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Live backing tracks help please!

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Live backing tracks help please!

Postby Waynetastyking » Fri Mar 09, 2012 7:29 am

Hello all!

I'm brand new to the forum and I am in serious need of help with backing tracks. I am in a symphonic metal band, and being as such we have a large amount of orchestral elements in our music. We have a show coming up and so we are trying to get the orchestral sequences usable for playing with live. However, I am having some trouble. I'm doing everything how I've read to do this. I'll tell you how I'm going about it and what the issues are.

Out of my Logic session with all of the orchestral tracks I'm bouncing it down once WITH the click, and again WITHOUT the click. The idea being that our drummer can hear the backing tracks too so he doesn't get lost in the song since they are quite long. I'm bouncing each of these in mono by the way. Then, I open up a new session and import the two bounces on separate tracks. I hard pan the track with the click to the left, and the one without the click to the right. I bounce that down as a stereo mix so we get both left and right channels, and then with a Y-splitter we are plugging the headphones into the LEFT for the click, and plugging the RIGHT into our mixer for the PA in the practice rooms here at Berklee, where we practice (we are all Berklee students).

Ok so here are the issues that baffle me to no end: When I play the bounce of the backing tracks (click in left, audience mix in right) out of Quicktime to preview it through my studio monitors, the click is in the left speaker and not in the right. This is on my desktop by the way. If I drag it into iTunes and play it, the click comes out of both speakers. I cannot explain this. So I figured I would just use Quicktime to play the tracks off my laptop at the show. So I transferred the tracks to my laptop and took it practice. I plugged the Y-splitter into the headphone jack on the laptop, and plugged in the left and right channels appropriately, and for some reason the click is coming out of the PA speakers. Our drummer can hear the click in his headphones, but only on one side, and the click comes through the PA. We tried switching the sides to see if we had it plugged in wrong, but we got the same outcome. Each channel works correctly if done separately, but not together. Now here's the weird part: If the music is playing, and I simply unplug the headphones, the click goes away from our PA speakers. When I plug the headphones back in, the click come back through the PA. I'm at my wit's end here and I don't know what I did wrong or what to do. I've tried 3 different Y-splitters already, and I don't want to spend anymore money on cables that aren't going to work. Any help at all that any of you can give me will be so greatly appreciated.
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Re: Live backing tracks help please!

Postby Sheriton » Fri Mar 09, 2012 9:55 am

Are you definitely using the right kind of splitter? A normal Y split will split a stereo signal in to two identical stereo signals, for example to allow two users to listen to the same material on headphones at the same time.
The type of split that you need is a little different. In fact, it's probably almost a custom build job. The "left" output will need to be wired with the signal going to both tip and ring of a stereo socket for the drummer. The "right" will need to go to the tip of a mono socket for the PA.
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Re: Live backing tracks help please!

Postby Exalted Wombat » Fri Mar 09, 2012 11:20 am

It would be more usual to have the track on one channel, click on the other. Feed it into two channels of the sound desk. Route the track only to FOH, panned centre. Set up as many monitor sends as you like, with any desired mix of track and click. You now have complete flexibility. Anyone can ask for track and/or click, panned anywhere from one in either ear to both central, and in any relative balance. (This last is very important - at present when the drummer asks foe "a bit more click please?" your options are very limited.) No special wiring will be needed.
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