64. Error message when exiting the MIDI Driver Setup dialog: "A device ID has been used that is out of range for your system".

This can occur on some systems when the MIDI Mapper is one of your selected MIDI output drivers. To resolve the problem, simply unselect the MIDI Mapper.

You should not normally have the MIDI Mapper selected at all. On Windows 95/98, it was possible to use the MIDI Mapper to send different MIDI channels to different ports. Microsoft removed most of the functionality of the MIDI Mapper on later Windows operating systems. Fortunately, RealBand itself has the ability to send different channels to different ports without the use of the MIDI Mapper. In the MIDI Driver Setup dialog (Options | MIDI Devices), you can choose more than one MIDI Output Driver at the same time. The top MIDI driver that you have selected is considered to be port 1, the second is port 2, and so on. In the Tracks window, click on the Track Info field, point to "Port", and select the port that you want to use.

If you get the error even if the MIDI Mapper is not selected, there is most likely a problem with the way your sound card is installed. We recommend reinstalling your sound card using the latest drivers available from the manufacturer. Check the manufacturer's website for driver updates.

65. Error message when trying to close RealBand: "Cannot create file ... RBToolB05.Ini"

This error message means that RealBand is unable to write or modify this configuration file. This may happen if the file is marked as read-only, or if you do not have "write" access to the RealBand folder.

Right-click on the RealBand folder (usually C:\RealBand), and select Properties. Make sure "read-only" is unchecked, and press [Apply]. You may be asked if you want the changes to apply to all subfolders and files. Yes, you do.

If that doesn't resolve the problem, you may be running RealBand on Windows 2000 or XP Pro under a limited (non-administrator) account. If this is the case, you may not have "write" access to the RealBand folder. The solution is to log onto the computer as an administrator and change the security settings for the RealBand folder. For instance, on Windows XP Professional, you would:

  1. Right-click on the RealBand folder (usually C:\RealBand) and select Properties.

  2. Click on the Security tab.

  3. Select the Group or User name that pertains to the limited account you are running RealBand on.

  4. In the Permissions window, make sure that "write" access is not denied for that group.

  5. Press [Apply].

RealBand should now work properly under the limited account(s). Note that the the steps above for changing security settings apply to Windows XP Professional, but not to Windows XP Home edition. Windows XP Home doesn't give you the same control over permissions for individual user accounts, because "Simple File Sharing" is always enabled. For limited users, you may need to copy the RealBand folder to the Shared Documents folder. All user accounts can read and modify any folders or files that are in the Shared Documents folder. For more information, right-click on a folder, select 'Sharing and Security', and click on the 'Learn More' link in that dialog. There is a way you can disable simple file sharing on Windows XP Home, however that is beyond the scope of this article.

66. Why do I get distorted audio playback or audio dropouts when I use ASIO drivers?

The two most frequent causes of this problem are (1) you have outdated, buggy, or incorrect sound card drivers installed on your computer, and/or (2) the latency is set too low in the sound card's ASIO control panel.

The first thing you should do is go to your sound card manufacturer's website and download the latest drivers available for your sound card. For some sound cards, you may have the option of downloading more than one different type of driver. If you are not sure which is the best to download, you may want to contact the sound card manufacturer.

Next, go into Options | Preferences | Audio and click on the [ASIO Driver's Control Panel] button. This should launch your sound card's control panel where you should see a latency setting. The setting may be referred to as "buffer size". Note: some cards require that ASIO not be in use when you change the latency setting. In these cases, you will need to either close RealBand, or select the MME driver type temporarily, then open the sound card's control panel from outside of RealBand. You may have an icon in your task bar to launch the control panel, or you may be able to access it from the Windows Control Panel. In any case, increase the latency setting until you don't experience any playback or recording problems.

How low you will be able to set the latency depends on how powerful your computer is, the quality of the sound card drivers, and what steps you have taken to optimize digital audio performance on your computer. There is a list of a number of things you can do to improve audio performance on your computer in FAQ topic 87.

