Backing Tracks

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Backing Tracks

Postby NathS101 » Thu Feb 09, 2012 7:32 am

I've been mixing an acoustic band over the last few years and have been asked to put together a list of improvements for the band to further develop their set.

I'm after a simple solution for the backing tracks however I need to run 4 tracks simultaneously with separate outputs (click, mono tracks & stereo tracks) without using a laptop & interface. The use of location markers for each song would be required too.
What do you suggest?

Also what's your philosophy when it comes to what/how much to include in the tracks?

cheers
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Re: Backing Tracks

Postby jkhuri44 » Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:07 am

listen to the tune with no backing tracks on.

play the song until you get bored...stop there, and make sure there's some fluff to tie you over.

also, listen to the tune some more and find the most climactic point, could be a final chorus or whatever, and make sure things are layerd thick there, for more interest...

rinse and repeat.
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Re: Backing Tracks

Postby ChrisW » Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:39 am

I'm a little confused by the way you jumped from being asked how an acoustic band could develop their set, to asking what to include on a backing track.
No other way to develop the set?
There are many downsides to using backing tracks. Yes, they are an easy way to fill out a band's sound, but is filling out the sound the only way to move the band up another level?
I've been around backing tracks on and off in my career, and I would hesitate to use them except for specific circumstances.
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Re: Backing Tracks

Postby NathS101 » Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:48 pm

Thanks Jamil, great points there.

Chris, my mates were asking for some ideas on how to further improve their sound from an audio engineering perspective, in particular moving from mono to stereo tracks (as their line up primarily includes acoustic, bass, lead vocal, backing vocal and drums) and taking the leap into IEM.
In my initial post I didn't want to ramble on too much about every detail but instead get to the point... I've made a number of other suggestions too which aren't the focus of this thread.
Currently for their backing tracks they're using a mix of the album stems without lead vocals, acoustic, bass and drums resulting in a very overproduced sound (eg 4 guitar parts, lead guitars, 4 keys parts, percussion, 6 BVs etc etc) all being mixed into mono. One of the suggestions I made was to mix it in stereo and strip it back so there's more room for the instruments to breathe, however it would still be good to have the tracks mixed in mono just in case.
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Re: Backing Tracks

Postby Kurt » Thu Feb 09, 2012 10:27 pm

They could just get more members... Some extra vocals or a keyboard line they could get away with but that much extra stuff they might as well just play the cd and have a beer.

NathS101 wrote:Currently for their backing tracks they're using a mix of the album stems without lead vocals, acoustic, bass and drums resulting in a very overproduced sound (eg 4 guitar parts, lead guitars, 4 keys parts, percussion, 6 BVs etc etc) all being mixed into mono. One of the suggestions I made was to mix it in stereo and strip it back so there's more room for the instruments to breathe, however it would still be good to have the tracks mixed in mono just in case.
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Re: Backing Tracks

Postby Damien » Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:21 pm

i used to do FOH for a large local country act... i loved it when the tracks died and the band was left..um playing together...

i still mix a lil uk bloke.. no tracks there.. just players playing.. and it sounds great..

do they really NEED tracks.... i think its a safety blanket and the vibe goes backwards after they appear... one day they stuff up and you realize it sounds and feels better with them off...
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Re: Backing Tracks

Postby ChrisW » Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:24 pm

The problem with backing tracks is you are tied to them. No improvisation. Intros the same length every night. Same length solos etc.... You tend to concentrate on playing with the track, instead of just playing together as a live ensemble.
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Re: Backing Tracks

Postby Senad » Wed Feb 15, 2012 6:42 pm

I (we) always used to have at least 2 versions of BT for at least the most popular/requested songs as to break the monotony of hearing the same song played the same way every other night. It's pretty easy to edit a song to include a chorus or a bridge twice and just improvise over the chord progression of those....or include something totally different in one of the versions. USed to give me something to do when I wasn't playing live. Once you play the whole circle of 3-4 versions, the first one becomes fresh again.
Not that I ever enjoyed performing with BT, but that seemed and still seems to be how it works, especially with 1,2,3 piece bands. :-\
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