The Band-in-a-Box 2012 UltraPlusPAK from PG Music is a software package that ships on its own 160GB USB hard drive, and is centered around Band-in-a-Box 2012, the intelligent auto-accompaniment application for Windows that creates complete song arrangements in as little as a few seconds. Simply enter in the chords to a song using standard chord symbols (Em7, D7, etc.), choose a style of music, and the software does the rest—generating a full-band arrangement that includes bass, piano, drums, guitar, strings, and more.
Each instrument part is generated as a MIDI track, played by either the GM sound set built into Windows, or the included (and better quality) Coyote Wave Table DXi. You can also direct the software to create a track as a RealTrack, which is a type of audio file generated by Band-in-a-Box that uses recordings of real studio musicians as source material. Band-in-a-Box intelligently generates a RealTrack part that's compatible with your song and the instrument, based on the style and the chords you entered. You can also switch a MIDI track to be a RealTrack and vice versa, at any time.
The Band-in-a-Box 2012 UltraPlusPAK comes with a collection of over 800 RealTracks. You also get over 200 RealDrums tracks for your drum parts. Like RealTracks, RealDrums tracks are derived from recordings of actual players. Each is 1 to 8 measures in length, and provides the authentic sound and feel of a live drummer.
Band-in-a-Box 2012 lets you listen to, or play along with, songs in hundreds of musical styles. As the music plays, the music notation is displayed in a lead sheet window. When you're satisfied with the arrangement, you can export your MIDI tracks or RealTracks to your DAW. You can even do so by dragging and dropping.
There are many ways to use Band in a Box: It's a powerful and creative music composition tool for exploring and developing musical ideas with near-instantaneous feedback. It's also an excellent educational tool, used by professional musicians to sharpen their skills, and as a learning aid by people with little or no musical background. In addition, it's an essential program for practicing your instrument in a full-band setting—you play your part while Band-in-a-Box takes the place of the other band members.
The Soloist, Melodist, and Audio Chord Wizard are examples of the software's intelligent features—the Soloist generates professional quality solos over any chord progression; the Melodist can create entire songs from scratch with Chords, Melodies, Intros, and Solos (even a Title); the Medley Maker can combine songs to create interesting medleys; and the Audio Chord Wizard can figure out the chords in any audio file (WAV files, MP3, WMA, etc.).
Band-in-a-Box encompasses a diverse range of musical genres including pop, rock, Latin, country, classical, world, blues, bluegrass, new age, techno, metal, and more. A huge library of styles is currently available, and more styles are always being developed (both in MIDI and RealTrack format), many based directly on customer requests. Because each style is comprised of a large database of musical patterns and ideas, the song arrangements will always be fresh, never sounding exactly the same each time.
There are over 50 new features in Band-in-a-Box 2012, including 101 more available RealTracks, support for 3rd party loops, a setting to simplify RealTrack parts, direct (DI) versions of the guitar RealTracks, a Guitar Amp Simulator (AmpliTube CS), the ability to add individual MIDI tracks, support for VST synths and audio plug-ins on tracks, and many more.
Also included with the Band-in-a-Box 2012 UltraPlusPAK are all 77 Style sets, Soloist sets 1-11 and 16-20, Melodist sets 1-8, and Loops Set 1. You also get the RealBand application, which is a separate multitrack audio and MIDI recording program that has a subset of Band in the Box's song-generation features.
New Features in Band-in-a-Box 2012
- 101 more RealTracks available since the last version.
- Loop support added, allowing you to add your own or third-party loops to any Band-in-a-Box track.
- A new Simpler RealTracks setting with a checkbox that makes the RealTracks play a simpler (less busy or embellished) arrangement.
- VST synth support for each track allows the use of third-party synths for Band-in-a-Box parts.
- VST audio plug-ins (reverb, delay etc.) can be inserted on each track.
- MIDI tracks now have four slots. The first slot can take a synthesizer (e.g. Coyote GM, Garritan Aria, and HyperCanvas) the other three can take audio effects (e.g. reverb, compression etc.).
- Audio tracks (RealTracks, Loops, or the Audio Track) now have four slots. There is no synthesizer slot, so they have four for audio effects (e.g. Reverb, compression, AmpliTube Amp simulation).
- Customize over 150 of the Guitar based RealTracks using the new Guitar Amp Simulator that is included (AmpliTube CS).