Two other settings in the ASIO Audio Driver dialog may help improve performance with specific sound cards if you are having trouble - the 'ASIO Always On' setting (try toggling this off), and the 'Resampler quality' (try setting this to BEST).

67. How do I monitor myself while recording audio with an M-Audio sound card?

This is set up in the M-Audio control panel. Open the M-Audio control panel, usually by clicking on an icon in your task bar. The specific steps may vary between cards, but the basic steps are to choose the Patchbay/Router tab, and select 'Monitor Mixer' underneath the ports that you want to monitor on. Then, click on the Monitor Mixer tab and ensure that the appropriate mixer controls are not muted and set to a good level.

Also, in RealBand, check that you have the correct audio drivers selected in Options | Preferences | Audio | Drivers.

68. Why do I hear a buzz or hum when my computer is connected to an external speaker system?

This could be caused by a "ground loop". This happens when the ground on your computer and the ground on your external amplifier have a difference in potential. If you are using a laptop with a 3 prong plug and are connected to AC power, try unplugging the power cord (use battery power) and see if you still hear the buzz. If not, chances are you have a ground loop. You may be able to use an isolation transformer or even just a 3 prong to 2 prong adaptor to resolve the problem. There may be safety issues to consider, so you should consult a technician or the computer manufacturer for more specific advice.

69. How can I return the toolbars to their default configuration?

Close RealBand, and open the RealBand folder on your hard drive (usually C:\RealBand). Look for and delete the file "RBToolB05.Ini". The next time you open RealBand, the toolbars will be back to their factory configuration.

70. Can I use more than one MIDI channel to play drums?

By default, only channel 10 is used as the drum channel, however with many synths you can use a SysEx message to assign more than one channel to drums. Two reasons you might want to do this are: (1) It allows you to use more than one drum kit simultaneously, and (2) it allows you to affect individual drum sounds with certain MIDI controllers (volume, pan, etc.) if you have split your drums to separate tracks.

The following SysEx messages will allow you to set channel 9 or 11 to drums (in addition to channel 10). This will work for Roland GS compatible devices such as the Roland VSC and Roland SD-20. As long as you send the appropriate SysEx message, you could do this for any channel. You could check the documentation for your synth or do a search for "system exclusive" on the internet for more information.

  • Set channel 9 to drums: F0 41 10 42 12 40 19 15 02 10 F7

  • Set channel 11 to drums: F0 41 10 42 12 40 1A 15 02 0F F7

71. How can I make my MIDI file 'compatible' with many different computers, so that it plays the way it was intended for a wide audience?

There are general recommendations for folks who write 'canned' MIDI files for use by 'just about anybody', for example MIDI files that you downloaded from the internet. If these recommendations aren't followed, then the MIDI file might not play properly on some computers.

General MIDI

Your file should be compatible with the minimum General MIDI specifications. General MIDI defines 128 patches, Program # 0-127. You should not use controller 0 or 32 (Bank Select MSB and LSB), since patches on higher banks are not defined in the GM spec. If you have a synth/sound card that happens to have some nice sounding patches on a higher bank, this doesn't mean that everyone else will have these same patches. Use only the 128 patches on 'Bank 0'. If the patch is not in the General MIDI list, other synths might play a different instrument than expected, or nothing at all.

General MIDI also defines 128 controllers, however to be GM compatible a synth only needs to recognize a few basic controllers: 1 (Modulation), 6 (Data Entry MSB), 7 (Volume), 10 (Pan), 11 (Expression), 38 (Data Entry LSB), 64 (sustain pedal), 100 (Registered Parameter Number MSB), 101 (Registered Parameter Number LSB), 121 (All controllers off), and 123 (All notes off). Controllers 6, 38, 100, and 101 are used for tuning and pitch bends. Some sound cards/synths may not respond to other controllers that you have in your file. For more information on the General MIDI specifications, see the MIDI Manufacturers Association.

