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Backing track playback device

Postby Dave.jj » Sat May 12, 2012 9:09 am

As stated in my post about small mixers, I play in a guitar duo and we are upgrading some of our setup.

We make our own backing tracks which consist mostly of programmed drums and bass... some keyboard here and there.

At the moment we use a rack mounted Tascam minidisc player which has always been fautless, in this world of MP3 players or devices that use SD cards do any of you have experience or views on us changing what we use. I feel these players might reduce the size and weight of our gear...be more versatile etc, but I know very little about whats out there.
We would also need it to have an auto pause function after each track.

The one drawback of the minidisc is having to change discs depending on the set we play or changing the order we play on the night.

Thanks again in advance
Dave

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Re: Backing track playback device

Postby Bob Bickerton » Sat May 12, 2012 9:59 am

I've used minidisc for playback for many years (Sony pro model) but I'm just changing over to iPad. There are a number of playback apps that are compatible with the 'Airturn' Bluetooth foot pedals, which make for a much more flexible solution. You can playback uncompressed WAV files, and I'm picking the iPad converters whilst not ideal are OK for most live work. In addition you can use apps like the unreal book to give you lyrics at the same time as music playback.

Alternative would be flas drive players like the Tascam rack mount models which would offer auto pause.

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Re: Backing track playback device

Postby Mike Stranks » Sat May 12, 2012 11:46 am

I've been on a similar journey to Bob...

Used to use rack-mount mini-disc with the track auto-stop/cue-to-next engaged, then 'upgraded' to rack-mount CD - but without auto-stop cue.

Have recently switched to PC laptop and Multiplay. Very happy with the result and it's easy to create and store set-lists.

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Re: Backing track playback device

Postby Dave.jj » Sat May 12, 2012 12:11 pm

The laptop option just does not feel to safe to me, also its something else to have to have next to you while playing.... I guess you have to have it next to your mixer?

We also have a footswitch adaption on our minidisc for me to start the next track.

I have just come accross this unit
http://www.dv247.com/studio-equipment/denon-dn-f300-professional-solid-state-audio-player--68472

Not sure about the playback options though.... I will keep looking, there has to be something out there that will work for us

But then apart from the amount of tracks we can fit on 1 minidisc, maybe what we already have is still the best option?
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Re: Backing track playback device

Postby Dave71 » Sat May 12, 2012 12:27 pm

There are some very good devices on the Market now, some with keyboard support etc if you want that kind of thing

I use a simple citronic sd player which also has a USB slot for various things. Cheap and cheerful but it does the job.


http://www.htfr.com/p/333850/citronic_mpsd_1_dual_sd_card_media_player
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Re: Backing track playback device

Postby BWSE » Sat May 12, 2012 12:39 pm

It depends on how much you want to spend really. I have seen all sorts of successful methods including iPad applications etc.

I went from dual tascam 2424 units (sync via smpte/ wc) running exact copies to Pro Tools a few years ago. This has functioned fine and dare I say it, more reliable than the tascams which would start to show flaws after about 800 shows.
I now run dual pro tools rigs. Which gives the convenience of quick editing and a multitude of ins/outs.
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Re: Backing track playback device

Postby artzmusic » Sat May 12, 2012 1:42 pm

Dave, As for the smaller devices, I've found they can be more difficult to navigate while on stage. A laptop using Multiplay gives a larger display and can be placed where you can actually see it - not in a rack. That being said, assuming your playlist is set in order, you might use a remote to trigger the tracks. I use the Logitech N305 remote number pad - and Multiplay lets you assign the keys however you'd like.

As for the reliablility of a laptop, there are far too many acts using them for that to even be a question any more. Turning off wireless and turning on presentation mode will set you up. The only problem I've had is forgetting to plug in the power cord and having the battery running low. That won't happen again!

I'm sure the other options mentioned work equally as well depending on personal preference.

Best,
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Re: Backing track playback device

Postby Dave.jj » Sat May 12, 2012 2:16 pm

artzmusic wrote:

As for the reliablility of a laptop, there are far too many acts using them for that to even be a question any more.

Rick

I'm sure your right, and I guess if we went this way we might wonder why we never took the plunge long ago....

I still like the idea of everthing being in a rack though.

Thanks for your thoughts....
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Re: Backing track playback device

Postby Bob Bickerton » Sat May 12, 2012 2:53 pm

Just for the record you can mount the iPad solution on your mic stand so you have direct control from your performance position including very good visual feedback. I know it's essentially a pc, but it feels much more like a dedicated playback solution.

