Unhappy With BIAB 2021

Posted by: JohnJohnJohn

Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 02/25/21 11:53 AM

BIAB 2020 was relatively stable but I continue to have lots of problems with BIAB 2021!

- Some saved songs no longer sound right.

- Mixer problems where changing a style does not completely change the tracks in the mixer. I have had to click the generate button 5 or 6 times in order to get the tracks to actually regenerate properly with a new style.

- Bar Settings problems where songs that worked just fine before with a style change at a certain bar now do not work.

- Changing a track and using its DI option then incorrectly sets that track to DI for any subsequent style changes to DI.

- BIAB sometimes "forgets" my audio driver if I switch away to another program and then come back.

These are all NEW problems that I didn't have before "upgrading"! I have not even tried any of the new features because I can only assume they are marginal as well.

I had an older computer (approximately 3 years old) that was slowing down a bit so I blamed the problems on it during December. Then I went ahead and loaded BIAB 2021 on a brand new fast PC and...same problems!

I have reported these problems in the private testing forum and have no idea whether they are even being addressed. I am beyond frustrated with this product. Honestly, if it were not for the RealTracks I would have dumped it off my computer long ago.
Posted by: Chantelle - PG Music

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 02/25/21 01:11 PM

Hi JohnJohnJohn, as our developers work on bug fixes we periodically post build updates to our website here: https://www.pgmusic.com/support_windowsupdates.htm

Please download and install the latest update for the 2021 and see if your issues are fixed. At the moment the latest build is the 822.

If you come across any other issues, you can email us at support@pgmusic.com
Posted by: MusicStudent

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 02/25/21 02:05 PM

JJJ
Chantelle must have missed the fact that you have over 3000 posts. Of course said with a big grin
Posted by: JohnJohnJohn

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 02/26/21 12:44 PM

Originally Posted By: MusicStudent
JJJ
Chantelle must have missed the fact that you have over 3000 posts. Of course said with a big grin

You, my friend, are a troublemaker! I notice Chantelle has 6 posts so maybe this is a new PG person. Hey, at least someone from there responded to my complaint!
Posted by: JohnJohnJohn

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 02/26/21 12:47 PM

Originally Posted By: Chantelle - PG Music
Hi JohnJohnJohn, as our developers work on bug fixes we periodically post build updates to our website here: https://www.pgmusic.com/support_windowsupdates.htm

Please download and install the latest update for the 2021 and see if your issues are fixed. At the moment the latest build is the 822.

If you come across any other issues, you can email us at support@pgmusic.com

Thanks but I am quite aware of the constant stream of bug fix updates. They just never seem to fix all the things they broke in the latest release and it is way out beyond frustrating. Restoring what we had before should be the very highest priority.
Posted by: Dave

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 02/27/21 06:47 AM

I think that's called Quality Assurance.

You should never break something that is already working. Any new functionality shouldn't negatively affect the existing code. New code should work.

The beta testers, I am sure, do a good job. I don't know if they are directed to test certain functions only, or if they have leeway to look for broken code. Do they ever test for problems that existed in the previous release?

PGM doesn't seem to have an effective process for delivering a clean product, which is why we have so many fixes in each build. You have to accept with a product like BIAB/RealBand there will be some untested combinations of features. Much of that must be due to the legacy code. If it wasn't developed or previously modified in a controlled way, new changes will eventually clash with old code.

PGM's approach seems to be discount the new release (e.g. 2021) cost and let the users sort out the bugs. If you don't like this, you can always buy the BIAB at full cost in June when most of the bugs will have been fixed.

The other thing is that most of the errors seem to be related, not surprisingly, to the new code, or to the non-traditional BIAB functionality as a backing track generator. The basic program seems to be fine since it really hasn't changed since day 1.

I still think that PGM should be more forthcoming with their release approach. We should expect a working, essentially bug free product with each release. Today, we often have to do our own regression testing to ensure that product still works for us.
Posted by: Angelo Cappello

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 02/27/21 10:53 AM

BIAB is such a good software that it deserves to be completely rewritten every 3-5 years.
These are the main reasons:
https://medium.com/@nirespire/why-i-think-software-should-be-rewritten-every-three-years-7fcc29210ca5
Best Regards
Angelo
Posted by: Bob Calver

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 02/28/21 02:15 AM

For what its worth, and I've said this before, the more you try to add 'new and requested' features to BIAB, the more complicated it gets. hence the fact that this version with changes to the mixer and utility tracks for example seems to have caused so many problems and issues.

it's not a DAW. and when i made that point previously, it was pointed out that other 'auto accompaniment' packages had features BIAB didn't. GIMP doesn't match photoshop exactly yet its still a perfectly usable program for photo editing - just different.

tweaking BIAB to add DAW-like features or facilities people like on other programs seems almost to ignore BIAB strengths and why it's good at what it does. It doesn't need to 'improve'. so i agree that fixing long term bugs and issues like the limit on time signatures would be more welcomed by the community.

after all, i haven't seen anything 'new' in 2021 BIAB that we can't do in RB or a fully fledged DAW. and of course you can use the BIAB plugin - the best 'new' feature of recent years - in a DAW.

regardless of wishlists, the strength of BIAB is RealTracks. That alone sets BIAB apart so chasing DAW features and other programs isn't necessary.

i upgraded to 2021 and most of the issues have passed me by because i rough out a song in BIAB then do the heavy lifting in RB.

would other forumites agree that fixing the time signatures issue, breaking the 265 bar barrier, fixing the bug that means RealTracks don't always respond to bar based key changes (Andrew agreed that needed fixing) and other long term issues would be preferable?

BIAB is a great program. so maybe now's the time to stop adding bells and whistles and consolidate the program working on its strengths?

