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Author Topic: Band-in-a-Box APPS for your iPhone  (Read 7029 times)
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Graham Martin
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« on: Dec 01, 2010, 05:16AM »

My mate walked into our band rehearsal tonight sporting a brand new APPS for Band-in-a-Box on his iPhone. He downloaded it today and was advised it would work best if you downloaded files from Band-in-a-Box 2011, which is not even out yet! And there is no announcement on the PGMusic website about the APPS. Well, there wasn't until I put one there! :D

I can only think that the release date was December 1st and we got there before North America. Or maybe we Aussies are considered smart enough to run some kind of trial? Who knows! But we plugged his phone into the PA and it sounds just great with the RealTracks. We could have sent the rhythm section home.

I have never had a use for an iPhone or iPad but now I do! This is just great!

Did you know you can also get a RealBook APPS?
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« Reply #1 on: Dec 01, 2010, 06:36AM »

Yup - and the iRealBook has built-in band-in-a-box style backing in various styles for all 900 charts.
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« Reply #2 on: Dec 01, 2010, 10:39AM »

BiaB app sounds much better than the iReal book app, though.
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Graham Martin
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« Reply #3 on: Dec 01, 2010, 09:18PM »

Now here is something strange. Don't know I also posted on the PGMusic forum a few minutes before the one that starts this topic. This morning a few people had also downloaded the APP and they were all very complementary. This afternoon when I got home from a morning big band practice, the post had been deleted from the PG Band-in-a-Box Windows forum by PG Music themselves. So they are trying to pretend it never happened. Funny how you can still get the App. Confused

I bet somebody in their marketing department screwed up and released it too early. It is of course designed to be used with BB 2011 which is not available yet. Yeah, RIGHT.

I'm feeling a bit like Julian Assange. I hope they don't send out the crew to get me. :D
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« Reply #4 on: Dec 02, 2010, 07:12AM »

The app was no longer available yesterday afternoon when I went to install it on my iPad. I guess I'll just use the iPhone version for a while until they rerelease it...
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Graham Martin
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« Reply #5 on: Dec 02, 2010, 02:56PM »

The app was no longer available yesterday afternoon when I went to install it on my iPad. I guess I'll just use the iPhone version for a while until they rerelease it...

I am not surprised. A second topic about the new app, which was started yesterday on the PGMusic Band-in-a-Box for Windows forum, was also deleted by PGMusic themselves. Amazed I had commented that the deletion of topics on what is supposed to be an open forum was juvenile. I suspect very strongly that they were unable to coordinate the release of Band-in-a-Box 2011 with the setting up of an app, which is probably not completely under their control. Or maybe they have some last minute programming problems with BB2011?

I also notice a completely different attitude from PGMusic these days. I suspect strongly that, now they appeal to a bigger world market and BB is used more in live situations, they must have a new marketing manager who is prone to screwups. I sympathise because I am the marketing manager for a software company and it is very difficult to get information out of programmers or their bloody unreliable iteration reports. :D

On the other hand, I think PGMusic owe an explanation to those people who already downloaded the APPS. They cannot simply deny the existence. Further, it has created a demand and interest in BB2011, which surely was the name of the game! Like I said, and it was deleted, "It's juvenile!" And unfriendly to all those regulars on the PGMusic forum! And very unprofessional! And bad business tactics!

I was wondering if TTF might come under pressure to remove this topic? :/

I had an even more sinister thought. Maybe PGMusic is not being run by the same friendly Canadians these days? Maybe the original owners sold out to an offshore concern? Their current tactic of denying something even happened remind me very much of Creative and their terrible ignoring of obvious problems with their soundcards. Is PGMusic based in Singapore these days, I wonder? Naah, that can't be true because I saw the same friendly Peter Gannon on the PGMusic forum today. On the other hand, he was commenting on the Japanese version of Band-in-a-Box. :-0

"Lookit!", to quote a Canadianism (or is it a Michiganism?): I love Band-in-a-Box; I am a 100% fan and I use it most days for at least an hour because it saves me so much time in producing lead sheets and arrangements for several bands I play with - including my own. I just do not understand PGMusic's present tactics. I can't believe the  premature release of an APPS would screw up their whole marketing campaign for the new program. We all know that it comes out just before Christmas and surely PGMusic know that the regulars are all going to get it as soon as possible. Pant But maybe there are bigger bickies in the oven?  Evil
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« Reply #6 on: Dec 02, 2010, 05:41PM »

I was inquiring about a BIAB app for an Ipad last fall. Nothing then.


I'd be interested in buying an Ipad if there is a BIAB app for it. I would hope the interface is a little simpler than it has been in the past.
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Graham Martin
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« Reply #7 on: Dec 04, 2010, 04:25AM »


Band-in-a-Box 2011 has arrived tonight and it does have the App that you were able to download before the release was announced. A bit of gazumping from Australia! :D

They have made an iPhone® version available from the Apple App Store. It connects to your Windows desktop version of Band-in-a-Box 2011 and allows you to generate, play, and save songs on your iPhone®, iPod touch®, or iPad™. It cost only $1-60 when my mate downloaded it to his iPhone on Wednesday.



