Re: how to get the best sound quality
- This question comes up often, and since it really boils down to a sound
comparison, here's an idea for anyone who cares to participate:
1) Take a song you have recorded that really shows off your preferred sound
module or soft synth
2) make an mp3 out of it
3) post it to the files section under a DEMO directory
4) write a short description of any special techniques, BIAB styles or
sound module patches used to achieve the sound
5) if you want to go the extra mile, post snippets of the song at different
ie, raw BIAB output, and again as doctored midi sequence, and maybe again with
acoustic audio tracks added
6) you may even consider posting the final midi sequence so others can see
and examine the use of continuous controllers to enhance the song
There are lots of techniques & technologies that work together in the music
arena, and it could be interesting to see how BIAB can lay a solid
an end product which many people might not think is possible on a home PC
The combination of midi, looping and acoustic audio recording works for me.
I look forward to seeing (hearing, actually) what works for others.
If it is true that a picture is worth a thousand words, then perhaps it is
that a song is worth a thousand HOW-TO posts
who will start working on a demo for the Roland XV-3080
(or not, depending on time constraints)
- At 01:19 PM 3/31/2006, "Chris Laarman" <v.c.laarman@...> wrote:
><...>that it is all but useless to use the best-soundingI have to agree. Band-in-a-Box has a resolution
>synthesizers with BiaB, and that it is far more rewarding to export songs
>from BiaB to MIDI, then tweak those files in a sequencer, ultimately use
>some software synthesizer (or even an array of these) to render your file
>(to speakers or file).
of 120ppq (pulses per quarter note) and if the
style is written with the drum grid the
resolution of the drums is 4ppq with a very
limited special case resolution of 8ppq (note:
all Norton Music disks starting with disk 8 use
the "live drum" feature which allows a full GMidi
drum kit at 120ppq resolution).
IMHO 240ppq is the minimum amount for truly
expressive music. To make things worse, some of
the styles appear to be 100% quantized, no groove
at all. These are useless to me, unless they are
one of the few types of music that should be
quantized (techno, trance, some disco, etc.). YMMV
Band-in-a-Box also is lacking in continuous
controller support, many synthesizers support
different continuous controllers making the use
of some in BiaB not practical (BiaB doesn't know
what synth or sound card you are using), and in
addition, the fact that many patterns in BiaB
must serve multiple uses, the style writer is
also limited in the usage of the continuous controllers he/she can use.
An instrument gets its expression not only from
the sound it makes, but IMHO, more importantly
from the way it treats the notes. I'd rather hear
a lame sound with good emulative expression than
a great sound played without the proper expression.
Play a guitar patch or a sax patch like a piano
(note on and note off), and you won't fool
anyone. Conversely, play a near-perfect piano
patch with the scoops, variable vibrato, sustain,
volume changes while sustaining, and various
kinds of distortion that a sax player uses, and
it will definitely not sound like a piano.
Add to that the fact that a patch of the same
name will react very differently in two different
synthesizers and you will find that BiaB or any
other auto-accompaniment application simply
cannot create extremely realistic sounding
instruments, no matter what sound source you are
using. They have to be more "generic".
But by exporting your BiaB song into a software
sequencer (Power Tracks Pro, Sonar, Cubase,
Master Tracks Pro or whatever) you can refine the
expressive devices that are in BiaB to your sound
module plus add the expressive devices that BiaB
ignores into the parts -- for example, the
scoops, etc., into sax parts, -- the swells,
etc,. into brass parts, -- the hammer ons, etc.,
into guitar parts, -- the glissandos, etc., into trombone parts, and so on.
Granted, it's not instant gratification, but then
there are not many worthy art forms that are
instant gratification. Even the easiest thing we
can do, sing, takes a lot of practice, a lot of
learning, and a lot of technique to master. You
don't come out singing like Mark Murphy, Mariah
Carey, Luther Vandross or Rene Fleming without
paying your dues. It takes a lot of practice and
knowledge to be a Da Vinci, Rembrandt, Hendrix, Dvorak, Elfman, or BT.
Now I don't want to sound as if I am unhappy with
BiaB. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I
think the output of BiaB (especially when using
the better styles) is perfectly adequate for many
uses, especially amateur and some part-time
professional musicians. But if you want to make
the difference between adequate and excellent,
you need to export the BiaB file into a sequencer
and prepare to do some tweaking.
Each tool has its uses. A crescent wrench makes a
poor hammer and a hammer makes a worse wrench.
Use each tool for its strong suit and the proper tool for the proper job.
But don't get discouraged. Although I studied
arranging in school, I learned more about
arranging in a software sequencer that it is
possible to be taught in school. School and all
the theory and arranging books are great, they
give you the "left brain" knowledge that you can
utilize to make good arrangements, but a
sequencer and multi-timbral sound module lets you
experiment with what you learned and instantly
hear what it sounds like. Sure, it isn't a real
orchestra, but who can afford a real orchestra to
be on your payroll just to hear what your
arrangements are going to sound like.
So the sequencer becomes a learning tool as well
as a performance tool. You can never know too much about music.
1) If there is an appropriate style, I will start
my sequence in BiaB (if no appropriate style for
the particular song, I'll skip to step 3)
2) Refine the song in BiaB and then save and
export it in one or more different styles (so I can mix and match)
3) Either start the sequence from scratch, or
import either an instrument, multiple instruments
from one or more different BiaB arrangements, or
an entire BiaB sequence and assign the
instruments ***. I use either a keyboard, wind
controller or drum controller to input the parts into the sequencer.
*** When I assign the instruments, I use my
sequencer and an array of different sound modules
and samplers, picking what I think is the most
appropriate voice for each part and for that particular song.
