Features in depth

General philosophy

Groovyband Live! is designed to be intuitive to use, with all the functionality you would expect and need for a fast and productive way of doing things. We know you just want to sit down and play and are not interested in computer idiosyncrasies and exhausting “button pushing” just to perform even the simplest things that to humans seem so obvious.
We then worked hard to design a clear and modern interface that looks good on contemporary high resolution and pixel density (touch) screens, an interface that can be fully operated with your fingers, as every smartphone app can.

But we also packed in as much functionality as we could to make your life easier, trying to capitalize the interface paradigm of hardware units everybody is familiar with, where if you push a button you expect it to light up, or a led to flash, or where a parameter is tweaked with a knob or slider.
This software gives you advanced functionality you will not find in every competing product (hardware of software), and at the same time it is obsessively focused on details that, as simple as they are (like being able to reorder a bank of memory locations), can make the difference between a nightmare and a great user experience.

But at the end of the day, the sound is what matter most. We have developed state of the art algorithms and expertise that make our real time arranger engine absolutely top notch, with a general smoothness and realism you will not find elsewhere.
You do not have to believe us. You can try it for yourself with the free Groovyband DEMO, and make an A/B comparison with your favorite (you name it) arranger.

User interface

 Click on screenshots to enlarge full screen 

Modern flat design and colorful UI, designed from the ground up for touch devices and comfortably operable with your finger (touch, long press, double tap, swipe gestures). Vector graphics that scales to any resolution and pixel density: you get razor sharp lines and text with the intended size on any display with any resolution. From tablets to wide format 4K monitors.

Main screen
Main screen usually used when performing. Various sections are context sensitive and can be reconfigured at the touch of a button.

We recommend a minimum of 12″ tablets/laptops with 1200×800 pixels resolution. The UI is perfectly operable with the mouse too. Our advice is to use a mouse when programming the software (for fastest speed and precision), and a touch screen (typically a tablet or laptop) as a control surface and screen while performing.
We road tested it with a 13.5″ 3000×2000 pixels tablet, laid down on the keyboard: it looks gorgeous and is a joy to use.

Manual chapter: UI

Hardware controllers

Two keyboards + pedal board (or third keyboard) + 1 additional control surface supported. All must be connected to the PC with USB or midi interface. The first keyboard is typically used in split fashion (like an hardware arranger) for chord recognition and lead lines playing (8 accompaniment parts + 4 lead parts). The second (optional) keyboard and the pedal board (optional) are configurable for additional 4 parts (splits/layers as needed).

Manual chapter: Midi ports setup

These 4 midi input devices can be also used as physical sliders and buttons sources to trigger commands without the need to use the touch screen or a mouse (or to augment it where maximum rapidity and tactile feel is at premium).

Manual chapter: Bindings setup

Sound source

Groovyband outputs midi data to be played by a compatible device. Currently are supported Yamaha PSR (S950, S770 and newer 7xx and 9xx series), Tyros (3 and newer) and Genos arrangers. Other devices might work as well, possibly with reduced functionality. A free demo version is available for testing.
The sound source keyboard is typically also used as the first or second keyboard for input purposes. It is not suitable as a full fledged control surface (for sliders and buttons) since Yamaha arrangers do NOT output midi data when operating most of their physical controls.

The absolute minimal (and fairly common!) setup is a tablet connected through an usb cable with one of the aformentioned arrangers, laid on top and used as a touch enabled controller and screen.

Conductor panel

Style structure

A style plays 8 parts and is composed of these sections: 3 intros, 3 endings, 8 mains, 8 fills, 2 breaks. Each part is freely (and graphically) configurable in every parameter (voice, volume, pan, insert effect, mute, …) for the style as a whole or for each of the sections independently.

You can graphically reorder main sections or copy one section in another slot as a base for further editing and parameter tweaking. Main section patterns (the riff they play) can be changed smoothly on the fly with a click from the main screen, without music interruption, to experiment new ideas and to introduce further variation in your music.
You can reorder, duplicate, modify sections, mix & match patterns and parameters in every part of every section at the touch of your finger, right on the main screen, while the style is playing, with a perfectly smooth musical result, with immediate feedback!! Having 8 inline main variations to store your edits, gives you the ability to forge even the most complex and varied arrangements for every section of a song.

