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#568389 - 12/03/19 10:43 AM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] BIAB 2020, RealTracks and modern music styles - good fit?
Registered: 11/18/19
Posts: 20
Loc: Chicago, IL
EdZ314 Offline
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Registered: 11/18/19
Posts: 20
Loc: Chicago, IL
As a preamble, I'm new to the forum, and have been using BIAB 2019 Pro for about 6 months. I'm just a hobbyist, so I'm still just tapping into the huge feature set.

I'm very happy with it and I think it is an outstanding deal. With that said, however, after spending time over the last few months in the forums and using it, I'm starting to feel like it's primarily used for a lot of more traditional styles of music like jazz, blues, folk, pop and but dating up to the 80's or 90's. I love those styles and actually really enjoy writing in those styles, but I also want to start dipping into more modern stuff.

So I was hoping that by upgrading to BIAB 2020 UltraPak that there would be a lot more modern styles and more interesting collections of the other styles that would justify the cost. But after spending a couple hours playing the demos, I'm just not getting the feel that the product has moved into the latest decade, and the styles were not really grabbing me, and many sounded very similar, although there's quite a few in the 2019 version that I really like.

So I'd like to hear from people that are using BIAB 2019 or earlier versions of BIAB and what pack you've got and what you use it for these days. I'm going to continue research into buying the 2020 UltraPak, but I would be thrilled if people had some thoughts what cool things I might be missing and why you might be interested in the 2020 version.

If the answer is that I should just spend more time in BIAB and learn the features and build my skills, that's certainly a valid one, and I'm on board with that, and certainly don't expect people that have spent years and countless hours using it and honing their skills to bestow some magic wisdom on a newcomer - I know it doesn't work that way smile.
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#568416 - 12/03/19 01:39 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: BIAB 2020, RealTracks and modern music styles - good fit? [Re: EdZ314]
Registered: 06/25/12
Posts: 2635
JohnJohnJohn Offline
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Ed, this topic has come up before during my 7 years here. And there are always some folks who will claim BIAB can do modern music just fine. I've even seen folks try and prove this by creating a song they considered modern. I've yet to hear anything created here with BIAB I would consider truly timely and in a modern genre.

In my honest opinion, you are mostly right in your assessment of the genres and time periods that BIAB is targeted toward. It can generate an awesome classic country backing track with steel guitar solos about as quick as you can key in the chords. Same thing for classic rock and bluegrass and jazz! It is nothing short of amazing what this product can do in those areas with almost no skills or experience whatsoever!

So, what about 2019 era pop and other fresh genres? As I said, some folks here will swear it can be done and I suspect it can BUT it certainly cannot generate something modern as easily and quickly as the classic genres it seems it was designed for! If this forum is any indication, the product is perfectly targeted at their market of people who are older and still in love with classic music (like me)!

But another thought is that modern pop music is not only hard to clearly define but also more complex to produce in many ways. Often it uses classic components along with modern fresh stuff for a mashup that unites us! And sometimes it is something really so new we cannot reasonably expect a program like BIAB to predict. So I think the answer is you can produce any kind of music with BIAB but it may take more work, creativity, etc. to do it!

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#568462 - 12/03/19 04:24 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: BIAB 2020, RealTracks and modern music styles - good fit? [Re: EdZ314]
Registered: 04/07/13
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Loc: South Carolina
Charlie Fogle Offline
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< BIAB 2020, RealTracks and modern music styles - good fit?> Absolutely.. No question...

BUT.... there's a rub

JohnJohnJohn is correct in his post too. BIAB is exceptional generating country, classic country, Solo's, Jazz, funk, RnB, Soul, Rock, Classic Rock, Bluegrass, melody's and much, much more where BIAB targets certain genres and time periods. Such music is gold to the modern music scene but not exactly for our generated songs. The Roland TR-808 Rhythm Composer, commonly known as the 808, is a drum machine manufactured by the Roland Corporation between 1980 and 1983 and is heard in nearly every top 40 song you'll hear or stream today. The value of BIAB to modern artists lies not in the songs created, but rather the sounds and varied instruments that are available.

BIAB's midi capabilities are also valuable to modern artists because modern music is full of midi.

BIAB has thousands of instruments playing in thousands of different styles and thousands of hours of pristine audio to be sampled and looped. BIAB even has an 808 loop!

BIAB can generate something modern as easy as any classic genre it was designed for... However, it may only be two beats sampled from a RealDrum in a RealStyle.

Because so much of this modern music is composed and generated from various synths is the real rub. Producers are also pulling samples and loops from expensive libraries rather than taking time to search out sounds and construct their own. Creating a library from scratch is exhaustive and tedious. That being said, BIAB is a gold mine for those that want to go down that exhaustive and tedious path.

