July 25, 2024

It is out, the latest version of Band in a Box. I took some guesses at what might be new in this version, and sadly, it looks like only two were put in. And that one was kind of a jest suggestion on my part.
From PG Music.Com

RealTracks. With the previous release of Band-in-a-Box, we added RealDrums. Now we’ve added three additional “Real” instruments, including Real Pedal Steel, Real Acoustic Guitar, and Tenor Sax soloing (RealSax). These tracks replace the MIDI track for that instrument, and can be controlled just like the MIDI instrument (volume changes, muting etc.). Best of all, they follow the chord progression that you have entered, so that you hear an authentic audio accompaniment to your song. These are not “samples,” but 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. RealTracks can be built in to the style, and would replace either the bass, guitar, piano, or strings part, or they can be generated to the Soloist (or Melody) track using the Soloist feature.

Band in a Box starts the process of leaving its roots, and becoming more like a really bad GarageBand. In GarageBand, you can graphically create songs, preview the loops you are going to use, and then put them together, graphically. Band in A Box (BinaB) is becoming the MS-DOS version of GarageBand. You type in the text you want, then it will generate the loops for you, rather than doing it graphically.

I’m sure it all sounds good, real people playing beats midi usually. So, some people will love this new feature of BinaB. Some other interesting new features are:

  • Ability to change RealDrum styles within a song. Finally!
  • Copying of sections or selections can be done using drag-and-drop, simply drag regions around the chord sheet to quickly rearrange your song. Hold down the ctrl key for finer control about insert/overwrite/ etc. (About time! Welcome to 2000 PG Music)
  • FadeOut Song. You can now quickly choose a Fadeout ending, just press the Fade button in Song Settings, and Band-in-a-Box will fadeout the last “X” bars of the song (you can specify how many bars). Or customize the fadeout with precise values for each bar.
  • importing Karaoke files
  • stylepicker “enhancements”
  • Multistyle where you can put a bunch of styles together as substyles

Where is a graphical Timeline mode like Garageband (or every other sequencer known to modern man, including PowerTracks) has? There is none. Where is the dealing with instrument changes with a program like Garritan Jazz or BandStand? Nada. Things like these need to be added instead of Fluff, a term I use to describe just about every Finale release in the last couple of years (except Finale 2007). No earthing breaking features, just fluff to attract new users. BinaB 2007 is a great program. RealDrums did make songs that use them “pop” more than using the MidiDrums. It was a good update to the program. This stuff? Not so sure it makes BinaB 2008 any better than BinaB 2007.

I think PGMusic really missed an opening here where they could have radically changed BinaB for the better. The program still looks like something that hitched a ride in Marty McFly’s DeLoren. It needs a timeline, cause programs like Garageband and Reason are its competition. Merging BinaB with PowerTracks could easily address this. In a PowerTrack BinaB users could record and do a lot of editing of the recordings. Cutting, pasting audio parts. Cleaning it up. They then could work out a chord progression and style in BinaB. When they have something good, they could “freeze it” as audio tracks, which would go into the PowerTracks audio window. They then could add some effects, panning, maybe some VST plugins to the tracks. When it is all done, dump it to disk as either a complete mix, or as separate audio tracks for each instrument (in case they want to go to DAW program). That would make BinaB a killer music production program.

BinaB offers a lot more musical possibilities than a loop type program such as Garageband. In fact, it is more musical. You can tell it what chords to play, when, and what style. But it is hobbled by it’s interface, and has been for a number of years. When will PGMusic get around to addressing thing? BinaB 2009? 2010? 2011?

Basically, there is nothing that really grabs me as “I gotta get that” in BinaB 2008. Having the RealDrums able to switch styles would be nice to have, but not for $99. I’ll stick with 2007.5 for a while longer.

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