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Using Band-in-the-box for the first time

I got the Band-in-a-box software from Thomann just two weeks ago and didn't have much opportunity to use it until yesterday. Kayla McDonagh and Mike Cooley had come in last week and recorded a slow Celtic air 'Mo ghrá thú' to a click with just vocal and acoustic guitar. I decided I'd give my new toy a go and see what a backing track to Kayla's song would sound like.

Band-in-a-box allows you to chart out the chords of a song, define the tempo and time signature and it will then create a backing track. You can choose from various different styles. These can be anything from pop to country, or rock to bluegrass. I chose the Celtic Harp 3/4 style. The backing was then comprised of celtic harp, double bass, drum kit and acoustic guitar. Each track was a "real track", which means that a real musician in a studio in Nashville or elsewhere recorded those parts and they were included by BIAB as samples on the enormous hard drive that comes with the product. The software allows you to export each instrument separately, so I did this and then imported it into my Pro Logic DAW. There I added some reverbs and compression then output the mix through the Universal Audio 1176-2 for some mastering compression.

I have to say, the result is pretty impressive. While it still has a long way to go to be better than a group of session musicians, it's a lot quicker and cheaper than assembling a group. Scary stuff for session musicians and recording engineers, but I guess we have to face up to it. No doubt it will also get better as time goes by.

Check out the finished version on the portfolio page here

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