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  1. #1

    Default Band-in-a-box alternatives?

    Are there any good alternatives to Band-in-a-Box? I just want the basic functions.

    What I don't like about BB is that it is so bloated with unnecessary stuff and has an ugly user interface (the same as when the program first came out, twenty years ago?).

    The sounds are ok, I guess, but It would be enough with, say, 10-20 useful styles.

  2. #2
    Distinguished SOTW Member nachoman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Band-in-a-box alternatives?

    not tried it myself but this might be worth a go- https://www.cs.hmc.edu/~keller/jazz/improvisor/
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    Bassling's Avatar
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    Default Re: Band-in-a-box alternatives?

    The new iphone/ipad iReal app blew me away. For £4.99 I got 1000s of songs, and for an extra £3.50 I now have all the styles to be able to play the backing for those songs. And all on my iPhone. Really amazing!

  4. #4
    Distinguished SOTW Member Kelly Bucheger's Avatar
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    Default Re: Band-in-a-box alternatives?

    Man, I agree that BIAB is bloated and hideous!

    That said, it's pretty good at what it does. I probably use 5% of its capabilities, but it does what I need exceedingly well. It's painful to look at, and its vile little icons are a crime against humanity and make my inner graphic designer puke ... but it remains pretty damn useful.

    But if it's absolutely unbearable to you, I'll second Bassling's nod to the improved iRealbook applet, which I use on my iPod Touch -- the playback ain't anywhere near as good as what BIAB currently does, but it's WAYYY sufficient for shedding on standards, and it's goofy cheap for what it does...
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    Default Re: Band-in-a-box alternatives?

    I'll third iRealbook. For 15 bucks there is nothing that comes close. I wouldn't go to a gig with it, but for practice it's fantastic and stupidly easy to use. There is also an editor, so you can set up your own progressions - you're not tied to the 900 that come with it and the thousands of user created songs on their forums (easily accessible from the iRealbook app).
    Garage band is also very useful, but very different from BIAB. Improvisor looks interesting, will have to check it out - thanks nachoman.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Band-in-a-box alternatives?

    Obviously you are not thinking the current band in a box. The sounds are amazing....the real tracks are stunning....

    The sounds are ok.....geeze.....

    I'd say that about the irealbook sounds. It's like band in a box from 2000. It's ok. But if you want to step up your practicing, get band in a box. You get an amazing amount of styles that are incredible.....the real tracks with guitar...or b3....or piano and guitar.....

    Every jazz player should have it. I know a number of well known teachers who use it over the aebersold playa longs...

  7. #7
    Forum Contributor 2014 skeller047's Avatar
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    Default Re: Band-in-a-box alternatives?

    Forget the user interface on BIAB, it sucks, it always has sucked, and that's that. But it's a great tool. I use this approach when creating backing tracks:

    1) use one of the good jazz styles, like the Wynton Kelly or McCoy styles (or one of the latin styles for bossa/salsa). I always use the "fast" styles intended for up tempo tunes, as the chords are more sparse. (NOTE - I don't play pop or rock or funk music with BIAB, I just use it for playing over standards.)
    2) turn off the strings, guitar, big band backing, etc.
    3) sometimes, turn off the piano too - this is for a workout, not a performance. Bass and drums is enough if you know the progression.
    4) export to a midi file and put it in your sequencer. Be sure to edit the track in "list view" and get rid of the MIDI controller messages at the beginning.

    This last step is important to me - I use sounds from Kontakt to play these tunes back, MUCH better than what comes with BIAB. And ericdano, I do not agree about the real tracks - I tried them for a couple of tunes and found them to be out of time and just plain sound bad. I get better sounding results by exporting and using good quality sampled sounds.

    There will ALWAYS be a cheese factor when using auto-accompaniment tools. One of the side benefits to putting the sounds into a sequencer is you can edit the really bad parts out
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  8. #8

    Default Re: Band-in-a-box alternatives?

    You could try the command line program MMA written by SOTW member Bopvdp:

    http://mellowood.ca/mma/index.html

    On that site, you will find a library of 714 tunes, mostly standards.

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    Default Re: Band-in-a-box alternatives?

    Heya Steve, quick question for you. Kontakt looks very cool, been playing with the demo for a few minutes through GarageBand. I grabbed the midi from Impro-Visor. Does BIAB do anything special to the chords that I wouldn't get from ImproVisor? Does it add fills, rests etc. that would make it more interesting than Visor? I assume one thing it does is give you control over what instruments you use. You might not be able to compare the 2 if you've never touched Impro-visor, but it seems fairly basic in the tracks that it outputs, but you can easily input chords along the same lines as BIAB or iRealBook. I agree with you that the default midi sounds from IV and iRB leave a lot to be desired, but the ease of use is pretty great.
    I guess the second question would be... if I wanted to go the BIAB route with this, would I need to purchase the entire BIAB package, or could I just get the basic version and output midi to use with Kontakt? Does the basic version of BIAB output every style of music, or do you have to buy the "styles" along with the sound files?
    thnx

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    Default Re: Band-in-a-box alternatives?

    If anyone is looking for an alternative that works on Android, I just found this one Chordbot Pro There is also a lite version that has less styles and no save/import feature that you can try.
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    Default Re: Band-in-a-box alternatives?

    I've just started using Impro Visor and yes, it is simple in terms of the sounds it produces, but you can choose the rhythm instrument and it does the job it does well. I've found it very useful for imputing the chord sequence behind a tune when I want to play along slower.
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    Forum Contributor 2011 SaxMI's Avatar
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    Default Re: Band-in-a-box alternatives?