Reset messages

Reset messages should be included in your file. The strategy is to put MIDI messages at the beginning of each MIDI file, which 'set everything to default', just in case the PREVIOUS song that the synth played did not do the polite thing and return all the channels to their default positions.

Also, to be a good citizen, you put MIDI messages at the end of each MIDI file, which set all the channels to default settings, just in case the NEXT song played doesn't bother to initialize the synthesizer. For instance, say you make a MIDI file that uses CTRL 7 (volume) or CTRL 11 (expression) to fade the ending to silence. If the next song you play doesn't initialize volume and expression, you may notice some tracks not playing, because they are still turned down to nothing from the last MIDI file that played. That's why it is nice to reset all the volumes/pans/etc maybe a beat or a bar after the song has played its last note.

Most sequencers, including Band-in-a-Box® and RealBand, automatically send quite a few reset-type messages at the beginning and end of play, but they don't necessarily cover all the bases, and you might find players that don't automatically send out all the stuff you would desire.

Many folks, if writing General MIDI files, will put the short GM Reset command at the beginning of the file, in the countoff region, so the synth has a few hundred milliseconds to completely initialize itself before it begins to play notes in the song. Some synths reset practically instantly, and others can take a moment to think about it. The GM Reset message is: F0 7E 7F 09 01 F7.

GM Reset is SUPPOSED to initialize all of a synth's settings to default, but there is no guarantee that all GM synthesizers really do that. Also, folks often use much nicer expensive synthesizers which are not General MIDI synths, but are set up to respond to a GM Patch map. In such a case, the synth might act like a great-sounding GM synth in most respects, but ignore the GM Reset command.

So 'belt and suspenders' will also send a group of messages to specifically initialize the common parameters, just in case the GM Reset doesn't do the right thing.

There are 'everything' type messages that are often included, such as the All Sounds Off (CTL 120), Reset All Controllers (CTL 121), and All Notes Off (CTL 123). However, it's the same deal - though these commands are commonly recognized by most synths, if a manufacturer doesn't recognize these messages, nobody is going to put them in jail for it.

So the final 'belt and suspenders' level is a series of controller messages to set Pan to 0 (actually 64 in absolute MIDI numbers, but most sequencers display Pan as -64 to + 63), set Bank Select LSB and MSB to 0, set Modulation to 0, set Volume to 100 (at the end of song. At beginning of song, set to desired initial volume of the track), set Sustain Pedal OFF, etc.

Some folks will make up a short dummy sequence with all these init messages for all channels, then splice the dummy sequence to the beginning and end of each file they make.

Many sequencers, including Band-in-a-Box® and RealBand, write a lot of that stuff to the MIDI file when you export a MIDI file. But there could be cases where you might want to check what is getting written, and decide if there is something else you would want in there.

72. I have made a patch map for RealBand, but I get a syntax error when I launch the program.

If you get a syntax error when you launch RealBand, this means that there is an error in your patch map file (patches.ini). This is most likely a typo - for example, if you had typed "1-Grand Piano", instead of "1=Grand Piano" (you replaced an = sign with a minus sign) anywhere in your file, you would get a syntax error. The error message gives you the line number where the error occurs in your file.

Another reason you could get a syntax error is if any one patch list in your file exceeds the limit of about 2000 patches. You will get a syntax error referring to the first line that exceeds the maximum number of patches. In this case, you may need to omit some patches, or split your patch list into two or more patch lists to cover all of the patches available. Note that you can have multiple patch lists in a single patch map file.

One more reason you could get a syntax error is if you forgot to include the default bank in one of your patch lists.

Click here to read a complete tutorial on creating a patch map and using the patch map in RealBand.

73. How do I select patches on higher banks? What are MSB and LSB?

Please see our tutorial: How to create a patch map for RealBand or PowerTracks. This tutorial describes what MSB and LSB are, and how to select any patch on your synth. You may also be interested in this MIDI tutorial.

