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#268768 - 11/17/14 08:30 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Do I Need a Subwoofer To Mix Better Bass?
Registered: 12/30/12
Posts: 362
Loc: United Kingdom
Paul Haynes Offline
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Registered: 12/30/12
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Loc: United Kingdom
I own KRK VXT6 monitors. They are both a arms length away from me. Great speakers but the bass is some what lacking and I've been thinking of buying the KRK 10s subwoofer. My room is not treated at all and I sit in the corner of the room. I'm familiar with subs. I have one in my living room (in the corner) and one under my desk with my HiFi system that I use for my computer speakers. Great sound for listening to music. The reason I would like one is because I like a good solid bass in my mix. Previously mixed songs has been hard to get the right level of bass, either too much or too little.

So just interested to hear from others who have an opinion.

Paul



Edited by PaulH (11/17/14 10:31 AM)
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#268777 - 11/17/14 09:54 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: Do I Need a Subwoofer To Mix Better Bass? [Re: Paul Haynes]
Registered: 07/12/00
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Loc: Hudson Valley & Lake George NY
Matt Finley Offline
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I don't know if my opinion is a 'valid' opinion, but here goes.

I used to use almost exactly the setup you describe: KRK 6" monitors and a KRK 10" subwoofer, all in an untreated small bedroom. Yes, the subwoofer helped me mix, absolutely. I have since gone to Mackie monitors and an Adam sub, but the conditions are similar.

By this I am not saying you cannot mix correctly without one, but I do think it helps greatly. Without a sub, you need to test mixes on more systems to hear what sort of info is going on in the lowest range. Mixes done on headphones or on monitors without a sub often can have too much bass.

My subwoofer was always set to reproduce only the lowest frequencies it could, and set at a rather low volume. I just wanted a presence, basically to know if there was low frequency sound or not.

One neat thing: the sub does not have to be in the middle. It should be if you can, but as bass is mostly non-directional, you can put one off to one side without a problem, as I had to do in my small room. More important is that the sub is roughly the same distance from you as the other monitors.

As an aside, after maybe seven years, the KRK sub developed a bad capacitor and started spitting out thunder-like noise at random. I made good use of this fact at Halloween last year, cranking up the slightly defective subwoofer in the closed garage. It really sounded like thunder in there! Good addition to the ambiance.

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#268849 - 11/18/14 04:45 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: Do I Need a Subwoofer To Mix Better Bass? [Re: Paul Haynes]
Registered: 04/03/09
Posts: 5911
Guitarhacker Offline
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Yes and no.... or in other words... it depends...

Yes, adding a sub will be "ear candy" for the mix you hear in your studio. I too love the punch the sub brings to the game.

For reference.... I mix on the Mackie MR-5 speakers with 5" cones and tweets......and have a Polk audio sub with 10" cone and somewhere around 100W.

The critical thing in either using a sub or not using a sub is to have your system balanced and YOU need to understand it's strengths and weaknesses in either or BOTH configurations.

People with small cones and no sub tend to mix bass heavy muddy sounding mixes, whereas people with subs can easily mix bass lite mixes.

It all comes down to knowing the system. It depends greatly too on the style/genre of music you mix. Some genre's of music.... hip hop, rap, electronica, for example have really low frequencies....and the small cones simply can not reproduce them accurately. You can't mix accurately what you can't even hear.

If you are planning to invest in, or have just purchased a sub for the small studio, you need to have it set up and balanced properly. Part of that relies on an unbiased judgement call from listening to prerecorded material through the speaker. Does it sound right? Too much or not enough bass or just right?

Another thing I recommend highly is a program called ARC. Automatic Room Correction software. It's super critical for ARC to work correctly, it needs to be set up and calibrated properly. Once that's done, the room acoustic's quirks are taken mostly out of the picture. Sound waves, and especially the bass frequencies can really be a problem. ARC isn't the cure to a bad room with out doing treatment, but it can certainly help in mixing to a fair degree. It adjusts the sound going to the speakers for your "sweet spot" so that it reflects the truth in the mix.

