Band in a Box Updated

band in a boxPG Music has announced Band in a Box 2006, the latest version of its automatic arrangement software.

Features:

  • Conductor” – Live Looping/Playback control. As the song is playing, many “single key” hot keys are now available to control the playback and looping of the song. For example, pressing the “4” key will insure that the middle chorus is the next one played, and pressing the “S” key will insure that the middle section is looped. This would be useful to extend a song that has the last chorus playing. Custom loop points can also be set for each song. These settings are ideal for live performances, or “jam sessions” where you are not entering new Band-in-a-Box songs, but want full control of the playback. These loops happen seamlessly at the end of the chorus, so they are suitable for the “dance floor.” In addition, you can control Band-in-a-Box from a standard MIDI keyboard, pressing MIDI keys corresponds to program functions. For example, you can load the next song, play/pause/change tempo/change thru patch/jump to middle choruses/open the notation or Leadsheet window – all from your MIDI keyboard! Over 80 functions in all!
  • TC-Helicon Audio Harmonies are enhanced with “Unison Harmonies” and a Choir Feature. Now, when you’ve recorded your singing voice, in addition to harmony voices, you can add unison voices that “fatten” your sound. Each unison can have different vibrato and pitch characteristics. And each harmony voice can have up to 4 “choir” voices that can be duplicated and shifted slightly in time, pitch and more to create an authentic, full choir sound. Create a 16 voice choir from your single vocal performance. Also, the GUI of the harmony feature has been enhanced.
  • New symbols in notation. The notation now supports many new expression and articulation marks including section letters (A, B etc.), slurs, legato, accent, staccato, crescendo, decrescendo, staccatissmo and more. Symbols are available in normal and “Jazz” looks.
  • ASIO Audio/Software synth driver support has been added. Now there’s almost no latency (delay) for audio or software synths like the Roland VSC! By using an ASIO audio driver, software synths like the Roland VSC (DXi or VSC) will play with almost no latency (delay is only 5-10ms). So you’ll hear the sounds instantly, and be able to play along using MIDI Thru with the same ultra-low latency.
  • VST support added. Now you can use VST software synths and plug-ins, just as you use DirectX. Many software synths are available in VST format, so this expands the number of available synths and plug-ins for Band-in-a-Box.
  • Half-speed (and slower) Audio playback without affecting pitch! Open a MP3/WAV/WMA or audio CD track, and play back at 1/2, 1/4 or 1/8 speed. This is great for transcribing or analyzing audio.
  • New Audio Plug-Ins added! Three new DirectX plug-ins have been added to Band-in-a-Box 2006. The PG Vinyl Tool can remove clicks and pops from your old vinyl record collection, the PG RTA (Real Time Analyzer) plug-in assists audio equalization and can measure the frequency response of audio equipment, and the new PG Vocal Remover plug-in can reduce the level of lead vocals on many recordings.
  • Styles can now have different instruments (patches) for the “a” and “b” substyle. For example, you can have drum brushes on the “a” substyle, and sticks on the “b” substyle, or acoustic piano for the “a” and electric piano for the bridge. Many of the new styles included with the upgrade use multiple patches in this manner! These patches are set in the style, in the Patches dialog. In addition, we have many new styles with these multi-patches, and you can see a list of them in the stylepicker, by looking at the “styles with instrument changes” category.
  • Multi-channel leadsheet display, and record to specific channel. You can now record up to 16 separate tracks on the Melody part, or simply load any MIDI file to the melody part, and edit the channels. This allows for counter-melodies or additional instrument parts. Simply set the track to “Multi-Channel” then record the part, and specify the channel number. Each channel displays separately on the notation window. You can easily choose which channels will sound or display, so if you’ve loaded a MIDI file, you can, for example, easily mute channels to leave only the melody, allowing Band-in-a-Box to be the rhythm section.
  • The Melody Embellisher has been enhanced. You can now save/load your own presets for the Embellisher.
  • MIDI Normalize option. If performing live, or at a jam session, it helps to have all the songs at a similar volume. Now, with the MIDI Normalize feature, you can level the volumes to a range set in the program options. For example, you can set all volumes to be between 65 and 75, and the program will make each song play within those levels.
  • Great new games for ear training fun! Learning is best when it’s fun, and two new games have been added to the Band-in-a-Box 2006 Ear Training module for great times in “the woodshed.” Music Replay develops pitch, rhythm, and melody recognition by replaying what the program plays, in note, rhythm or melodic modes. Pitch Invasion helps to develop perfect pitch as you shoot down “alien” notes invading from above (you hear the note sound, and click on the on-screen piano/MIDI or QWERTY keyboard to shoot them down).
  • Clearer piano display. The instruments displayed on the on-screen piano now make use of higher resolutions, so that each instrument display is clearer.
  • Range of bars for MIDI files. When making a MIDI file, you can now select a range of bars to be included. Highlight any range of bars, and the MIDI file will be made for just that range.
  • Support for 11th chords. A new option for “11th chords” allows display of “9sus” chords as “11” (e.g., Bb11 instead of Bb9sus).
  • Direct open or import of WMA, MP3, and CD-Audio files. You can open or import a Windows Media Audio file (WMA) or an MP3 file (including variable-bit-rate files) to add to a Band-in-a-Box song. This allows you to open or import the most commonly used audio formats into Band-in-a-Box. Once opened, you can play the audio track along with a Band-in-a-Box song, or slow down the playback without affecting pitch.
  • Export of audio as WMA file has been enhanced, using Microsoft’s newest Windows Media compression codecs, which are rendered directly rather than with a command-line utility.
