BandLab digital audio workstation flies into the cloud
By Paul Ridden
January 24, 2013
Computers running recording software like the OPC from Orange Amps give musicians the power to create CD-quality songs without having to book expensive studio time. Wouldn't it be great, though, if each member of the band could access the music creation tools from anywhere, using any device? That's essentially what's on offer with BandLab from JamHub. Announced today at the Winter NAMM Show in Anaheim (CA), this full-featured digital audio workstation (DAW) lives in the cloud and gives users secure online storage for multi-track recording sessions and the ability to upload, mix and edit tunes using a smartphone, tablet, laptop or computer.
In today's world of multi-terabyte storage, you probably wouldn't give a second thought to suddenly being faced with limited space and the inability to save the latest edit of your band's multi-track recording, but it can happen. The BandLab system safeguards against this (together with system failures, hardware upgrade issues or even a temperamental band member accidentally deleting everything in a fit of rage) by moving such files to secure online storage.
Assuming that they can get online, band members can access the cloud vault wherever they happen to be. Instead of sitting on the train twiddling thumbs, for example, the bass player or guitarist could be mixing, remixing or otherwise updating tracks using BandLab's intuitive interface that's been designed with touch-enabled devices in mind.
New mixes can be added to the project without damaging the original files, and whenever a band member has something to say, adds a new flavor to the mix or creates a new track, all project collaborators get instant notifications.
As with existing computer-based DAWs, an analog-to-digital converter of some kind will be needed to get the sounds from an instrument into BandLab. Users will be able to import existing project tracks created with other software (like GarageBand, for instance) as WAV files, and the system will be an open platform, allowing developers to create custom effects or voices, novel user interfaces and more.
BandLab launched on Kickstarter back in December 2012, and unfortunately failed to meet its funding target. The campaign video below shows the alpha system in operation.
Despite this setback, public trials of the beta system are set to start in March. Once opened up to wider availability, JamHub says that the BandLab app itself will be free to use, but there'll be a monthly or annual subscription for storage.
The five-point payment system will start with a free account that allows two songs to be stored in the cloud, and will run up to the top tier plan at a cost of US$14.99 per month or $150 per year for unlimited storage.
Users will be able to create unlimited mixes for each song, listen to the work of fellow bandmates, and make in-song comments. Once the final mix has been done, the finished project can be downloaded for onward publication and sale.
JamHub has also revealed a new live multi-track capture system called Tracker at NAMM, which can be plugged into any JamHub Studio model to capture stereo tracks in CD-quality from each channel for wireless upload to BandLab.