It really is the ultimate, flexible, secure Playback solution.

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Re: Backing track playback device

Postby shufflebeat » Sat May 12, 2012 7:16 pm

Bob Bickerton wrote:
It really is the ultimate, flexible, secure Playback solution.

Bob

That's fantastic, Bob.

Now hold it up to the camera and... smiiiile!
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Re: Backing track playback device

Postby artzmusic » Sun May 13, 2012 3:44 am

Bob doesn't know it but he's about to sell me on the iPad. Just when I said I wasn't going to do any more to upgrade my rig! @##$%

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Re: Backing track playback device

Postby Dave.jj » Sun May 13, 2012 7:00 am

artzmusic wrote:Bob doesn't know it but he's about to sell me on the iPad. Just when I said I wasn't going to do any more to upgrade my rig! @##$%

Rick

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Re: Backing track playback device

Postby Mike Stranks » Sun May 13, 2012 7:36 am

You have to watch that man Bickerton... a few weeks ago I came here looking for a sub-£100 mic and went away with a £1000 mixer!

It's a good job I know that he knows what he's talking about.
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Re: Backing track playback device

Postby SparkyG » Sun May 13, 2012 7:48 am

Bob
Where do you take the output from?
I have been using an adapter at the bottom to give me a line out, but it's not that stable and I keep losing the left channel. Tried a couple of different adapters. Last night I used the headphone out,and it sounded fine. When I used my old iPod classics I always found the headphone output poor. But the iPad 2 seems pretty clear.

Comments?

Thanks
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Re: Backing track playback device

Postby Bob Bickerton » Sun May 13, 2012 9:13 am

Shame I'm not on commission for all my suggestions.

But buyers beware! When I suggest something, it is only my opinion, I do try to be as objective as possible and relate to my own personal experience, but there will always be alternative options.

In this case I like the iPad because it seems pretty foolproof, but mainly the interface and playback app options give excellent feedback, it's what Apple do well. I wanted to move from minidisc because of its inflexibility. Need to add to a set, you need to rerecord the disc, or at least add another track in real time. Flash or iPod/iPad solutions are just more manageable. Also I'm amazed my minidisc has lasted as long as it has given its a whizzing disk relying on a clean laser to pick up the info.

A pro flash player may have better converters (not a huge issue for gigging live situations IMO), but in terms of interface usability you can't beat the iPad.

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Re: Backing track playback device

Postby Bob Bickerton » Sun May 13, 2012 9:18 am

SparkyG wrote:Bob
Where do you take the output from?
I have been using an adapter at the bottom to give me a line out, but it's not that stable and I keep losing the left channel. Tried a couple of different adapters. Last night I used the headphone out,and it sounded fine. When I used my old iPod classics I always found the headphone output poor. But the iPad 2 seems pretty clear.

Comments?

Thanks


I use headphone out, but I'm really careful not to place tension on the lead. I use one of These K&M stand holders and also a right angle jack plug. I Velcro the cable to the mic stand, but leave sufficient slack so that the plus doesn't get pulled or tensioned. Seems to be secure.

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Re: Backing track playback device

Postby mick.n » Sun May 13, 2012 11:16 am

Mike Stranks wrote:

Have recently switched to PC laptop and Multiplay. Very happy with the result and it's easy to create and store set-lists.

Mike

Mike, i used the Multiplay software at a rehearsal a few weeks ago. While it did perform very well, i found it used a lot of CPU when it was running a track on my dual core laptop. Did you notice this? Good program though & free.

To the OP, i just switched to using the ipad 2 a few weeks ago for backing tracks & its perfect. Only done a dozen or so gigs with it but really impressed so far. I am using the rather delicate looking headphone jack at the moment but, as Bob says, if you are carefull not to trip over it (ROADIES!) or snag on it you'l be ok. Though i am considering the Alesis I\O dock as a more sturdy solution.

This is the app i use and cannot recommend it highly enough.

All i need now is an app that will control the lighting rig too.
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Re: Backing track playback device

Postby seablade » Sun May 13, 2012 11:38 am

Bob Bickerton wrote:
A pro flash player may have better converters (not a huge issue for gigging live situations IMO), but in terms of interface usability you can't beat the iPad.

Not quite true for the record, some of those, namely the Tascam players, but a few others, all have direct track access remote 'keypads' that can be placed much closer than the unit itself, and would make it relatively easy to launch tracks as well while having the unit in the rack. Of course this adds to the cost. And of course you could always do similar with a computer which has already been mentioned, even to the point of launching tracks from a keyboard on stage if you really wanted by tying it to MIDI.

