[Renamed] How can I add pre-existing audio to a BIAB song?

Posted by: lingyai

[Renamed] How can I add pre-existing audio to a BIAB song? - 09/02/13 08:30 PM

[Edit, 5 Sept 2013: This started out a couple of days ago as me just asking for a general shortcut steer on how to get BIAB to work its various kinds of magic on a preexisting track; by 4 September it had meandered into me figuring out a way to add a pre-existing audio track and its underlying, pre-existing midi source file, to a BIAB song. As that is the main point and value of this thread now, I've renamed it accordingly -- lingyai]

All right, I am starting to get ancy here at the start of the BIAB learning curve -- I deserve a break and so want to have some fun for a little bit. So I'd like a suggestions for a shortcut or two, please.

Specifically: here is something I came up with

https://soundcloud.com/st-josephs-social-club/porquinho-triste-draft

using another product called EZKeys. In essence it is kind of like BIAB in that you lay down the chords, and can then choose from different playing styles, change the key, tempo and velocity. It plays everything back through a high-quality sampled piano. It all works off midi. Of course its feature set is vastly smaller than BIAB's (though it is also easy to have a lot of fun with after about 15-20 minutes of study -- yay!)

In this case, I exported the midi into my DAW and played it back, after some tweaking, through a sampled guitar library for Kontakt. (The library is from an outfit called Orange Tree Samples. The library is called Evolution Acoustic Guitar.)

Anyway, this is a fragile little thing. I like the chord progressions, but it needs something -- some kind of sparse lead, I reckon. Probably just another single instrument. Don't want to smother this or just add parts for the sake of it.

Except the deceleration at the very end, it is all at the same tempo. I could import a 100% constant tempo midi version of it into BIAB; or I could import a 100% constant tempo audio mix version of it into BIAB just for monitoring purposes, and then manually input the chords; ok, and then what? What is a quick and easy way to generate some fitting accompaniment? At this point I might prefer midi to a RealStyle, so that I could export the resultant suggestion from BIAB as midi for further mucking around in my DAW (trying out different sampled instruments etc.) (I *much* prefer Kontakt instruments to SampleTank or Coyote Forte; IMHO it's just night and day.)

This is as much a lazy request for a shortcut as I guess an invitation for some virtual collaboration if anyone's game. I'd even be willing to share the midi file if in return you could explain to me what you did with it.

So come on, play with the new kid!

Posted by: Matt Finley

Re: Ok y'all, help with a quick-start -- how can I add to this with BIAB? - 09/02/13 08:45 PM

You can input this audio file into the Audio Chord Wizard of BIAB to make a tempo map of the ritard at the end. BIAB can only alter the tempo at each bar, but in your file that may be enough.

The Audio Chord Wizard will also guess the chords, but if you already know them, then you are ahead and can quickly alter the ones that need it.
Posted by: lingyai

Re: Ok y'all, help with a quick-start -- how can I add to this with BIAB? - 09/03/13 05:47 PM

Thanks Matt.

I think I might try to learn about the melodist and soloist features, using this as an experiment. Any tips, words of wisdom, caveats etc which might be useful to know ?
Posted by: Matt Finley

Re: Ok y'all, help with a quick-start -- how can I add to this with BIAB? - 09/03/13 05:54 PM

I'm sure others will have some tips. I do not use either of those functions.
Posted by: Guitarhacker

Re: Ok y'all, help with a quick-start -- how can I add to this with BIAB? - 09/04/13 08:44 AM

I use the melodist but not the soloist in creating certain types of songs. This works fairly well on jazz stylings.

On country, I prefer to "roll my own."

I can understand wanting to use midi so you have access to using other synths..... however, I really do prefer using the real tracks in Real Band to render the music.

The main reason is that the midi tracks sound like midi.... pretty stiff sounding when compared to a live player..... bass and drums being a possible exception. Real tracks in Real Band have that human feel to them and have fooled many players who have heard my tunes. I always have people asking me, who is playing the piano or the steel or the fiddle. I had one guy who runs a studio for a living, and has really sharp ears, ask me about the fiddle in one of the songs I posted in another forum..... his comment was about the articulation and he stated that he could "hear the rosin on the bow" in the music...... it was that "real" sounding.
Posted by: lingyai

Re: Ok y'all, help with a quick-start -- how can I add to this with BIAB? - 09/04/13 05:48 PM

Thanks GuitarHacker. I must say the RealStyles are very impressive.