  • The MIDI Monitor has been enhanced, with options for 1-based patch numbering and patch name display. Quick View Filter presets (such as “Notes Only,” “Controllers Only,” “Program Changes Only,” and “Programs including Bank Changes”). Improved stability when using soft synths.
  • The Piano Roll has been improved, with:
    • Overlapping note indicator. Overlapping notes are displayed in bold, making them easier to identify.
    • Trim overlapping notes command.
    • Adjustable Max control density to control the time-granularity when graphically inserting Controller and Pitch Bend events.
    • Eraser tool for quickly deleting individual notes or controllers.
    • Two graphic event mouse editing modes (for scaling gestures). Add mode will add/subtract the mouse-drag amount to all selected events. Multiply mode will scale selected events by a mouse-drag percentage.
    • Un-Zoom to return to the previous view after zooming in on a region.
    • Zoom All to zoom the window so all the events are visible at a glance.
    • Ghost display. When viewing a single channel, notes on other channels can be “ghost” displayed in light gray.
  • You can now direct render to audio as separate tracks. If this option is chosen, separate WAV files get written (mono or stereo) for each track (names MySong_Bass.WAV, MySong_Drums.WAV, etc.) so you can import tracks to your favorite sequencer as audio files. For direct rendering, you can also choose whether you want the output file to be mono or stereo.
  • Loosen note start times. There is a dedicated function to vary the start times of notes on the Melody or Soloist tracks, with options for what notes to affect (harmony, chords, and amount of variance).
  • Convert to Harmony feature enhanced. Now when adding a harmony to the Melody (or Soloist), there are options to remove duplicate notes and to spread (shift) the start times of the notes for the harmony notes to achieve a more natural, richer harmony sound. The melody is not affected, only the harmony notes, and there are options for the range of spread for the harmony notes.
  • The Chord Builder dialog has been redesigned so that it fits entirely above the Chordsheet, so that you don’t have to move it out of the way while you use it on the Chordsheet.
  • The Jukebox has been enhanced with a selectable time delay (in seconds) between songs. Also, the pause til MIDI/keyboard feature has been enhanced so the spacebar can be used, and the setting is saved as a preference. Also, in the Jukebox you can type a folder name directly, instead of waiting for the folder dialog.
  • There’s an easier way to “play from bar __, chorus ___.” Simply right click on the bar and choose this menu item.
  • Auto-set # of rows of Chordsheet. In order to try to display most songs on a single page of the Chordsheet, there is now an “auto” option in Prefs | Display that lets you set a range for the number of rows to display on one screen. The program will use more rows for songs with bigger choruses, so that most songs will display on one Chordsheet in the largest font possible.
  • Fakesheet mode display has been improved. You can now set a custom number of bars to display on each row of the Fakesheet, instead of rigidly using 4 bars per line. For example, enter “4,6,4” in the Leadsheet window options and the program will use 4 bars for the first row, 6 for the second, and 4 for the rest. This makes the Fakesheet more readable.
  • “Global overrides” have been added. New options are added which allow you to set the overall song looping settings (always OFF, always ON, or as set in the song). Similar overrides are available to see which other information gets loaded from a file, such as patches, harmonies, volume/reverb/chorus/panning/banks. For example, you can set every song to load with looping ON, and not to load any reverb settings from songs.
  • The Full (Long) Style Name is displayed in a hint beside the style name and also at the top of the screen. For example, for ZZJAZZ.STY, you will see “Jazz Swing Style” written at the top of the screen and available as a hint when mousing over the style box.
  • No more “Style not found” messages! Now, when a requested style is not found, BB will intelligently substitute the next best style. This feature is available for every style that PG Music has made, and also can be customized by a third-party or any users by making a text file (*.NA) file with suggested alternative styles.
  • Batch convert a folder of songs to MIDI files. Do you need to convert an entire folder of BB songs to MIDI files? This can now be done easily by a single command. You can choose the resultant file names to be based on either the original file name or song title name.
  • Many StyleMaker enhancements. When importing an instrument from another style to Piano/Guitar or Strings, you can now choose an instrument from Piano/Guitar or Strings. GUI enhancements include a “red” record button, spin buttons to change values, double-click to play pattern, and Ctrl-click to play pattern with previous settings for chord. A right-mouse menu has been added with options to play/play chord/record/mute. The StyleMaker now shows summary information about any non-default settings in a pattern at the top title bar, so that they are easy to spot.
  • The Quantize feature now has the ability to choose a percentage of quantization. Previously it was “all or nothing.”
  • 1-Bar Lead-In Option. There’s now an option for a “1-bar” lead-in, instead of 2 bars.
  • Song List Cancel button. The Song List generation now has a CANCEL button so that it can be interrupted.
  • Auto-Close Memo. The Song memo now has an option to close automatically during playback.
  • Melodist Editor has all-Soloist access. There’s now access to all Soloists from the Melodist Editor, previously only the first 256 were accessible.
  • Current bar = inserted bar. When inserting bars, the program now moves the current bar highlight to the inserted bar.
  • Musical key sort for SongPicker. In the SongPicker dialog, the Key column is now sorted musically correct (Ab-A-Am-Bb-B) instead of alphabetically (A-Ab-Abm,Am).
  • Event Editor improved. There is now hot key support for DELETE, INSERT, ENTER, and the editor keeps its place in the list after these commands. For multi-channel tracks, the event list is color coded by channel.

More information is available at the PG Music site.

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