BIAB is essential to my music making. i'm grateful to PG Music for the creative possibilities it gives me. i don't mean this as a rant - its a celebration of what BIAB does without needing extra 'features'.
Posted by: VideoTrack

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 02/28/21 03:30 AM

Quote:
...
would other forumites agree that fixing the time signatures issue, breaking the 265 bar barrier, fixing the bug that means RealTracks don't always respond to bar based key changes (Andrew agreed that needed fixing) and other long term issues would be preferable?


Everything that was mentioned is definitely worthy of consideration. Fixing known, existing issues, and satisfying multiple requests for better functionality (255 bar limit, etc) is far preferable than adding 50 new features each release. However, not everyone has this focus.

I would rather see 50 bug fixes than 50 new features, any day. YMMV.

Posted by: Rob Helms

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 02/28/21 06:09 AM

Bob 2 post up is right on, he gets it. I am so tired of the endless arguments over making BiaB something it is not. That goes for the plugin as well.

This basically called regression bugs. Where a new feature of option causes an old problem to resurface. This is the very reason that myself and a few others resisted some of the new ideas floated around. Not because we want to halt or block forward development, but rather to allow the program to breath and catch up. Every year folks ask for more changes. That might be easy in a program that does just a few things but BiaB is deep and rich with decades of features and layered capabilities.

I know I will draw criticism for saying this, I know this cause every time I have in the past I have had to put up with scathing remarks, and name calling. but I really don’t care! Why you say because I am right. In the past folks have criticized PGM for living in the past, maybe they are partially right. But just maybe with a deeply developed program that has been upgraded for more than 3 decades at this point adding a bunch of new features has become very complicated and difficult. So if you want to flame me for speaking out go right ahead, it will fall on deaf ears. Not because I’m some “old guard” but because I right. Allow PGM to fix the issues, and bear in mind it may take time. Don’t totally blame them as remember it was the users who to some degree demanded some of these features that cause regression. To PGM, guys you do an great job each year, but really take a look and see that it may be time to focus on stabilizing and make the annual new stuff RT and content.

How about 45 bugs smashed and 5 new features and 202 new RTs, 50 new RDs and some cool new MSTs etc. just sayin’

As they say round these parts “capese!”

Posted by: MarioD

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 02/28/21 06:10 AM

Originally Posted By: VideoTrack
Quote:
...
would other forumites agree that fixing the time signatures issue, breaking the 265 bar barrier, fixing the bug that means RealTracks don't always respond to bar based key changes (Andrew agreed that needed fixing) and other long term issues would be preferable?


Everything that was mentioned is definitely worthy of consideration. Fixing known, existing issues, and satisfying multiple requests for better functionality (255 bar limit, etc) is far preferable than adding 50 new features each release. However, not everyone has this focus.

I would rather see 50 bug fixes than 50 new features, any day. YMMV.



A SUPER BIG +1
Posted by: Matt Finley

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 02/28/21 07:17 AM

This is not a new idea. I remember at least twenty years ago (maybe even in the prior forum) suggesting it would be good to take one year to fix major limitations rather than add new features. Core functionality, I called it.

255 measures. Odd time signatures including cut time. Enharmonic notes such as F flat. Maj7(#11), in jazz fake books but requiring Maj9(#11) in BIAB. NA for chords. Eight per bar. Split out all the chord types now called a 2 chord. Anything that didn’t work, especially if it were advertised or implied. Core functionality.

This year, as an example of what might have caused more difficulty this year than in the past, PG Music gave us Utility Tracks and enhanced the mixer. Yay. But, immediately there were calls for feature enhancements. I’m sure I gave some a +1. I shouldn’t have. I got excited and greedy. I think we should have let the developers work at the pace they had planned.
Posted by: Brian Cadoret

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 02/28/21 08:45 AM


On average when I read the posts on this forum there are probably not more than twenty users who chip in with ideas and workarounds.
Although PGMusic has a cracking good piece of software, namely BIAB, their main focus is to sell the latest version to the thousands of new customers out there, and users who are happy just to "carry on", that's what businesses do they need to make a profit, so selling BIAB with hundreds of new features and bells and whistles attracts new users.
There are many bugs in the software that just keep getting pushed under the rug year after year and many "wishlist" ideas that will never see the light of day.
So with the twenty or so genuine users against the thousands of potential new customers bringing in cash I won't be holding my breath for the next release!
Posted by: Lloyd S

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 02/28/21 09:09 AM

I agree with Matt's thinking on calls for future enhancements.
I am now limiting my entries to the Wishlist Forum to things (no matter how trivial) that need fixing.

LLOYD S
Posted by: Matt Finley

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 02/28/21 09:24 AM

Brian, I think it's far more than twenty, especially if you go back 25 years.

I thought twenty years ago that adding new features while leaving shortcomings would cause the product to collapse at some point. Obviously I was quite wrong.
Posted by: MarioD

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 02/28/21 09:30 AM

Originally Posted By: Brian Cadoret

On average when I read the posts on this forum there are probably not more than twenty users who chip in with ideas and workarounds.
Although PGMusic has a cracking good piece of software, namely BIAB, their main focus is to sell the latest version to the thousands of new customers out there, and users who are happy just to "carry on", that's what businesses do they need to make a profit, so selling BIAB with hundreds of new features and bells and whistles attracts new users.
There are many bugs in the software that just keep getting pushed under the rug year after year and many "wishlist" ideas that will never see the light of day.
So with the twenty or so genuine users against the thousands of potential new customers bringing in cash I won't be holding my breath for the next release!


You might be correct but I wonder how many potential users were put off with the first VSTi version? I know for a fact that some people are really put off by the GUI and the menu system. Many are put off by the fact that a 6/8 time signature transformed in a 4/4 time signature when transferred to their DAW. Some are put off by the fact that the last two upgrades had a ton of bugs.

Those of us who have used BiaB for years work around these handicaps but new potential customers can be put off by them. Especially in the MIDI world where there is a lot of competition out there, some much better then BiaB. If you use RTs then BiaB/RB are your only choices, for now.