But, despite doing my homework and reading the manual's chapter on the "auto" functions including the Melodist and Soloist functions -- twice -- I'm already stuck at square one. I'm probably overlooking something real basic. Perhaps you or one of the other merciful souls here could help me out. I am trying.

My objective for the night: before I mess with either Melodist or Soloist functions, I'm just trying to get the original tune , which I'll call the "Base", into BIAB, so I can then generate some accompaniment.

Actually I'm now trying this with a new Base track, a rough take you can hear here

https://soundcloud.com/st-josephs-social-club/move-along-nothing-to-see-here

Now, there's a wrinkle. I have the Base in two formats: the rendered audio WAV file ; and the underlying midi file which I used to make that rendered file (i.e. the midi file played back through a nice virtual guitar synth in my DAW, and I rendered that). Both of course are the same key (Db major) and tempo (90).

Ideally, I'd really like to be able to import both into BIAB:

1) the WAV file, for *monitoring purposes only* ; I don't want this to be giving any instructions to any of BIAB's algorithms or what not. In other words, I just want to hear this nicely rendered audio "guitar" while I audition a BIAB style, melody or solo. The BIAB contributions I choose will be influenced by hearing this actual audio version; I don't want to have to settle for hearing the underlying Base midi file instead, because the midi file, played back in BIAB, is going to sound very cheesy, with all due respect to the SampleTank and CoyoteForte synths.

2) the midi file, just for the purpose of getting the chord information to BIAB, so it can generate different kinds of accompaniments (again, a full song style, a melody or a solo).

(I did try the Audio Chord wizard, but it failed big time; the chords are quite wrong; I just don't ant to wrestle with that one right now).

In a DAW, just importing the WAV and the corresponding midi version of the Base would be easy to do. Well, I'm finding out that BIAB ain't like a DAW, or at least any one I've ever used.

So anyway, I launched BIAB, set the tempo and key, then imported the WAV using the File / Open Audio command. I entered no chords. The WAV played. So far so good (except that the moment I pressed play, BIAB counted in right over over the start of the WAV.)

I then tried importing the midi file version of the Base using the File / Open Midi File command, but as soon as I choose that, before I could even navigate to the midi file, I got a message saying "Song file has changed, save before closing?" with options which basically forced me to either close the song or forget about importing the midi file.

So I changed strategy, by closing out, starting a new song, setting the key and tempo, and this time importing the midi file (this resulted in the right chords appearing) and then -- before even bothering with the wav version or the Melodist or Soloist features -- just picked a RealStyle and pressed play. The style was "CBGUIRO.STY. Classic Country w Guiro(165 RS)". Using the mixer I muted everything but the acoustic guitar. Sounded beautiful. I got all excited about how it would sound together with the WAV file. So I tried importing the WAV file -- but no go, I again got a "Song file has changed, save before closing?" message and the same dead-end options.

This just doesn't seem to want to play ball.

It's a good thing I'm working out in my back yard because only the foxes can hear me cussing. Also, I'm out of cigarettes and need to pee.

There's got to be a way to do this, yes? Anyone who can help me take this first baby step will be my new best friend forever.

Let me know if I need to clarify what it is I am trying to do.
Posted by: MusicStudent

Re: Ok y'all, help with a quick-start -- how can I add to this with BIAB? - 09/04/13 06:32 PM

You answered your own question - BIAB is not a DAW and will not combine audio and midi like a DAW. You need to rethink what this program does. When you said:

"... starting a new song, setting the key and tempo, and this time importing the midi file (this resulted in the right chords appearing) and then -- before even bothering with the wav version or the Melodist or Soloist features -- just picked a RealStyle and pressed play. The style was "CBGUIRO.STY. Classic Country w Guiro(165 RS)". Using the mixer I muted everything but the acoustic guitar. Sounded beautiful."

That is what BIAB does. Now continue on with the Melodist and Soloist features. Get it even sounding better, then export every individual track to a DAW (RB, Sonar, Reaper....) and then insert the original bass wav file on a separate track - mix -master and publish.
Posted by: Ryszard

Re: Ok y'all, help with a quick-start -- how can I add to this with BIAB? - 09/04/13 07:06 PM

lingyai,

BIAB is not a DAW. It never was and is not intended to be. After a lengthy discussion on these forums some time back the consensus was that BIAB is an instrument. It does some amazing things, but there are some things it isn't intended to do. There are often calls to to combine BIAB with Real Band (RB); I am fairly certain that this is not possible.

RB was created as a complement to BIAB, incorporating some of its features (notably the ability to create MIDI and Real Tracks parts from user-inputted chord charts), adding some unique ones (the ability to import tracks directly from BIAB, e.g.), yet having the functionality of a true DAW. You will discover that RB has its own subtle limitations, hence the mention of other programs to complete your projects.

