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Playing to a backing track - mighty frustrated


LowYaw

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we're a 4 piece band - very basic - drums, bass, one guitar, voc

normally, we record demos at home, and the try to "recreate" it in reherarsals

 

but

 

on the demos, there's always quite a bit of stuff supporting the sound - one or two synths, drum sampler, double-tracked guitars. we tried to bring it to rehearsals, as backing tracks, basically the same recording, xpt for guitar ?ass and drum tracks ending up muted - it never worked. you can't really hear the playback. it works better, if we mute drum sampler and all the low-end heavy stuff - but the it's not the same :( it doesn't sound right

 

do we need a bigger PA system (our current is about 1,5 kW)? or should a BT be approached in a totally differentr way?

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Playing with backing tracks need some getting used to, the timing and volume of each track can be tricky, how do you guys play your BT? I play in a duo (2 guitars), and we still have a hard time getting used to the BT

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we're a 4 piece band - very basic - drums, bass, one guitar, voc

normally, we record demos at home, and the try to "recreate" it in reherarsals


but


on the demos, there's always quite a bit of stuff supporting the sound - one or two synths, drum sampler, double-tracked guitars. we tried to bring it to rehearsals, as backing tracks, basically the same recording, xpt for guitar ?ass and drum tracks ending up muted - it never worked. you can't really hear the playback. it works better, if we mute drum sampler and all the low-end heavy stuff - but the it's not the same
:(
it doesn't sound right


do we need a bigger PA system (our current is about 1,5 kW)? or should a BT be approached in a totally differentr way?

your monitors are more important than you FOH output. Can your drummer wear headphones for monitors?

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I played in a band back in the nineties that used backing tracks for about 50% of the songs. First off, you should really have a click of some sort so that even when nothing is there, the drummer can play to the track. Then for it to really work, you're going to need every playback track, sampler, synth 1, synth 2.... on their own separate mixer channel for EQ and monitoring reasons.

 

And more than anythng your drummer (primarily) will have to be able to play with tracks. Not every drummer can, at least at first. And some folks never want to bother to learn. Can't say that I blame them, it's a bit of an art to play with feeling while you're playing with a machine or tracks.

 

As mentioned, with tracks monitors are everything. We were a five piece band and we had five monitor mixes not including the keyboard player's mix. He had $30,000.00 worth of keyboard and monitor gear and this was fifteen years ago.

 

I still play with tracks in a single or duo - much simpler!

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on the demos, there's always quite a bit of stuff supporting the sound - one or two synths, drum sampler, double-tracked guitars. we tried to bring it to rehearsals, as backing tracks, basically the same recording, xpt for guitar ?ass and drum tracks ending up muted - it never worked. you can't really hear the playback. it works better, if we mute drum sampler and all the low-end heavy stuff - but the it's not the same
:(
it doesn't sound right


do we need a bigger PA system (our current is about 1,5 kW)? or should a BT be approached in a totally differentr way?

 

IMO, nobody can adequately answer your question until you offer some more details, especially around what you're using for playback of the tracks, both the method of playing them (via laptop, mP3 player, direct from a hard-disk recorder, etc.) and what you're using to you're amplify/listen to them (IEMs, headphones, through wedges, etc.)

 

I think some are on the right track, though; if you're playing back through the PA and your monitor wedges/mains are sub-standard, you'll continue to have problems. The fact that the low-end/heavy stuff isn't representing well does indicate a likely issue in that area.

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Our backing tracks are loaded onto an mp3 player, Which is plugged into a small 4 channel board next the drummer. The tracks are set up with a click on the left and music on the right so the right channel goes to the board and the drummer puts what he wants into earbuds. Works surprisingly well.

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Our backing tracks are loaded onto an mp3 player, Which is plugged into a small 4 channel board next the drummer. The tracks are set up with a click on the left and music on the right so the right channel goes to the board and the drummer puts what he wants into earbuds. Works surprisingly well.

 

 

That's the method I've successfully used before. Well done backing tracks as MP3s, stereo mixed with click and cues (Usually a two bar intro with verbal cues, a count-in for the drummer only, a count-in for the drummer to cue the rest of the band, "Verse one" ... "coming up to chorus in 4-3-2-1...", etc) for the drummer on one side and FOH mix (vox, rhythm gtr, keys, sound fx, etc) on the other side.

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I have done this a fair numer of times, always with me as drummer- always used an iPod and splitter, with tracks and a click hard-panned. For the drummer, it can involve a bit of effort and stress, but it's certainly do-able. (...unless the drummer has serious timing issues. But then you have bigger problems anyway.)

 

You really need to get your levels set right, though, prepare for eventualities, and be able to carry the song without the tracks if something goes wrong.

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We don't use backing tracks much... only one medley which is a sequenced mix of samples we are running from an Akai MPC unit. The MPC sits in the keys mix with it's levels set aggressively. We are all in ear (except me) so everyone hears the track with no problems. We don't pan... no click track. Bass and drums are following the track just as you would follow a CD recording. Simple and flawless.

 

Well except for our drummer who missed the change a bit about 0:08 sec in. To be fair he was 'new' and this was the first time we played the song live.

