Band-in-a-Box® for Windows - No Sound / Driver Setup

This tutorial explains what to do if you don't hear any sound when you try to play a song in Band-in-a-Box®.

We have included a lot of detail in this tutorial, which is necessary in order to cover all possibilities. If you are looking for a "quick fix", try the following:

  1. Check the Windows volume control panel to make sure the volume levels are up and nothing is muted.
  2. In Band-in-a-Box®, go to Opt. | MIDI/Audio Driver Setup, and select the 'Use DXi Synth' checkbox.
    [ Note: If you get an error message saying "No DXi Synthesizers are installed", click Help | About Band-in-a-Box® to find your Band in a Box version. If you're using Version 2010.5 or higher, install the CoyoteWT from the Help menu. If Version 2009 or earlier, install the VSC-DXi (included with Band-in-a-Box®) if you haven't done so yet. The VSC is not compatible with 64 bit versions of Windows, and is only included with versions 2007-2011 ]
  3. When the DirectX Plugins window opens, select either the VSC-DXi as your plugin (in the first drop-down box under the word Plugin), then close the DirectX Window and press OK to exit the MIDI Driver Setup dialog.

Using a DXi synth will simplify the problem, since the MIDI and audio tracks are routed to the same audio device in this case. Note: Since the VSC-DXi is not compatible with 64-bit operating systems, if you're using Band-in-a-Box® 2009 or earlier, an alternative is to use the ForteDXi or TTS-1 soft synth. As of Band in a Box version 2010.5, the CoyoteWT DXi is included which is 64-bit compatible.

If you aren't using a DXi synth, find out whether it's MIDI or Audio/RealTracks that you aren't hearing, or both.

You may also find this diagram helpful. This gives you a general idea of how sound is routed in Band-in-a-Box®.

The following topics are covered in this tutorial below:

Last updated:  Wednesday, 07 November 2018

Check to see if you have the Band-in-a-Box® tracks muted or the volume turned down

When you play your song, you should see some activity on the virtual piano keyboard at the top of the main Band-in-a-Box® screen. Assuming you do see activity there, you should next check to see if any of the tracks are muted. To mute tracks, you right-click on the track name (bass, piano, drums, guitar, strings) in the instrument panel near the top of the screen. This turns the track name red, which shows that the track is muted. To un-mute the track, simply right-click on it again. Instruments that are in the currently selected style and are un-muted should appear blue (Band-in-a-Box® 12 or earlier) or yellow (Band-in-a-Box® 2004 and higher) during playback. Next, click on the radio button beside each of the track names to make sure that the volumes for each individual instrument are turned up. The volume Control is directly below the instrument panel.

You may want to load in one of the Band-in-a-Box® demo songs as a test to see if this is a song-specific, or global Band-in-a-Box® problem. If it is a song-specific problem, you will have to figure out what might be different about a particular song that would cause it to have no sound. For example, perhaps you have entered a chord followed by a period to "rest all instruments", or perhaps you have chosen patches on higher banks that aren't available on the synth you are using. If it is a global Band-in-a-Box® problem, continue with the suggestions below.

Check that your speakers are turned on and connected properly

If you don't hear any sound on your computer at all, check that your speakers are turned on and connected to the correct jack on your sound card.

Check your midi driver setup

In Band-in-a-Box®, go to Opt. | MIDI/Audio Driver Setup to open the MIDI Driver Setup dialog.

The column on the left is the Input column. This is where you select the device you want the MIDI info to be recorded from. If you want to record from an external MIDI synthesizer, you would select (XX)MIDI IN, your MIDI interface, or the MPU-401 driver (XX would be the name of your sound card).

The column on the right is the Output column. IF you are not using a DXi or VSTi synth (see the next topic below), this is where you select where you want to hear the sound being played from. If you want to hear sound from your internal sound card (through your computer speakers), you would select: (XX)MIDI Synth, Microsoft GS Wavetable, Roland VSC, or anything except (XX)MIDI Out, the MPU-401 driver, or your MIDI interface (Again, XX would be the name of your sound card). If you are sending the MIDI information away from your computer to an external sound source such as a hardware MIDI synthesizer or sound module, you would select (XX)MIDI Out, your MIDI interface or the MPU-401 compatible driver.

Note: Exactly which drivers you see in your MIDI Input and Output columns depends on your specific computer/sound card setup. If you are still not sure which drivers to select, you may need to experiment a little.

