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Open debate per title.

A. background.
Year after year on various recording forums the “elephant in the room’ is often the new user setting up a project studio getting frustrated with setting up the correct settings needed in order for the sound device to work well with their chosen music software.
Ive seen it on lots of different forums…..thus long threads ensue….and a ton of frustration often.
One sees it often every year on these pg forums too.

For some time now ive been pondering how best to help a new user who encounters set up problems…cos often the software is blamed whereas the real issue is... correctly
choosing not only a good sound interface with good low latency drivers , but also setting up things correctly in the daw software…in this case pg software.

Thus i offer up some ideas for wider debate….so please feel free to debate/discuss/offer up your own ideas cos at some point even the most experienced user was a novice.

B. Some ideas.
i think it might be useful to have a new forum called something like ‘the settings forum’. Where new people encountering problems can be directed to and which includes...
ACTUAL PICTURES of peoples settings that WORK….in 4 main areas that sometimes give probs.

1.Biab settings pics.
2.Realband settings pics.
3.Windows settings pics for both recording and playback…and finally
4.Pics of The sound device settings/user control panel as a lot of usb audio interfaces now have pretty sophisticated user control apps with many settings often.
(obviously above pics would not show just audio settings but also midi).

Ie what i’m struggling with is…the best way to help the new user.
Rharv made a good point to me in that there so many different combos of settings not just in windows but also in music software.

Are there any better approaches ? than giving new users tried and true solutions
And templates that work per above ?

I now invite other folks thoughts to how to solve this ‘very difficult elephant in the room’
and ‘conundrum’.
Of course one bugaboo i see possibly is would users be willing to spend some time posting pics of their recording rig settings that work ?

as they say in any debating room at oxford “i open it up to the floor’...lol

Best
om

Last edited by justanoldmuso; 03/19/22 02:55 PM.

New Song "PRETTY GIRL" for my wife...Dec 2023
(my vocs....mixed for good earbuds.)
https://soundcloud.com/alfsongs/prettygirlrbfinalcalfsongsdec2023mp3
(and rock song THE STALLION and bluegrass song... BANKER MAN....90 songs useing bb/rb.)
Help! Tech S.O.S (Off topic)
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BIAB needs a knowledge base.

It actually has one – https://www.pgmusic.com/techfaq66.htm – but it's hopelessly inadequate, having just 81 questions when there should be thousands.

One shouldn't have to search through forum threads to find answers that may or may not be correct.

PG staff should be creating new KB entries every day in the course of doing their jobs.

PS – Please no all caps.

Last edited by Mark Hayes; 03/19/22 03:23 AM.
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Good points, but as Rharv has said there are so many different combos of settings.

I suggest a new forum called something like Help Setting up My System where people have a central location for help. The intro data could read something like please list your computer cpu, ram, external peripherals (Hard drives, sound cards etc) etc as this would help us solve your issues. This should eliminate the multi-forum problem, just giving users and PGM a central help forum.

However I would be against the picture idea. All it would take is an update to make the pictures obsolete.

YMMV


Me, it's not about how many times you fail, it's about how many times you get back up.
Cop, that's not how field sobriety tests work.

64 bit Win 10 Pro, the latest BiaB/RB, Roland Octa-Capture audio interface, a ton of software/hardware
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Thanks a good idea Mario! Help with My Settings or Initial Setup Questions.

Jeff


Win11, Intel i7 7700K 4.2Ghz, 32Gb RAM, 2x1Tb HD, 500Gb NVMe, BIAB/RB 2024, MOTU 828MK3 audio, MOTU Midi Express, Yamaha Montage 7, DX7II, TX802, Motif XS Rack, Roland Fantom XR Rack, Oberheim Matrix 1000, VoiceLive3 Extreme, Kontakt 6, SampleTank 4.3
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We have too many forums now. I assist people in this one. It’s Help! Tech S. O. S. and I think it can work for the kind of questions being discussed here. Tips and Tricks is another existing place for tutorials.