Manual chapter: Mixer

Style control

In addition to 8 Main buttons, you have 8 dedicated Fill buttons, so that you can instantly decide to switch main sections with or without a fill. Fills and Breaks can optionally be synced to the next measure’s start (even if you press them in advance). When switching Main sections with a fill, you can decide to trigger a fill musically “closer” to the source or destination section, or something in between (auto setting). Half bar fill is supported for all the tempos with an even number of bars per measure.

Intros and Endings can be looped too, sometimes useful while performing, invaluable during editing. Intros “count-in” bars (where present) only play when you start the style, and not when you use the intro mid-performance as a riff to spice up your execution.

Manual chapter: Conductor

Sequencer control

Start/stop. Sync start. Sync stop. Hold left chord (accompaniment continues to play even when you raise your left hand). Bass Inversion (the bass part plays the lowest note of the chord actually played, instead of the root). Fixed or Smart split point.

When smart split point is active, under certain conditions, you can also play melody parts on the left of the split point. So it is less likely to run out of keys, even on narrow keybeds. You can also instantly transpose up/down by 1 or 2 octaves all the lead parts playing on the right of the split point (good if you run out of physical keys while playing a melody riff).

Tap tempo, tempo hold, tempo lock. Fade in/out.

Sequencer control panel

Manual chapter: Sequencer control

Manual chapter: Tempo and Fade

Lead voices and OTS panel

Lead Parts and OTS

Every style has also 4 lead parts that can be configured as left/right as needed (from L1÷3 + R, to R1÷4 and any combination in between). The whole set of 4 lead parts is called OTS (One Touch Settings). There are 8 OTS slots in each style; every main variation can be linked to any OTS for automatic recall while switching main sections during play. OTSes can be graphically reordered and maintain their link with the main section(s) they refer to (also reordering mains maintains the link with the corresponding OTS).

Left hand voices can be held (= kept playing) even when you raise your left hand. You can toggle (from active/inactive) the right hand voices at the press of a button, thus giving you another option to add variation. I.e.: you could have a configuration L + R1÷3, where only R1 and R2 are initially active (= play). At the touch of a button you can instantly switch off R1 and R2 and bring up R3, and later go back to R1 + R2. A single OTS can then be used for 2 different scenarios.

OTSes can take effect immediately as you select them, or at the next measure’s downbeat. The desired behaviour is selectable right from the main screen, even while performing.

Manual chapter: Lead Voices

Manual chapter: One Touch Settings (OTS)

Harmony

For every lead voice you can add to the actually played note up to 3 other harmonized notes (fully customisable with immediate feedback while playing). Two harmony modes available (fixed intervals, played chord intervals), root note can be suppressed, separate volume control for harmonized notes vs root note.

By combining various lead voices (R1÷4), each one contributing different harmonized notes, you can build complex sections of instruments, each one playing different notes, automatically tracking your chords.
You have full control, so you can get the exact effect you want, from subtle to bold. Turn your single note melody line into a whole band tracking your left hand chords!!

Manual chapter: Harmony

Aux voices panel

Aux Parts

Each style has associated 4 “aux” parts (A1÷A4), to be played on the second keyboard or pedal board (if connected). Each aux part has freely assignable destination (second keyboard / pedal board), key and velocity ranges, so that any conceivable layer/split configuration is possible. You can then easily enrich your performances with 2 keyboards setups (i.e.: arranger + hammer-action “piano” keyboard, or any other combination of size and action) + pedal board, knowing that all the parameters and settings are recalled at once with the style itself. Aux parts’ sound still comes from the Yamaha arranger used as sound source, the second keyboard and pedal board are used only as midi controllers.

You can easily setup home organs with double manual + pedal board. If you have a midi capable old organ console you can also use both manuals and pedal board (and pistons, switches, … as well) from the console.

Manual chapter: Lead Voices

General Transpose (+/- 12 semitones) affecting all parts (accompaniment, lead, aux). Transposition of a playing style is smooth and musically pleasing, so that it can be used to modulate to a different tonality in a perfectly natural and credible way.

OTS/Aux memory slots

To simplify editing and cross breeding of data across styles, 8 memory slots for OTSes and 8 slots for a set of 4 aux parts are provided (as well as 8 slots for single part voices). You can easily copy data from one style to another, as a base for further modifications or experiments. Of course everything works while the style is playing and takes effect smoothly. It has never been so easy to try out new ideas!

Manual chapter: Lead Voices – Memory slots

APG panel

APG (Active Parts Group)

With 8 Main sections to work with, all easily modifiable on the fly and freely linkable to 8 different OTSes, everythink backed-up by additional 4 Aux parts instantly available on a second keyboard and pedal board, there is a lot of room to instill music diversity in your performances (whether you carefully pre-programmed everything or like to improvise on the fly).