4) Add song-specific parts that are usually not
in the more generic BiaB sequences.
5) Add the expressive devices to the instrument parts.
6) Balance, "Master" (get them to sound about the
same volume of my other sequences) and then record them to a WAV file
7) Turn the WAV file into a 192kbps mp3 using CDex (LAME encoder).
8) Put the mp3 file on my laptop and use it on stage
Once again, that sounds like hard work. It's time
consuming and brain involving, but it isn't hard,
in fact, when listening to what has been
achieved, the work is most enjoyable. I can work
at the computer with my music and hours go by
without me looking at the clock. When I'm done, I
can't believe the time went by that quickly. To
me, that means I'm involved in life.
I play in a duo (www.s-cats.com) and I know that
if I have chosen the song wisely, and if the
audience reacts the way I hope it will to the
song, I am going to perform the song thousands of
times. If I hear something night after night that
I know that I could have "fixed", it would bug me forever.
Plus the time I spend gives me other rewards. The
Sophisticats work steadily and the two of us
makes as much as some 5 piece groups in the area.
So don't be afraid of the sequencer. The
combination of BiaB and a sequencer is very powerful indeed.
Insights and incites by Notes
>>>»»»O«««<<<Bob "Notes" Norton owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com
BiaB user styles with live entered parts for that
live music groove for musicians who want BiaB to
sound like real musicians and not robots.
- Bob 'Notes' Norton (norton@...), Saturday, April 01, 2006 6:32
> An instrument gets its expression not only fromAt this point I would like those interested to listen to the demo songs of
> the sound it makes, but IMHO, more importantly
> from the way it treats the notes. I'd rather hear
> a lame sound with good emulative expression than
> a great sound played without the proper expression.
software synthesizers (sorry, Bob) ;-) like Synful or (Kontakt-based)
Garritan. However, as these products are limited in scope, I would like to
remember users of Sonar of the included Style Enhancer Lite (actually part
of Onyx Arranger).
> 2) Refine the song in BiaB and then save andGreat tip! (Why didn't I think of this?)
> export it in one or more different styles (so I can mix and match)
(Novices: this way requires a proper sequencer, which BiaB is not, or
wetting your feet in juggling with StyleMaker inside BiaB - but you'll still
want to edit things in a sequencer.)
- Have you tried the "Musica Teoria" sound font with your SoundBlaster Live!
card? That’s the cheapest and best update you can do for BIAB use. I
downloaded several different font packages, but this one stood out as the
I downloaded it from http://wwww.sf2midi.com/
From: Band-in-a-Box@yahoogroups.com [mailto:Band-in-a-Box@yahoogroups.com]
On Behalf Of Dave Hoskins
Sent: 31. mars 2006 20:26
Subject: [Band-in-a-Box] Re: how to get the best sound quality
Now that 2006 has been implemented with VST there are many options
that you can use,the only problem with VST modules is the length of
time to set them up,where audigy with some good soundfonts is my
favorite at the moment because you load your song and play without to
much setting up,but vst like Sampletank 2 is tops
regards Dave Hoskins
- --- In Band-in-a-Box@yahoogroups.com, Bob 'Notes' Norton <norton@...>
"........ you need to export the BiaB file into a sequencer and
prepare to do some tweaking..................
Each tool has its uses. A crescent wrench makes a poor hammer and a
hammer makes a worse wrench. Use each tool for its strong suit and the
proper tool for the proper job....................
When I'm done, I can't believe the time went by that quickly. To me,
that means I'm involved in life........
So don't be afraid of the sequencer. The combination of BiaB and a
sequencer is very powerful indeed."
I took a few excerpts from Bob's excelent essay. Those of you who
haven't read it should do so.
Well done Bob.. That should be posted somewhere for those new to the
process. It is very much the way I feel, ask my girlfriend who wonders
how i can stay up til 4:00 am. Thanks.
- At 01:48 PM 4/10/2006, "P.R. Merrill" <prsings@...> wrote:
><...>Thanks so much for the kind words.
>I took a few excerpts from Bob's excelent essay. Those of you who
>haven't read it should do so.
>Well done Bob.. That should be posted somewhere for those new to the
>process. It is very much the way I feel, ask my girlfriend who wonders
>how i can stay up til 4:00 am. Thanks.
If you care to post it anywhere, you definitely have my permission.
It seems that so many people are into instant
gratification these days. For some things instant
gratification is fine, but for making any kind of
art, making the art is the process and it
shouldn't be rushed. If Leo had rushed the Mona
Lisa, it wouldn't be hanging in Paris this day.
If Beethoven had rushed his symphonies, we
wouldn't want to hear them today. Take your time,
enjoy the process of making the art, enjoy the
process of learning how to improve your art, and
I think in the end you will find your art more rewarding.
Insights and incites by Notes
Bob "Notes" Norton owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com
Download your FREE BiaB song file of the week
(usually from one of my fake disks)
- Thanks for all the replies. I've been exporting the midi to Cakewalk
and can get something that sounds decent. I still have a lot to learn
about midi and working with soft synths though. ;-)
--- In Band-in-a-Box@yahoogroups.com, "Jason Brown" <JasonB5232@...>
> Hi, I'm new to the group and new to BIAB.
> Wanted to find out if anyone has any opinions/comments/suggestions on
> getting the best midi sound quality? I have tried my SoundBlaster
> Live! and a software synth and both are acceptable, but not great.
- Hey Bob, I enjoyed you essay and your "slight rant", rich sentiments
indeed and beautifully expressed in a very "true" voice.
To pervert Billy Shakespeare: If ranting be the fruit of life rave on
(and I love the way you are on first name terms with "Leo" Davinci).
Keep em coming.