What's the best way to play backing tracks live?

PQleyR

Platinum Member
Hi all. I know this is sort of gear-related but it's not really drum gear so I thought I'd put it here for want of a more appropriate place.

Basically, one of the bands I'm in is going to begin playing live some time next year and I need to sort out a good means for sending backing tracks to front of house and a click track to my headphones or in-ears. There's a number of ways to approach this so I wanted to know what you thought were the best options.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Simplest method is to use an iPod or CD player, you get one channel, house gets the other. Works fine, assuming you or the house don't need a stereo feed. :)

Next step up would be a software solution, such as a laptop with audio interface & multiple outs, and a program. Many users like Ableton Live. There are now sophisticated programs and breakout boxes for the iPad/iPhone.

But unless you need stereo feeds, I'd keep it simple, cheap, and easy for anyone to operate as needed. Even an iPod sounds great in a concert situation.

Bermuda
 

PQleyR

Platinum Member
Yeah, I have actually done that once before. I'd since heard that there can be a problem with crosstalk between the left and right channels of a stereo minijack output, which seems plausible, but I take it that isn't an issue in your experience?
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Yeah, I have actually done that once before. I'd since heard that there can be a problem with crosstalk between the left and right channels of a stereo minijack output, which seems plausible, but I take it that isn't an issue in your experience?
I don't know for sure, I would have assumed each channel would be clean. But, I haven't used an iPod for that, my tracks/clicks come from a Mac video server with 4 audio channels. :)

Bermuda
 

jornthedrummer

Silver Member
I do not like the stability of the iPhone/iPad headphone socket.
I use an Alesis IODock with my iPad that also keeps it charged.

This way I at least get •2 x 1/4" Balanced TRS Mains out.

There are people that makes iPhone docking stations/DI boxes. I think SM Pro Audio is one of them.

thx

jorn
 
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Over the Years I've used 4 to 16 track track Roland units, Mini Disk players and Ipods.

If you use something that is mini jack or Rca outs make sure you have great shielded cables.

When using an Ipod I like to take the music side and run it through my mixer, then send the p.a. an aux from my mixer, So I can get the music in my headphones as well as the click..

If you are doing this and have a cheap mixer.. Separating the channels like click in 1 and music in 4 or 5 can help with crossbleed that sometimes occurs...

The best audio by far is a multi track unit.. The most I've used is a 18 track vss1880 with 8 outs..
 

Naigewron

Platinum Member
Yeah, I have actually done that once before. I'd since heard that there can be a problem with crosstalk between the left and right channels of a stereo minijack output, which seems plausible, but I take it that isn't an issue in your experience?
I've experienced crosstalk on Roland SPD-S units (which is extremely disappointing, considering they're made for live use), but never on iPods and other similar units.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
The Roland SPD-SX certainly has enough ram (2gb) to deliver plenty of stereo sample material, and it can be configured to send a 2nd stereo sample from additional stereo outs by linking pads, so that's potentially 4 channels of audio. And the advantages for the drummer being able to cue a track right on time, or on the fly while playing, make it better suited than trying to cue another playback device. (If nec, sample playback can be stopped with a single button.)

But, $800 is a lot to spend just to playback tracks!

Bermuda
 

New Tricks

Platinum Member
I need to sort out a good means for sending backing tracks to front of house and a click track to my headphones or in-ears.
If you are playing with backing tracks, wouldn't a click is be redundant? (unless there is no clear rhythm in the tracks).





But, $800 is a lot to spend just to playback tracks!

Bermuda
It's cheaper and more reliable than a keyboard/horn/ player :)

For what I/we do, it's the best money I've spent.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Zoom R16 would excel here as well. You can hard pan what you want L & R out the 1/4" stereo outputs, and you'd be in direct control of at least 8-tracks at once. Everything is coming off of a SD card.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
>> $800 is a lot to spend just to playback tracks!

It's cheaper and more reliable than a keyboard/horn/ player :)
Well, that's another kettle of fish.

There are still a number of artists/bands that bring all the necessary percussionists, vocalists, and horns & strings for their performances, for a 100% live show. But they're in the minority as far as touring acts go, and it is quite expensive to carry extra people. Obviously there's the salaries, but there's also hotels, transportation, per diems, wardrobe, extra crew people and their salaries & transportation, etc.

A backing track may replace a lot more than just a couple of players, so in that respect, assuming the band is in a position to even consider hiring extra people, the Roland at$800 is a steal!

But, for basic playback without the need for stereo feeds to both foh and the drummer, there are far less expensive solutions.

Bermuda
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Are in ear click tracks all that common with live drummers out of interest?
Depends at what level the band is at.

In bars, almost never, and in clubs, only the most ambitious bands employ much technology. But for touring acts in larger venues (theaters and up) I'd say at least half the drummers are on a click and/or use tracks for some or all of their performance.

Bermuda
 
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Ariffy

Member
I always play to a click live.

I'm looking to get into this backing track with click thing too but I just can't get my head round it at all.
 

PQleyR

Platinum Member
Thanks for your responses, everyone.

If you are playing with backing tracks, wouldn't a click is be redundant? (unless there is no clear rhythm in the tracks).
I'm talking full orchestral parts here, including tempo changes and gaps where no rhythm is discernible. And I've also got to count the song in at the right tempo. No click would be the sort of experience best reserved for nightmares.
 

New Tricks

Platinum Member
Thanks for your responses, everyone.



I'm talking full orchestral parts here, including tempo changes and gaps where no rhythm is discernible. And I've also got to count the song in at the right tempo. No click would be the sort of experience best reserved for nightmares.
Gotcha. The SPD has a click built in but I'm not sure if it can be routed only to your monitor.
 

Naigewron

Platinum Member
Gotcha. The SPD has a click built in but I'm not sure if it can be routed only to your monitor.
Don't know about the newer units, but the built-in click on the SPD-S can only be used when recording samples; not when playing something back.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
SPD-SX click can be run while tirggering, not sure about the routing options.

Bermuda
 

bellicapelli

Junior Member
I wanted to point out a link which can be useful :
SyncInside - Backing tracks advanced player
www.syncinside.net

[EDIT]

Camera Connection Kit and a Class compliant USB sound card are required to exploit the multitrack features.

[/EDIT]
 
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