I know that RTs are the cash cow for PGM but I firmly believe correcting the above statements would greatly improve their cash flow. YMMV
Posted by: Bob Calver

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 02/28/21 02:39 PM

as i've said before you don't need new features when you can say 'thousands of hours of top musicians playing live what you want in any key and any chord progression'

RealTracks are the wonderful thing about BIAB that will attract new users.

much better than 'now with utility tracks'.

we were all new users once and we bought BIAB for what it could do - not for 'new features' over last year's program which we didn't know anything about.
Posted by: Matt Finley

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 02/28/21 03:35 PM

No it’s not a bug.

EDIT: it looks like the post I replied to was deleted
.

The check in the program does not include beta versions, and PG Music considers the most recent release a beta. If you check on the website, you will see Build 822.
Posted by: JohnJohnJohn

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 02/28/21 04:16 PM

Originally Posted By: Dave
The beta testers, I am sure, do a good job.

There is no beta test here, at least not for recent releases. A few days to a week is not even remotely enough time to properly test a piece of software as complex as this. I def do not blame the beta testers.

Quote:
PGM's approach seems to be discount the new release (e.g. 2021) cost and let the users sort out the bugs.

Yup. And it works for us experienced users as Mario said we know how to work around stuff. I gotta believe new customers suffer with this a lot more.

Quote:
We should expect a working, essentially bug free product with each release. Today, we often have to do our own regression testing to ensure that product still works for us.

Agreed. There are bugs that come up that should have been caught and fixed before it was even released to the "beta test" stage.

Each year I give serious consideration to simply skipping the upgrade, freezing my installation of BIAB and foregoing the cool new RealTracks! That is becoming more and more attractive as a future option. At least that way I won't degrade my BIAB experience from December until June of the following year.
Posted by: limestone

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 02/28/21 05:43 PM

IMHO, getting eighth-note chords and/or quarter-note and eighth-note triplets in a bar would be INCREDIBLE. And yes, I know about the workarounds and the work Mr. Norton has done. And, all the little bells and whistles added over the years. This has been discussed ad nauseum. I've owned a studio since 1989, and biab is the best single tool I've ever purchased to produce the foundation of a song properly. But, has focus been lost on strengthening BASIC necessities and fundamentals of music? Asking for a friend...
Posted by: NigelSpiers

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 02/28/21 05:58 PM

Hi Guys,

I couldn't agree more with all the points made in this thread.

I also use BIAB every day and love it.

But the key point here is; PG Music - please forget the new features and just concentrate on the things that make BIAB great and different to all competitors i.e.

1. Easy creation of quality backing tracks. (It's been doing a great job of this since day 1).

2. More high quality Real Tracks. (This is the feature of BIAB that keeps your fans loyal).

One last request to PG Music - please don't churn out endless reiterations of the same old Styles - experienced users make their own styles. Concentrate on getting lots of top quality musicians into your studio and lastly - please look at the Real Tracks Wishlist on your web site - often!

Thanks to all the above contributors for their insight, intelligence and experience.

Much Appreciated.

Best Regards
Nigel Spiers
Posted by: musiclover

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 03/01/21 12:57 AM

A sure answer to all these problems would be to have the New Realtracks and other content work with the previous years stable version.

In all honesty this has been going on far too long, add 50 new features but break another 50 working features.

Does PG expect the users to waste time on the now broken features and spent a considerable amount of time updating to fix them?
Posted by: JohnJohnJohn

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 03/01/21 04:13 PM

Originally Posted By: musiclover
A sure answer to all these problems would be to have the New Realtracks and other content work with the previous years stable version.

THIS. This is the answer! Give us the option of keeping our existing version and buying the RealTracks each year. I'd even pay the same upgrade price to have this option.
Posted by: MikeK

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 03/01/21 05:19 PM

The problem is that the current year's version isn't stable yet. Other than that, I could go along with that - meaning, having an option ...

I personally do not endorse the idea, but that's just me. smile
Posted by: NigelSpiers

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 03/01/21 08:10 PM

Hi John,

Yes that's definitely the answer - using all new Realtracks with BIAB 2020 or earlier.

I can't think of any technical reason stopping this happening. I would also pay the upgrade price to stay on 2020 and get all subsequent Real Tracks.

Best Regards
Nigel
Posted by: musiclover

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 03/02/21 04:33 AM

Originally Posted By: JohnJohnJohn
Originally Posted By: musiclover
A sure answer to all these problems would be to have the New Realtracks and other content work with the previous years stable version.

THIS. This is the answer! Give us the option of keeping our existing version and buying the RealTracks each year. I'd even pay the same upgrade price to have this option.


I think a big plus with this idea is since its not difficult to have different versions or years of biab on your computer, pg could still release the new version which you could install into a different folder to test, that could be fixed in due course, but in the meantime you would have the old stable version of biab that would still be able to access the newer Realtracks.

As far as I am aware (and have just tried it successfully with Realband 2018) it is possible to do this on a previous years RB, so why not biab as well?

PG music could still have the same prices for upgrades but in the meantime users wouldn't be so frustrated with the new bugs in the program, as they would have old years stable version to work on, and test the new biab at their leisure.
Posted by: Matt Finley

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 03/02/21 04:58 AM

Just be aware that PG Music has given requirements of the latest version of BIAB to use the latest RealTracks. This suggestion would prevent them from expanding the capabilities of RealTracks.
Posted by: musiclover

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 03/02/21 07:44 AM

Originally Posted By: Matt Finley
Just be aware that PG Music has given requirements of the latest version of BIAB to use the latest RealTracks. This suggestion would prevent them from expanding the capabilities of RealTracks.