- Direct Input (DI) guitar recordings of 150 of the guitar-based RealTracks, so all of the added effects can come from the Guitar Amp Simulator.
- You can now add MIDITracks individually. Simply select your favorite MIDITrack from any style to any track of your current song.
- Right-click (or control+click) the mouse on any of the Band-in-a-Box part names (e.g. Guitar, Piano) to open the contextual menu. Choose Select a Loop for this track and the Pick a Loop dialog will open.
- The BB Remote app for iPhone, iPad, Android has been updated with new features.
- StylePicker Filter has been enhanced. There is an easy search feature on the main StylePicker filter window. Type a search term, press Enter, and the styles are filtered.
- StylePicker memo has been enhanced.
- "Band" button added to main screen, allowing you to quickly choose the most commonly used styles for jazz, pop, and country.
- Yellow Hint Messages can now be clicked on to perform the action.
Styles can now contain extra information, such as:
- Custom Panning: If set, you can enter panning values, which will apply to the style. Note that if you press "save style" in the RealTracks Picker, panning will now get saved with the style, which can be edited here.
- Reverb: If set, enter custom reverb values for the style.
- Tone Control: If set, enter custom Tone (bass/treble) values for the style.
- Use Simple Version: This will only be enabled if a simple version of the RealTracks currently selected is available.
- Use Direct Input: This will only be enabled on styles that have Direct Input available. If set, the style will use a DirectInput guitar sound (clean). If you set this, you should also choose a Plugin like AmpliTube.
- Plugin Name: If set, you can choose a Plugin to use (.tgs file in \DX Settings folder).
- RealDrum names have been improved.
- EZ selection of DrumGrooves has been added, which are different grooves within drum styles.
- List of RealTracks now includes [half-time] [double-time], [triple-time], [Direct Input guitar] and [Bluesy].
- The RealTracks Demos folder names are improved, and they now list the names of the RealTracks set they're from (e.g. Instead of "RealTracks Set 42" it says "RealTracks Set 42 Boogie n' Texas Rock).
- The Same But Different feature has been improved, and finds more varied playing.
- Rests now apply to the Melody and Soloist tracks (if they have RealTracks, Loops, or MIDITracks on them). Note that for purposes of excluding the tracks from the rests, the Melody and Soloist tracks use the same setting as the Strings track.
- The Bar Settings Dialog (F5) has been improved. An asterisk (*) is shown on F5 dialog on caption when any non default information is set. Also on each chorus number in the choruses drop down list, so you can see if there is any custom information set, and what choruses are set.
- N/A is added to the RealTracks and RealDrums name on the Main Screen, Mixer, and Song memo when styles are not found.
- RealTracks arrangements have been enhanced.
- More intelligent handling of major triads, considering their function in the key of the song.
- Better playing over 2-beat chords (sometimes two 1-beat riffs will be pieced together for a chord lasting two beats).
- Soloists can now be made to play differently in the 'a' and 'b' substyles. Some of the Dixieland soloists are examples of this, and they play 'background' soloing during the 'a' section and full-out soloing in the 'b' section.
- On notation, note names are now shown when transposing for an instrument and displaying relative note numbers.
- In Editable Notation mode, notes entered with the mouse now take the notation offset into account. So if a note is clicked on the beat 1:1:0 will get entered at 1:1:7 if the notation offset is -7. This gives a more human feel to the arrangement.
Improvements made to the Mixer and top-of-screen Instrument radio buttons:
- Easy way to disable/enable a track, including as the song is playing. To disable a track, right-click on the track name (at top of the screen or on the mixer), and select enable/disable the track.
- When a track is disabled, the color is now dark gray on the main screen and on the mixer.
- When a track is MIDI, and will be used in the style, or has MIDI data, color is yellow.
- Patch names now say "not used" for unused MIDI tracks, and "empty" for blank melody tracks.
Ability to assign an individual track as "simple" (not embellished). This is done by right-clicking on the part name at the top of the screen, and selecting the menu item, or choosing the option in the RealTracks Picker.
- You can now choose MIDI Tracks from this dialog.
- You can also choose Loops from the dialog, so this dialog can be used to choose all types: RealTracks, RealDrums, MIDI Tracks, and Loops.
- New columns have been added for "Direct Input" guitars available and "Simpler" version available.
- Woodshed Tempo feature added. For use when practicing ("woodshedding"). Speeds up tempo every time the section loops or the song restarts from the beginning.