The combination of the two programs is intended to potentiate or maximize the capabilities of each. Perhaps this is the answer you are looking for.

HTH,

R.
Posted by: lingyai

Re: Ok y'all, help with a quick-start -- how can I add to this with BIAB? - 09/04/13 09:11 PM

Breakthrough.

I just did some more digging and experimenting, because it just seemed to me that it would be so weird if -- as I recall seeing a few times in the manual -- BIAB does let you record audio live, to be part of a BIAB song; but then would not let you add a pre-recorded audio file for the same purpose. After all, user-created audio is user-created audio, right?

My conclusion is that I have to respectfully disagree with y'all -- what I'm trying to do can be done after all.

Here's how. In my case, import the midi file. Then, instead of going to File/Open Audio, go to Audio/Import Audio. That's it.

Now the Audio will accompany whatever BIAB generates off the midi file's chords, given the chosen style. The levels and panning of the audio and the BIAB-generated accompaniment parts can then be adjusted in the mixer.

All's well that end's well I reckon.
Posted by: MusicStudent

Re: Ok y'all, help with a quick-start -- how can I add to this with BIAB? - 09/04/13 09:55 PM

Glad you found a way.
Posted by: Matt Finley

Re: Ok y'all, help with a quick-start -- how can I add to this with BIAB? - 09/04/13 09:56 PM

I have to do some experiments, but I think I just learned something here.
Posted by: Guitarhacker

Re: Ok y'all, help with a quick-start -- how can I add to this with BIAB? - 09/05/13 08:41 AM

I'm listening to the track...

I have used auto detect chords a few times. Some times it nailed the chords exactly and other times it was so far off it wasn't even funny.

I can see why BB had a hard time with the auto-detect-chords. It changes key several times. Auto detect is trying to establish the key of the song and the tempo so it can render the proper chords in the right place. The chords in this piece are not basic root chords so that gives it a higher level of difficulty when trying to figure out the chords.

I had someone send me a song that they asked me if I could create a fiddle part for. I tried auto detect but it failed due to some issues in the song..... my solution to the problem was to take the time to write out the chords after determining what they were on my guitar. I imported the audio to BB and lined it up properly (not a small job) and then manually wrote in the chords.

Once I had BB properly programmed and synced, I transferred it to Real Band and rendered the fiddle tracks.

I would suggest you follow a similar path. Get the tempo correct, sync the wave to BB and manually enter the chords. Now, you are in a position to change the style and play around. You can also move it at this point to Real Band and use RB to add sampled string and other instruments to fill out the song a bit.

Melodist and Soloist are not useful for this purpose. Speaking about Melodist since that one I do use from time to time...... it will create a song..(for better or for worse) using a style that you have chosen in the pop up box. It will create the chords, and you can play it back immediately. but it will NOT follow anything you may have in a wave file. It does it's own thing. Normally, I use this to create a song when I am wanting to experiment. Most of the time I have to let it do it's thing multiple times before it gives me something that catches my fancy. And then, I have to edit it. Change chords, add chords, move parts, etc, to come up with something useful. It's rare for me to click on Melodist and have it hit the bulls-eye first time out.

Much of the jazz and instrumental music on my web site were created in this manner.

I hope this clears up some confusion for you and points you in a direction where you can use BB/RB to accomplish what you want to do.
Posted by: Guitarhacker

Re: Ok y'all, help with a quick-start -- how can I add to this with BIAB? - 09/05/13 08:46 AM

The important thing in putting the "BASE" song into BB in order to create accompaniment..... is to get BB/RB to recognize where the song begins..... measure 1 beat 1 so that it can build from there.

Without that very important "mile marker" things will not sync properly when you start to build the tracks in BB or RB.

That one issue has been the hardest part for me..... often taking several attempts to get it right. It is critical to get it exactly right. Then.... once that is done, the rest, as they say, is all "down hill".....
Posted by: lingyai

Re: Ok y'all, help with a quick-start -- how can I add to this with BIAB? - 09/05/13 04:37 PM

Thanks for your time and advice.

By the way, you can align the audio quickly and easily if you use the Audio / Import Audio command, which causes you to see a dialogue box asking you where to start the audio. I don't have it in front of me now, but it's self-explanatory. Basically, in the first box on the left of the dialogue, enter "1" meaning the audio should start on the 1st measure of the song. (For me, this means changing this number from what is for me a default value of "-1", which means the start of the 2-bar count-in. )