    Quote Originally Posted by nachoman View Post
    not tried it myself but this might be worth a go- https://www.cs.hmc.edu/~keller/jazz/improvisor/
    I just tried downloading this software. Got a warning Win32.Worm.Autorun. My antivirus blocked it from downloading the program. Anyone tried this software and had same problems?
    Those who are able to see beyond the shadows and lies in society will never be understood, let alone believed by the masses.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Band-in-a-box alternatives?

    Quote Originally Posted by SaxMI View Post
    I just tried downloading this software. Got a warning Win32.Worm.Autorun. My antivirus blocked it from downloading the program. Anyone tried this software and had same problems?
    Hmm, no problems like that here...I downloaded it & installed it with no problems whatsoever. No problems with it for my antivirus or firewall programs, and for good measure I ran a Malwarebytes scan after reading your post...all came up clean...no worms, no hits, no errors...

    And it's a cool app too! Does a nice job of accompaniment, fairly straightforward chord input if the chords are right on the beat (syncopated chords are a little trickier, but still very doable). I'm still testing it out, but so far I have a great initial impression of it. The only glitch I ran into was I had to run it as administrator on my Win7 64 bit machine after some of the menus weren't working when I failed to do that the first time. Worked fine after 'run as admin'. Great free app imho...
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  14. #14
    Distinguished SOTW Member HeavyWeather77's Avatar
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    Default Re: Band-in-a-box alternatives?

    Well... This is gonna require a bit of a learning curve... but if you want slick user interface and great sounds, you might want to check out Logic Express (only if you're a Mac user). Logic makes it easy to create great-sounding loops, and you could easily make a 32-bar tune into a loop that you can practice over indefinitely. Or make your own 5-minute Aebersold-style track, if you're feeling ambitious.

    I know, I know, maybe not the best advice for someone looking for the basics, but I'm a huge Logic geek. Sorry. It's just really awesome.

  15. #15
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    Default

    No issues like that with Impro Visor, you could try a different download mirror? Or if you are nerdy enough download the binaries and compile yourself (I think they are available)
    Jimmy

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  16. #16

    Default Re: Band-in-a-box alternatives?

    +1 on the iReal Book app. I don't even get out my laptop most of the time when I'm practicing. I just use my iPhone. It's on Droid and iOS. You also have the changes for any one of 900 tunes in your pocket if you are on a gig and someone calls up a tune you don't know, and you can quickly transpose it if they call it in a weird key. (I had this happen about a week ago)

    The beauty of BiaB now is the audio loop based styles packs. I've found that my students are more receptive when I give them an accompaniment that sounds like a real band. But, those packs are EXPENSIVE and you can't vary the tempo too much before you have odd digital artifacts. So you have to buy ballad, swing, uptempo swing, etc.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Band-in-a-box alternatives?

    Quote Originally Posted by SaxMI View Post
    I just tried downloading this software. Got a warning Win32.Worm.Autorun. My antivirus blocked it from downloading the program. Anyone tried this software and had same problems?
    Heya SaxMI - update your anivirus software - the virus warning was (or is) a known bug. Here is the note on it from Bob Keller:

    A virus checker known as "Avira" has been reporting that there is an issue with
    the Impro-Visor download. On challenging this assertion, the Avira company has
    issued a report that this was a false positive and they will fix their program
    in the next release.

    In other words, there is no real issue with the Impro-Visor download.

    The report can be examined here:

    http://analysis.avira.com/samples/de...vWUhrpt5VAdWt\
    0g5Rcws&incidentid=679706

    The summary is:


    File ID Filename Size (Byte) Result
    26033895 impro-visor_windo...12.exe 3.54 MB FALSE POSITIVE

    Please find a detailed report concerning each individual sample below:

    The file 'impro-visor_windows_4_12.exe' has been determined to be 'FALSE
    POSITIVE'. In particular this means that this file is not malicious but a false
    alarm. Detection is removed from our virus definition file (VDF) with the
    version: 7.11.2.39.

  18. #18

    Unhappy Re: Band-in-a-box alternatives?

    Hey does anyone know what happened to iRealBook app? I finally got an iPad2 and went to load it in (before a long tour overseas coming up pretty quick here) and the app has been removed from the app store with a message on the main page (iRealBook.net) that they're working on something and will return in a "few weeks"

    I don't really have a few weeks... any ideas on how I can get one of these?

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Band-in-a-box alternatives?

    They're getting into copyright trouble:
    http://irealbook.net/forums/showthread.php?t=1468
    I don't think there's anything you can do at the moment.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Band-in-a-box alternatives?

    Quote Originally Posted by PridgNYC View Post
    If anyone is looking for an alternative that works on Android, I just found this one Chordbot Pro There is also a lite version that has less styles and no save/import feature that you can try.
    Thanks PridgNYC I tried Chordbot and it did exactly what I wanted, makes a quick Chord progression you can play along with.

    Rather simple, I don't think it has any drum fill / tempo changes. It does have sections but you can't seem to change styles independent to other sections. Sound is much more like a computerized drum machine than real people

    But as mentioned it makes a quick Chord progression, and quickly outputs it as a .wav that I can then import into 4 tracks and use like a click track while recording some sax etc.

    Also like all android apps it's cheep so I got the pro version.
    bye for now - Mal - artmgs@yahoo.com
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