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Best Way To Provide Live On Stage Audio Playback/Backing Track
Old 7th June 2019
Here for the gear

Best Way To Provide Live On Stage Audio Playback/Backing Track

Hi so I make v heavily electronic music but they’re still songs (not like loops or dance). I’m wondering what would be the best way to get the recordings of these songs out in a live show setting? Basically what’s the best way to play backing tracks while sending a click to a drummer to follow. I’d prefer not to use a laptop and if a laptop is absolutely necessary then is there some sort of playback software that provides a click ? as the CPU overload from ableton and possibility of literally anything going wrong or crashing is v much not ideal. Also is there a way with any possible options to separate the tracks categorically (bass/drums/synths/etc) so that they can be mixed according to the acoustics/sound system of the space being played ? I’m looking at how people in hip hop or someone like Billie Eilish tend to present and operate their live shows. I have a full band but the playback is crucial as much of the songs cannot be recreated live or have too many parts to be all played with samplers. Any software, hardware or methods to achieve this is v appreciated. Thank you for any help!
Old 7th June 2019
Gear Maniac

Ableton is very stable in my opinion if you use it as a tape playback machine. I run some (very big) shows like this, always with a spare laptop aside. N ot running in sync.

Qlab comes to my mind to. Utterly stable and possibility to sync two Qlab machines and have a backup running in sync with your main setup. Just provide the extra tracks on the mixing desk and you can switch to those inputs when the first machines does some strange stuff.
Old 10th June 2019
i use Mainstage if you're running a mac. I can import audio tracks, assign a click track and load Plugins that can be controlled either from an external controller or in a midi track. it controls my patch changes for my guitarists as well as synth patches, all preset. I just press play and go
Old 10th June 2019
but if you don't want to use a laptop, the old fashion way to do backing tracks was with a DAT tape player, that had (i believe) 8 tracks that can be individually assigned and mixed, like you were asking for bass, drums, synths on separate channels.
I would think trying to find the gear and setting this up would probably more expensive and time consuming than a laptop.

the really cheap way to do this is either with an old smart phone (airplane mode is a must) and you can prerecord your tracks to a stereo mix, where the left channel is your backing tracks, and the right channel is you sync'd click. The get a headphone splitter and route your signals. I used to do this with an old ipod but in the end, i'd rather give the FOH the separate channels than a stereo mix because the mix might sound good in your home studio but might sound like crap in a live environment.
Old 12th June 2019
Lives for gear
grannis's Avatar
SetListMaker on ipad / iphone or android - great piece of software for about $15. Tracks can be midi-triggered too
Old 12th June 2019
Lives for gear

i'm still using a cd-player with a footswitch sometimes (so playback stays under the artist's control), i can fire up six files directly from my desk or i'm using the old 360 system's instant replay if having hundrets of cues. assinging some button to trigger files on any daw is another option but i'm not much into programming. and since i'm getting hired to mix a show, i insist on getting someone to take care of the jukebox/dj tasks :-)
Old 4 weeks ago
Here for the gear

The IDORU P-1 is a multitrack hardware backing track player device, to solve this problem of playing audio and midi backing tracks live without relying on a laptop or software solution. It has 6 separate outputs so each instrument can be mixed for the room as you described. :
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