Yes that may be true, but though I am not a coder I probably look at that been more of a deliberate Marketing ploy than anything else (Deliberately coded that way)since older RB can access the new realtracks, eg 2018 Realband can access 2020 Realtracks.

Of course using an older version of biab to access the new Realtracks won't give access to the new features, such as Utility tracks etc, but I bet a lot of users would put up with that for the stability involved.

The new version can then be tested at leisure without a good proportion of the users getting frustrated with broken features, that worked on the previous years editiion.
Posted by: Guitarhacker

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 03/02/21 08:26 AM

All I can say is.... good points.

I've never had issues with the yearly upgrades until this year. My biggest nit is that the GUI is always changed up and I have to figure out where everything from last year is now hidden. Once I got that figured out... I had some issues that were frustrating. For one, both BB & RB were freezing when I would go to close the program. And at times the program would freeze on startup. The update to the latest version fixed those issues. Then I had some other issue that was giving me serious latency. That was simply a matter of going into the preferences and checking the settings and changing to the proper drivers.

Do the updates, check your preferences and if you still have issues, contact support. If they can't solve it, roll back to the last version that was working.


Oh yeah... one more thing.... the age of the computer isn't really an issue. If the computer is 3 years old.... heck... that's practically brand new. You see, mine is close to 15 years old... running Windows XP Pro 32 bit and it runs smooth as glass with an old i5 Intel chip.
Posted by: Matt Finley

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 03/02/21 10:19 AM

Originally Posted By: musiclover
Originally Posted By: Matt Finley
Just be aware that PG Music has given requirements of the latest version of BIAB to use the latest RealTracks. This suggestion would prevent them from expanding the capabilities of RealTracks.


Yes that may be true, but though I am not a coder I probably look at that been more of a deliberate Marketing ploy than anything else (Deliberately coded that way)since older RB can access the new realtracks, eg 2018 Realband can access 2020 Realtracks.

Of course using an older version of biab to access the new Realtracks won't give access to the new features, such as Utility tracks etc, but I bet a lot of users would put up with that for the stability involved.

The new version can then be tested at leisure without a good proportion of the users getting frustrated with broken features, that worked on the previous years editiion.
I don't disagree; I'm sure marketing plays a part. In fact, I've never tried it, but I suspect older versions of BIAB could load and run most new RealTracks. Only when they have made structural changes such as how cut time is handled, might it pose a problem. But this is just speculation; I don't know without doing experiments.
Posted by: NigelSpiers

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 03/03/21 04:30 PM

Hi Folks,

While we are on the topic of more Realtracks and and bug fixes and less software development:

High on my wishlist would be an enhanced tempo algorithm that would allow me to increase/decrease the tempo of a Realtrack by more then is currently possible.
If I could change the tempo by 10+ (even up to 20BPM) then that would increase the usefulness of Realtracks significantly.

What do you think?

Best Regards
Nigel
Posted by: VideoTrack

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 03/03/21 04:34 PM

I think the idea is good, but the laws of physics might get in the way. There is a limit to how much stretching/reshaping of an audio waveform that can be applied before unwanted artifacts become apparent.
Posted by: Matt Finley

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 03/03/21 05:52 PM

Yes, 10% is quite a lot to ask, but it depends greatly on what instrument is used.
Posted by: Rustyspoon#

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 03/03/21 06:44 PM

"laws of physics might get in the way" LOL!

Ok, I am probably in the minority here... but I like where BIAB is heading with 2021 update. Before rocks fly in my direction,
I think it is a great idea to have RT's backward compatible. At least one prior version. This alone could save a LOT of nerve cells to some who depend or attached to certain features, etc.

...And they will patiently wait until a stable release candidate is available and have whole trunk of new RTs and other content to keep them occupied till then.
Posted by: NigelSpiers

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 03/03/21 10:12 PM

Hi,

I'm not asking you for your opinion on what you know nothing about.

I'm suggesting something that may benefit all users way more than additional utility tracks or some other dubious software enhancement.

Matt - maybe keep your opinions for where you have something useful to contribute and please stop trying to derail all useful and positive discussions on important matters for all users.

Thanks & Best Regards
Nigel
Posted by: VideoTrack

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 03/04/21 01:35 AM

Originally Posted By: NigelSpiers
Hi,

I'm not asking you for your opinion on what you know nothing about.

Hi Nigel.
I'm interested. Several people contributed to the thread. Who was your reply directed to? If it was me then I'm OK to engage in further meaningdful discussion on any part of my comment.
Look forward to your clarification.
Posted by: musiclover

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 03/04/21 04:06 AM

Originally Posted By: JohnJohnJohn
BIAB 2020 was relatively stable but I continue to have lots of problems with BIAB 2021!

- Some saved songs no longer sound right.

- Mixer problems where changing a style does not completely change the tracks in the mixer. I have had to click the generate button 5 or 6 times in order to get the tracks to actually regenerate properly with a new style.

- Bar Settings problems where songs that worked just fine before with a style change at a certain bar now do not work.

- Changing a track and using its DI option then incorrectly sets that track to DI for any subsequent style changes to DI.

- BIAB sometimes "forgets" my audio driver if I switch away to another program and then come back.

These are all NEW problems that I didn't have before "upgrading"! I have not even tried any of the new features because I can only assume they are marginal as well.

I had an older computer (approximately 3 years old) that was slowing down a bit so I blamed the problems on it during December. Then I went ahead and loaded BIAB 2021 on a brand new fast PC and...same problems!

I have reported these problems in the private testing forum and have no idea whether they are even being addressed. I am beyond frustrated with this product. Honestly, if it were not for the RealTracks I would have dumped it off my computer long ago.


JJJ started this thread (and as I see it as he is a big fan of biab, just like myself) its kind of sad that he should feel that he can get so frustrated with the constant merry go round of having to constantly update biab through the year, that he wants to dump it off his computer.

Features that probably worked well before are now broken and will take a good part of the year to get to a stable running version again.

