Band-in-a-Box® 2021 for Mac® User's Guide
Congratulations on your purchase of Band-in-a-Box for Mac, the favorite of musicians, students, and songwriters everywhere. Get ready to have fun!
Band-in-a-Box is an intelligent automatic accompaniment program for your multimedia computer.
You can hear and play along to many song ideas and go from “nothing” to “something” in a very short period of time with Band-in-a-Box as your “on demand” backup band.
Band-in-a-Box is so easy to use!
Just type in the chords for any song using standard chord symbols (like C, Fm7, or C13b9), choose the style you’d like, and Band-in-a-Box does the rest, automatically generating a complete professional-quality arrangement of piano, bass, drums, guitar, and strings or horns in a wide variety of popular styles plus optional live audio tracks with RealDrums and RealTracks.
RealTracks are audio instruments that replace the MIDI track with actual recordings of top studio Jazz/Rock/Country musicians! These are not “samples” of single instrument hits; they are full recordings, lasting from 1 to 8 bars at a time, playing along in perfect sync with the other Band-in-a-Box tracks. We have a huge library of RealTracks available, including lots of Jazz, Rock, Blues, Country, Folk, and Bluegrass styles.
Best of all, you use these instruments like regular styles. Many of them offer a “simpler” option that plays a less busy or embellished arrangement. We include “Direct Input” (clean signal) guitar RealTracks so you can generate files with a clean guitar, and then, using your DAW (e.g. GarageBand), you can add custom amp and F/X settings using the AmpliTube CS guitar amp and effects simulator that is included.
By simply choosing a RealStyle, you will hear your new or existing songs played by real instruments, with a dramatic improvement in sound and musicality. You can even have your old MIDI styles automatically replaced with the equivalent RealStyle (if installed). Moreover, the number of RealTracks and RealStyles keeps growing.
Many of the RealTracks have RealCharts; this allows you to see notation and correct guitar fretboard display, a great help for learning to play from the masters performing on the RealTracks.
You can view and edit the Band-in-a-Box tracks in notation with optional Jazz chords and symbols. In the Lead Sheet window, you can see multiple instrumental tracks or view all four parts of a harmony. Print out your finished creation with lyrics and chords or save it as a PDF file to publish on the web or to e-mail to a friend.
MIDI SuperTracks combine the editing options of MIDI with the human element of RealTracks. Instead of MIDI styles based on chord patterns, the MIDI SuperTracks are based on actual playing by studio musicians.
RealDrums replace the MIDI Drum track with actual recordings of top studio Jazz/Rock/Country drummers! Again, these are not “samples” of single drum hits; they are full recordings, lasting from 1 to 8 bars at a time, playing along in perfect sync with the other Band-in-a-Box tracks. Hundreds of RealDrums styles are available, and EZ selection of “DrumGrooves” lets you choose different grooves within drum styles.
For added versatility, you can add your own or 3rd party loops to any Band-in-a-Box track or add your favorite MIDITrack from any MIDI style to any track of your current song. The Mixer window allows you to quickly set volumes, panning, reverb, tone, and patches. The Mixer floats on top of the current window, so you can place it wherever it is convenient to make quick and easy adjustments to your Band-in-a-Box track settings. It features a unique “Combo” slider for making changes to all tracks at once.
The amazing Audio Chord Wizard automatically figures out the chords from any audio file and imports the chords and audio to Band-in-a-Box. Just load in any audio file and you will instantly see the chords in Band-in-a-Box. The Audio Wizard also figures out tempo, bar lines, key and fine-tuning from the audio file.
With the Direct Render to Disk feature, you can save your files directly as audio files (AIFF, M4A, WAV), for use in other programs (GarageBand, Cubase, etc.), or in Internet formats.
And much more…
- Mac® OS X 10.6.8 to 12.x
- 64-bit Intel processor or ARM-based Apple Silicon M1 chip
- Minimum 2 GB RAM
- Screen Resolution: 1024x768 or higher
- Hard Disk space: Minimum 2 GB for the main Band-in-a-Box program. More space is required for RealTracks, depending on which package you buy...
- RealTracks & RealDrums: ~100-400 MB per set
- Pro RealCombos: ~35 GB
- MegaPAK RealCombos: ~45 GB
- UltraPAK when installed to internal hard drive: ~180 GB
- Hard drive versions do not require any hard disk space when run directly from the external hard drive they are
shipped on. A USB port is required.
- USB port for the USB Flash Drive version of the MegaPAK or Pro
- USB port for the USB Hard Drive version of the UltraPAK, UltraPAK+, or Audiophile Edition
- Internet connection recommended for activation and updates
The Band-in-a-Box program installs by default to its own Band-in-a-Box folder inside the /Applications folder. Unless there is an important reason to install it to a different location, we suggest that you accept the default location.
Use one of the following methods to install the program files into the Band-in-a-Box directory.
Installing from the Downloaded Disk Images
If you ordered the e-delivery, download all disk images from the link provided. Double-click on each disk image to run the installation program.
Installing from the USB Flash Drive
Connect the USB flash drive to the USB port. When the volume image appears on the desktop, double-click on it to show its contents. Then double-click on the installer package to run the installer program.