It has taken me quite some time to get my sub properly balanced and the entire system calibrated to where my mixes are reflecting what I'm hearing in my studio, when others play that mix on something other than my speakers. And yes.....I always mix with the sub on. I have it plugged into a power strip with a handy on/off switch so it is possible, if I want to check the mix for bass, I can shut it off quickly and turn it back on the same way.

My room, BTW has carpet on the floor, acoustic tile ceiling, and furniture in it so it actually sounds halfway decent even though it's not treated.

MY STUDIO : this is an older picture.... but the monitors and sub are still in the same place. Monitors on the desk...right and left... the left on is partially hidden by the music stand.... and the sub is on the floor to the right, under the guitar amp and the power amp..... front firing.



So... no, technically you do not NEED a sub to mix better bass..... however, it sure sounds good.....


Edited by Guitarhacker (11/18/14 04:52 AM)
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#268851 - 11/18/14 05:19 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: Do I Need a Subwoofer To Mix Better Bass? [Re: Paul Haynes]
Registered: 04/20/10
Posts: 4772
Loc: Florida
90 dB Offline
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Paul,

Get the sub. You know you want to. It will help your bottom end, if not your bottom line. grin


Your VXT6 goes down to 49 Hz. (per the specs, which can be liberal)

The KRK10s goes down to 34 Hz. You will notice more definition in your kick and bass guitars. If you look at this chart, you will see what freqs you are missing with just the near fields. Bear in mind that although the specs state 34 Hz, the actual signal at that frequency could be down -10 dB or more.


http://www.independentrecording.net/irn/resources/freqchart/main_display.htm




Regards,

Bob
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#268854 - 11/18/14 07:32 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: Do I Need a Subwoofer To Mix Better Bass? [Re: Paul Haynes]
Registered: 03/26/11
Posts: 117
Loc: Upstate NY
Dan45 Offline
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OK I'll bite! Where is a good place for the budget conscious musician to shop for such an item? I've been using backing tracks in Church and they definitely sound bassy. It's refreshing after so long with no bass, but it will get old eventually.
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#268859 - 11/18/14 08:36 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: Do I Need a Subwoofer To Mix Better Bass? [Re: Dan45]
Registered: 12/30/12
Posts: 362
Loc: United Kingdom
Paul Haynes Offline
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Originally Posted By: Dan45
OK I'll bite! Where is a good place for the budget conscious musician to shop for such an item?


Budget and good sound do not mix at all.
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#268860 - 11/18/14 08:37 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: Do I Need a Subwoofer To Mix Better Bass? [Re: Paul Haynes]
Registered: 12/30/12
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Loc: United Kingdom
Paul Haynes Offline
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Thank you all for your replies. They have been really helpful. Think I will get the KRK 10s after all. Bit nervous cause it's expensive for me considering this is only a part part part time hobby. But I like good sound.

Or......................... should I save my money and get the BIAB 2015 instead? laugh


Edited by PaulH (11/18/14 08:40 AM)
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#268864 - 11/18/14 09:27 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: Do I Need a Subwoofer To Mix Better Bass? [Re: Paul Haynes]
Registered: 07/12/00
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Matt Finley Offline
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Just to be clear, since KRK makes a 10" 'regular' monitor size, you want to buy one KRK model 10S where the capital S is for subwoofer. This is also by way of answering Dan45, since this unit sells for $400 retail at all the regular places.

But regardless, update BIAB for sure!
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#269144 - 11/20/14 11:20 PM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: Do I Need a Subwoofer To Mix Better Bass? [Re: Paul Haynes]
Registered: 02/09/10
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Loc: Wisconsin
critter Offline
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I also have the VXT6 and with the switches on the rear I have them sounding excellent. It took time but all is well with the setup with no sub. I also check with my video setup in the living room and then the car, all comes out fine. The monitors are great, isolation was a problem at first but got that squared away and then worked with the switches in the rear, all is good. I have two subs in the living room surround setup, but that's for the movies etc.
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#269309 - 11/21/14 09:13 PM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: Do I Need a Subwoofer To Mix Better Bass? [Re: Paul Haynes]
Registered: 01/14/02
Posts: 7474
Loc: Colorado Springs, CO, USA
rockstar_not Offline
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Paul,

Whether you do or do not purchase a subwoofer, a question to ask is:

How do recordings that you like sound on your current monitoring system? Do they also sound too bass heavy or bass-light?