All that being said, the point is there are a half dozen ways to accomplish this on stage and several 'good' ways, or at least 'not bad' ways, including sticking with MD as well.

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Re: Backing track playback device

Postby shufflebeat » Sun May 13, 2012 11:45 am

Bob Bickerton wrote:I wanted to move from minidisc because of its inflexibility. Need to add to a set, you need to rerecord the disc, or at least add another track in real time.


I realise this has been obsolete for some time but there was a way to put songs on minidisc in a "drag and drop" kind of way over USB. It was a Sony music management system that was totally useless for a hundred other reasons but did keep one of my regular gig partners using minidisc while everyone else and their Granny had moved on to mp3 players.

I suppose it could still be found if one was masochistically inclined.
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Re: Backing track playback device

Postby Bob Bickerton » Sun May 13, 2012 12:02 pm

seablade wrote:
Bob Bickerton wrote:
A pro flash player may have better converters (not a huge issue for gigging live situations IMO), but in terms of interface usability you can't beat the iPad.

Not quite true for the record, some of those, namely the Tascam players, but a few others, all have direct track access remote 'keypads' that can be placed much closer than the unit itself, and would make it relatively easy to launch tracks as well while having the unit in the rack. Of course this adds to the cost. And of course you could always do similar with a computer which has already been mentioned, even to the point of launching tracks from a keyboard on stage if you really wanted by tying it to MIDI.

All that being said, the point is there are a half dozen ways to accomplish this on stage and several 'good' ways, or at least 'not bad' ways, including sticking with MD as well.

Seablade

Yep, in fact that's what I've been using until now, Sony MD, remote access by keypad and footswitch for start/stop has been rock solid, but having a large touchscreen attached to your microphone stand with 'named' key pad start buttons, easy scroll set lists, lyrics displayed on playback, well it simply doesn't compare. The only reason I was holding off on the change was because I wanted footswitch start/stop functionality, which is now available with the bluetooth air turn pedal.

Interestingly, I'm still using the minidisc for my music theatre productions in schools, because the sets never change and I don't have to look at the display to see what's next!

Re computers, happy enough to use them when I'm engineering, but never fancied them for when I'm performing.

As usual it's horses for courses......

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Re: Backing track playback device

Postby TheBev » Sun May 13, 2012 12:07 pm

shufflebeat wrote:
Bob Bickerton wrote:I wanted to move from minidisc because of its inflexibility. Need to add to a set, you need to rerecord the disc, or at least add another track in real time.

I realise this has been obsolete for some time but there was a way to put songs on minidisc in a "drag and drop" kind of way over USB. It was a Sony music management system that was totally useless for a hundred other reasons but did keep one of my regular gig partners using minidisc while everyone else and their Granny had moved on to mp3 players.

I suppose it could still be found if one was masochistically inclined.


This wasn't Sonic Stage was it, I seem to remember this came with my earlier Sony mp3 players, maybe developed from the minidisc.. maybe not.
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Re: Backing track playback device

Postby artzmusic » Sun May 13, 2012 5:00 pm

Since many acts are going totally wireless these days, (ours included) any suggestions on getting the iPad signal to the mixer sans wires?

The freedom this affords us in our presentation is vital these days.

Rick
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Re: Backing track playback device

Postby shufflebeat » Sun May 13, 2012 5:35 pm

drargon wrote:
shufflebeat wrote:
Bob Bickerton wrote:I wanted to move from minidisc because of its inflexibility. Need to add to a set, you need to rerecord the disc, or at least add another track in real time.

I realise this has been obsolete for some time but there was a way to put songs on minidisc in a "drag and drop" kind of way over USB. It was a Sony music management system that was totally useless for a hundred other reasons but did keep one of my regular gig partners using minidisc while everyone else and their Granny had moved on to mp3 players.

I suppose it could still be found if one was masochistically inclined.


This wasn't Sonic Stage was it, I seem to remember this came with my earlier Sony mp3 players, maybe developed from the minidisc.. maybe not.

That sounds familiar. I remember it putting up a hell of a fight when I tried to replace it with something more adaptable.
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Re: Backing track playback device

Postby Bob Bickerton » Sun May 13, 2012 8:03 pm

artzmusic wrote:Since many acts are going totally wireless these days, (ours included) any suggestions on getting the iPad signal to the mixer sans wires?

The freedom this affords us in our presentation is vital these days.

Rick

Now theres a thought.