But it apparently does not yet connect to the Mac version of the program, which is going disappoint a few people, including a lady vocalist I know who switched from Windows to Mac and has regretted it ever since.

http://www.pgmusic.com/bbwin.htm

It looks really good and the beta testers are raving about the new realtracks. Just have a listen to them:

http://www.pgmusic.com/realtracks.audvid.win.htm

I ordered my upgrade tonight for $199 and PGMusic usually get it to you pretty quick by UPS express. For those bucks I get the Audiophile version on a new external hard drive. I could download the upgrade but it is far too big and there is no point since I will be running the program from the new external hard drive.

Despite my getting a little annoyed at them deleting my posts from their forum, I suppose it was a little inconsiderate of Apple to get the release date for the Apps wrong - compounded by some troublesome Aussies talking about it before anyone was supposed to know. Yeah, RIGHT. 

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Todd Jonz
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« Reply #8 on: Dec 04, 2010, 09:48AM »


As best I can tell, the BIAB for iPhone is nothing more than a chord sheet editor and remote client for the desktop app; it can't generate audio on its own.  From the app's help page:

Quote
Joan is playing a solo vocal gig, using BB iPhone as her backup band. She connects the iPhone audio out to the PA system. A customer requests one of her compositions, a song that she knows, but doesn't have a backing band arrangement for. On her break, she types in the chords to the song, presses PLAY, and the audio file generates and is ready to play on her BB iPhone (by connecting to BB Desktop over the Internet).

Kinda cool, but requires ubiquitous net connectivity, Windows on the desktop (for now, at least) and an upgrade to the most current release of the desktop app.  Very disappointing.

Virtualhaggis writes:

> the iRealBook has built-in band-in-a-box style backing

This is how BIAB for iPhone *should* work.  While iRealBook's style options are extremely limited right now, I find the available styles are perfectly adequate for play-along purposes with most jazz tunes.  IMHO Massimo has built a better BIAB for iOS than PG Music and has done a superb job of adding incremental enhancements with each new release.  if BIAB for iPhone is the best PG Music can do, Massimo will eat their lunch.

The only real shortcoming of iRealBook is that it doesn't support lead sheets.  Publishing the changes to copyrighted tunes is kosher under copyright law, whereas publishing melodies is not; that's clearly why Massimo doesn't provide lead sheets.  Still, I wish he'd support them in some way, e.g. allow users to import their own PDF files into iRealBook and view them rather than the native chord charts while iRealBook plays the changes.


« Last Edit: Dec 04, 2010, 09:47PM by Todd Jonz » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: Dec 04, 2010, 11:26AM »

The app does generate it's own audio. (at least the sample files that come with the program)  The sound samples are much better quality than that of iReal book.
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« Reply #10 on: Dec 04, 2010, 02:27PM »


SilverSonic writes

> The app does generate it's own audio.

Hmmm.  Okay.  I guess I should actually try the app before writing about what it does or doesn't appear do.  ;-)

Still, why did "Joan" (in PG Music's example above) have to connect her iPhone to her desktop BIAB system before playing her tune on her iPhone?  FWIW, I find PG Music's documentation and marketing materials  just as cluttered and confusing as BIAB's user interface.

Gotta dash off to a Xmas gig now, but I'll install the app and take it for a spin later tonight.


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Graham Martin
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« Reply #11 on: Dec 04, 2010, 02:45PM »

SilverSonic writes

> The app does generate it's own audio.

Hmmm.  Okay.  I guess I should actually try the app before writing about what it does or doesn't appear do.  ;-)

Still, why did "Joan" (in PG Music's example above) have to connect her iPhone to her desktop BIAB system before playing her tune on her iPhone?  FWIW, I find PG Music's documentation and marketing materials  just as cluttered and confusing as BIAB's user interface.

Gotta dash off to a Xmas gig now, but I'll install the app and take it for a spin later tonight.

Well, there really would not be any point unless you could generate the tracks from your iPhone, which I told you we did the first day my mate got his. Admittedly these were the sample tracks because BB2011 was not available then. Here is a better explanation from Peter Gannon of how it works:

"If you have a copy of Band-in-a-Box 2011 for Windows®, then with the Band-in-a-Box iPhone version you can:

• Quickly transfer your existing library of songs from BB Desktop to BB iPhone, including chordsheets and audio (m4a). See the chordsheets and play the songs anytime on your iPhone, without re-connecting to the Band-in-a-Box desktop.

• Enter songs from scratch on your BB iPhone by typing in chord symbols to the song.

• Generate audio on your BB iPhone for the songs by pressing play. The songs play on the iPhone and are stored on the iPhone as m4a files. This connects across your home network (LAN) or the Internet (from anywhere) to your desktop version of Band-in-a-Box.

• Send songs from BB iPhone to BB Desktop.

• The iPhone version communicates with Band-in-a-Box for Windows using a utility program called Band-in-a-Box Server (c:\bb\bbhelper\BandinaBoxServer.exe). This program runs in the system tray (lower right of Windows taskbar).