- Use the StylePicker filter to show/hide Real or MIDI styles—so if you only want to see MIDI styles, or if you only want to see styles that use some/all RealTracks, you can set this.
- Apply the current mix (of volumes, panning, reverb), as a default for all songs by right clicking on the Combo radio control and choose "Make Current Mix the Default," "Load Default Mix" or "Reset Mix (to factory defaults)."
- RealTracks Pushes play quietly (2dB), so that they don't stand out.Add a dB amount to the whole mix when rendering, so that the mix will be louder or softer—there is automatic "peak-limiting" added, so that the music will not distort if you set it too high.
- If Band-in-a-Box cannot find your RealTracks folder or your Drums folder, a yellow hint message appears at boot up to alert you to the fact, and tells you how to fix it—"Note: You have RealTracks installed, but none are found in your RealTracks folder. You should point to your correct RealTracks folder in Prefs- RealTracks settings."
- For RealTracks, many Jazz comping styles play triads (instead of 7ths) when simple triads are entered, instead of "jazzing them up" to 7ths chords (e.g. Guitar: Freddie, Wes Piano: Some Jazz. All Stride, Rehearsal). If you prefer them to be automatically "jazzed up" when comping using Jazz RealTracks, then you can set the Prefs-RealTracks settings option to force 7ths for triads.
- The Auto-generated song memo tells you if Real Drums come from the song or style.
- Styles can be made that are set to use Half-Time and Double-Time RealTracks—for example, you can make a Jazz Ballad style (tempo 65) that uses a Sax Soloist at tempo 140 (playing double time).
- A message appears if a frozen track is loaded, but the required RealTracks or RealDrums folders do not exist.
- Frozen tracks start playing faster if played again.
- The default for the tempo swapping feature for RealTracks is true. Tempo-swapping is a feature that will automatically substitute a similar RealTracks that is recorded at a tempo closer to the current tempo. For example, if you load a ballad style, with a RealTracks piano at a tempo of 60, and then speed the song up to 200, the tempo-swapping feature will choose a RealTracks piano that is closer to 20. A preference in Prefs-RealTracks allows you to disable this feature.
- Band-in-a-Box will keep on generating RealTracks even if some WAV files are missing.
- Use standard symbols to enter chords for your song into the Chord Sheet window - it only takes 3 minutes to enter chords for a typical song.
- Arrange and edit your song using automatic intros, endings, style variation, drum fills, and much more.
- Choose styles from a wide variety of genres using the searchable and informative StylePicker window.
- When you play your song, Band-in-a-Box generates an original, professional quality arrangement using the style of your choice—loop parts of the song, transpose each chorus, play along with your keyboard, and much more.
- RealDrums can replace the MIDI Drum track in any style with real recordings of top studio jazz, rock, and country drummers—RealDrums play in perfect sync with other Band-in-a-Box tracks.
- RealTracks can be added to any song giving it an ultra-realistic feel, since RealTracks use audio recordings of actual musicians.
- The Melodist can create an entire original song from scratch, including chords, melody, arrangement, solo, intro, and title.
- The Band-in-a-Box Medley Maker allows you to combine multiple Band-in-a-Box song files into one continuous performance.
- Using the Soloist, Band-in-a-Box will automatically create and play original, professional quality solos in the genre and style of your choice.
- Automatic harmonization of Melody track, Soloist track, or live playing on Thru channel - select from over 200 included harmony types, with 2 to 5 part harmonies like SuperSax, 5 part trumpets, etc.
- Render your songs to wave/MP3/WMA for further editing in other programs, for use on the internet, or to make audio CDs of your music.
- The Audio Chord Wizard automatically figures out chords in MP3/WAV/WMA files and CD-Audio tracks, and displays them in Band-in-a-Box.
- Record your own MIDI part to the Melody or Soloist track from a MIDI keyboard, MIDI guitar, or MIDI wind controller.
- The full-featured Notation Window displays chords and lyrics, as well as musical notation for all instrument tracks.
- The Notation Window's "Editable" and "Staff" modes allow you to quickly and easily enter or edit notation and lyrics.
- You can view and edit all MIDI and lyric events in the Melody and Soloist tracks using the Event List Editor.
- The Sequencer Window allows you to control multi-channel Melody or Soloist tracks (i.e. tracks with than one instrument), selecting the patch and volume for each channel, and more.
- Band-in-a-Box can load and save many different types of files, including standard files like MID, KAR, WAV, WMA, MP3, and CD-A.
