Band in a Box 2018 for Mac

Some people think December is the best month. Christmas, etc. Some people think September when Apple events happen. Both are WRONG. The best time of the year is end of May when PG Music releases a new version of Band in a Box for Macintosh. This year they included a fancy keychain with the upgrade.

This year’s version of Band in a Box continues the evolution of a great program. 202 new real tracks, and Video real tracks (though no woodwind related tracks…..yet) are the major highlights. When the real tracks first came out, I was sort of “meh” about them (if I remember correctly, real drums were added first?). But they totally changed things around in subsequent versions. I can’t really remember the last time I used the midi tracks, the real tracks are that good. And it’s worth it to get the update just for the new tracks.

They added a “Audio Transcription” feature to the Mac version that converts a monophonic audio track to MIDI. Haven’t tested that yet. Also added were things like notation support for odd time signatures like 12/8 and 6/8, the ability to fix an out of tune recording, and a redesigned audio editor.

Band in a box always has worked in 4 by whatever grid since the Atari ST days. That is fine as MOST music is in a measure cadence that is divisible by 4 (8 bars, 12, 16, 24, 32, etc). But say you have a song you are working on, and it has a 7 bar phrase. It just doesn’t work as an 8 bar phrase. You put that in Band in a Box, and all hell breaks loose. It becomes a huge visual mess. Not anymore. They now will grey out and the next section starts at the far left again. Makes it a heck of a lot easier to see the flow of a song. Great addition to the program.

Couple of issues though….

Why are there TWO places where the Preferences are?

 

 

 


The other thing that bugs me is that you cannot decide what buttons go where. Like it would be infinitely better for me to have “Practice” be where “Video Help” is, but I cannot move these buttons around. Or even order them. Frustrating.

Other than that, an amazing program. This is a program that EVERY musician should have. From prototyping a new arrangement or song, to practicing, to even just messing around, it is a great tool to have on your Mac. Get it.

Media Management For The Musician

Managing your digital media in this age is rather daunting. A lot of people have ditched their iTunes libraries and gone to the subscription music service model. Some of us still have huge libraries of music. All those recordings you made in college, or those boot legs of various bands you got. Or teaching materials you have acquired over the years. You have a library of stuff. But how do you manage it?

Part 1 – Storage
For me, I’ve always had some sort of redundant system for storage. You need a redundant storage system, be it one hard drive cloned to another, or something. DO NOT KEEP EVERYTHING ON ONE DRIVE…..Drives fail…..then your stuff will disappear. From 2000 to 2008(?) I had a PC I inherited from a failed high tech startup that had a RAID 5 drive array. Basically, it takes your data and puts it across 3 or more drives in a way that if ONE drive fails, you can replace that drive and it will rebuild itself and you do not lose any data. And did a backup of this to a large USB hard drive. So TWO copies my digital assets.
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The AKG-C414

If you have read this site over the years, I have noted that my favorite mic is the AKG-C414. I have two of these microphones, a ULS model and an EB model. My favorite for saxophone is the EB model. It adds….how would I describe it…..a little more punch or personality than the ULS. The ULS is a great mic though, but the EB adds a little more. Either way, I like BOTH microphones.

MusicTech.net has a good little history piece on the AKG C414 microphone. If you are looking for a microphone, and want to make an investment in your studio, seriously look into getting a AKG C414.

Pedalboard 2.0

Basically, the idea of a dual EWI/Sax pedal board has died. Too many issues trying to get the EWI volume stable. Basically, the level, even with a boost and a volume pedal, never was right. It’s just easier to run it through a board. At some point, I’ll get something like a Radial Keylargo for Pedalboard 3.0, but…that is a lot of money, and it probably won’t fit on the current pedal board. Though I suppose I could lose the POG and the tuner and just go all H9.

Pedalboard 2.0

The cool thing here is that I am using a Mi.1 rev 2 connected to the H9. So, using Forscore, I can have the H9 automagically switch to the right patch on the pedal. So the Q-Tron like effect I have, it’s ready to go. Or in Forscore, I can have a little button area to switch to the patch. It’s pretty cool.
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Inside One Of America’s Last Pencil Factories

From the NY Times:

“A pencil is a little wonder-wand: a stick of wood that traces the tiniest motions of your hand as it moves across a surface. I am using one now, making weird little loops and slashes to write these words. As a tool, it is admirably sensitive. The lines it makes can be fat or thin, screams or whispers, blocks of concrete or blades of grass, all depending on changes of pressure so subtle that we would hardly notice them in any other context. (The difference in force between a bold line and nothing at all would hardly tip a domino.) And while a pencil is sophisticated enough to track every gradation of the human hand, it is also simple enough for a toddler to use.”

As a musician, I’ve used countless pencils to mark up music. To take notes. To write music. It’s basically part of your musicians toolbox.

Sheet Of The Week – New Year’s Day (Taylor Swift)

Yet another by Taylor Swift. Enjoy!

  New Year's Day by Taylor Swift for Eb Instruments (128.7 KiB, 15 hits)
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  New Year's Day by Taylor Swift for Bb Instruments (129.3 KiB, 9 hits)
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