BIAB 2024 Win Audiophile. Software: Studio One 6.5 Pro, Swam horns, Acoustica-7, Notion 6; Win 11 Home. Hardware: Intel i9, 32 Gb; Roland Integra-7, Presonus Studio 192, Presonus Faderport 8, Royer 121, Adam Sub8 & Neumann 120 monitors
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Mario.
I like your suggestions ,as always.. particularly this…
‘The intro data could read something like please list your computer cpu, ram, external peripherals (Hard drives, sound cards etc) etc as this would help us solve your issues. ‘
WITH the addition of the following…
1.your Biab settings pics.
2.your Realband settings pics.
3.your Windows settings pics for both recording and playback…and finally
4.Pics of your sound device settings/user control panel settings.

Here's my argument WHY…
If we dont know the persons various current settings the person providing help including pg support is “flying blind”...and the provider of help is , i would argue, guessing.

What i often ponder , and ive seen this on various forums includeing pg...is…a person requests help ,...
then on being asked for full settings/pics by folks trying to help… then the originator of the help request is often not heard from again. So why ask for help ?
Its a situation ive seen many times. Very strange.

Happiness.
om

Last edited by justanoldmuso; 03/19/22 09:17 AM.

New Song "PRETTY GIRL" for my wife...Dec 2023
(my vocs....mixed for good earbuds.)
https://soundcloud.com/alfsongs/prettygirlrbfinalcalfsongsdec2023mp3
(and rock song THE STALLION and bluegrass song... BANKER MAN....90 songs useing bb/rb.)
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"then on being asked for full settings/pics by folks trying to help… then the originator of the help request is often not heard from again. So why ask for help ?"

That request may be beyond their means of knowing how to do on the forum.. or make them uncomfortable .. or they decide it isn't worth it (sadly)
we're all just trying to help, but sometimes people decide they don't want/need it that bad to go thru the effort

Also, I have a friend in Chicago that instead of asking for help here went to the manufacturer support .. it worked out in the long run, so lots of reasons people may pursue different routes


Make your sound your own!
.. I do not work here, but the benefits are still awesome
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Rharv.

its a very difficult topic obviously which is one reason i started this thread to get peoples opinions/ideas.
and to try and address the elephant in the proverbial project studio room.

frankly rharv i laud you for over the years often going out of your way to help people in both the ptw and rb
forums. its very difficult to help people with probs that dont (for some reason) post pics of their settings.

best
om

ps mark hayes , but will new users take the time to peruse an amended/upgraded knowledge base ?



Last edited by justanoldmuso; 03/19/22 03:00 PM.

New Song "PRETTY GIRL" for my wife...Dec 2023
(my vocs....mixed for good earbuds.)
https://soundcloud.com/alfsongs/prettygirlrbfinalcalfsongsdec2023mp3
(and rock song THE STALLION and bluegrass song... BANKER MAN....90 songs useing bb/rb.)
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The biggest problem tends to be age and zero experience with digital audio and many times no computer experience either. Not everyone of course but the majority I think. You read all the time, "HELP, I finally retired, been playing music for years but never had time to get into home recording." You ask are you good with a PC and they say, not really. You already used several terms, latency, DAW for example that many new users do not know or understand so now you're in a position of giving someone a really basic definition of terms and minimum specs for a PC before you can even get started with explaining setup configs. This is why it can be better for them if they went to the company who sold the interface or whatever because they usually have a great tutorial explaining the basics. You know the old joke, the coach calls a meeting with a losing team and says we're gonna start at the beginning....This is a football.

So many threads here start with all that and it can go for pages and pages then as was said, they suddenly disappear and a bunch of us wind up talking to ourselves.

And yes, PG should be one of those good companies who publish a detailed tutorial about computers, Midi, DAWS, latency, what is digital audio, why certain things are so important, etc, etc. With that all we should do is point nooby's to that with instructions to read it then come back.

Bob


Biab/RB latest build, Win 11 Pro, Ryzen 5 5600 G, 512 Gig SSD, 16 Gigs Ram, Steinberg UR22 MkII, Roland Sonic Cell, Kurzweil PC3, Hammond SK1, Korg PA3XPro, Garritan JABB, Hypercanvas, Sampletank 3, more.
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Originally Posted By: justanoldmuso
but will new users take the time to peruse an amended/upgraded knowledge base?

