Eight reasons why I, as a Band-in-a-Box user, use RealBand as my DAW of choice

For more information on creating your first song using Band-in-a-Box and RealBand check out my online video course First Song with Band-in-a-Box for Windows

I am expecting a lot of flack for this blog post. The purpose of this post is, however, not to invoke an argument (but hey, conversation is good so fire away!) but rather to encourage new Band-in-a-Box users to give RealBand a try before spending tons of money on a new DAW. I am going to go through eight reasons why I, as a dedicated Band-in-a-Box user, use Realband as my DAW of choice.  

There are eight things that Realband has that I believe no other DAW has. Now understand that I have not investigated or tried out every other DAW  out there but I am pretty sure that there is no another DAW out there that has or does all of these eight things. If I am wrong please feel free to correct me.  

1. It is free with Band-in-a-Box
Say no more. 

2. It does not use an iLok or Gobbler 
This comes after a short but disastrous foray into Slate Digital plugins. I use my laptop computer extensively for my music production and I use my laptop for work. I do not want another device to maintain. I love my laptop (almost as much as I love my husband but that is another story...) and it comes everywhere with me. The iLok has to be the worst thing for a laptop user. It takes up one of my only three USB ports, it hangs out the side of the computer, gets lost, gets broken.... You may have guessed that I really hate the iLok. If you are making music sitting in your home studio on your desktop with loads of spare USB ports, then the iLok may not be a problem for you but for me it is a deal breaker. Gobbler is also the worst software I have ever come across (and I have come across some pretty bad software in my time) 

3. It is not a resource hog 
This comes from an equally short and equally disastrous foray into Pro Tools. I could hardly even start Pro Tools up on my laptop and I certainly couldn't run any other software or even any plugins at the same time. I have a fairly entry level laptop that work gave me. It is a Dell Lattitude i5 with only 4 GB ram running windows 7 Enterprise (what can I say except that my work are very reluctant to upgrade...). I love this computer but it is no good at running Pro Tools! 
  
4. I have the ability to generate Realtracks on the fly 
This is a biggy. Say I am nearing the end of producing my song, and I have the vocals recorded and beautifully mixed in and I have the instrument tracks already arranged and mixed in. Then I decide "it needs something else in the bridge". I can just insert a new track select those bars and try out any of PG Music's 3000 plus RealTracks without ever leaving my DAW.  

5. I have the ability to generate MidiSuper tracks on the fly 
This one is similar to number 4 where I am trying to find something interesting for the bridge but using MIDI instead of Realtracks. I can generate a Midisuper track on the fly and then change the midi instrument to, say, a xylophone.

6. I have the ability to generate harmonies on the fly 
I use this one all the time. At any point in my production process I can select a portion of the lead vocal (or the whole lead vocal) and generate and try out various harmonies. I can place each harmony on its own track and do with them what I want. All without leaving my DAW. 

7. I have the ability to generate holds on certain instruments on the fly 
I often use holds on particular instruments to add interest to an existing arrangement. I add these during the mixing process. I listen to the song and decide where I want a hold to be and what instrument(s) I want to hold. Then I go into the chord chart at the place where I want a particular instrument to hold and enter three dots after the chord. Then I go back into the "tracks" view and regenerate only the instrument(s) that I want the hold to be on. (I usually leave the drums playing and sometimes the bass and put holds on other instruments)

A very nifty trick taught to me by Floyd Jane, who I think got it from Peter Gannon. (Maybe I should do a blog post on this...)

8. I have the ability to make structural modifications (like chord substitution) on the fly
Often I find I need to make a chord change when the song is quite a way down the production process. Say I have my song almost done with all the vocals and instruments arranged and mixed and I decide that really a Cmaj7 will sound way better than a C. I can simply go into the chord chart, change the C into a Cmay7 and then regenerate the instruments playing over that chord. I also will often cut (or extend) the song. I may suddenly decide that my song is too long and that the instrumental really should be four bars and not eight. I simply make the changes required in the chord chart and regenerate the instruments. Done without leaving RealBand. 

So if you are new to Band-in-a-Box and are thinking about learning to use a DAW, give RealBand a try before spending loads of money and effort on something different. There are far better ways to spend your money (like on a skiing holiday for instance...)

33 comments

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous
    I'm sorry to translate from Google Translate to English using Google Translate. Your direction in music is optimal and you write beautiful articles about Band in a box and Real Band and how to use these great tools to create. I'm not talking about your voice and beautiful songs. I'm just an amateur and certainly not such a good singer and guitarist as you. I have music more in my head than in my fingers, so Biab and Rb are amazing to me. I use Biab and RB to a great extent and especially to the beginning of song writing. I can generate realcharts for realtracks. And I leave this midi and supertrack beautified in the "Sibelius" app, where I get it other possibilities of amazing tools and for individual instruments as well as nice scores. I also process RealTracks in "Studio One", which is linked to "Melodyne Studio 4" and I can edit singing and solo instruments from realtracks. "Studio One" has many other magic midi tools and a lot of effects. This is a view from my side that will be unique, but mine. Of course, for the vast majority of music and song makers, this is your optimal way, which I respect and once again I bend in front of her. I wish you a lot of good ideas in the creation and beautiful articles. Yours sincerely, Zdeněk Gause - Czech Republic

    I'm sorry to translate from Google Translate to English using Google Translate.
    Your direction in music is optimal and you write beautiful articles about Band in a box and Real Band and how to use these great tools to create. I'm not talking about your voice and beautiful songs.
    I'm just an amateur and certainly not such a good singer and guitarist as you. I have music more in my head than in my fingers, so Biab and Rb are amazing to me.
    I use Biab and RB to a great extent and especially to the beginning of song writing. I can generate realcharts for realtracks. And I leave this midi and supertrack beautified in the "Sibelius" app, where I get it other possibilities of amazing tools and for individual instruments as well as nice scores. I also process RealTracks in "Studio One", which is linked to "Melodyne Studio 4" and I can edit singing and solo instruments from realtracks. "Studio One" has many other magic midi tools and a lot of effects.

    This is a view from my side that will be unique, but mine. Of course, for the vast majority of music and song makers, this is your optimal way, which I respect and once again I bend in front of her.

    I wish you a lot of good ideas in the creation and beautiful articles.

    Yours sincerely, Zdeněk Gause - Czech Republic

  • Joanne Cooper
    Joanne Cooper
    Hi Zdeněk Gause Thanks so much for you encouraging comments., Your English is a lot better than my Czech so no problem with the Google translate. I also love Melodyne Studio 4 and use it in every song.

    Hi Zdeněk Gause
    Thanks so much for you encouraging comments., Your English is a lot better than my Czech so no problem with
    the Google translate. I also love Melodyne Studio 4 and use it in every song.

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