74. When using ASIO4ALL, the ports in the ASIO Audio Driver dialog are listed as "Not Connected".

You may need to enable the appropriate device in the ASIO4ALL control panel. In the ASIO Audio Drivers dialog, click the [ASIO Driver Control Panel] button. On the upper left side of the ASIO4ALL control panel, it will list your audio devices and give the status of each. If the device is available (there isn't a red cross through it), but not enabled (not highlighted in green), select it and click the Enable button. For this to take affect, you will need to exit the control panel, exit the ASIO Audio Drivers dialog, and possibly close and restart RealBand.

If the device is showing as unavailable, you may be able to resolve the problem by making sure the Microsoft GS Wavetable is not enabled anywhere in your setup. In RealBand, go to Options | MIDI Devices, and make sure the GS Wavetable is NOT selected as your output driver. If this doesn't help, close Band-in-a-Box®, go to Start | Control Panel | Sounds and Audio Devices | Audio, and make sure that the GS Wavetable is not selected for MIDI playback there. Also, make sure that there aren't any other programs running on your computer that might be using the GS Wavetable. The problem should be resolved next time you open RealBand. If not, try a reboot. Note that there is a way to disable the GS Wavetable completely using the registry editor, however this is beyond the scope of this article.

75. When I try to use the Shift-click in the Notation Window to enter a note one semitone higher, the note is not inserted.

Shift-click in the notation window allows you to highlight a range of notation. This makes it easy to tweak the beginning or end of a highlighted area. If you shift-click before the start of the From/Thru range, or after the end of the From/Thru range, the highlighted area will be extended. If you shift-click within the From/Thru range, the range will be reduced, and the location you clicked on will become either From or Thru depending on which boundary was closer to where you Shift-Clicked the mouse.

If you want to use the Shift key to insert a note a semitone higher, left-click the mouse button first (where you want to enter the note), and hold down the mouse button while pressing the Shift key.

76. Error message when loading the program: "GetCharWidth function call unsuccessful. Notation display may therefore have problems."

This can happen if there is a problem with the way the PG Music fonts are installed. The solution is to reboot your computer and reinstall the program using your original CD (or the installer that you downloaded when you placed your order). If you have a 64-bit version of Windows, you may also need to install the font update patch, available from our Software Updates page.

If that does not resolve the problem, you may need to update or reinstall the drivers for your video card. Drivers can normally be downloaded from the manufacturer's website.

77. The MIDI Guitar Cleanup function doesn't seem to have any effect.

The MIDI Guitar cleanup works on channels 11 through 16 by default. The notes that are interested in probably aren't on one of those channels. You can change the default channels in the MIDI Guitar Cleanup dialog.

78. How can I use a single line input on a sound card to record two tracks simultaneously?

You can do this as long as your computer has a stereo line input. Many laptops no longer have stereo audio inputs, only a mono mini-plug for a web microphone. However, almost all desktop computers DO have a stereo line-in. If you have a laptop that doesn't have stereo inputs, the following description will also work with external PCMCIA, USB, or Firewire stereo audio cards. Assuming you have a stereo input available, for sake of example assume we want to record two guitars:

  1. Plug Guitar 1 into Channel 1 of your external mixer (via direct, direct box, stompbox, amp emulator, mic, whatever). Plug Guitar 2 into Channel 2.

  2. With most mixers, it doesn't matter what channels you use, but some mixers have special use on some channels. For instance, you can find 16 channel mixers which have 12 sliders-- 8 mono channels (one input per channel), and then 4 stereo channels (two inputs per channel). In that case, it is probably simpler to use 2 of the mono channels, which gives you independent EQ and gain adjustment for each guitar.

  3. Pan the guitar 1 mixer channel hard left. Pan the guitar 2 mixer channel hard right. Just to be picky, if your mixer has special mono buttons or whatever in the master section, make sure such buttons are turned OFF.