Everyone's time is valuable and that is why the suggestion is being put forward, that the last years stable version should be able to access this years realtracks. Not a big ask since realband 2018 can access 2020 realtracks.

I have not upgraded this year and really pleased that I didn't, when as like other years I see the continuous list of problems since 21 was released in early December.

Life is too busy and time too valuable to be put on this merry-go-round every year.
Posted by: Matt Finley

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 03/04/21 04:11 AM

Nigel, you commented that you couldn’t think of any reason your idea couldn’t be done. I made two comments. You invited them. As far as I understand, you do not get to dictate how others may respond to your ideas.

But yes, if I could wave the magic wand and abandon physics and precedent, your idea is a good one. Someday the technology may be available to stretch an audio file that far without artifacts. In fact, I recommend you create a new thread so it isn't buried within this one.
Posted by: Rustyspoon#

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 03/04/21 07:45 PM

Just an attempt at constructive thinking.
Seems to me that there are three main solutions to this (I am sure much more than 3 smile )

1) Make RT's backward compatible to some extent.

2)Vigorously test and fix items, perhaps using someone on the side who is trained specifically in locating and fixing conflicts/issues in code before it gets released.

3)Roll out yearly update with minimal set of well tested(!) features (5-10?) and roll others SLOWLY throughout the year, a bunch at a time, with update patch, so there is enough room for testing. Most users know that updates are free for the whole calendar year of current version, so nothing is lost. Seems, not many people care about the quantity of released features. I think stability and a statement that planned updates and fixes are free for current version is a solid marketing statement.

Personally, I think #3 is the way to go.
Posted by: MikeK

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 03/04/21 08:27 PM

Personally (IMHO), I do not see a need for PG Music to change anything for future releases. People are asking for a LOT of things to be included in the yearly release. Most are addressed.

Keep in mind that there are many users with different setups in regard to their computer system. No way to anticipate ALL that might not work for some, but works for others.

No changes needed. With a limited staff, there is no way there is enough time to account for ALL scenarios. I've had some upsets, but they have all been address. That's why we have updates left and right - and that's perfectly fine with me.

Keep doing what you are doing PG! And, not to mention all the Beta testers. You all do a great job.

Just my penny's worth of feedback.
Posted by: Gordon Scott

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 03/05/21 02:48 AM

Some semi-random thoughts on the update process.

I believe PG have a number of beta testers and I suspect that they're all very experienced BIAB users, who know there way around the program and know how things should work. That's a two-edged sword, because they also know what _not_ to do so that they can keep themselves out of trouble. It's very likely that, probably subconsciously, they're avoiding bugs into which we less familiar folk can crash. In a past business we had a guy who was, almost pathologically, deliberately naive when testing software. He would do the craziest "why would anyone do that?" things, but he found loads of bugs.

Quite a lot of complex software packages have multiple risk-level option, e.g., Development, Beta, Release Candidate' Release and Long-Term-Support. That is more work to maintain, but not as much more as one might imagine. Whenever I finish a bug-fix in a mature version, typically I compare the old with the newer and propagate that same fix when I can. Unusually for me (I'm a Unix/Linux man), I use WinWerge for that as I find it extremely friendly to use.

As a user, I generally avoid getting the latest new release, as there are almost always lots of bugs. I have no desire to inflict the pain upon myself; let others do it. Either they don't mind the pain, or they'll learn in time.

In my few updates with BIAB, they've usually seemed to me to be pretty shockingly buggy. But still I was tempted in by the upgrade offers. I'm of the opinion that if your new release is likely to have many bugs, then encouraging large early uptake seems like a good way to bring a tidal wave of bug reports, anger and frustration upon oneself.

One of the things over the years in my own electronics and software work, that has both frustrated me and satisfied me, is the comment "Oh, that's really easy, even I could have done that", when one has spent many hours, days, weeks, thinking very hard about _how_ to make it so easy. I try to make things consistent everywhere, even in places where I think the user will likely never go, because if they do, the product will likely behave as they expect. I personally am of the opinion that, longer term, it also actually saves _me_ time, frustration and effort.

The best systems tend to feel like there was one system architect and one vision. It doesn't matter if it's really quite a large team, provided they think together and act together. BIAB feels like one or a few people are given things to deal with and they do so in near isolation. I suspect that is actually _not_ the case, but it feels like it.
Posted by: VideoTrack

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 03/05/21 03:45 AM

Gordon, good points, balanced and well articulated.

Some may disagree with me, that's fine, but the 2021 version needed more development work before the December release date. That fact is evidenced in the plethora of bug-fix updates that have ensued in the following 12 weeks, I think an average rate of about two per week.

The delivery model and alpha test cycle is far from ideal, leaving it up to beta testers to find and report the majority of the real problems.

I like the product, but that is not an excuse for delivering an unsatisfactorily tested system with unproven/broken functionality just so it is in time for Xmas.

There. After that I'll probably will never get any of the bugs I find and report fixed ever again. That will be my punishment for speaking objectively but perhaps negatively as seen by some.

However, still remaining objective, imagine purchasing any other mature product and being notified from the manufacturer that updates to the product were required no less than 25 times over the next 12 weeks. No. Can't imagine that? Neither can I. I don't think my comments will change anything though.

Posted by: musiclover

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 03/05/21 04:45 AM

Good points Gordon and Video Track.

I am of the impression that PG music feel that the biggest and most attractive offer for an upgrade for new and existing customers is to tempt them with a new version of biab with 50 new features, and further more to code is so that you can't have the new realtracks unless you install the new biab, though it may be buggy as hell.

This may not be the way forward at all, as some people on here including myself would buy the the new realtracks for the same price, but would like to have that option of running the new realtracks with the last years stable version as well.

That way everyone could beta test the new version without feeling totally frustrated about the bugs, as the new realtracks would run fine on the old stable version.