Until you answer that question, the matter of purchase of a subwoofer should be delayed in my opinion.

If your reference recordings sound fine, and they also sound enjoyable to your ear on your home hi-fi system, whilst your own recordings may sound fine on your monitoring system, but seem too bass heavy or bass weak on your hi-fi with a sub, then you can begin the process of purchase of a subwoofer and the effort that goes along with it to properly cross-over content being fed to it vs. your KRKs.

Mixing while sitting in a corner is not normally recommended - that's where you will have the most low frequency room modes interacting. You MIGHT make the situation worse by adding a subwoofer. In most home studios (read: smaller spaces, bedrooms, even closets, etc.), the room cavity modes normally play a very large role interacting with your mixing location.

It's also really difficult to make the room mode interaction 'go away'. In other words, room acoustics play a large role here that should not be ignored in your decision.

You might consider forgoing a new subwoofer and using a local thrift shop purchase for it. You likely can nearly knock a zero off of the price. See if you can tune the cross-over frequency such that you make your reference recording sound properly balanced. Then proceed to your own mixing activities.

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#269354 - 11/22/14 02:29 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: Do I Need a Subwoofer To Mix Better Bass? [Re: Paul Haynes]
Registered: 04/20/10
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Loc: Florida
90 dB Offline
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"You might consider forgoing a new subwoofer and using a local thrift shop purchase for it. You likely can nearly knock a zero off of the price."




True indeed.

If you visit some garage sales (or rather "boot" sales over your way), you can pick up a decent home theater sub for cheap. I have an Infinity with an 8" driver I bought for $10, and it's excellent.

Try down the market square. Look for this guy. He'll sort you out. grin


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#269625 - 11/22/14 02:59 PM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: Do I Need a Subwoofer To Mix Better Bass? [Re: Paul Haynes]
Registered: 01/14/02
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Loc: Colorado Springs, CO, USA
rockstar_not Offline
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Every time you post that pic, it makes me laugh!

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#269782 - 11/23/14 02:32 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: Do I Need a Subwoofer To Mix Better Bass? [Re: rockstar_not]
Registered: 04/20/10
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90 dB Offline
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Originally Posted By: rockstar_not
Every time you post that pic, it makes me laugh!




That's our Del Boy.

"He who dares - wins!" grin
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#270072 - 11/24/14 04:23 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: Do I Need a Subwoofer To Mix Better Bass? [Re: rockstar_not]
Registered: 12/30/12
Posts: 362
Loc: United Kingdom
Paul Haynes Offline
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Registered: 12/30/12
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Originally Posted By: rockstar_not
Paul,

Whether you do or do not purchase a subwoofer, a question to ask is:

How do recordings that you like sound on your current monitoring system? Do they also sound too bass heavy or bass-light?

Until you answer that question, the matter of purchase of a subwoofer should be delayed in my opinion.

If your reference recordings sound fine, and they also sound enjoyable to your ear on your home hi-fi system, whilst your own recordings may sound fine on your monitoring system, but seem too bass heavy or bass weak on your hi-fi with a sub, then you can begin the process of purchase of a subwoofer and the effort that goes along with it to properly cross-over content being fed to it vs. your KRKs.

Mixing while sitting in a corner is not normally recommended - that's where you will have the most low frequency room modes interacting. You MIGHT make the situation worse by adding a subwoofer. In most home studios (read: smaller spaces, bedrooms, even closets, etc.), the room cavity modes normally play a very large role interacting with your mixing location.

It's also really difficult to make the room mode interaction 'go away'. In other words, room acoustics play a large role here that should not be ignored in your decision.

You might consider forgoing a new subwoofer and using a local thrift shop purchase for it. You likely can nearly knock a zero off of the price. See if you can tune the cross-over frequency such that you make your reference recording sound properly balanced. Then proceed to your own mixing activities.


