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What are the differences?

The big question is: is there any real reason to spring for Band In A Box when iRealPro and Session Band are a small fraction of the price?

My desired use is for practice with bass and drums over changes. Mostly jazz standards, but I like the idea of being able to enter my own changes for various practice scenarios. I suppose I'd also be interested in checking out their piano player's voicings and comping style to learn from that as well.

Thanks for any advice.


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I'm not familiar with "Session Band", but I own BIAB 2017 (Band-in-a-Box) for PC and iRealPro for iPad.

Both are basically the same in that they provide nice backing tracks. BIAB has LOTS more capabilities, styles, etc but I've ALWAYS had problems using my MIDI keyboard with it (unless I just play along without using BIAB's MIDI capabilities). Although its user interface was finally updated this year, IMO BIAB is quite complicated to use and to set up whereas iRealPro is much more basic to use and works great out of the box. Their support user forum is EXCELLENT, however.

iRealPro has fewer styles, of course. That's probably because it's on iPad vs PC. But for bass and drums over jazz standards, it's just right, IMO. You can download MANY free backing tracks from the iRealPro forum.

Looking back on it, I don't think that BIAB is worth the extra cash for your purposes. (I bought it before coming across iRealPro.).

However, if you're strictly PC oriented, another nice (cheap!) software title to try is "ChordPulse". Same idea - type-in the chords, select a style and let it generate and play the backing track.

Final thought - The best time to buy BIAB is in late December/early January when they release the latest version with substantial discounts.



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Thanks, Newbert. I appreciate that input very much. The MIDI business is a non-issue for me, as I just want backing with my acoustic piano.


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Originally Posted by Legal Beagle
Thanks, Newbert. I appreciate that input very much. The MIDI business is a non-issue for me, as I just want backing with my acoustic piano.


Then I suggest either ChordPulse for PC ($20) or iRealPro for iPad (I don't recall it's price, but it's not expensive).

I used ChordPulse for my backing track for one of the ABF recitals here. Unfortunately, I set the backing track volume a little low on the recording, but I think you'll get the idea.

FYI - If you own "The Real Book", there are iRealPro-compatible free backing tracks available for MOST of its contents, downloadable as a zip file from the iRealPro forums.

I don't think you could go wrong with either.



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Originally Posted by Legal Beagle
My desired use is for practice with bass and drums over changes. Mostly jazz standards, but I like the idea of being able to enter my own changes for various practice scenarios. I suppose I'd also be interested in checking out their piano player's voicings and comping style to learn from that as well.

Irealpro does it all

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I can't use Irealpro backing tracks, the drums are too horrible, it is great for transposing charts on the gig though. Sessionband is great, great drums and you can put in your own changes. BIAB is probably better but a different price bracket. The one I really love is drum genius - it is only drums but the variety and quality of the loops make up for that. I play bass anyway so I just put down my own lines but it great practise to lay down your own bass lines, it helps learn the sequences and how the music is put together.

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Thanks for the input, everyone. I downloaded irealpro and tinkered with it over the weekend. I'm very pleased with it, especially for the low price. Very easy to use and seems to work extremely well for my purposes.

HOWEVER... my piano is not in tune with it. It's not off by much, but enough to be a problem. I'm surprised, since the app generates midi, that there's not a control to regulate pitch, but there doesn't seem to be.

Any ideas for a fix? Or am I going to have to call my piano tuner, hand him my phone, and ask him to tune to the app?


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Are you leaving the piano chords turned on? I always turn that off so it's just bass and drums, and if the piano is a bit off 440, it's hard to hear just against a bass line.

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That's mostly how I'll use it (piano off). And you're right, it's not too jarring against just the bass line. But still, it's darned annoying.


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FWIW --

A bit of Googling came up with this suggestion:

If you're using iOS, there are "pitch-shifting" programs (= apps = effects) which would re-pitch the iReal Pro audio output.

"AudioBus" might be worth a look.

There are also pitch-shifting "guitar pedals" (hardware) that might help you. (I didn't know about those -- it's an interesting possibility, _if_ they shift by arbitrary amounts.)

See here:

https://www.irealb.com/forums/showthread.php?14133-Tuning-Change-Playback-Pitch


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Originally Posted by beeboss
I can't use Irealpro backing tracks, the drums are too horrible, it is great for transposing charts on the gig though. Sessionband is great, great drums and you can put in your own changes. BIAB is probably better but a different price bracket. The one I really love is drum genius - it is only drums but the variety and quality of the loops make up for that. I play bass anyway so I just put down my own lines but it great practise to lay down your own bass lines, it helps learn the sequences and how the music is put together.

Arise, thread! laugh

I know this is ancient, but I am trying to solve a particular problem and came across this comment. FWIW you can import tracks from iReal Pro into Garageband as a loop and take advantage of their much superior instrument sounds. Haven't done it myself, but planning to do so soon. There are videos on Youtube showing how to do it.

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Originally Posted by ClemFandango
Arise, thread! laugh

I know this is ancient, but I am trying to solve a particular problem and came across this comment. FWIW you can import tracks from iReal Pro into Garageband as a loop and take advantage of their much superior instrument sounds. Haven't done it myself, but planning to do so soon. There are videos on Youtube showing how to do it.

I hear you Clem Fandango ;-)
But the problem I have with the ireal drums is not the sound of the drums (it is only for practice, I can live with the crappy cymbals) but just the grooves are basic and generic and don't sound remotely like a real drummer. Drum genius on the other hand is a veritable encyclopaedia of grooves .....


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