I am trying not to be negative here, as I really love this software, but just giving a few thoughts as to how it might be improved for everyone.
Posted by: Gordon Scott

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 03/05/21 04:59 AM

Originally Posted By: VideoTrack
Some may disagree with me, that's fine, but the 2021 version needed more development work before the December release date.

190 "Fixed" statements so far since that initial 2021 release tends to support that.
There were 366 over the 2020 release ... curious number during a leap year :-)
Posted by: Matt Finley

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 03/05/21 06:29 AM

This year has been more challenging for fixes, true.

Those of you making good suggestions like marketing ideas, should make a new post in the Wishlist. The developers will see it there and we users can add support.
Posted by: MarioD

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 03/05/21 06:36 AM

I am not a coder so I may be way off base here but IMHO the problem stems from the fact that they are using old code and by trying to accommodate some of the user suggestions the code has a propensity to be broken. Its like putting band aids on top of band aids on top of band aids.

I think the staff does a hell of a good job fixing the broken code and I thank them for doing that. But it takes time for that to happen. IIRC this is the only program that I have had for a long time that has not had a complete rewrite. I think that time is now. YMMV
Posted by: Gordon Scott

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 03/05/21 07:44 AM

Originally Posted By: MarioD
... Its like putting band aids on top of band aids on top of band aids.

I think the staff does a hell of a good job fixing the broken code and I thank them for doing that. ...

Indeed. I wasn't criticising the efforts and fixes. I do though think it may be time to take stock and have some team meetings.

Something else I've learned over the years, generally with software, is that occasionally and with with hindsight, I'll conclude that there was a better way to have done something. What's interesting is that I've quite often started over and complete the better way in a tiny fraction of the time the original took. Hindsight and experience together can move mountains.

I can also think of some occasions where we've said "It's a pity we didn't do that earlier, but it's too late now", only to find ourselves saying exactly the same thing further down the line.
Posted by: Bob Calver

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 03/05/21 09:48 AM

I think PG are doing a great job but as BIAB gets more complicated it gets harder to fix. RB doesn't need anywhere near as many fixes and it is much less complicated. And once you've roughed out a song in BIAB, open it in RB and it does just about everything BIAB does - and some things it does better.

But I wish they would fix the problem of RB not generating loops.......
Posted by: JohnJohnJohn

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 03/05/21 12:38 PM

Originally Posted By: Gordon Scott
Some semi-random thoughts on the update process.

I believe PG have a number of beta testers and I suspect that they're all very experienced BIAB users, who know there way around the program and know how things should work. That's a two-edged sword, because they also know what _not_ to do so that they can keep themselves out of trouble. It's very likely that, probably subconsciously, they're avoiding bugs into which we less familiar folk can crash. In a past business we had a guy who was, almost pathologically, deliberately naive when testing software. He would do the craziest "why would anyone do that?" things, but he found loads of bugs.

Quite a lot of complex software packages have multiple risk-level option, e.g., Development, Beta, Release Candidate' Release and Long-Term-Support. That is more work to maintain, but not as much more as one might imagine. Whenever I finish a bug-fix in a mature version, typically I compare the old with the newer and propagate that same fix when I can. Unusually for me (I'm a Unix/Linux man), I use WinWerge for that as I find it extremely friendly to use.

As a user, I generally avoid getting the latest new release, as there are almost always lots of bugs. I have no desire to inflict the pain upon myself; let others do it. Either they don't mind the pain, or they'll learn in time.

In my few updates with BIAB, they've usually seemed to me to be pretty shockingly buggy. But still I was tempted in by the upgrade offers. I'm of the opinion that if your new release is likely to have many bugs, then encouraging large early uptake seems like a good way to bring a tidal wave of bug reports, anger and frustration upon oneself.

One of the things over the years in my own electronics and software work, that has both frustrated me and satisfied me, is the comment "Oh, that's really easy, even I could have done that", when one has spent many hours, days, weeks, thinking very hard about _how_ to make it so easy. I try to make things consistent everywhere, even in places where I think the user will likely never go, because if they do, the product will likely behave as they expect. I personally am of the opinion that, longer term, it also actually saves _me_ time, frustration and effort.

The best systems tend to feel like there was one system architect and one vision. It doesn't matter if it's really quite a large team, provided they think together and act together. BIAB feels like one or a few people are given things to deal with and they do so in near isolation. I suspect that is actually _not_ the case, but it feels like it.

Gordon, these are brilliant insights! I hope PGM reads this and takes it to heart!
Posted by: JohnJohnJohn

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 03/05/21 12:50 PM

Originally Posted By: VideoTrack
Gordon, good points, balanced and well articulated.

Some may disagree with me, that's fine, but the 2021 version needed more development work before the December release date. That fact is evidenced in the plethora of bug-fix updates that have ensued in the following 12 weeks, I think an average rate of about two per week.

The delivery model and alpha test cycle is far from ideal, leaving it up to beta testers to find and report the majority of the real problems.

I like the product, but that is not an excuse for delivering an unsatisfactorily tested system with unproven/broken functionality just so it is in time for Xmas.

There. After that I'll probably will never get any of the bugs I find and report fixed ever again. That will be my punishment for speaking objectively but perhaps negatively as seen by some.

However, still remaining objective, imagine purchasing any other mature product and being notified from the manufacturer that updates to the product were required no less than 25 times over the next 12 weeks. No. Can't imagine that? Neither can I. YMMV. I don't think my comments will change anything though.


Excellent points VT! And you always have positive, constructive ideas to offer. I hope someone at PGM is listening!

Dropping the product on the beta testers with just a few days to test is a joke. Sorry but call it what it is. If the product were highly stable that might be excusable but clearly it is not. So the "beta test" is of marginal value.

The thing that upsets me the most is breaking features that worked before and then not prioritizing the fixing of them. I have songs that no longer work and I have to run two separate versions of BIAB because of this.

