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Thread: BIB, ChordPulse? Record Yourself With Backing

  1. #26

    Default Re: BIB, ChordPulse? Record Yourself With Backing

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Martin View Post
    The sound difference with the Real Tracks is night and day. Non real tracks are MIDI and sound like most other MIDI driven programs and apps. Real Tracks sound like real pro level players.
    Thanks, Pete!

  2. #27

    Default Re: BIB, ChordPulse? Record Yourself With Backing

    All this talk implying that somehow midi sounds are inferior miss the point entirely. MIDI is merely a set of instructions to some playback device. It is the playback device which produces the sounds and there are midi-based playback devices which sound every bit as good as the "real tracks." But those devices are expensive. Most of the people who seem to be dissing midi sounds are actually dissing the sounds that their computer's soundcards are producing, which is fine to do. Most computer soundcards have horrible midi sounds built-in. But for people just getting started I think it's important to point out that the midi sounds do not have to sound horrible if you are willing to invest in decent midi playback equipment.

    BIAB's real-tracks sound like real pro level players because they were recorded by real pro level players. And BIAB's algorithms to create original backing tracks using those samples is truly amazing. If you want to buy the complete version of BIAB which includes all the "real tracks" and all the styles the company has released so far, yes, the program is expensive. But the basic version of BIAB isn't all that expensive and it's possible to buy just those real tracks and styles as add-on sets to do what you want.

    I've been a BIAB user since version 5 for DOS and have upgraded each year since then and use it constantly in my teaching and for my own playing, although I don't play out much.

    One great way to use it is to start out with the BIAB sounds, tweaking the arrangement to get it just right (tempo, key, style, number of verses, intro, ending, etc.) then saving it as .WAV files where you end up with a .wav file of the whole song plus each separate instrument in its own .wav file. Then open up a DAW (MixCraft is a great inexpensive one, or use RealBand which comes with BIAB) and import each separate instrumental .wav file into its own track. Then record your melody and solo(s) as you wish, each in its own separate track so you can choose or cut/paste the best parts of each into a single track. Then if you've got the instrumental chops to play the accompaniment tracks (guitar, bass, drums, piano, whatever) you can have BIAB print out the notation for what it generated and you can record your own versions of those instruments on their own tracks and end up with all the BIAB-generated parts as well as your own recorded tracks and then mix your ideal final version.

    BIAB is a great tool when used in a manner that will get you just what you want. Many people use BIAB tracks straight as they come from the program, others use them as starting points to create their own recordings. It's versatile.

    But that versatility comes with what can be a steep learning curve. However when used at its most basic level, it's not that difficult to learn and can give you your own backup band to work with. They never show up drunk, they're always well-behaved, they're never late and they never complain and are available for you 24/7/365. Try to find human musicians that can all be said about!

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  4. #28
    Mandolin Friendly Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: BIB, ChordPulse? Record Yourself With Backing

    Pete, dhbailey - this is the kind of information I was looking for last year when I first posted this. Thanks for the info.
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  5. #29

    Default Re: BIB, ChordPulse? Record Yourself With Backing

    Quote Originally Posted by dhbailey View Post
    All this talk implying that somehow midi sounds are inferior miss the point entirely. MIDI is merely a set of instructions to some playback device. It is the playback device which produces the sounds and there are midi-based playback devices which sound every bit as good as the "real tracks." But those devices are expensive. Most of the people who seem to be dissing midi sounds are actually dissing the sounds that their computer's soundcards are producing, which is fine to do. Most computer soundcards have horrible midi sounds built-in. But for people just getting started I think it's important to point out that the midi sounds do not have to sound horrible if you are willing to invest in decent midi playback equipment. ...
    Excellent info, thanks! I hadn't known any of that. I'd mistakenly thought that what I heard from my computer, was as good as it gets.