• The iPhone version will see the “BB2Go” folder (c:\bb\BB2Go). Any Band-in-a-Box songs that you put in this folder are visible to the iPhone BB. You can send files back and forth from iPhone BB to Windows BB, and the files go to the BB2Go folder.

• You can add audio to the Band-in-a-Box files in the BB2Go folder from the Band-in-a-Box Windows menu with the BB2Go command, and select the files that you want to have mp4/m4a audio added. You can also generate the audio from the iPhone version.

• Note that these features require QuickTime® for Windows® to be installed, which you can download from www.apple.com.

More documentation for the BB iPhone version is available here: http://www.pgmusic.com/help100/"


My main interest is the new and improved RealTracks:

For instance: Anyone into Django? Great swing from these RealTracks and they really make midi a bit redundant.

http://nn.pgmusic.com/pgfiles/video/realtracks_Jazz5_320.mp4
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Graham Martin
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« Reply #12 on: Dec 04, 2010, 05:54PM »

Check this out re your iPhone:

http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/band-in-a-box/id397173717?mt=8
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« Reply #13 on: Dec 04, 2010, 09:20PM »


Okay.  I've installed BIAB for iPhone on my iPod.  I do not have BIAB 2011 (or Windows) installed on my desktop, so I can't run a BIAB server.

The two demo tunes play just fine on my iPod and they sound terrific (as SilverSonic notes above, the sound samples are far superior to the ones used by iRealBook.)  But if I change anything -- tempo, key, style, etc. -- and attempt to play one of the tunes again, the app either (a) informs me that the tune must be "regenerated" and prompts me for the IP address of my BIAB server, or (b) crashes.  Sadly, these two alternatives occur with approximately equal frequency.

The same applies to any new tunes I enter manually; I can enter the chords and save the tune, but I can't play it.  It certainly appears that the iPod generates the equivalent of an MGU or SGU file which must be sent to a BIAB desktop, converted to M4A, and sent back to the iPod before it can be played.  In other words, all the magic occurs on the backend, not in the iPod, which would be consistent with the "Joan" example above.  If this is indeed case, then BIAB for iPhone is essentially useless as a stand-alone app.  Granted, the (surprisingly brief) App Store description hints at this, but I had expected hoped for at least some stand-alone functionality.

Or am I missing something?


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« Reply #14 on: Dec 05, 2010, 08:18AM »

Okay.  I've installed BIAB for iPhone on my iPod.  I do not have BIAB 2011 (or Windows) installed on my desktop, so I can't run a BIAB server.

The two demo tunes play just fine on my iPod and they sound terrific (as SilverSonic notes above, the sound samples are far superior to the ones used by iRealBook.)  But if I change anything -- tempo, key, style, etc. -- and attempt to play one of the tunes again, the app either (a) informs me that the tune must be "regenerated" and prompts me for the IP address of my BIAB server, or (b) crashes.  Sadly, these two alternatives occur with approximately equal frequency.

The same applies to any new tunes I enter manually; I can enter the chords and save the tune, but I can't play it.  It certainly appears that the iPod generates the equivalent of an MGU or SGU file which must be sent to a BIAB desktop, converted to M4A, and sent back to the iPod before it can be played.  In other words, all the magic occurs on the backend, not in the iPod, which would be consistent with the "Joan" example above.  If this is indeed case, then BIAB for iPhone is essentially useless as a stand-alone app.  Granted, the (surprisingly brief) App Store description hints at this, but I had expected hoped for at least some stand-alone functionality.

Or am I missing something?



I think you are correct. the M4A file is created on the home computer and is no more adjustable on the gig than an MP3 tune in iTunes. This is basically a front end MP3 player that plays files you create on your home computer. You can't even change the # of choruses on the phone. I'm glad it was only $.99
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« Reply #15 on: Dec 05, 2010, 12:22PM »


SilverSonic writes:

> This is basically a front end MP3 player that plays files you create on your home computer.

Imagine that -- an iPod app that plays digital music files I create on my desktop computer!  Wait a minute -- doesn't my iPod already do that?  Come to think of it, I think I might even be able to generate canned audio files using BIAB, download them to my iPod, and play them without buying this product!  Sarcasm aside, it's worth noting that I can achieve the same functionality this app provides, albeit in an admittedly kludgy fashion, using the VNC client I have on my iDevices and my out-of-date, Mac-based version of BIAB.

> I'm glad it was only $.99

I really don't mind blowing a buck or two on an app that turns out to be less than expected.  In fact, I do it all the time.  I do, however, kinda resent having to do so because it's the only way to figure out what the app actually does.  PG Music should be ashamed of the entirely inadequate descriptions of this product in the App Store and on their web site.  Why do the words "clutter" and "confusion" spring to mind whenever I think about this company and its products?

In retrospect it occurs to me that I should have assumed from the start this was merely a cheap hack that extends the functionality of the desktop product.  If it were what we all hoped it would be, a *real* BIAB implementation that ran on iOS, PG Music would certainly sell it for more than a buck.


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