And your final point is the kicker. I buy and use TONS of software from Adobe CC to MS Office to development tools and other music software. Nothing I have ever used has this many bugs and such a broken new release strategy.

As I like to end all of my rants with, the RealTracks are amazingly brilliant! PGM have done something extraordinary and ground breaking! It is something that should go into the record books in the history of music software! It is really that great! I just wish they would fix the software.
Posted by: JohnJohnJohn

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 03/05/21 12:57 PM

Originally Posted By: Bob Calver
I think PG are doing a great job but as BIAB gets more complicated it gets harder to fix. RB doesn't need anywhere near as many fixes and it is much less complicated. And once you've roughed out a song in BIAB, open it in RB and it does just about everything BIAB does - and some things it does better.

But I wish they would fix the problem of RB not generating loops.......

Bob, I agree they try very hard. And they do a great job on the RealTracks. But this 2021 release is far short of a "great job"! RB doesn't need all the fixes because 1) I suspect very few BIAB users even use it and 2) they don't overload it with 50 new features in every release.

One final point, you make it sound like RB is the next logical step from BIAB in song production but that is just not the case at least for me. RB does open BIAB files but it ignores key things like bar settings. And if you are happy with the RealTrack riffs in BIAB and freeze them they don't survive a trip to RB. So it really is NOT a good idea to do too much in BIAB if you intend to take it to RB.
Posted by: Matt Finley

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 03/05/21 01:04 PM

I had to laugh when Gordon Scott mentioned the person who would do what no one thought anyone might do. In my programming classes, I used the 'any idiot' test. Find someone walking down the hall who knows nothing about programming, sit them down in front of your program with no coaching, and see what happens. It tells you a lot.

There is a point I've raised but I'm no longer sure if it's in this lengthening thread or a similar one, that PG Music released version 2021 around Dec. 1. AFTER THAT we users and testers reacted and made requests (I'm thinking especially about the Utility Tracks) and the programmers honored them. I think this is where many problems crept in.

There are some nifty programs out there where the single-person developer reacts to user suggestions almost immediately. I think PG Music is not that, and should not be that.
Posted by: JohnJohnJohn

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 03/05/21 03:11 PM

Originally Posted By: Matt Finley
I had to laugh when Gordon Scott mentioned the person who would do what no one thought anyone might do. In my programming classes, I used the 'any idiot' test. Find someone walking down the hall who knows nothing about programming, sit them down in front of your program with no coaching, and see what happens. It tells you a lot.

There is a point I've raised but I'm no longer sure if it's in this lengthening thread or a similar one, that PG Music released version 2021 around Dec. 1. AFTER THAT we users and testers reacted and made requests (I'm thinking especially about the Utility Tracks) and the programmers honored them. I think this is where many problems crept in.

There are some nifty programs out there where the single-person developer reacts to user suggestions almost immediately. I think PG Music is not that, and should not be that.

Matt I feel like you are looking for an excuse for PGM. This is NOT the fault of the users who just ask for too much! Also, the vast majority of the requests I saw were to fix new features that were not implemented properly in the first place rather than additional features.
Posted by: Rustyspoon#

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 03/05/21 03:29 PM

Not remotely complicated as BIAB, as a side project, me and my friend are developing custom software for 15+ years now (still in process) I would come up with idea and logic, he would code. Personal project.
In any case, there are always more issues arise if several things added at once and much less if we add them one by one with testing in between....

I think the culprit of buggy yearly start is that large number of features are added all at once.
I believe if adding new features spread through the year, with testing in between, there should be less headache and frustrations to address.
Posted by: rharv

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 03/05/21 03:39 PM

Quote:
So it really is NOT a good idea to do too much in BIAB if you intend to take it to RB.


That's been my approach for years.
Flush out an idea in BiaB (fast), then move to RB to work in a more DAW like setting.
Tend to the details there.
There is a learning curve at first, but for me it's way more productive in the long run.
Posted by: MarioD

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 03/05/21 04:36 PM

Originally Posted By: rharv
Quote:
So it really is NOT a good idea to do too much in BIAB if you intend to take it to RB.


That's been my approach for years.
Flush out an idea in BiaB (fast), then move to RB to work in a more DAW like setting.
Tend to the details there.
There is a learning curve at first, but for me it's way more productive in the long run.


It is very similar to my workflow, the only difference is that I go to my DAW and not RB. At first it was Cakewalk Pro Audio, then Sonar, and now Studio One Pro 5. But I must add that the BiaB VSTi has made the transaction a lot less painful.
Posted by: Bob Calver

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 03/06/21 02:23 AM

at least we know the top management reads these threads and i have a certain sympathy with Dr Gannon. users only post on the forum when they have a problem but there must be thousands of users like me who haven't had problems with BIAB 2021 because we use BIAB at a very basic level and then finish in a DAW (RB in my case).

i've been following and contributing to this topic because there are new features i would prefer to see - like greater time signature flexibility - rather than BIAB trying to do things a DAW will do better. or as noted above, fixing longer term problems that affect core functionality.

BIAB is an amazing program for auto accompaniment generation. that's its strength and i think it should play to it (pun intended)and leave some things DAWs do better to the many DAWs BIAB users already turn to after roughing out songs in BIAB - or using the BIAB plugin.

a lot of us don't need 'new features' we just want the core program optimised.
Posted by: PeterGannon

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 03/06/21 03:31 AM

Thanks for the inputs. We read them all and appreciate any constructive criticism. The recent release (825) in the support area fixes several issues (including the style-change-at-a-bar issue mentioned). We work hard to correct reported issues, add requested features and develop more RealTracks.
Posted by: Bob Calver

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 03/07/21 04:37 AM

just a quick thumbs up for the new BIAB and RB versions that include 24-bit audio playback, recording, mixing, and rendering and 4X's faster audio DSP processing (using SIMD). these are the kind of things that improve the functionality of the program and are very welcome.
Posted by: dpresley

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 03/07/21 10:33 AM

Excellent point. Separate software from content. I may have to avoid future purchases due to months of bugs. I will buy more tracks and or a new highly stable product. As things stand my only option is to avoid any purchases.