I totally agree with Johnjohnjohn that "I think the answer is you can produce any kind of music with BIAB but it may take more work, creativity, etc. to do it!" and likely more work than hobbyists and older generation people that don't derive any commercial income from composing music.
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#568466 - 12/03/19 04:42 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: BIAB 2020, RealTracks and modern music styles - good fit? [Re: EdZ314]
Registered: 08/08/06
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Rob Helms Offline
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One area to consider is that any type of music is going to take effort to master,and make it sound new. To get a fresh and relevant song you need to do something different, or at least make it seem different. Building a base of tracks in Biab and moving them to a Main line DAW, can give you a starting place. Then beginning to experiment with loops, synths, and vocal tracks. Tweaking and experimenting with FX till something sounds fresh. JJJ is on target in that you can start here, but to just type in the chords and create a 2019 tune is difficult. just listen to some current hits though you hear a lot of different and diverse sounds some of those are here for you. in things like celtic beats, jazz country, rock, klezmer tracks mixing genre tones is very interesting.
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#568603 - 12/04/19 09:05 AM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: BIAB 2020, RealTracks and modern music styles - good fit? [Re: EdZ314]
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jazzmammal Offline
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What kind of music are you talking about Ed? Post some links to Yt vids we can listen to, just saying modern music is too broad. Big difference between Skrillex and Lady Gaga for example or John Legend and DJ Jazzy Jeff.

Bob
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#568607 - 12/04/19 09:22 AM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: BIAB 2020, RealTracks and modern music styles - good fit? [Re: EdZ314]
Registered: 08/08/06
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Rob Helms Offline
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Don’t forget Jazzmammal that dudes cutting edge .... no wait?!?!?!

Ducks under the table !
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#568613 - 12/04/19 09:59 AM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: BIAB 2020, RealTracks and modern music styles - good fit? [Re: jazzmammal]
Registered: 06/25/12
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JohnJohnJohn Offline
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Originally Posted By: jazzmammal
What kind of music are you talking about Ed? Post some links to Yt vids we can listen to, just saying modern music is too broad. Big difference between Skrillex and Lady Gaga for example or John Legend and DJ Jazzy Jeff.

Bob

Here is an interesting list by Rolling Stone of their opinion of the best songs of the past decade. This might be an interesting place to start if you are seriously curious about what modern music sounds like.

https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-lists/the-100-best-songs-of-the-2010s-917532/future-islands-seasons-waiting-on-you-2-917639/

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#568654 - 12/04/19 01:10 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: BIAB 2020, RealTracks and modern music styles - good fit? [Re: EdZ314]
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Jim Fogle Offline
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EdZ314,

Welcome to the forum and to Band-in-a-Box. You've asked a question that can generate a lot of friendly debate. I've got some questions for you in return.

How do the songs you've generated with 2019 Band-in-a-Box Pro sound? What changes to your song files can you make to make your songs sound more modern like you want? Do you have the knowledge and skills to listen to a modern song and reproduce the sound? There are ways to use Band-in-a-Box to create modern sounding songs but you have to have the knowledge and skill to make the needed changes.

One issue PG Music faces is there are not many forum members that like modern pop music and try to emulate the sound. So non forum members hear songs based on our taste, not the general public.

One resource is direct input RealTracks. Direct input RealTracks have no effects applied so you can apply your own effects chain. The effects chain is one of the major contributors to the sound of modern music.

Another resource is the Xtra Style PAKs. The Xtra Style PAKs are remix styles that use non traditional instrument groups to make a band. They also use effects differently from how PG Music has used them in the past.

The Loops-with-Styles PAK1 PG Music introduced this year (2020) use RealTracks to create loops.

Using these resources as a starting point you should be able to create a modern sounding song. I can't and most forum members likely can't because we don't have the interest needed to learn how to reproduce the sound.
_________________________
Jim Fogle
2019 UltraPlusPak BiaB(637) RealBand(Build 5)
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Music at: http://fogle622.wix.com/fogle622-audio-home

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#568665 - 12/04/19 02:34 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: BIAB 2020, RealTracks and modern music styles - good fit? [Re: EdZ314]
Registered: 11/18/19
Posts: 20
Loc: Chicago, IL
EdZ314 Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 11/18/19
Posts: 20
Loc: Chicago, IL

Many thanks for the well-thought out comments and feedback. I've taken a few selected quotes from above and copied them below, but there are many, many good points.