Hi rackstar_not

If you've ever listened to my tracks they've all been made in the corner of my room. Most were mixed with headphones and my stereo HiFi + sub.

Now that I'm using KRK VXT6's they are crystal clear but do lack bass because there's no sub. I can hear bass but it's not the speakers strength I don't think. I can see the downfall of a Sub = too much bass and mixes become bass light. Of course my mixing is always trial n error until I've tried enough times.

I can switch over to my HiFi + Sub anytime I want to mix with but I like the neutral sound of the KRK's to mix with instead. The idea was simply to add bass weight to my KRK sound to hear full depth of bass and to also enjoy listening more.

But with all that said, I do very little recording/mixing and I still use headphone a lot (sennheiser HD 280). I don't have the luxury of playing my songs over and over and over again through speakers cause my family get fed up with the songs then it loses impact when the song is finished.

Here's a song I heard to other day. I love it. It's jewish missianic praise and at 2min of the song playing (after a slow start) the full band and bass kicks in. THIS is the level of bass I like to have on my tracks but I am some what limited because most BIAB Real Tracks are bass light I think. Anyway take a listen...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QigSlkeDdMI
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#270073 - 11/24/14 04:26 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: Do I Need a Subwoofer To Mix Better Bass? [Re: 90 dB]
Registered: 12/30/12
Posts: 362
Loc: United Kingdom
Paul Haynes Offline
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Registered: 12/30/12
Posts: 362
Loc: United Kingdom
Originally Posted By: 90 dB
"You might consider forgoing a new subwoofer and using a local thrift shop purchase for it. You likely can nearly knock a zero off of the price."




True indeed.

If you visit some garage sales (or rather "boot" sales over your way), you can pick up a decent home theater sub for cheap. I have an Infinity with an 8" driver I bought for $10, and it's excellent.

Try down the market square. Look for this guy. He'll sort you out. grin





FUNNY!!

Great to see you Americans appreciate our British sense of humour! laugh


Edited by PaulH (11/24/14 04:27 AM)
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#270114 - 11/24/14 08:16 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: Do I Need a Subwoofer To Mix Better Bass? [Re: Paul Haynes]
Registered: 04/20/10
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90 dB Offline
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Long time Anglophile here! British comedy, British drama, British music.

I think they're all "Lovely Jubbly". grin
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#270117 - 11/24/14 08:38 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: Do I Need a Subwoofer To Mix Better Bass? [Re: Paul Haynes]
Registered: 12/30/12
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Loc: United Kingdom
Paul Haynes Offline
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I know it's off topic but here's a couple of favourite scenes...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWybcrAbnc0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUl6PooveJE


Edited by PaulH (11/24/14 08:50 AM)
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#270125 - 11/24/14 09:32 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: Do I Need a Subwoofer To Mix Better Bass? [Re: Paul Haynes]
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90 dB Offline
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Love that show! Especially when Del Boy speaks his version of French! laugh
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#270289 - 11/24/14 09:04 PM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: Do I Need a Subwoofer To Mix Better Bass? [Re: Paul Haynes]
Registered: 01/14/02
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rockstar_not Offline
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Paul, do you have a different music reference? That YouTube video has a pretty off-center mix to the left channel. It makes it kind of hard to listen to.

For a list of reference recordings that aren't too crazy from a loudness standpoint, Bob Katz keeps a nice list on his website here: http://www.digido.com/media/honor-roll.html

I have a couple of those CDs - I have Lyle Lovett's Joshua Judges Ruth, Brand New Day by Sting.

On Sting's album, you get an opening earth-shattering low frequency effect, and then later in the opening track there's really great bass extension on the the bass that is emphasized with what might be a Djembe drum. Later in the CD, there's a country/western track, and all throughout a nice open mix of a wide variety of instruments.