Installing from the USB Hard Drive
Larger versions of Band-in-a-Box ship on portable USB hard drives. You can run Band-in-a-Box directly from the hard drive. Before you use the program, you should double-click on the installer package. This will set up any files that need to be installed/registered on your computer.
You have three basic choices for how to run Band-in-a-Box.
1. Run Band-in-a-Box directly from hard drive.
You can run Band-in-a-Box directly from this hard drive, and not copy anything to your computer’s internal hard drive. (1 GB disk space required.)
To do this, first run the “Band-in-a-Box Setup” installer located on the root level of the hard drive. This will install the PG Music fonts on your computer, necessary for viewing the Notation Window. This will also install the Band-in-a-Box DAW Plugin files to the system Library folder. You don’t need to select the option to install Band-in-a-Box to your internal hard drive.
You can use Band-in-a-Box simply by double-clicking on the Band-in-a-Box application in the /Applications/Band-in-a-Box folder on this hard drive. You can make an alias for it (command+L) or add it to the dock if you wish.
2. Install only the Band-in-a-Box program to your computer.
You can install Band-in-a-Box on your computer’s internal hard drive but leave the RealTracks and RealDrums on the USB hard drive. (30 GB free disk space required.)
To do this, run the “Band-in-a-Box Setup” installer located on the root level of the hard drive, and select the option to install Band-in-a-Box to your internal hard drive. Band-in-a-Box will be installed to the /Applications/Band-in-a-Box folder. Note that you will need to specify a custom location in the RealTracks and RealDrums Settings dialogs within Band-in-a-Box - that is, point to the “Drums” and “RealTracks” folders in the Band-in-a-Box folder on the USB drive.
This choice is useful because it allows you to keep a backup of the factory Band-in-a-Box program files on the USB hard drive, but save space on your Mac® hard drive by not copying the “real files.”
3. Install the full program with RealTracks and RealDrums to your computer.
You can install Band-in-a-Box, RealTracks, and RealDrums on your computer’s hard drive, and leave the USB hard drive entirely for backup. (About 180 GB free disk space required.)
To do this, run the “Band-in-a-Box Setup” installer located on the root level of the hard drive, and select the option to install Band-in-a-Box to your internal hard drive and the options to install RealTracks and RealDrums to your internal hard drive. Band-in-a-Box will be installed to the /Applications/Band-in-a-Box folder, along with all the RealTracks and RealDrums.
Note that installing the RealTracks to the internal hard drive may take over 1 hour to complete, depending on how fast your computer is, and requires over 180 GB of free hard disk space.
Using the USB Hard Drive
When you plug the hard drive into a USB port, it should be mounted on your desktop automatically. Before disconnecting the drive, make sure to “eject” it first. To do this, either drag the icon to the trash, or click on it and press command+E.
The hard drive may have a “Y” cable with two USB connectors on one end. The large connector is the main data connector and needs to be plugged in. The smaller connector is for extra power, in case a single USB port on your computer doesn’t supply enough power for the drive. If you are having trouble with the drive, and you have another empty USB port, plug that second cable in.
The /Band-in-a-Box folder has a clean look with three application files - Band-in-a-Box, Band-in-a-Box-32bit, and BBM4 (used for the Band-in-a-Box DAW Plugin). The rest of the files are in subfolders.
The folders include the Drums folder for RealDrums files and the RealTracks folder for RealTracks files. If any of these folders is moved or the files are installed in a custom location, the new location must be entered in the RealDrums Settings dialog or the RealTracks Settings dialog so that Band-in-a-Box knows where to find them.
The preferences you set in the program are saved in the Preferences folder,which includes a file named Intrface.BBM with all the program settings. If this file is removed to the trash, the program will open like a new installation the next time it runs. This is useful as a “global reset” if there are system settings that have been changed by accident.
Band-in-a-Box automatically sets up to default settings that use the built-in Mac® audio input and output, and the Mac® OS X CoreMIDI as the General MIDI synthesizer. For many users, these settings do not need to change.
For users with more elaborate setups and additional outboard audio or MIDI equipment, Band-in-a-Box offers the ability to customize both audio and MIDI settings through the Apple® Audio MIDI Setup dialog and through its own dialogs.
The MIDI and audio settings for playing your music in Band-in-a-Box are made in the Options menu.
The first item in this menu is MIDI Settings, but they may not require any changes. We suggest that you start with the default settings and see the MIDI Setup section if you find that changes to MIDI channels, patches, volume levels or effects levels are needed.
MIDI Input/Output ports
This menu item opens the Select Ports/Instruments dialog to assign MIDI input and output ports.
Click on the [CoreMIDI Help] button for detailed instructions.
Apple Audio Devices and MIDI Studio Setup
The Options | CoreMIDI Audio MIDI Setup menu item opens the Apple® Audio Devices and MIDI Studio dialogs, which control the system settings for audio and MIDI.
There are two separate windows for Audio Devices and MIDI Studio.
Each window has its own Apple Help topic, which opens by clicking on the [?] button.
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