@JohnJohnJohn - you can produce any kind of music with BIAB but it may take more work, creativity, etc. to do it!
@Charlie Fogle - The value of BIAB to modern artists lies not in the songs created, but rather the sounds and varied instruments that are available.
@Rob Helms - any type of music is going to take effort to master,and make it sound new.
@jazzmammal - What kind of music are you talking about Ed?
@Jim Fogle - One resource is direct input RealTracks. One issue PG Music faces is there are not many forum members that like modern pop music

Here's what I'm taking away from what I've read. BIAB is a powerful tool, and it's limited mainly by the creativity and resourcefulness of the user. Making music sound new is not just a matter of picking a style, throwing a few chords together and hitting generate. In fact, I really get it now - all the elements of "modern" music (I'll try to define it further down), are there in BIAB, but it's mashed up, mixed in, and sampled, and so forth, in new and different ways. Good old hard work (and some talent I'm sure) is the only way to get there.

I'm really glad that @Jim Fogle brought up the topic about the forum members music preferences, because that was the impression that I had, but didn't want it to come across the wrong way. I grew up listening 70's - 90's music, and that's very much ingrained in my soul now, but I do try really hard to keep myself open to all types of music, because I understand that each generation has to redefine it for themselves, and I think it is natural that it rebels against previous styles, while at the same time building on them and flip-flopping them in ways that are totally unexpected. Anyway, I really enjoy stretching myself into new musical areas, even if what I may create is total garbage (most of the time), because I just love the creative process. But I believe that this forum is a place where any passionate music creator/composer/performer can feel comfortable. P.S. - I will definitely tap more into the RealTracks.

@jazzmammal - That's a great question about what type of music. It's really hard to describe in a concise way without just referring to what it is *not*. But that's cheating, so let me try. I readily admit that my exposure to current music is pretty limited, based on what I can get from YouTube, and some of the streaming services, but it would include a lot of poppy stuff such as Charlie Puth, Kacey Musgraves, Ed Sheeran, Harry Styles, and the Weeknd but also Jason Aldean, Father John Misty, Jay-Z,Lil Naz X, and others, but I also really like Jazz, Blues, Celtic, Bluegress, Country, and on, and there is certainly new, modern, music emerging in those genres too. So I don't have a good answer but gave it a shot smile.

@JohnJohnJohn - that link to the Rolling Stone article is outstanding, I'm going to take my time and work through it. Just the first few tracks that I played were great, and eye-opening, and I was just thinking how "modern" music can be such an awkward phrase, and does not do justice to that wide array of styles and performances.

Thanks to all for the very engaging discussion - I hope this is helpful to others who find themselves in the same boat as me. I'm really energized now and looking forward to pushing my limits in BIAB. If there's still room for some friendly debate for this thread, I'm all for it, and will keep watching.
_________________________
Ed Z

Soundcloud profile
https://soundcloud.com/user-415064494
BIAB User since 2019
iPad Mini, Garageband, BIAB for Windows 2019



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#568684 - 12/04/19 04:23 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: BIAB 2020, RealTracks and modern music styles - good fit? [Re: EdZ314]
Registered: 12/27/03
Posts: 12740
Loc: Hamlin NY
MarioD Offline
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Loc: Hamlin NY
FYIW - IMHO the best way to generate modern music is with MIDI. MIDI is a way more edit friendly than RealTracks. You can change sounds, notes, tempos, etc with MIDI with no worries. You will need a little experience with MIDI and some good sound sources, i.e. NOT the General MIDI that comes with BiaB/RB. But shouldn't be a show stopper.

Also remember that the music genres listed are not in stone. You can use a country style in jazz, rock, etc and visa-versa. Again I find MIDI easier here also.

Note that I am NOT against RTs and in fact when I get the 2020 BiaB I am going to look into them for the MIDI notation that is included with many of them. I also use RTs but my preference is with MIDI. YMMV
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#568702 - 12/04/19 06:37 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: BIAB 2020, RealTracks and modern music styles - good fit? [Re: EdZ314]
Registered: 12/30/08
Posts: 172
methodman Offline
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Registered: 12/30/08
Posts: 172
The trick is to get yourself a simple synthesizer like Cobalt vst or Kawai K3 vst which is extremely limited, but it shows you that because a synth looks like the equivalent of another(in this case the DW8000, or even Cobalt vst . It's not!! But I bought one of those instead of buying the Dw8000. But see what you can make. Your own General midi to explore the synth design experience. Composing is many things but synth design and arranging need to be practiced together.

There is also the Ensoniq SQ80 vst which is more powerful than both those. But I don't think these area's are really Biab's specialty. Your'e kind of in your own land and frontier doing this stuff. Biab has exposed me to rhythms I would know nothing about. So it's a major jukebox in many different musical vacation trips.

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