The concept is simple and has been proven in hardware many times previously by Yamaha, Roland and others: provide a sample playback device that lets you load from a library of General MIDI-compatible sounds, hook this up to a MIDI keyboard or sequencer and away you go.
A complete set of instruments and settings can be loaded or saved as a Preset in the Header area at the top of the Play View Window. Below this, there are 16 cells into which you can load and adjust one sound for each channel in Bandstand’s 16-track GM player.
Underneath the cells the Quick Edit Bar has buttons that switch the cell displays so you can edit various instrument settings. Below this, the Instrument Browser displays 64 of the 128 instruments provided at a time. To assign an instrument to a cell, simply click on it and drag it from the Instrument Browser to the cell.
If you want to play a sound using the mouse, you can use the five-octave virtual keyboard at the bottom of the window to trigger notes on selected instruments. To the right of this is a MIDI file player into which you can load any MIDI file.
Above the Player is the Master section with main Volume control along with Reverb, Chorus, EQ and Limiter controls. Click on the Mix button at the top-right of the window and the display switches to the Mix View window. Here you can apply individual settings for volume, pan, EQ, Chorus and Reverb to each of the 16 Instrument channels.
Bandstand is extremely easy to use, making it ideal for live performances. It can also be loaded as a plug-in into Logic, Cubase, Digital Performer or Pro Tools using AU, VST or RTAS formats. The drum kits are much better than those in most General MIDI sound libraries, sounding crisp and well-defined. And when you hit any of the toms in the brushes kit you hear a little after-ring from the snare, which would always happen unless the snare is muted. The other instruments are generally of a very good standard, although I have heard better. Overall, Bandstand ‘does what it says on the tin’. Good value.