  4. In the Options | Preferences | Audio Settings dialog -- the item 'Input Channel for Mono Tracks'-- Rather than Left or Right, set this item for 'L+R (2 Tracks)'

  5. In the Tracks window, choose the track you want for Guitar 1. Click the track icon, and set this track to be a Mono Audio Track. Click the 'Track Number' box of the track to highlight it RED, which arms this track for recording. For example, lets say you picked Track 5.

  6. Now when you record, then Keep Take, Guitar 1 will be on Track 5. If Track 6 was empty, Guitar 2 will be on Track 6. If Track 6 was not empty, RealBand will search up the track numbers and place Guitar 2 on the first blank track it finds.

  7. Alternately, if you made Track 5 a Stereo Audio Track, RealBand would have recorded Guitar 1 to the left channel of Track 5, and recorded Guitar 2 to the right channel of Track 5. There are cases where this is better, but you usually get more control with two MONO tracks.

  8. Once you have the Guitars on Tracks 5 and 6, you can insert different FX on each track, EQ, Echo, Chorus, whatever. You can pan each track to taste, and adjust the relative balance with the Track 5 & 6 level sliders. Often a good stereo spread might be '10 o'clock and 2 o'clock'. You can hear a spread in your livingroom or headphones, but if you are driving in your truck, you can still hear Guitar 2 a little bit, even though it's difficult for the driver to hear much out of the passenger-side right speaker. With more drastic stereo spread, some conditions such as vehicles or wide-spread stage PA speakers, you might not hear both guitars clearly.

79. Why are the CDs that I make quieter than professional CDs?

Most professional CDs used a lot of compression. This can increase the apparent loudness of a song by quite a bit. A compressor reduces the difference between the loud and soft parts of the music. The PG Music Dynamics DirectX plugin has a 'downward compressor' with make-up gain. Downward compressors work by making loud signals softer. After loud passages have been made quieter, you can apply make-up gain to increase the final audio level.

Another thing that you can do is use the PG Peak Limiter on the final output and push it up almost to the red. This will bring up the quieter parts, without allowing the louder parts to distort. Another consideration is that if you have a lot of bass, the music might not seem as loud. Equalization can help with this.

There is a lot of in-depth information available on the internet on the subject of mastering, and you can find many good tutorials by doing a simple search using any internet search engine.

80. When using a DXi plugin with ASIO drivers, why does realtime play-thru not work while the song is stopped?

For real-time MIDI thru to a DXi synth using ASIO, look in the Audio Settings dialog (Options | Preferences | Audio), click the [Audio Drivers] button, and in the "ASIO Audio Drivers" dialog make sure that the "ASIO Always On" checkbox is ON.

The choice whether to run ASIO all the time, or just when RealBand is playing/recording, is offered in case anyone has problems running ASIO constantly. If ASIO is not always on, RealBand will route MIDI thru to your default MIDI destination (such as the MS GS Wavetable, Creative Soundcard synth, hardware MIDI synth, etc). This is to minimize playthru latency when ASIO is not always on, and it is the way MIDI Thru behaves with MME high-latency drivers as well.

81. Error message when loading the program: "System cannot find file specified at..."

This is a Windows error that occurs when RealBand asks Windows to search for DirectX plugins on your computer. The problem is most likely related to an incorrectly installed DirectX Plugin.

The first thing you should do is a fresh reinstall of RealBand. Here is one way of doing this:

  1. Rename your existing RealBand folder to "RealBandOLD" (This will be a backup of your old RealBand folder).

  2. Reinstall the program (using the original CD, or the installer that you downloaded) to the default RealBand folder, for example C:\RealBand. Proceed with the DirectX Plugins installation which will launch after the main program installation. Install the plugins to the default folder.