Check your DXi synth setup

Band-in-a-Box® version 2004 and higher support DXi synthesizers, and 2006 and higher support VSTi synthesizers. In the MIDI Driver Setup dialog, there is a checkbox labelled "Use DXi Synth". If this box is unchecked, Band-in-a-Box® will play through the MIDI Output Driver you have selected. If this box is checked, Band-in-a-Box® will play through the DXi or VSTi synth you have selected and ignore the MIDI Output Driver (except for thru playback in certain cases). If you want to use a DXi or VSTi synth, such as the Roland VSC-DXi or ForteDXi, put a checkmark in the "Use DXi Synth" box.

You will also need to make sure that your DXi synth is selected and set up correctly. The DirectX Plugins Window will open automatically when you check the 'Use DXi Synth' box. If the box is already checked, you can click the [DXi Synth Settings] button. Directly underneath where it says 'plugin', the top pull-down menu is where you select your DXi or VSTi synth (the bottom three pull-down menus allow you to add audio effect (DX) plugins, such as reverb and EQ, and it is ok if all three are set to 'none'). For DXi software synth plugins such as the Roland VSC-DXi and ForteDXi, setup is automatic - all you need to do is select them as your plugin and close the DirectX Plugins window. For other plugins, you may need to do some things to set them up.

More information about using DXi/VSTi synths in Band-in-a-Box® 2007 and higher.

If you are using the VSC-DXi, check settings in the VSC-DXi control panel

Open the DirectX Plugins window. You can do this by clicking on the DXi Synth button on the main toolbar; you don't need to go through the MIDI Driver Setup. In the VSC-DXi panel, click the [Reset] button. Then, click the [Setup] button to open the VSC-DXi's settings window. In the Performance tab, make sure that the volume level is turned up. Open the Receive Events tab, and make sure that ALL of the boxes are checked. If you suspect that it is a problem with the VSC-DXi, you may also want to try uninstalling and reinstalling the VSC-DXi. You need to do this while Band-in-a-Box® is closed.

Check the Windows Mixer to make sure you don't have anything muted.

Windows 95/98/ME/2000/XP

Open the Volume or Play Control Window by either double-clicking on the speaker icon in your taskbar if one is present, or by going to Start | Programs | Accessories | Entertainment | Volume Control. Make sure that you do not have one of the following devices muted: Play/Volume Control, MIDI, Synthesizer, Synth, FM Synth, Mixed Output, Stereo Out, Stereo Mix, Wave, Wave Out, or something similar. It would be good to un-mute everything for troubleshooting purposes. Check the volume levels as well to make sure that none of the sliders are set really low.

Note: Specifically which controls you see in your Volume control window depends on what kind of sound card you have. You can choose which devices to have displayed in the Volume Control window by going to the Options menu and selecting Properties. Then, below where it says "Show the following volume controls", select all of the devices that you want displayed and press OK.

An odd thing that happens on some computers with Windows XP is that if you play a MIDI file with Windows Media Player, after stopping playback, the MIDI synth volume in the mixer gets set to zero. This is perhaps a bug in Windows.

Windows Vista/7

Make sure Band-in-a-Box® is open. Then, open the Volume or Play Control Window by right-clicking on the speaker icon in your taskbar and selecting 'Mixer'. Make sure that you have both the master volume control on the left, and the Band-in-a-Box® application volume control, turned up and not muted.

Check your audio drivers

If you are using a DXi or software synth for MIDI output, the sound is routed through the audio portion of your sound card (RealDrums and RealTracks are always routed to the audio portion of your sound card, even if you are using a non-DXi MIDI output driver). This means that if you don't have the correct audio driver selected, there will be no sound. Normally this is only an issue if you have more than one sound card installed on your computer or have changed the audio driver settings from their defaults. Band-in-a-Box® 2006 and higher support two audio driver types: MME and ASIO. You choose the audio driver type in Opt. | Preferences | Audio. MME is the default setting, but if your sound card supports ASIO and you have ASIO drivers installed on your computer you can choose that driver type. Note that Band-in-a-Box® versions 2005 and earlier only supported MME. The main advantage to using ASIO in Band-in-a-Box® is that it allows you to play live from an external MIDI keyboard through a DXi synth with almost no latency.

If you are using MME

There are two ways that you can choose your audio drivers:

  • In Band-in-a-Box®: Opt. | Preferences | Audio | [Drivers].
  • In the Windows Control Panel: Multimedia (Win 98/ME), Sounds and Multimedia (Win 2000), or Sounds and Audio Devices (Win XP) in the Audio section. Or Control panel | Sound (Win Vista/7) in the Playback section. On Windows Vista/7, you check that the playback device you want to use is enabled (right-click to enable/disable).

Note that Band-in-a-Box® versions 2004 and earlier did not have the option of selecting your audio driver from within the program; audio drivers were only selected from within Windows.