- The SongPicker window provides an easy way to organize, search, and open all of your Band-in-a-Box songs.
- You can export your songs as standard MIDI files, enabling you to play or edit them with other software, etc.
- The intelligent MIDI File Chord Wizard will analyze any MIDI file, figure out the chords, and import chords and melody into Band-in-a-Box.
- Reharmonizing a song with the Chord Substitution Wizard is a fun and educational way to perform or practice a familiar song in a brand new way.
- The Melody Embellisher automatically adds notes (e.g. grace notes) and effects (e.g. vibrato) to the Melody track, making it more lively and realistic.
- Use the Reharmonist to automatically develop chord progressions in the genre of your choice, based only on the melody.
- The Jukebox will load and play an entire folder of songs, great for listening, practicing, and live performances.
- The Conductor Window allows complete control of your song while it is playing by pressing hotkeys on your computer or MIDI keyboard - excellent for live performances.
- Band-in-a-Box supports the TranzPort hardware device, which allows you to control and-in-a-Box remotely through walls from 30 feet away.
- The SoundTrack Generator will create royalty-free music of a specified length, for you to use in home videos, presentations, jingles, etc.
- There's a Big Piano window in Band-in-a-Box which can display the notes of any track on a resizable piano keyboard.
- The animated Guitar Fretboard window displays any track on guitar and bass. It can also display ukulele, mandolin, banjo, and violin fretboards.
- The Guitarist can intelligently create a Guitar Chord Solo based on an existing Melody track, using correct guitar fret positions.
- Band-in-a-Box's Guitar Tuner includes a tone generator, a pitch meter, fine-adjustment controls, a hum filter, and much more.
- Improve your ear using the Interval and Chord Tutor modules in the Ear-Training Window.
- Pitch Invasion is an easy and fun to play, arcade-style music game, designed to teach you to recognize specific pitches from a variety of instruments and octave ranges.
- Music Replay is another ear-training game included with Band-in-a-Box, which is designed to teach the player to recognize and play back melodies and rhythms.
- The convenient Practice Window is "practice central," where many Band-in-a-Box features and add-ons useful to learning can be launched.
- The StyleMaker is a powerful component of Band-in-a-Box that allows you to create your own new styles from scratch, or edit existing styles.
- The Hybrid StyleMaker allows you to easily make a new style by combining instruments from different styles.
- The StyleWizard automatically creates a Band-in-a-Box style from a MIDI file—no knowledge of the StyleMaker is required.
- While a typical Band-in-a-Box style has two substyles, MultiStyles can also be used which have anywhere from 4 to 24 substyles.
- MIDI Monitor displays a listing of data received from computer MIDI Input and/or Band-in-a-Box output, useful for educational or diagnostic purposes.
- The Animated Drum Kit Window is a cool, animated, 3D display of a complete drum kit.
- Use the Big Lyrics Window for a Karaoke style display of chords and lyrics while your songs are playing.
- Band-in-a-Box will play through an internal or external MIDI synthesizer of your choice, including DXi and VSTi synthesizers.
- Many specialized MIDI options are available, which can help you customize Band-in-a-Box to make the most of your specific MIDI setup.
- The look of Band-in-Box can be customized with various chord sheet fonts, colors, floating/dockable toolbars, and more.
- Use the Vocal Wizard to transpose any song to the best key for your vocal range—ideal for vocal practice, karaoke, and live performances.
- The Chord Builder allows you to hear and build chords up by clicking on the root, extension, and alternate slash root if applicable.
- Using MIDI Chord Detection, play any chord on your MIDI keyboard, and Band-in-a-Box will recognize it instantly and insert it onto the Chord Sheet.
- The Transpose dialog has options that will automatically transpose live playback to a different key, transpose a song every chorus, and more.
- Band-in-a-Box will automatically add a smooth fadeout to the end of your song.
- The Find File feature is a "Swiss Army Knife" that allows you to search for Band-in-a-Box files using keywords.
- Band-in-a-Box supports entry, display, and printout of song forms using repeats, 1st/2nd endings, and DC/DS al coda.
- The Track-to-Track Copy dialog allows you to freeze Band-in-a-Box generated tracks by copying them to the Melody track, and more.
- There are many options to customize the count-in and metronome sounds according to your preferences.
- Descriptive hints and keyboard shortcuts throughout the program, a comprehensive help file and manual, and dedicated customer support help make it easy to use Band-in-a-Box.