If that's where the answers are, yes. A KB entry with a simple, specific Q & A that fills the screen and tells them "change 24 to 48" is infinitely better than finding the answer buried in a long thread between potentially hostile parties.

Last edited by Mark Hayes; 03/19/22 03:31 PM.
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My suggestion to help new users with correct settings would be to recommend they return the interface they purchased and replace it with a quality stand alone, digital multi track recorder from Zoom or Tascam No latency, interface settings, crashes, deep menus, hours of setup and troubleshooting.

They can have recorded their first song in an hour. There’s no steep learning curve and it will last for years and will never become obsolete.

Best of all, they come with complete step by step instructional manuals with pictures, arrows circles, etc.


BIAB Ultra Pak+ 2024:RB 2024, Latest builds: Dell Optiplex 7040 Desktop; Windows-10-64 bit, Intel Core i7-6700 3.4GHz CPU and 16 GB Ram Memory.
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Extract the Installation and set-up stuff from the manual into a dedicated document.

Within that have a "recommended/quick setup that usually works for most systems".

Then go on to the tuning and adjustments that may be needed to get the best out of BiaB/RB, giving both what the many setting allow to be made, but also what they mean and how to use them.

Leave more white-space around things so the reader can better tell where one thing ends and another begins.

A troubleshooting section.


Jazz relative beginner, starting at a much older age than was helpful.
Kawai MP6, Korg M50, Ui24R, Saffire Pro 40.
AVL:MXE Linux; Windows 11; Win8.1: Scarletts
BIAB2022 UltraPAK, Reaper, a bunch of stuff.
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Gordon.

I really like the ideas in your post.
Frankly i have to be fair to pg in that my install of 2022 upak went as smooth as a Babys ……after i backed up the upak drive in case the drive ever went on the blink.

2022 install gave me no hassles including the fact my audient interface was recognised Off the bat and i was making songs in short order in biab and rb....right off the bat.

So no install complaints here. BUT it might be that i’m very careful that win sound devices are correctly set up. Because i’m sure that the pg installers prolly look what a users default sound device is…by default.

(Only things i would liked to have seen are added users features like slowing down the acw, F5 including utility traks in bb, and a spleeter feature built in…
But all those are for another day….and ive asked pg for these..etc)

Thus overall no complaints from me re 2022.
I think one of many reasons that new users might have probs is the users sound device is not installed properly/settings in win which prolly creates probs for the pg installers ….thus probs ensue.

Best
om
ps i changed to non caps but it seems the forum software
has different ideas...lol.

Last edited by justanoldmuso; 03/20/22 06:39 AM.

New Song "PRETTY GIRL" for my wife...Dec 2023
(my vocs....mixed for good earbuds.)
https://soundcloud.com/alfsongs/prettygirlrbfinalcalfsongsdec2023mp3
(and rock song THE STALLION and bluegrass song... BANKER MAN....90 songs useing bb/rb.)
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Originally Posted By: Charlie Fogle
My suggestion to help new users with correct settings would be to recommend they return the interface they purchased and replace it with a quality stand alone, digital multi track recorder from Zoom or Tascam No latency, interface settings, crashes, deep menus, hours of setup and troubleshooting.

They can have recorded their first song in an hour. There’s no steep learning curve and it will last for years and will never become obsolete.

Best of all, they come with complete step by step instructional manuals with pictures, arrows circles, etc.




My recommendation would be to look at the damn documentation. Every interface you buy comes with a "complete step by step instructional manual with pictures, arrows circles, etc."

If someone won't RTFM for the interface they bought, what makes you think they'll read the one for their standalone digital recorder?

It boggles my mind that people are so resistant to availing themselves if the documentation that is provided for their benefit.

It also boggles my mind how in 2022 someone can not have basic computer literacy.


Byron Dickens

BIAB. CbB. Mixbus 32C 8 HP Envy. Intel core i7. 16GB RAM W10. Focusrite Scarlett 18i 20. Various instruments played with varying degrees of proficiency.

https://soundcloud.com/athanorsoundlabs
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Originally Posted By: justanoldmuso
Gordon.