  3. Install the latest update patch for your version of RealBand. Updates are available for download from here.

If you follow these steps, you will accomplish three main things: You will reinstall the PG Music DirectX plugins included with RealBand, you will ensure that there wasn't something wrong with one of the configuration files in your 'old' RealBand folder, and you will update RealBand to the latest build available. Once you have done this, launch the program to check if the error still occurs. If you still get the same error message, here are some other things that may help:

  • Band-in-a-Box® 2005 and higher also include a some PG Music DirectX plugins, and these should be reinstalled as well. One way to do this would be to reinstall Band-in-a-Box®. However, you can also do it without reinstalling the whole program:

    1. Open your Band-in-a-Box® folder, usually C:\bb.

    2. Search for a file that starts with "bbxxxx_dx_plug", where xxxx is your version of Band-in-a-Box® (for example, 2005).

    3. Double-click on this file, and follow the prompts to install the DirectX Plugins. Install to the default location.

  • Download and install the latest version of DirectX from Microsoft's website.

  • Check your hard disk for errors. Right Click on your hard drive and select Properties. On the Tools tab - Error Checking, click the Check Now button. Check both boxes (Fix File System Errors and Scan/attempt recovery of bad sectors). You will need to reboot the computer to run this scan.

  • If none of these suggestions have fixed the problem, there is most likely a third party (non-PG Music) DirectX plugin on your computer which was moved or deleted, or there is a problem with the plugin's registry entry. If you have recently installed any third party DirectX plugins (or software that might have included DX plugins), try uninstalling/reinstalling this software. It is possible that just one corrupt DX plugin file somewhere on your computer is causing the problem, and the next step would be to track down and uninstall all of your plugins. You may be able to find a utility that will check the registry and flag any DX plugin that has a registry entry which no longer points to a valid file.

82. How do I use Native Instruments Bandstand with PG Music software?

Please click here to read our Bandstand tutorial, which explains how to use Bandstand with Band-in-a-Box® and RealBand, and provides some troubleshooting tips.

83. When recording from an external keyboard, some notes are not being recorded, are dropping out, or are being sustained when they shouldn't be.

This might occur if the connection between RealBand and your external keyboard is being lost, such that note-on or note-off messages are occasionally not being received.

Here are some things to try:

  • Close RealBand and delete the configuration settings file "RealBand.ini" from the C:\RealBand folder. You may want to make a backup of this file first, as this will return many global RealBand setting to their factory defaults. Deleting the file will cause RealBand to re-connect to your MIDI drivers, and eliminate the possibility that this file was corrupt.

  • Make sure that your MIDI cables and USB cable (if applicable) are firmly connected. If you are using a USB hub, try connecting the USB cable directly to a USB port on your computer.

  • Reinstall the drivers for your MIDI interface, using the latest drivers available from the interface manufacturer's website.

  • Close other programs while using RealBand. There may be a conflict with another program running on your computer.

  • If the problem persists, try a different MIDI interface if possible.

84. When I try to install the program I get a message that the "setup files are corrupted".

This normally occurs with downloaded programs. This error may occur when double-clicking on an installer that was downloaded from our site. It means that the setup file is the wrong size or the file failed a CRC (cyclic redundancy check). Most likely something went wrong when you were downloading the file, for example your internet connection may have been lost. Delete the file that you downloaded and try the download again. If you are still having the problem, or if this is occurring with a program that you have on CD, reboot your computer. Also, see our Sales FAQ topic 26 for help troubleshooting download problems.

85. My Audio Track Categories are all listed as "unassigned".

When you right-click on an audio track and point to Track Category, you might find that the categories all appear as "unassigned". This can happen if you have the Windows Indexing Service disabled. To resolve the problem:

  1. Close RealBand.

  2. Right-click on the RealBand folder on your hard drive (usually C:\RealBand) and select Properties.

  3. In the General tab, Click the [Advanced] button.

  4. Place a checkmark beside "For fast searching, allow Indexing Service to index this folder" and press OK.

  5. Press Apply, and select "Apply changes to this folder, subfolders and files". Press OK.

  6. Close the Properties dialog and re-open RealBand.

86. Error message when trying to open audio files: "Procedure entry point WMCreateSyncReader could not be located in the dynamic link library WMVCORE.DLL".

There are older, corrupt, or missing files on your computer. You can resolve this problem by download and installing (or reinstalling) the latest version of Windows Media Player from Microsoft's website.

