Not sure where this topic would fall...live backing tracks

93civEJ1

Senior Member
Ok,

So I am currently playing for a guy, and I am wanting to try my hand at setting us up with some backing tracks for live performances.

I have contacted the guy who produced his most recent EP album, and I can get ahold of the individual instrument tracks for the songs.

With that said, what program do you guys use live? I know many will say ableton. Is there anything that is comparable?

What do you use to create your tracks, clicks and cues etc?

Any help would be much appreciated!
 

93civEJ1

Senior Member
Btw...I am looking at using my mackie 802VLZ3 8 channel mixer to run my click and backing track from something like an IPAD...Iphone...mp3 player etc.

I have been researching and see that its good to create the track as 2 mono tracks...a click panned hard to one side, and then the backing panned to the other side.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
If you're simply running a stereo track, you can create those tracks in GarageBand (free on your MAC) or Acid (for PC, I think there's a free version.) Export to iTunes and create your playlist for the night.

As you make the mixes, be sure to save them. You may need to go back and make tweaks, and working with the existing mix is easier than starting from scratch.

Also remember that if you're counting-off songs, you'll need a count in your ear so that you can then count to the band. So you'd hear "one and two and" then you'd hear and count out loud "one two three four" (or whatever you need.)

Also, may I suggest that instead of using a 'click' for your feed, program a simple drum part, or if possible, use the drums from the original recording. It's much easier to lock into another 'drummer', especially when competing with a track and other live players. If there's a happening and consistent percussion part, that can be both a sufficient click, and fun to play with.

Have fun!

Bermuda
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
At church we use PRIME and run everything off of an iPad. We use an AVIOM system, so not only do we get the tracks, we also get the click track in addition to auditory cues. We've had good luck with it so far.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
I have been researching and see that its good to create the track as 2 mono tracks...a click panned hard to one side, and then the backing panned to the other side.
Correct. It's much easier to pick out clicks, tracks, and your own parts, when they're panned. It also keeps the overall volume lower, as you're not trying to make the parts compete volume-wise in order to be heard in the center. I have my drums in the center, click on the right, FOH track on the left. I pan my vocals the same way with me in the center and everyone else in stereo, so I can pick out and compare all of our voices.

Bermuda
 
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Naigewron

Platinum Member
I posted this in the other thread as well, but since this is a topic that gets asked about and searched for pretty frequently I guess I might just as well crosspost it here too:

-----------------------------------

I run a Zoom R8 portable recorder. It has 8 tracks, and I can set one of them to be the click track and route it only through the headphone out. That means I can have stereo backing tracks!

Pretty inexpensive, and also doubles as a portable recorder and/or an audio interface for a computer if we want to tape a rehearsal or something. Very nice unit, and compact enough to go into a small shoulder bag.

Link:
https://www.zoom.co.jp/products/multi-track-recorder/r8-recorder-interface-controller-sampler

Pic:
 
Posted this in the other thread as well :)

Edit: I use Albeton to create my cues as well. You can use any DAW from GarageBand(free on the mac) to Reaper (Windows). With my own band, we have videos linked up to the music, so I tend to create my own click tracks that change with the song as well so it's not just the generic click. That way, when I play, it's like I've got a percussionist playing with me and I groove on top of that. It's great fun and you can sometimes come up with some really cool creative things on the fly that you may not have thought about if you were just following a quarter note. It really helps me sound a lot less robotic. Hope that helps! :)
 
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93civEJ1

Senior Member
So,

If I get the individual instrument tracks from the producer, I am guessing I could say get the steel guitar, and banjo tracks , load them into cubase...mix all of that down into 1 track and pan it.

Take a click / cue track and pan it to the other way?

Then when all is said and dont I would have 1 stereo track, that would be split into mono again with a cable? or am i thinking wrong here?

Also, i noticed ableton live intro is fairly cheap. Would it be a good alternative for creating back tracks, and running them, or is the other way just as good since I already have all of the needed equipment? I pretty much have everythinng except the DI boxes.
 
So,

If I get the individual instrument tracks from the producer, I am guessing I could say get the steel guitar, and banjo tracks , load them into cubase...mix all of that down into 1 track and pan it.

Take a click / cue track and pan it to the other way?

Then when all is said and dont I would have 1 stereo track, that would be split into mono again with a cable? or am i thinking wrong here?
That's essentially it. When I do this I use an RCA jack (at least I think that's what it's called) to do this because I found that anything else seems to bleed a bit, but it's also easy to split the mix this way.
 