On Lyle Lovett's CD - there's one track that just gives me chills - She's Already Made Up Her Mind. The ride cymbals in that track are probably the best single shot ride cymbals I've heard on a recording. The track also has plenty of bottom coming from several sources - but again, a very 'open' mix. The very next track "North Dakota" again has a very 'open' sound, but tons of stage depth, with the main vocal and acoustic guitar right in your face, some of the ride/bells on the cymbals very far 'back' in the mix, with just a perfect mix of the bass added in. This whole album is one of my favorite to listen to on my Westone ES5 in-ear monitors - sheer heaven in the ears - and I really don't like Lyle Lovett's voice all that much! It's a great album to listen to the artistry/mastery of George Massenburg, who was the engineer on the album.

If I was you I would make a list of reference recordings - taking some of them from Bob Katz's list that I linked above wouldn't hurt - there are examples there from nearly all styles.

Read Bob's reasons for posting the honor roll.

Mixing over headphones in a corner is not nearly as big of a deal as putting a sub in a corner and then mixing using the sub. You can over-emphasize the room modes and end up with quite weak sounding bass when you take the recording somewhere else for playback. If you place the sub in the corner (recommended for home theatre use) there's good and bad to that practice. If you can set the sub level while it's in the corner, with a bunch of reference recordings, you can probably do fine with your own mixes.

Just don't automatically assume that a subwoofer is going to fix the issue of weak bass in a mix.

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#272523 - 12/05/14 05:25 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: Do I Need a Subwoofer To Mix Better Bass? [Re: Paul Haynes]
Registered: 12/05/11
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Janice & Bud Offline
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I guess I'm the odd man out here. I feel that my mixes "work" at least for me by never using phones or a sub. I find that if I mix the bass where it sound good on my KRKs then it is equally good in my vehicle and on our living room system which consists of Polks and a Yamaha sub. One caveat, I do tend to use compression and EQ on most bass tracks to enable them to sit better in the mix.

Bud
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The power of this program is just unbelievable! It's been a best kept secret for a couple of decades now. A song writer's dream!
-Mike D

This band can practice any time of day ...LOL
-William G

Band-in-a-Box works so simple you could teach a child to do it within minutes - the RealTracks are amazing. Doing an album as we speak. I challenge you to give it a try. I am 60 years old and even though I've played 50 years, I am no engineer. But as a song writer I needed some effective tools to create quality production of my work. This is IT! It's as easy as typing and filling in the blanks. The instructional videos allow you to change settings while watching the pro. I myself purchased every "RealTrack" I could get... Take it from me, don't let this overwhelm you. It is absolutely a writer and solo artist dream!
-John S

Best part of Band-in-a-Box is that it saves me having to program drums, the Real Drummer part of the software is brilliant and natural sounding. I then layer real instruments with guys from my band. As a songwriter, Band-in-a-Box has saved me so much time it's ridiculous.
-Andy B

Incredible Software. Great for ignorance and experts and for anyone who wants to deal with music. If you do not have a hobby and want to have one "Band-in-a-Box" is the best choice. Simple, but if you want to be an expert on it, you need to make an effort to master it perfectly for perfect use. The only disadvantage is if you do not want to become a musician, and use it, you will become a perfect musician. Therefore, be cautious. It's not a toy. ;)
-Ilija B.

Been a BIAB man since '92, such a comprehensive source for music making! So much more to offer than "loops", it allows actual music composition to be realized. Evolve from harmonic ignorance and find out what REAL music is made of!
-Don D.

A must for any musician who wants to improve on his own, or to share his musical ideas in a professional high quality rendition.. You just play with the best musicians and that's great ♪ :)
-Jean-Marie D.

I use Band in a Box all the time. I couldn't be more pleased. It's easy to use and it sounds super-big time!
-Max R.

An excellent tool for generating backing tracks. Saves me hours of MIDI programming. Combines the best of MIDI and live audio samples.
-Steve A.

Video Help - My Band-in-a-Box® Won't Open!

Our NEW I want a video that shows me how to .... forum is off to a GREAT start! We've answered the common question/issue of "My program won't open!" with the following video: How To: Return to Factory Settings outside Band-in-a-Box (Win).

Want to see a video about a particular issue your having with the program? Post your request here, we're happy to help!!

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