87. What options do I have for creating a MIDI drum track in RealBand?

  • You can use one of the pre-made drum loops that are included with RealBand. To do this, go to the Edit menu and click on Fill Track with Drum Pattern. In this dialog you can click on the [Select Pattern] button to choose one of the drum loops, as well as define the track number and range of bars that you want the drum loop to be imported to. Notice that the drum patterns in the 'Drums' folder that come with RealBand are of two types: *.dp, and *.dg files. *.dp files are essentially just small MIDI files, whereas the *.dg files are made using the Drum Grid Editor.

  • You can use the Drum Grid Editor to create your own custom drum loop, or you can edit an existing drum grid (*.dg file). This is the easiest way for you to make a drum track from scratch within RealBand. To open the Drum Grid Editor, go to the Action menu and click on Drum Grid Editor. Each of the columns of boxes represent a beat. Each box is a drum sound. To input a drum sound, type in a number from 0-127 - this number is the 'velocity' (volume), that you want the drum sound to have. The drum files are saved as *.dg files. Note that you can make the drums sound more realistic by using the 'random' feature.

  • You could input a drum track using your mouse and computer keyboard in the notation window. To do this, you should understand a couple of things. There are 16 MIDI channels. Channels 1-9 and 11-16 are generally used for any instrument EXCEPT drums, while channel 10 is generally used as the Drum channel. On channel 10, different note pitches sound like different drum sounds rather than different pitches of the same instrument. To select different drum kits (on channel 10), you send your synth Program Change messages. Program Change #0 is the standard drum kit, and is most frequently used drum kit as it is included in any General MIDI synth. On other MIDI channels, Program Changes are used to select different instruments (piano, guitar, etc.). Using the list of drum sounds/note numbers in the General MIDI Standard Drum Kit (see the General MIDI instrument list on our website, or the instrument list in the documentation for your synth for reference) you can input drum sounds into the notation window in editable notation mode. They will sound like drums provided that you have set the track you are working on to channel 10. If you input a couple of bars that you want looped, you can use the Edit | Copy and Paste commands to copy the bars to your whole song. The Paste dialog has an option to specify the number of repetitions you want. Alternatively, you can save 2 bar drum section as a .dp file so that you can use the Fill Track with Drum Pattern feature.

  • If you have an external hardware MIDI drum machine synth, you could connect this up to your computer and record directly into RealBand. If your drum machine is General MIDI compatible and has drum patterns, you can record them with RealBand and save them as *.DP files.

    1. Select Options | Sync Source and set RealBand to clock MIDI.

    2. Press record on RealBand and then start your synth pattern playing.

    3. Record the drum pattern (usually only 2 measures).

    4. Save file as a *.DP file.

    5. Remember to turn sync source back to internal.

    You can now use this drum pattern in any song you create by using Edit | Fill Track with Drum Pattern. You can also record drum parts from any other synth that you might have, even if it's not a drum machine.

  • You can record from the Drum Window in RealBand simply by pressing Record and mouse-clicking on the drums in that window. Once you are finished recording, press Stop. RealBand will ask if you want to keep recorded notes from .dll, to which you will answer yes. Also answer Yes to the Keep Take dialog. You may need to move the drum window out of the way by clicking and dragging it, because the 'keep take' dialogs will appear beneath the Drum Window plugin. The Drum Window can be opened by clicking on the Drum button in the RealBand toolbar. If the Drum Window button does not appear there, add it to your toolbar using the little arrow on the right-hand side of the toolbar ('Add/Remove buttons'). You can also use keyboard shortcuts in the drum window rather than mouse-clicking. To show the keys to use for each drum sound, open the Settings dialog and place a checkmark beside 'Display QWERTY characters on Drums'.