    Quote Originally Posted by dhbailey View Post
    One great way to use it is to start out with the BIAB sounds, tweaking the arrangement to get it just right (tempo, key, style, number of verses, intro, ending, etc.) then saving it as .WAV files where you end up with a .wav file of the whole song plus each separate instrument in its own .wav file. Then open up a DAW (MixCraft is a great inexpensive one, or use RealBand which comes with BIAB) and import each separate instrumental .wav file into its own track. ...
    I do something a little similar in ChordPulse, I have it export a MIDI file of its backing, then I drag the MIDI file onto a blank MuseScore window, and MuseScore turns the ChordPulse MIDI into a sheet music score with all the individual 'instrument' parts each on their own staff in the score.

    During MuseScore playback, I can selectively mute individual 'instruments' or make other adjustments to them. And having the actual notes on the staff where they're easy to read, allows for individually changing one or more of the MIDI notes if desired.

    But... it requires a lot of tweaking, often I have to literally rewrite the whole thing one note at a time because MuseScore (or MIDI or something) interprets 'swing' notes as triplets which really clutters up a score. So I rewrite the triplets as straight 8th-notes (or whatever the nearest simplest note would be), and then set MuseScore to play the whole thing in 'swing'. Sounds about the same, rhythmically, and makes a lot neater/tidier score.

    Also, at least here on my system, MuseScore seems to often have considerably different MIDI sounds than what I hear in ChordPulse. I often have to try setting the different MuseScore staves to different 'instruments' to get it to sound right, especially the drum kits. That is the case even with the stock/default MuseScore soundfonts.

    Although recently I've switched MuseScore to using an optional 3rd-party soundfont called "Timbres of Heaven", instead of the default MuseScore soundfont.

    The 3rd-party soundfont results in me having to do even more tinkering with the 'instruments' to get MuseScore MIDI playback to sound even remotely similar to ChordPulse playback, including turning each individual MuseScore 'instrument' volume down a lot, because otherwise the "Timbres of Heaven" soundfont is way too loud and distorted (adjusting the master volume has no effect, it requires going into the MuseScore 'mixer', for some reason).

    Once in a while, the MuseScore MIDI playback sounds better than the ChordPulse playback, but that isn't very often.

    I'm beginning to suspect that maybe ChordPulse has its own soundfont or something, for the MIDI playback, or that it utilizes some other method that makes it sound better than the MuseScore rendition of what theoretically should be the same file.

    Anyway, regardless of how MuseScore handles the playback of the sheet music generated from the ChordPulse MIDI files, I like being able to actually *see* the ChordPulse notes on standard music staff format in MuseScore.

    Deconstructing the backing-track scores like that, helps me to learn what all goes into a backing track, and it gives me inspiration as to what I might try playing on a real instrument.

    To record these backing tracks and turn them into wav files if necessary (whether from MuseScore playback or ChordPulse playback), I use Audacity. I set the Audacity prefs to use "Stereo Mix" (I think this is something specific to Windows with stock built-in soundcards, up to and including Win 10, probably doesn't apply to Mac?), which makes Audacity record straight from the computer's sound card (hope I'm using the right terminology there). MuseScore 2.1 has an "export wav" feature but I haven't been able to get it to work right, don't know why, so the Audacity-recording is a workaround.

    Quote Originally Posted by dhbailey View Post
    Then record your melody and solo(s) as you wish, each in its own separate track so you can choose or cut/paste the best parts of each into a single track. ...
    Eek, I'm not that sophisticated, my recording technique consists of turning the recorder on and letting it run for 10 minutes while I play. Then later I listen to the recording to see if there is a single contiguous part that doesn't contain 500 errors.

    Then I keep just that part, which might end up being only 30 seconds long & only usable for 30-second tunes, then delete the rest of the recording. If the whole recording is bad, or I need a longer segment, I turn the recorder on again and start over.

    I've made some progress in my thinking though... I've finally gotten used to the idea of multi-track music (after a lengthy earlier phase of my life where I thought multi-track was some sort of abomination right up there with electric instruments, which I now also play and very much enjoy, by the way), but I don't think I could ever bring myself to go in and edit/tamper with individual notes or sections, just doesn't seem right somehow...