Nonetheless we added another great tool that unleash your creativity and let you “catch the moment” during live performances. You can create 4 different configurations of active (= un-muted) accompaniment parts, saved with every style, that can be recalled at the touch of a button and superimpose to whatever section is playing at that moment. With musical intelligence, they take effect at the next measure’s downbeat, even if you pushed the button well in advance. You can then selectively mute some parts, according to the needs of the moment, irrespective of what was pre-programmed in the section currently playing.

Manual chapter: Acmp Voices

Voice edit panel

Voice Editor

Most voice parameters allowed by the XG standard can be conveniently edited in a logically organized and self explanatory panel. The editor (and the underlying real time arranger engine) is mega voices aware: if you transpose a mega voice, only the melodic part of the voice gets transposed, the noises remain fixed as you would expect. Noises in mega voices can be (de)emphasized or totally disabled at will.
While editing a voice, you can solo the part to better hear your tweaking and A/B compare it with the unedited voice, at the press of a button.

Voices in style parts can be customized on a section by section basis (i.e.: you can open the filter in section Intro 3, and close it everywhere else; and/or fine tune the EQ for any section you wish).

Manual chapter: Voice Editor

Dsp effects panel

Effects management and Editor

Support for up to one insert effect per part + 3 global effects (variation, chorus, reverb) accessible through sends from the mixer. Each effect can be activated, deactivated or muted directly from the mixer panel. The variation DSP can be routed as an additional insert. Sends and insert effects can be customised on a section by section basis.
DSPs are color coded so that you can instantly correlate a send with the corresponding DSP. DSPs or send knobs are dimmed if not available in a given configuration.

Pedal wah and rotary slow/fast effects can be conveniently controlled with pedals and foot switches.

Full blown effect editor, with parameters logically grouped per function, ordered according the signal path, and consistently color coded for immediate recognition.
16 memory slots for every DSP algorithm to store your favorite settings, possibly to be used as starting points for further tweaking. Parameters can be transferred with a single button press from one algorithm to similar algorithms (i.e.: transfer the common parameters from “Vintage Distortion” to “Vintage Distortion + Delay” algorithms to test “what if” scenarios).
Every part (accompaniment, lead, aux) remembers the IFX (insert effect) last set, so that you can freely deactivate/activate again a DSP for a given part without losing any setting.

Manual chapter: Dsp Editor

Registrations

A registration is a bundle of a style (automatic accompaniment, lead and aux voices, OTSes, APGs) + many global settings in the program (i.e.: the position of the split point). When you load a registration you can decide to load only the style it contains (ignoring everything else), thus reducing itself to a regular style. Or you can decide to load also the other settings, configuring instantly the whole program state.
A registration is loaded from disk and organised in folders as you see fit. You therefore have an unlimited number of registrations to be organised as you like. There is a “startup” registration that, if present, configures everything every time you launch Groovyband Live!

Manual chapter: Registration

Styles and registrations, as well as OTSes, load and take effect without hiccups or whatsoever hesitation. Your virtual band will switch across styles as a real band would: naturally and smoothly. Held notes and DSP effects tails do NOT get abruptly cut when you switch a style. The name of the booked style (the one that will take effect at next measure’s start) is shown in advance, so that you are always in control.
There is a “previous style” button and 2 style memory slots to easily go back and forth and switch between selected styles without the need to open the file management panel. This also comes in handy when you want to copy data between styles.

Style panel

Manual chapter: Style display

File Management

Styles, registrations and voices are all handled uniformly through the file selector, that also doubles as a playlist manager.
For every category of files you have a “preset” and a “user” section. You can toggle from one to the other. The difference is that the presets are not modifiable within the program, while the user files are (save, rename, new folder creation, delete). But since Groovyband does not want to impose anything on the user, you can also modify the preset sections (file names, folder organization, ordering), as you see fit, in the Windows file explorer.

Additionally, for every section, you have 8 configurable “path” buttons to immediately jump to a folder of your choice within that section’s folders hierarchy. This functionality can be used in various way. The most obvious is as a bookmark to places you visit often. But it can also be used to construct easily addressable playlists.
A folder is a playlist. Within that folder you can order the files as you like, irrespective of the name shown on screen. The folder can be associated with any of the 8 path buttons to have immediate access to its content from wherever you are.

Manual chapter: File selector

File selector panel