I really like the ideas in your post.
Frankly i have to be fair to pg in that my install of 2022 upak went as smooth as a Babys ……

As I think it should much of the time, hence my "recommended/quick setup that usually works for most systems".


Originally Posted By: justanoldmuso

Thus overall no complaints from me re 2022.
I think one of many reasons that new users might have probs is the users sound device is not installed properly/settings in win which prolly creates probs for the pg installers ….thus probs ensue.

Though the fact that you felt the thread was worth starting indicates that things are not quite as they should be.

There are several places where things can go awry and that's why I think a second area with more in-depth information can help. In a time when most Windows installations are 64-bit, push the 32-bit a jBridge stuff to a section expressly for 32-bit users ... don't stick it in the middle as a distraction, use a hyperlink and page+line reference or similar to it.

I presume there's some reason why PGM don't just set up VSTSynthFont64 rather than CoyoteWT as a default, at least on 64-bit systems, but it's there in the manual
"""
... allows you to use the VSTSynthFont64 as the General MIDI synth.
"""
Um, OK, should I do that? Is that better or do I do it only if CoyoteWT doesn't work? What's a GM soundfont or DLS file? (I noticed recently that even some very experienced BiaB users weren't sure what gm.dls was).

"Alternate Patch Maps" ... here in the bit where new users are just trying to get things installed and working? Are you sure? Ditto "General MIDI 2" really.

"Audio Setup" starts OK-ish (it tells you how to get there, though a bit back-to-front), but then drops "(WAS/MME/ASIO)" onto the reader with no warning or explanation. The second sentence is probably what most people want to know, but I'm already worrying about WAS/MME/ASIO and is that important? What does it mean? It does go on to explain a little, but surely this is a matter for more advanced users and/or trouble-shooting?

Part of the difficulty here is that this manual, like an awful lot of manuals, is driver more by what's on a particular menu or dialog than by what the user is likely to be trying to achieve.

One of my personal irritations with so many manuals is that one can search for keywords for something, find it, but then not easily be able to find out exactly how one get to the settings. Oftentimes one has to go backwards through pages and pages of irrelevant stuff to find out how to get to it. There's a lot to be said for each section having the route to it right there at the top of the section. Of course that's tricky when, as with BiaB, there are sometimes many ways to get to the same place.

There's a very important question that, when I ask it, I am so often astounded by the fluster and confusion that I see. "Who is the target audience for this document (or this part of the document)?". It's shocking how often people don't know, or simply answer "The Customer", without really understanding what that means.


Jazz relative beginner, starting at a much older age than was helpful.
Kawai MP6, Korg M50, Ui24R, Saffire Pro 40.
AVL:MXE Linux; Windows 11; Win8.1: Scarletts
BIAB2022 UltraPAK, Reaper, a bunch of stuff.
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charlie's advice to buy a hardware recorder seems a bit extreme. in it's simplest form, with a little set up that's what RealBand emulates. and no hardware recorder will produce a track like BIAB does.

and although things get more and more complex, new users need to know the difference between audio and midi and how their interface works with windows and BIAB/RB. we get regular queries that show new users simply don't understand what midi is and how sounds are produced.

perhaps the most useful thing would be a flow diagram with yes/no options that takes someone through the set up and their first recording/project. and let's not forget that many users will just use BIAB to generate backing tracks and never record anything.

Last edited by Bob Calver; 03/20/22 09:29 AM.
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Specific to PG Music installs there is a recurring issue of a new user not understanding the four installation choices and selecting the wrong one.


Jim Fogle - 2024 BiaB (1111) RB (5) Ultra+ PAK
DAWs: Cakewalk by BandLab (CbB) - Standalone: Zoom MRS-8
Laptop: i3 Win 10, 8GB ram 500GB HDD
Desktop: i7 Win 11, 12GB ram 256GB SSD, 4 TB HDD
Music at: https://fogle622.wix.com/fogle622-audio-home
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Byron.
Good points. I’d like a dollar for every time in the world a computer manager would silently scream in his office bout end users not RTFM…i’d be rich…lol.
I saw it all the time in places i worked. Drove the techs nuts after spending mega on fancy manuals and presentations etc that were easily digested.