93civEJ1

Senior Member
gotcha.

Now my task is learning how to create a click track in my DAW of choice and getting it to line up with the backing tracks etc.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
gotcha.

Now my task is learning how to create a click track in my DAW of choice and getting it to line up with the backing tracks etc.
Making a click/sequence should be easy as long as the track was originally cut to a click. Figure out the tempo and set the grid for that. Then just line up beats or loops of whatever you want as your guide.

If using an actual metronome click, I recommend using as much of a pulse (subdivisions) as you can tolerate without going crazy. At 120bpm, I would use 8th notes, at 90bpm I'd use 16ths, at 150 I think 1/4s are fine. Don't fight or play games with the click, make it so you can follow it without fail. Some drummers think my live mix & click is screwy, but it's set up so that I won't stray from the click. And guess what - I don't. Well, once, possibly twice in the 30 years I've used a click on stage. :)

Bermuda
 

93civEJ1

Senior Member
Well I was thinking of trying cubase and loading in the audio files and creating a click track from scratch within there. I'm guessing I will have to zoom in like crazy on the audio file to find where the click lines up.
 

The Scorpio

Senior Member
I've done this two separate ways with two bands.

The first one was a dance band, so we did alot of songs with canned horns and synths. We used ableton for that and I highly recommend this method.

The second band did alot of rock and roll, so we had a couple of Floyd songs. For that I used Pro Tools, and although it worked it was incredibly cumbersome.

Either way playing with backing tracks is just amazing. It really pushes you to be as perfect as possibly with your drumming, and audiences love the additional sonic impact backing tracks have. There's nothing quite like playing Sam and Dave's "Hold on I'm coming" and watching the crowd go nuts when that horn part kicks in.
 

New Tricks

Platinum Member
Ok,


What do you use to create your tracks, clicks and cues etc?
This is kind of a two part process.

I use GarageBand to record the tracks but you could use whatever you know how to use.


To play/trigger them live, I load the finished WAV files onto a Roland SPD-SX because it's simple.



Like others, I generally pan a tamborine click to one ear and the tracks/music to the other (or both). Some kinds of tracks don't need a click throughout as you can clearly hear the parts. Others are not so clear and the click is paramount so you don't slip a half beat off :(

1) Lay out the song and build a click track. I like an eight count wood block for the intro. I count the band in on 5,6,7,8 and we are all in sync.

2) Drop your tracks in place below the click track and your recording is done.

Triggering them is another choice you have to make. Some people will hit the space bar or push a button to trigger them straight from the computer. Some will hook up an E pad or foot switch to some kind of midi device and use that to start them from the computer.

To offer a last minute double check, a friend of mine who uses the computer method, adds an extra layer of security on his tracks. Since the computer screen isn't exactly legible from the stage, he records the name of the song, then the click intro. That way, anyone listening to the panned click track will have confirmation on what is about to play and has time to abort and make changes..




I prefer a stand alone piece of hardware. The SPD-SX gives me easy access, I can easily change to the next song, I can easily read the display and I can kill it quickly in the event of a trainwreck, (which won't happen when working with quality players).

At $200, the Roland TM 2 is a less expensive option and it has more storage via flash card, but it lacks some options that the SX offers.


As far as playing the tracks, you also need to decide if they will play straight through or not. For example, if you only have backing in the bridge in the middle of the song, you might just want to trigger it when it comes up. That way, you aren't stressed about being a half beat off and crashing when it comes in too early or late.

There are also the songs that might have an acoustic guitar and vocal only in the intro/first verse. You can force the singer/guitar to adhere to some kind of click to stay on tempo or you can just let him wing it and stay close until the backing comes in.

For the drummer, the easiest thing to do is just run the tracks all the way through......unless you have other players trying to pull you off the click. In that case, turn up the click and/or find players who can follow the drums.



Here is another click tip. Put the same distinctively different 8 count wood block click at the end of the song to give you a heads up. Often, endings are repetitious and you get lulled to sleep and wonder where you are. The other players are often in the same mode you you can give them a heads up as well.


I'm guessing I will have to zoom in like crazy on the audio file to find where the click lines up.
If you're lucky, the stems will all start at the beginning.


Are there any good music production forums to join for things like this??

You found it :)

When you get the tracks, feel free to ask questions. You won't easily find first hand, real life advice comparable to Bermuda's anywhere else.


One last thing. If the tracks are not in perfect tempo, you are kind of screwed but there is a work around.

