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Thread: Boss Jam Station

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    Question Boss Jam Station

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    I'm considering buying a Boss Jam Station. I mainly want to use it to have a band-in-a-box to jam with, but the recording features also look cool.

    How does the the Jam Station compare to the Dr. Rhythm Section which is much cheaper?

    How hard is it to make your own progressions in the Jam Station.

    I've read that it's a pain to use the Jam Station's record function. Is this true?

    Any suggestions for another band-in-a-box?

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    Have you got a computer?

    Bob

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    I agree w/ Buffalo. Use your PC. A descent sound card & recording software will go for $200, & there's a lot more options.

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    Yes, I have a computer. What software would you recommend?

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    If you're looking for software that does the same basic thing that Jam Station does, two options are Band-In-A-Box and Jammer. These programs provide numerous musical styles and the ability to input whatever chord progressions you want.

    Jammer provides more detailed control over the "studio musicians" you're playing with (how funky our how straight they play, etc.), which can really improve the feel of the groove, but Jammer is more difficult to master.

    Band-In-A-Box is very easy to use. I do demos for several songwriters and I often start with band in a box to get my basic rhythem tracks (keys, bass and drums) together and then add guitar and vocals. We've actually sold some songs to publishers which were recorded this way.

    As a result, a couple of the songwriters bought Band-In-A-Box and now prepare the base tracks at home and then bring a disk to my studio to add guitar and vocals, etc. These are not hot players (they are decent songwriters) but with this software they can create pretty convincing arrangements.

    The main issue with both of these programs are - the sofeware provides a MIDI performance which must then be sent to a synth or a module to actually generate the sounds. This means you not only buy software but at least one decent keyboard and/or module.

    As you know the Jam Station has not only performances but also sounds built in. It is also more portable than a computer/module system.

    You could go with something like ACID sofware, which provides audio loops. I've not used ACID so I don't know how much control you have over programming specific chord progressions, etc. I'm sure there are several threads on this site regarding ACID. In fact there is a Sonic Foundry "chat room" on this site.

    The computer route makes much sense if you are looking to record. And it is likely that once you start playing to sequences you will eventually create songs you want to record. However, If you are convinced that all you need is a box to provide some tracks to jam with, Jam Station may be less complex (and more portable to jam with).

    For the record I have a Jam Station (which I have a blast jamming with). I also have Band-In-A-Box and Jammer which I use for certain recording applications (into Cakewalk). I consider them to be different tools for different jobs.

    Good luck in your decision.

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    What exactly is a MIDI sound module? Is it some kind of converter that the computer uses to play music? If so, why couldn't the software play music as wav. or MP3 files?

    Also, how much would a sound module cost?

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    WAV or MP3 files are acutual digital/audio files (ie: sounds), whereas MIDI files are simply a performance (like a scroll on player piano - you still need the piano to create the sound). With MIDI the performance data (ie: play these chords) is sent to a "sound module". If you are useing a sequnceing software program, (like Band-In-A-Box or Jammer) you can program in a chord progression and then the sequence will "inform" the module what chords to play.

    A MIDI module is a device that actually has "sounds" in it. A synth is a "sound module" that actually has a keyboard attached to it so that you can play (or trigger) the sounds. A module doesn't have a keyboard, so you hook a keyboard (or sequncer) up to it useing a MIDI cable. A MIDI sound module (or MIDI keyboard, with sounds) can be purchased for as little as $100 used up to over $1000 (it all depends on how good you want the sounds to be, and what other functions you want the module/keyboard to perform). You can also purchase software "modules" which turn your computer into a "synth"

    As I mentioned there are software programs (such as Sonic Foundry's ACID) which generate audio loops which can be edited together to create songs. In which case you would not need a module (although you would need a pretty decent sound card).

    It all depends on what you want to do. If you just want to jam to some decent grooves (in particular if you want portable) the Jam Station may be a better idea. If you want to have a "system that can grow with you a computer based system may be better.

    I must warn you, if you have not yet learned what MIDI is, jumping into a computer based system will be a big learning curve for you. However, there are many people on this site that would be able to answer questions.

    Your local library or book store will have many books on MIDI, hard disk recording etc.

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    What Mikeh said............

    Bob

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