All.
One thing that impressed me about the new audient interface i got a year ago was ...
The little card that came with it.
On one side 3 step install , very simple , and on tother side how to set up the intelligent smartgain feature.
After a year of use i’m still impressed, particularly with the drivers.
What i’m trying to say is the little card that came with the device was a great example of how to make things easy for a new user to quickly use the device.

Best
om


New Song "PRETTY GIRL" for my wife...Dec 2023
(my vocs....mixed for good earbuds.)
https://soundcloud.com/alfsongs/prettygirlrbfinalcalfsongsdec2023mp3
(and rock song THE STALLION and bluegrass song... BANKER MAN....90 songs useing bb/rb.)
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Here are my 2 cents on this subject.

Because BiaB and RB are plenty complex in their own rights, new and not so new users will need help at some point. Add in various DAWs, plugins, operating systems, interfaces, etc. and you have multi-dimensional complexity that changes over time as new releases of hardware and software become available.

The current forum-based help system is useful but not particularly efficient as the postings are difficult and tedious to search. This requires duplicate solutions to be written by those in the know every time a similar question is re-asked. At times I notice these users make various incorrect assumptions that can easily get amplified and re-amplified by others until a poor signal to noise ratio is reached; sometimes resulting in the original question being obscured.

Because of this and other things the half-life of the information transmitted in this way is on the order of a few days rather than months or years. Put another way, no matter how well intentioned the answer to a call for help may be, if it’s “expiration date” is close to that of bananas bought at your local grocery store then there was wasted effort in creating it in the first place; valuable effort that could have been used in refining a more durable solution.

An improvement to this could be achieved if the communicated solutions, tips, insights and knowledge were somehow first vetted for accuracy, kept focused on the subject and then made more permanent.

Think "one and done" or "develop the wheel just once and share what you developed".

One way to increase the half-life of the information is to store it in a series of downloadable “How-To” files rather than re-invent it every time a similar question is asked. I would suggest files in PDF format for this. These files could contain a descriptive title, a file number, the solution on how to do what the user is struggling with and supporting weblinks. We are visual creatures so annotated screenshots should be used where appropriate.

So when a user posts a call for help, he/she can be quickly directed to a solution that has been vetted thereby eliminating the need for much off-topic chit chat, spider webs or rabbit holes.

Here is what I envision:
Joe New User: “Hello, just installed BiaB 2023 on a Windows 12 desktop and I can’t figure out how to add horn shots to a track.”

Fred on the Forum: “Hi Joe, there are a couple documented ways to do this. Go to xyz weblink and look at the following files.
A-3012 – How to add horn shots with external MIDI
A-3013 – How to add horn shots with internal MIDI

Joe New User: “Thanks Fred, A-3012 is most appropriate for me but I’m stuck on Step #4.”

Fred on the Forum: “Hi Joe, yes, I wrote A-3012 and I realize that Step #4 is confusing. I’ll fix it and have it vetted.”

Joe New User: “Fred, your updated document worked and I’m off and running, thanks.”

In order to properly organize the files, some thought should go into a document numbering system; any librarians or data scientists on the forum may have good ideas here. For example, the “A” in my above example could indicate Apple with “W” for Windows. Or “A” for BiaB and “B” for RealBand . . . you get the idea.

Some How-To files could be intentionally high-level with little detail while others could be at the micro level.

I have contributed to such a How-To system for a large complex mathematical/programming software environment in industry that was successfully used by scientists, engineers and programmers. The key is to vet the information for accuracy and organize it for easy search and retrievability.

Just my 2 cents.


https://soundcloud.com/user-646279677
BiaB 2024 Windows
For me there’s no better place in the band than to have one leg in the harmony world and the other in the percussive. Thank you Paul Tutmarc and Leo Fender.
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OK here is my 2 cents and I'll probably get called on some of it.

1- A lot of manuals are written from the coders' perspective and not from a user's perspective. When I was writing Standard Operating Procedures I had to gorilla proof them; that is take them to someone not from that area and have them try them out. You can learn a lot about writing that way.

2-Google/Bing is your friend. Many do not want to or do not know how to look up information on the web. Just keep typing using different words/terminology until you find what you need.