1) Listen and record your own click track by following the recording. I've had to do it a couple times as a favor.
2) Edit the track into tempo by adding/deleting tiny segments. It can be a complete PITA but it's doable if you have the patience..
 
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93civEJ1

Senior Member
thanks...creating click tracks to songs that are already recorded is new to me.

I downloaded reaper a bit ago to just play around and see if i can make a click track to a instrumental backing track.

I got a free version of "house of the rising sun" by the animals. Of course this song is in 6/8.

I cant for the life of me get a click to line up with this song. Maybe i picked a wrong song to practice with.
 

New Tricks

Platinum Member
You are not going to find ANY old music that is in perfect tempo.

Creating a simple click track is the easy part. put in 4 notes/beats, adjust them to the markers, copy paste paste paste.

If you just want to work on building a click, choose a modern pop song like Maroon 5's Harder to Breathe and it will be in a perfect 150bpm all the way through.

If you want to create a click to HOTRS, simply play it, focus closely and record along with it using a midi keyboard or something. In won't be in perfect tempo but it will match the song if you really stay focused. You can also of course go through adjust the midi notes slightly if you go astray.


If it's a current pop or hip hop song, no problem since there are any/many real instruments used. I think I've seen 5 out of a couple hundred I've worked on.

Nothing on old analog tape will be perfect either. Sections of the song may have been recorded to a click but the splicing on the intros, verses, instrumentals etc will have thrown it off.

Reproduction may also deteriorate the tempo too or different machines have slightly different tempos.... I'm only speculating. All I know for sure is that most music isn't in perfect tempo. I deconstruct a lot of songs in order to copy/write backing tracks and 95% of the time I have to spend a half hour editing it in tempo.

The one time I had to make a track to match an off tempo recording, I had to play it a few times and make a matching click. It's easier to edit it into tempo. It also makes it MUCH easier to work with because you don't have to hunt too hard for the edit points.

Get your tracks, see if they are in perfect tempo and then decide on a course of action. If they are not, get as close as you can, expand it as much as possible, find the spikes (some songs/tracks are easier than others) and cut/split/move them. Like I said, it's a PITA, but doable.
 
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93civEJ1

Senior Member
You are not going to find ANY old music that is in perfect tempo.

Creating a simple click track is the easy part. put in 4 notes/beats, adjust them to the markers, copy paste paste paste.
So even if a song is say in 6/8 time, you would still create the click track in 4 quarter clicks?

i just figured it would click like Tick tock tock Tick tock tock
 

93civEJ1

Senior Member
You are not going to find ANY old music that is in perfect tempo.

Creating a simple click track is the easy part. put in 4 notes/beats, adjust them to the markers, copy paste paste paste.

If you just want to work on building a click, choose a modern pop song like Maroon 5's Harder to Breathe and it will be in a perfect 150bpm all the way through.

If you want to create a click to HOTRS, simply play it, focus closely and record along with it using a midi keyboard or something. In won't be in perfect tempo but it will match the song if you really stay focused. You can also of course go through adjust the midi notes slightly if you go astray.


If it's a current pop or hip hop song, no problem since there are any/many real instruments used. I think I've seen 5 out of a couple hundred I've worked on.

Nothing on old analog tape will be perfect either. Sections of the song may have been recorded to a click but the splicing on the intros, verses, instrumentals etc will have thrown it off.

Reproduction may also deteriorate the tempo too or different machines have slightly different tempos.... I'm only speculating. All I know for sure is that most music isn't in perfect tempo. I deconstruct a lot of songs in order to copy/write backing tracks and 95% of the time I have to spend a half hour editing it in tempo.

The one time I had to make a track to match an off tempo recording, I had to play it a few times and make a matching click. It's easier to edit it into tempo. It also makes it MUCH easier to work with because you don't have to hunt too hard for the edit points.

Get your tracks, see if they are in perfect tempo and then decide on a course of action. If they are not, get as close as you can, expand it as much as possible, find the spikes (some songs/tracks are easier than others) and cut/split/move them. Like I said, it's a PITA, but doable.
Thanks for this informative post. i never thought about creating a track / midi click with a keyboard. I need to read up on how to do that. It would be sweet if as the song plays you can record a spot when you hit the button. I am guessing that is how you are speaking!
 

New Tricks

Platinum Member
Most musical keyboards, even cheap ones, have a USB port.

Also, most recording programs will have some method to record notes using you computer/keyboard/mouse.

Use the midi/piano roll function and adjust the notes to be what and where you want them.
 
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