What equipment do you use to play along to things?

Mighty_Joker

Silver Member
In my band, my method for learning the songs, like many drummers, is to play along to drum-less backing tracks through headphones. Also, when using a metronome, I like to have it through my headphones, as obviously it's too quiet just on its own.

However, I'm at the point where I just can't hear what I'm trying to play along to. For playing along to songs, I have an iPod. Unfortunately, at max volume and with noise isolating headphones (I have both the Vic Firth isolating headphones, and in-ear isolation headphones), I just can't hear what I'm playing along to. The iPod is just too quiet.

My main metronome is just a basic korg, and with headphones plugged in, the tone only emits in mono through one ear, and I have the same problem.

The only way I've found that works is to feed my drums, via mics, into a recording desk latched to a PC, and play along to songs on the PC. However, for regular practice, this is a chore.

What do you all do to solve this problem? Why is my iPod too quiet, and what can I use as an alternative?

I'd love to hear what equipment you use to get over this problem.

Thanks,

Jon
 

dairyairman

Platinum Member
this is probably not going to help you, but when i practice on my yamaha electronic kit i feed the ipod into the module's "aux" port and use the built in mixer to mix that with the drum sounds.

another solution you might try is to use earbud style headphones and then cover them with the isolation headphones. i've never tried that myself but i've heard it can work.
 

skreg

Senior Member
You can get a headphone amplifier, get better headphones, or both. Be careful with the volume levels for long periods of time. I never liked my Vic Firth over-ears much, but I love my in-ear monitors from Etymotic Research. It's all about getting a good seal so that you actually get sound isolation, regardless of the brand you are using.

If you decide to get an amplifier for your headphones, find one with a limiter so that you don't blast your ears with some feedback or something. The limiter sets a max volume the headphones will push out regardless of the signal being fed in.

-sheldon
 

Bootz

Junior Member
My drumset is about 6 inches away from my computer so all I do is put in my earplugs, put on some noise canceling head phones that are plugged into my computer and play away.
 
N

nhzoso

Guest
I had this problem with Mp3 players and ipods too so I bought a cheap cd player, receiver and speakers from craigslist and I can hear the music fine through my headphones.

You have to put everyhting on cd but it does not take long to burn them. The downside is I have a ton of cd's lying around now.
 

Fuo

Platinum Member
I have a laptop setup next to my kit (I play mp3s with Winamp), it's headphone-out goes into my 'nome (Roland RMP-5), then it's headphone-out goes into Etymonics 6i's (with foam eartips, >35db isolation). I can hear everything fine with my 'nome on 50% volume.

I surprised though that an iPod won't go loud enough. Have you raised the max-volume setting IN ADDITION to the... whatever the normal volume setting is? iPods have a option in the settings screen that allows you to set it's max volume to prevent you from accidentally cranking it up too loud and blowing out your ears... maybe that setting is too low?
 

Ekim

Silver Member
I wore out a pair of "Metrophones" (water-filled earphones w/ built-in metronome) that I liked a whole lot.

But... they isolated me from the kit, probably too much.

The Vic Firth headphones are pretty good, but they don't isolate me enough when I play loud.

If I had a gun to my head, I would say go with the Vic Firth's. Because they might make you more sensitive to the sounds you are making as opposed to JUST the beats.

My 2 cents....
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
In my rehearsal room in my house I have a full-blown PA system, with everything going into a Yamaha mixing board. Probably a bit overkill compared to what you have, but I don't need headphones when I use my system. I'm pushing about 400 watts a side on my small amplifier (I have a bigger one for the mains that gets used when I go out for a gig).

Perhaps you could invest in one of those small PA systems you see on Musiciansfriend for $200 with the 10" speakers. That will be more than enough for hearing your iPod, and the brain/mixer will have a headphone out that will be more powerful. Power and wattage seem different for certain applications. Whenever someone tells me "home entertainment system", those are never loud enough for "live band performance". I haven't figured why that is because you'd think wattage is just wattage....
 

LukeSnyder

Gold Member
One thing you might want to consider is checking the level of the actual audio files that you're using. I have a feeling that this might be the problem, because I have the vic firth iso headphones, and they're capable of completely drowning out the drums. The song itself that you're using might just be really quiet.

I could be wrong, of course, but its a possibility.
 

konaboy

Pioneer Member
You're volume limiter may be set too low on your ipod. I've never had a problem practicing with just my ipod and a set of nice Sony over the ear headphones or my Sure EC2 Earbuds.

2 other things to consider:
How hard and loud are you playing? Trying playing with more dynamics if possible.

Get an inexpensive stereo reciever and run your ipod through it which will give you more volume.

I do want to caution that getting the volume up for long periods of time WILL damage your hearing.
 

jim_gregory

Senior Member
I go MP3 into small mixer, stereo in. Drum overhead and kick mics into small mixer. And headphones out. No noise to the world except drums but I hear it all in headphones. Small mixer is 10 inches left of the hats. MP3's live on an old laptop. Works fine. Ipod would do the same. Don't have to play it loud.
 

droveto

Senior Member
In my band, my method for learning the songs, like many drummers, is to play along to drum-less backing tracks through headphones. Also, when using a metronome, I like to have it through my headphones, as obviously it's too quiet just on its own.

However, I'm at the point where I just can't hear what I'm trying to play along to. For playing along to songs, I have an iPod. Unfortunately, at max volume and with noise isolating headphones (I have both the Vic Firth isolating headphones, and in-ear isolation headphones), I just can't hear what I'm playing along to. The iPod is just too quiet.

My main metronome is just a basic korg, and with headphones plugged in, the tone only emits in mono through one ear, and I have the same problem.

The only way I've found that works is to feed my drums, via mics, into a recording desk latched to a PC, and play along to songs on the PC. However, for regular practice, this is a chore.

What do you all do to solve this problem? Why is my iPod too quiet, and what can I use as an alternative?

I'd love to hear what equipment you use to get over this problem.

Thanks,

Jon
Get better headphones or maybe you have the volume limiter on your ipod turned on and are unable to get the right volume. I have no problem with the volume and I use pretty standard in ear headphones.
 

PQleyR

Platinum Member
I also wonder if headphone impedance might be the problem here.

What I do is plug my Sennheiser CX300 in-ears into my laptop or iPod and put some ear defenders over the top. I did a gig once using a small Behringer mixer too, that was good. You could think about investing in a 4-channel mixer or something to give you more options with gain, and that would also allow you to plug in a mic or something which you could mix in with the track you're playing too. If I'd had the money at the time I would probably have got a boundary mic or something to plug in and leave somewhere.
 
I use Shure SE-115 in ears. IF ind them to be very isolating, in some cases I have to turn the music down in order to hear the kit! I usually plug my headphones into my firewire interface as this is louder than my iPod, however I've used my iPod in the past and even a blackberry with no issues... as mentioned above, a good seal could be the key!
 

toddy

Platinum Member
I pods don't have much power, therefore use low impedance headphones, like Audio technica (ATH M50)
100% agree. I invested in these headphones a year or two ago and can only sing their praises. Absolutely brilliant. Can even be used for some mixing at a push.
 
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