3-Some people want to be spoon fed in lieu of doing a little research.

4-Some want to do things that BiaB was not intended to do. Its an accompaniment generating software. Its not a DAW or notation program. PGM tries hard to accommodate all but their last few new features were not ready for prime time and that confuses everyone

5-The PGM manual is very confusing, see #1.

6-MIDI is not audio and going away from general MIDI is a learning curve. Do some research first.

We are very fortunate to have a lot of friendly people willing to help here but sometimes I think they get taken advantage of.

If you are going into computer based music you must first know about your computer, then your software,and then your sound card in order to produce music. PGM makes it very simple to get great sounding backing tracks via RTs but that is the only simple thing to learn for someone new.

YMMV


Me, it's not about how many times you fail, it's about how many times you get back up.
Cop, that's not how field sobriety tests work.

64 bit Win 10 Pro, the latest BiaB/RB, Roland Octa-Capture audio interface, a ton of software/hardware
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Note: the Band-in-a-Box® keychain is only included with flash drive backup copies, and cannot be purchased separately.

Handy flash drive tip: Always try plugging in a USB device the wrong way first? If your flash drive (or other USB plug) doesn't have a symbol to indicate which way is up, look for the side with a seam on the metal connector (it only has a line across one side) - that's the side that either faces down or to the left, depending on your port placement.

Update your Band-in-a-Box® 2024 for Windows® Today!

Update your Band-in-a-Box® 2024 for Windows for free with build 1111!

With this update, there's more control when saving images from the Print Preview window, we've added defaults to the MultiPicker for sorting and font size, updated printing options, updated RealTracks and other content, and addressed user-reported issues with the StylePicker, MIDI Soloists, key signature changes, and more!

Learn more about this free update for Band-in-a-Box® 2024 for Windows at www.pgmusic.com/support_windowsupdates.htm#1111

Band-in-a-Box® 2024 Review: 4.75 out of 5 Stars!

If you're looking for a in-depth review of the newest Band-in-a-Box® 2024 for Windows version, you'll definitely find it with Sound-Guy's latest review, Band-in-a-Box® 2024 for Windows Review: Incredible new capabilities to experiment, compose, arrange and mix songs.

A few excerpts:
"The Tracks view is possibly the single most powerful addition in 2024 and opens up a new way to edit and generate accompaniments. Combined with the new MultiPicker Library Window, it makes BIAB nearly perfect as an 'intelligent' composer/arranger program."

"MIDI SuperTracks partial generation showing six variations – each time the section is generated it can be instantly auditioned, re-generated or backed out to a previous generation – and you can do this with any track type. This is MAJOR! This takes musical experimentation and honing an arrangement to a new level, and faster than ever."

"Band in a Box continues to be an expansive musical tool-set for both novice and experienced musicians to experiment, compose, arrange and mix songs, as well as an extensive educational resource. It is huge, with hundreds of functions, more than any one person is likely to ever use. Yet, so is any DAW that I have used. BIAB can do some things that no DAW does, and this year BIAB has more DAW-like functions than ever."

Convenient Ways to Listen to Band-in-a-Box® Songs Created by Program Users!

The User Showcase Forum is an excellent place to share your Band-in-a-Box® songs and listen to songs other program users are creating!

There are other places you can listen to these songs too! Visit our User Showcase page to sort by genre, artist (forum name), song title, and date - each listing will direct you to the forum post for that song.

If you'd rather listen to these songs in one place, head to our Band-in-a-Box® Radio, where you'll have the option to select the genre playlist for your listening pleasure. This page has SoundCloud built in, so it won't redirect you. We've also added the link to the Artists SoundCloud page here, and a link to their forum post.

We hope you find some inspiration from this amazing collection of User Showcase Songs!

Congratulations to the 2023 User Showcase Award Winners!

We've just announced the 2023 User Showcase Award Winners!

There are 45 winners, each receiving a Band-in-a-Box 2024 UltraPAK! Read the official announcement to see if you've won.

Our User Showcase Forum receives more than 50 posts per day, with people sharing their Band-in-a-Box songs and providing feedback for other songs posted.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed!

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