  • Finally, there is always the option of using a drum track created by our program Band-in-a-Box®. In Band-in-a-Box®, select a style that has a drum track you like, mute all of the tracks except for drums, save the song as MIDI file, and import the MIDI file into RealBand. If you would like, you can save your Band-in-a-Box® song with each drum sound on a separate track by selecting this option in the 'choose destination for MIDI file' dialog.

88. There is no sound when I try to preview my audio harmonies in the TC-Helicon window.

The preview feature in the TC-Helicon audio harmony plugin uses the sound device selected in your Windows operating system settings. Go to the Control Panel | Sounds and Audio Devices | Audio tab, and make sure the appropriate audio driver is selected for sound playback. For example, it's possible that you had selected a different sound card there than you had selected in the RealBand program in Options | Preferences | Audio | Drivers, and you only have speakers connected to the one sound card. That explains why you might hear audio in RealBand, but not in the TC-Helicon plugin.

89. When I use the VSC-DXi in Band-in-a-Box® or PowerTracks Pro Audio, I sometimes get an error message after I close the program.

One of the following error messages may appear after you exit Band-in-a-Box® or PowerTracks:

  • Windows XP: This program has encountered a problem and needs to close.

  • Windows Vista: Band-in-a-Box® (or PowerTracks) application has stopped working.

This error is most likely to occur if you are using the VSC-DXi, and you view the VSC-DXi control panel at some point during your Band-in-a-Box® or PowerTracks session. It is a very sporadic error that only occurs on some computers. There isn't a known solution, however you can safely ignore the error message.

90. When using the ForteDXi, the sound cuts out every few seconds.

This means that you have had the trial version of the ForteDXi installed on your computer for over 30 days. If you want to continue to use the ForteDXi without this restriction, you will need to purchase the full version. After you have placed your order, you will receive a registration code via email. To convert the ForteDXi into the unlimited version, right-click in the ForteDxi control panel and select 'Enter Registration Code'.

91. Which styles are included in each of the RealDrums and RealTracks Sets?

Click here to see a list of RealDrums styles and which sets they are part of. It also explains how to check which RealDrums you have installed.

This tutorial shows a list of RealTracks instruments

92. Trouble opening the help file on Windows 98 and ME.

On some older computers, the help file may not open when you go to the Help menu and select Contents. The solution is to press the F1 hotkey to open the help file. It could also be opened from outside of RealBand by double-clicking on the file RealBand.chm in your RealBand (RealBand) folder.

93. I cannot hear the metronome when using a DXi or VSTi synth.

Using a software synth (DXi or VSTi plugin) for the metronome is only supported when you are using ASIO drivers. To switch to ASIO drivers, go to Options | Preferences | Audio. If your computer doesn't have an ASIO driver installed, try the ASIO4ALL driver, which you can download from the internet. You will also need to set a reasonably low latency, such as 40ms or less. Then, go into Options | Metronome and set the Port number between 17 and 32, depending on which DXi/VSTi soft synth you want to use. The default soft synth is port number 32.

94. No sound in the Audio Chord Wizard, even though there is sound in the rest of the program.

The Audio Chord Wizard only uses the audio playback device that you have selected in Windows - it doesn't necessarily use the same audio driver that you have selected in the main RealBand program, and it doesn't use ASIO at all. If you have sound when you play an audio file with Windows Media Player, you should have sound in the Audio Chord Wizard. Check the Control Panel - Sounds and Audio Devices, and the volume levels in the Volume/Play control panel.

95. How do I install update patches for RealBand?

Update patches for RealBand can be downloaded from http://www.pgmusic.com/support.realband.htm.

  1. Download the file and 'Save to disk'. You can save the file to your desktop or to your preferred folder for saving downloads.

  2. Make sure RealBand is closed, otherwise the update will not work.

  3. Double-click on the downloaded file and follow the prompts. When you get to the screen asking you to select the destination directory, make sure that your RealBand folder is selected. This is usually C:\RealBand, although it's possible that you have the program installed somewhere else. Continue to follow the prompts.

After installing the update patch, launch RealBand and go to Help | About RealBand to make sure that it installed properly.

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