I love the product and have spent a lot of money in the past many years but will not continue until things improve.
Posted by: Dave

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 03/07/21 11:08 AM

+1
I check the initial release notes and unless there is something I really need, or a fix for something that should have been fixed years ago, I just don't bother. To be honest, realtracks are great, but I have enough for what I want / need, so they are not as great a draw as they maybe for many others.

As many have said, we now have bandaids upon bandaids. I love the product but have stayed away from recent upgrades just because it seems that's where the failures seem to occur most. I am happy with the old tracks, even the old track names. For me the last "wow" item was probably the mixer. 2021 seems to be the most unstable release in the life of the software. I have been around for more than 20 years, so I have seen my fair share of horror stories.

Maybe next year...
Posted by: musiclover

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 03/07/21 11:50 AM

Originally Posted By: PeterGannon
Thanks for the inputs. We read them all and appreciate any constructive criticism. The recent release (825) in the support area fixes several issues (including the style-change-at-a-bar issue mentioned). We work hard to correct reported issues, add requested features and develop more RealTracks.


Good to see you Peter as the CEO of PGMusic taking part in the thread, Hope that you will be able to get future Upgrades coded ie Band in a box 2022 so that the Realtracks will work with this years Stable version when it reaches that stage, which will please a lot of users I am sure, and the users will be able to test the new version at thier leisure.

Many thanks.
Posted by: PSUnderwood

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 03/07/21 12:06 PM

I was a software engineer for many years before my retirement. Matt is absolutely correct; the best tester knows absolutely nothing about what he is testing. I was in an environment where it was expected that the engineer who coded something also was responsible for testing it. That's a recipe for disaster; the engineer is going to test what he/she knows the software does (called a "sunny day scenario"), but the end user will ALWAYS do something unexpected.

That said, it's axiomatic that any program, no matter how simple, from "Hello World" on up is impossible to test for all possible use cases. Consider as an extreme a complete set of tests for a program whose only purpose is to add two integers. A full regression test would test the result of adding all possible combinations of two integers - banging one infinite set against another. So you test what you decide is reasonable to test, edge cases and so on. But never every conceivable test.

Then some bright user decides to add infinity to infinity...
Posted by: Matt Finley

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 03/07/21 12:26 PM

Or divide by zero.
Posted by: VideoTrack

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 03/07/21 03:02 PM

Someone will always do the unexpected. What's important here is that the program handles these situations elegantly.
Posted by: MarioD

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 03/07/21 03:53 PM

When I was writing macros in Lotus 123 and Excel and writing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) we called "beta tests" gorilla tests. Like Matt we would take someone who knew nothing about computers to test the macros and someone who knew nothing of the SOP object (machine operation, testing procedures, etc) to try to run/operate it by only using the SOP. You learn very quickly how difficult it is to write/program things like that.

PS - I was the gorilla on a couple of SOPs!
Posted by: Dave

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 03/08/21 09:57 AM

I worked for several years as a programmer and later as a computer systems auditor. We were required to develop a set of regression tests that were used by the programmer to test their own work to ensue they hadn't broken something that had previously worked. When changing a program, you tested your changes first with the regression series and once they had cleared these tests, scenarios were developed to exercise the new stuff. The purpose was to try to break their own code. If it didn't break, they hadn't tried hard enough. Eventually these new tests were added to the regression library to be used for the next release.
When working for industry or finance, for instance, coding errors could result in a fatal crash or a financial disaster. Under these conditions BIAB would never have left the programmers desk.
Posted by: Matt Finley

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 03/08/21 10:59 AM

I would like to see beta testing start quite a bit earlier, and begin with the program having all announced features present.
Posted by: VideoTrack

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 03/08/21 11:44 AM

Originally Posted By: Matt Finley
I would like to see beta testing start quite a bit earlier, and begin with the program having all announced features present.

Definitely supported.
Current beta test times are totally inadequate, putting a product to market with known issues, insufficient testing and incomplete development. Very frustrating for the beta testers.
Posted by: Rustyspoon#

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 03/08/21 12:41 PM

Or...
Consider rolling out a few updates at a time, with testing in between throughout the year.
More time for beta testers + more stable product with less frustrations for end users.

Another HUGE reason for doing it this way is somewhat in line what Gordon Scott had mentioned:
"What's interesting is that I've quite often started over and complete the better way in a tiny fraction of the time the original took."

It is astonishingly true and I think it could apply to BIAB in some way. Meaning, when you doing some deep structural changes and not being pressed by time, you can find other perhaps much better ways to do other planned things.
Posted by: MountainSide

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 03/08/21 06:34 PM

This is a good point Matt and one that should seriously be considered by PG.

Although some of us like the challenge of finding little cracks here and there in the software, myself included, I would guess that many of the 2021 users are starting to reach the point of frustration and judging from some of the comments maybe worse.

Jeff
Posted by: NigelSpiers

Re: Unhappy With BIAB 2021 - 03/08/21 09:46 PM

Hi Peter (Gannon),

Yes great to see you joining this thread.

It is now completely clear to you and everybody at PG Music what your customers want:

1. No new functionality in 2021 - Fix the software - current version and previous versions problems.

2. Invite world class performers into your studio to record the Realtracks that have been mostly requested by your customers over the last few years e.g. Brass Rhythm Section, Organ B3 soloist, Blues Harp Soloist.

A statement from you along these lines would be very welcome and may encourage customers to upgrade to BIAB 2021 or 2022 later this year.

Thanks & Best Regards
Nigel