I guess you could use Apple TV and take the optical audio out, but I've no idea what the quality would be like. If it was OK, then it would get around the issue of using the headphone out and potentially give you option to use better converters at the mixer end.

I wonder if anyone else could add to this?

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Re: Backing track playback device

Postby seablade » Sun May 13, 2012 10:39 pm

shufflebeat wrote:
Bob Bickerton wrote:I wanted to move from minidisc because of its inflexibility. Need to add to a set, you need to rerecord the disc, or at least add another track in real time.

I realise this has been obsolete for some time but there was a way to put songs on minidisc in a "drag and drop" kind of way over USB. It was a Sony music management system that was totally useless for a hundred other reasons but did keep one of my regular gig partners using minidisc while everyone else and their Granny had moved on to mp3 players.

I suppose it could still be found if one was masochistically inclined.

While what you are referring to was a Sony specific solution, there was on many MD recorders of decent quality an ability to reorder tracks without needing to re-record the disc IIRC, and without hooking up via USB. It has been some time, but I am fairly sure I still have a couple of player/recorders with this functionality on them laying around.

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Re: Backing track playback device

Postby seablade » Sun May 13, 2012 10:41 pm

Bob Bickerton wrote:
Yep, in fact that's what I've been using until now, Sony MD, remote access by keypad and footswitch for start/stop has been rock solid, but having a large touchscreen attached to your microphone stand with 'named' key pad start buttons, easy scroll set lists, lyrics displayed on playback, well it simply doesn't compare. The only reason I was holding off on the change was because I wanted footswitch start/stop functionality, which is now available with the bluetooth air turn pedal.

For the record, while obviously it doesn't do lyrics, what I was referring to wasn't the standard keypad remote access, but literally a direct access playback mechanism, meaning you had a button per track/sound and you had them labeled and just punched the one you wanted.

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Re: Backing track playback device

Postby Bob Bickerton » Mon May 14, 2012 9:34 am

seablade wrote:
Bob Bickerton wrote:
Yep, in fact that's what I've been using until now, Sony MD, remote access by keypad and footswitch for start/stop has been rock solid, but having a large touchscreen attached to your microphone stand with 'named' key pad start buttons, easy scroll set lists, lyrics displayed on playback, well it simply doesn't compare. The only reason I was holding off on the change was because I wanted footswitch start/stop functionality, which is now available with the bluetooth air turn pedal.

For the record, while obviously it doesn't do lyrics, what I was referring to wasn't the standard keypad remote access, but literally a direct access playback mechanism, meaning you had a button per track/sound and you had them labeled and just punched the one you wanted.

Seablade

Thanks for clarifying that, I wasn't aware there was such a device.

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Re: Backing track playback device

Postby Mike Stranks » Mon May 14, 2012 10:22 am

mick.n wrote:
Mike Stranks wrote:Have recently switched to PC laptop and Multiplay. Very happy with the result and it's easy to create and store set-lists.

Mike
Mike, i used the Multiplay software at a rehearsal a few weeks ago. While it did perform very well, i found it used a lot of CPU when it was running a track on my dual core laptop. Did you notice this? Good program though & free.
I have a bargain-basement laptop - "the finest that Woolworth's could sell" - and I've never experienced any problems issues. Obviously, when using Multiplay, I have no other apps running...
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Re: Backing track playback device

Postby mick.n » Mon May 14, 2012 6:31 pm

Mike Stranks wrote:
I have a bargain-basement laptop - "the finest that Woolworth's could sell" - and I've never experienced any problems issues. Obviously, when using Multiplay, I have no other apps running...

Thank you for the info Mike. I also had nothing running (AV off, wireless disabled, etc, etc), but it still pulled around 35-45% cpu when playing a track. Although my I7 sandybridge desktop cpu barely moved running the same prog....but thats got a lot more grunt than my dual core Samsung laptop (Intel T2310 @1.47GHz).

May try it with a clean win 7 install & see what happens.

Thanks again for replying Mike.
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Re: Backing track playback device

Postby Dave.jj » Mon May 14, 2012 7:05 pm

mick.n wrote:To the OP, i just switched to using the ipad 2 a few weeks ago for backing tracks & its perfect. Only done a dozen or so gigs with it but really impressed so far. I am using the rather delicate looking headphone jack at the moment but, as Bob says, if you are carefull not to trip over it (ROADIES!) or snag on it you'l be ok. Though i am considering the Alesis I\O dock as a more sturdy solution.

This is the app i use and cannot recommend it highly enough.

All i need now is an app that will control the lighting rig too.

We are looking into this now....if we have any money left after getting a mixer and new cab's that is
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