 

[video=facebook;205611206130887]http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=205611206130887

 

We tried building tracks with a click and found it distracting. We experienced major fail the first and only time we decided to use a full on backing track for 'Low" (Flo'Rida). It sounded awful, looked stupid and we felt like idiots. We prerecorded multiple layered tracks and set a click. The volume on the track wasn't mixed well at all and we couldn't hear anything in the monitors, only the bleed from FOH. So it was 2 1/2 minutes of enduring total embarrassment. From then on we pledged to be 'in front' of the track instead of behind it. It was also incentive to get in a 2nd keyboard player.

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My question to the OP would be why not get someone in to play the synths and samples? Playing all the various effects live will sound much better than playing to a backing track, which will probably inhibit your performances. Depends on the genre though.

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My question to the OP would be why not get someone in to play the synths and samples? Playing all the various effects live will sound much better than playing to a backing track, which will probably inhibit your performances. Depends on the genre though.

 

Sometimes you don't want to hire additional band members for something that's only needed on like 2 or 3 songs all night? :idk:

 

But if it's most of the songs, you might have a point.

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Post in both forums. More BT experience here, though.

 

 

 

i thought cross-posting was kinda no-no? and i hoped thet you guys deal more with this specific matter.

anyway. we do it in a sort of U2 kind of way

 

all teh tracks are loaded on a laptop running Cubase, so we can mix them on the fly

otherwise, it's a laptop with some Adope software, that has BT in the left channel, click in the right channel

 

the drummer monitors only the click track through headphones.

so he plays all the count ins, counts pauses, etc, and we play along to him.

 

on the BT, we have:

 

1. a drum sampler track - that plays a loop, or duplicates the drum part for a more produced / dance kinda sound. and no, we can't buy triggers + module.

 

2. there are backing vocals on the BT

plus, as I am a sole guitar player in the band, there's

 

3. one or two guitar parts more playing all kind of bells and whistles and sound fx

 

4. and one more track for special fx where available LOL

 

the problem is that we feel like we need a 50 kW FOH to hear the BT. otherwise it gets drowned out so easily

i'm going to high pass alot of stuff, limit the "ever-loving piss out of it" © and we'll see how it works

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My question to the OP would be why not get someone in to play the synths and samples? Playing all the various effects live will sound much better than playing to a backing track, which will probably inhibit your performances. Depends on the genre though.

 

 

well, that means getting in someone who has the gear and it's always one more member with a day job, pissed off girlfriend, bla bla. the smaller the band, the easier it is to operate

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the problem is that we feel like we need a 50 kW FOH to hear the BT. otherwise it gets drowned out so easily

i'm going to high pass alot of stuff, limit the "ever-loving piss out of it" (c) and we'll see how it works

 

 

I still hold that nobody here is going to be able to give you really sound advice that helps with the specific problem you are having until you offer more about what you're playing it back through.

 

What kind of speakers/wedges, etc.? And alongside what kind of amps for the guitars/bass, etc.

 

I would resist trying to tweak through EQ/limiting until you can establish that what you're using for actual sound reinforcement is sufficient to 'compete' along with your backline.

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I still hold that nobody here is going to be able to give you really sound advice that helps with the specific problem you are having until you offer more about what you're playing it back through.


What kind of speakers/wedges, etc.? And alongside what kind of amps for the guitars/bass, etc.


I would resist trying to tweak through EQ/limiting until you can establish that what you're using for actual sound reinforcement is sufficient to 'compete' along with your backline.

 

oh thanks i overlooked that, stupid me

 

so, as far as gear goes:

 

FOH: 4x active Park Audio delta something 500 w rms speakers, not wedges - two pairs top + woofer, Midas 24ch board. if we don't play to a BT, it handles vocals only and a miced up kick on alternate Wednesdays :D

Orange bass head w/Ampeg Pro neo 4x10 cab

and I run POD HD500 into 120 w ss randal head 4x12 randall cab

 

tnat's it

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I'm going to guess the issue is:

"4x active Park Audio delta something 500 w rms speakers"

 

I've never heard of Park Audio; hard to assess without an actual model number, but when I Google "Park Audio Delta", I get nothing but hits of pages that look to be in Russian, which I am not clicking through to...

 

You may want to swing over to Live Sound/Production and get an assessment of those speakers/their ability to adequately reproduce full-range of your tracks (esp. low end) at volume.

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I'm going to guess the issue is:

"4x active Park Audio delta something 500 w rms speakers"


I've never heard of Park Audio; hard to assess without an actual model number, but when I Google "Park Audio Delta", I get nothing but hits of pages that look to be in Russian, which I am not clicking through to...


You may want to swing over to Live Sound/Production and get an assessment of those speakers/their ability to adequately reproduce full-range of your tracks (esp. low end) at volume.

 

 

yep, i get the same pages. i don't know where they got that system from.

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I'm the drummer in a band that does a lot of this. The key is to make sure your drummer can hear the track and himself. Inevitably everyone will follow the drums so he MUST stay with the track. If he drifts, the whole band will go with him and then you'll have a track and a band playing different stuff. Very bad. I don't use a click but if it'll help your drummer, then by all means put one in his mix.

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