    I figure if I can't play it halfway acceptably in "real time" then I just need to keep practicing it until I can.

    Although I might change my mind if I was paying for high-$$$ studio time, or if I was trying to make $ from my music, but I'm just a hobbyist so the time factor isn't of much concern.

    But I just realized something, this copy/paste thing is probably why modern videos cut the camera away from one player temporarily, then cut back in to that player? So they can splice in a new piece of video that matches the spliced audio? Ugh, too complicated, and seems deceptive, I have no interest in conning an audience into thinking I play better than I do. Lol.

    Quote Originally Posted by dhbailey View Post
    Then if you've got the instrumental chops to play the accompaniment tracks (guitar, bass, drums, piano, whatever) you can have BIAB print out the notation for what it generated and you can record your own versions of those instruments on their own tracks and end up with all the BIAB-generated parts as well as your own recorded tracks and then mix your ideal final version. ...
    Ah yes, this is something I've been trying with ChordPulse recently - if I especially like a bass line, for instance, I will do the aforementioned transforming of ChordPulse MIDI to MuseScore sheetmusic, then I study the sheetmusic's bass line, then (since I don't have a bass) I take those exact same bass notes and transpose them up an octave (or however much it takes) and turn those bass notes into fifths-tuned octave GDAE (or variants thereof, GDAEB or CGDAE) notes to play on one of my other instruments. I've currently got, among other things, a cheap little "half size" Yamaha classical guitar that I have tuned in fifths with a low C (slightly lower than the low E on a standard guitar), it's fun to mess around with for simple faux-'bass' experiments.

    Quote Originally Posted by dhbailey View Post
    BIAB is a great tool when used in a manner that will get you just what you want. Many people use BIAB tracks straight as they come from the program, others use them as starting points to create their own recordings. It's versatile. ...
    I'm eventually going to have to get BIAB too, my curiosity is increasing the more I hear about it, but it's not quite in the budget right now. Maybe someday.

    Thanks again for all the great info!
    Last edited by JL277z; Nov-14-2017 at 12:56am.

  6. #30
    Registered User Jairo Ramos Parra's Avatar
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    Default Re: BIB, ChordPulse? Record Yourself With Backing

    There is a cheap way to enhance the midi sounds in Windows. You must download VirtualMIDISynth, is freeware, and install it. Then upload in virtual synth the soundfound you have, Timbres of Heaven (one of the best soundfonts).

    In chordpulse Options, More, choose VirtualMIDISynth as Midi Output device, and you are ready. In Musescore choose virtualmidisynth too.

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  8. #31

    Default Re: BIB, ChordPulse? Record Yourself With Backing

    Quote Originally Posted by Jairo Ramos Parra View Post
    There is a cheap way to enhance the midi sounds in Windows. You must download VirtualMIDISynth, is freeware, and install it. Then upload in virtual synth the soundfound you have, Timbres of Heaven (one of the best soundfonts).

    In chordpulse Options, More, choose VirtualMIDISynth as Midi Output device, and you are ready. In Musescore choose virtualmidisynth too.
    Thanks, I will look into that.
    Last edited by JL277z; Nov-15-2017 at 12:28am. Reason: Typo.

  9. #32
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    Default Re: BIB, ChordPulse? Record Yourself With Backing

    Use Audacity. Open a commercial recording of a tune you want to play. Record a *separate* track of your own rhythm playing along with it. Now you have a rhythm track, of mandolin only, to record a solo to. [I think this is better done with guitar. Find a guitarist or learn to play rhythm guitar. Its easier than mandolin :^)] Build demo tracks this way. One problem may be no count-down on the commercial recording. You can make your own. Play 4 precise chops to the commercial recording on another track. Maybe to bars 5 6 7 and 8. Cut and paste this short track onto the beginning of the commercial recording. Adjust the placement of this countdown to the commercial track visually, looking at the graph of the sound wave. Proceed to layer music on the rhythm track. Adjustments to volume of separate tracks etc can be made to the audacity file. Then it can be exported as an mp3.

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