If you have "Microsoft Sound Mapper" selected as your audio driver in Band-in-a-Box®, Band-in-a-Box® will use whatever driver is selected in Windows. If you have a driver *other* than the Microsoft Sound Mapper selected, Band-in-a-Box® will use that driver for audio and DXi synth playback.

If you are using ASIO

You select your ASIO device and input/output ports in Opt. | Preferences | Audio | [Drivers]. The specific devices and ports you see listed in that dialog will depend on your sound card and drivers you have installed - check with the sound card manufacturer or documentation if you are not sure which ones to select. You should also check the latency (or "buffer size") setting by clicking on the [ASIO Driver's Control Panel] button. You should start with a fairly high buffer size, then you can decrease it until you start to experience playback problems.

Note that some MIDI drivers (including the Microsoft GS Wavetable) might not work if you're using ASIO. We suggest that you use a DXi synth, e.g. VSC-DXi. If you're using ASIO drivers and you aren't using a DXi synth (or VSTi), then this is most likely what your problem is.

In addition, ASIO drivers tend to be more "finicky" then regular "MME" drivers, and you may not have a specific need to use ASIO drivers. Try selecting MME instead.

It is important to download the latest ASIO drivers from the sound card manufacturer's website

ASIO4ALL is a universal driver that can be used successfully with most computer setups and sound cards, if you are having trouble with your sound card's native drivers.

Check that you have the latest build installed for your Band-in-a-Box® version

You should go to the Help menu | About Band-in-a-Box®. Compare the build number listed there, with the latest build available for your version.

If you are using the Roland VSC (older stand-alone version), check settings in the VSC control panel

If you don't have any sound with the Roland VSC, try uninstalling and reinstalling the VSC to return it to factory settings, or use the VSC-DXi instead (better sounds, included with Band-in-a-Box®, and easier to use). Or, check the following settings in the Roland VSC panel. To open the VSC panel, go to Start | Programs | Virtual Sound Canvas 3.2... or click on the VSC icon in your task bar:

  • Activate the Controller window in the VSC and make sure that the Master Volume is turned up.
  • In the VSC Settings window (Performance tab), make sure that the Volume is turned up or press the [Default] button.
  • In the VSC Settings window (Receive Events tab), make sure that all boxes are checked.
  • In the VSC settings window (Device tab), make sure that the correct audio output device is selected.

Check settings on your external synth

If you are using an external synth, make sure that your synth is set up correctly. This varies between synthesizers. Often, the synth needs to be set to "Song", "Performance", or "multitimbral" mode so that it can receive and play MIDI on multiple channels. Also, try setting it to General MIDI mode either through a setting on your synth's control panel, or by going to GM | Send MIDI Message | Send General MIDI Mode on in Band-in-a-Box®. If you are not sure how to set up your synth, you should consult the documentation for the synth.

You may also be able to find some information about your synth in Band-in-a-Box®. Go to the MIDI Driver Setup dialog and see if your synth is listed under the 'Synth/sound card' menu. If it is, select it and click on the [Get Patch/Drum Kit Info] button.

Make sure that the sound card or MIDI interface drivers are installed properly

If you don't see the drivers for your sound card or interface in the MIDI Driver Setup dialog in Band-in-a-Box®, this most likely means that the drivers are not installed properly on your computer. Band-in-a-Box® will recognize any MIDI drivers that are recognized by Windows. You can check to see if Windows sees your MIDI device by going to the Windows Control Panel: Multimedia (Win 98/ME), Sounds and Multimedia (Win 2000), or Sounds and Audio Devices (Win XP). Even if the drivers do show up, they may be outdated or installed improperly. Download the latest drivers available for your MIDI interface or sound card, and install the drivers according to the instructions provided by the manufacturer. Drivers can normally be downloaded from the manufacturer's website.

Try returning Band-in-a-Box® to factory settings

You can select the Return to factory settings item under the Opt. menu, and this will return many settings (but not all) to their defaults.

There are more detailed instructions explaining how you can return to factory settings on the technical support FAQ pages. Select the version of Band-in-a-Box® you have, then press CTRL+F and search for "factory settings".

Try playing a midi file outside of Band-in-a-Box®

To isolate if it is a Band-in-a-Box® specific problem, or a global problem with your computer, save a Band-in-a-Box® song as a MIDI file (click the .MID button on the main screen), close Band-in-a-Box®, and try playing the MIDI file (or any other standard MIDI file) with Windows Media Player. If there is no sound, this might mean that the problem is not specific to Band-in-a-Box® (if the driver you are trying to use in Band-in-a-Box® is a regular MIDI driver rather than a DXi synth).

Band-in-a-Box® 2008 and earlier - special case

A special case with Band-in-a-Box® 2008 or earlier on Vista or higher operating systems is documented here.

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