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  #1  
Old 09-20-2021, 07:48 AM
gtrplayer123 gtrplayer123 is offline
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Default Newbie questions for live setup using backing tracks

Hello everyone,

Thank you for allowing me to post my questions here.

I am an absolute beginner at sound engineering or setup but I know what I would like to do and want to achieve the best method by learning from someone else's experience.

( Gear I have )

I have a Marshal AS50D
Alvarez Shadow burst acoustic with pickup
Voiceplay live pedal

( What I would like to achieve )

I would like to be able to incorporate professionally prerecorded backing tracks (hope no one is cringing here lol ) for various songs that I can generate minus the acoustic guitar and lead vocals for use in a live setup / small pubs

I have been able to use the guitar channel and Mic XLX (both channels) simultaneously fine at home in private setting but am wondering if in a pinch could I actually run the backing tracks through the amp as well. Would it just sound terrible with that much output coming through the amp simultaneously/ or is it even possible?

If the venue has a PA what would be the ideal setup?

THANK YOU for any advice on this.

David from Canada
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  #2  
Old 09-20-2021, 08:55 AM
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open-road-matt open-road-matt is offline
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Welcome to the forum!

I've never used backing tracks so I'm sure that those who do/have will chime in with better answers.

I have a friend who has done this for years and I've run sound for him a few times. He has all of his backing tracks on an iPod (and also carries a backup iPod.)

He then just runs the iPod into a channel on the PA and mixes the audio from his iPod with his vocal mic and his acoustic guitar.

The times I've set up sound for him we've used a Bose L1 Model 2 with the T1 mixer. We just used an open channel for the iPod. I've also seen him do the same thing with a Bose L1 Compact which has a little 3.5mm input for an audio source.

I don't know about your specific amp. Does it have have an input jack for an audio source (something like an iPod?) If it does, you could run guitar, vocals and backing tracks through the amp and see how that goes.

Edit: I just looked at your amp and it does have the RCA input on channel 2 so as long as the audio source for your backing tracks has its own volume control, you should be able to run the backing tracks through channel 2. The only thing that might make that weird is if you are using effects on that channel but you should be able to set those up on the voice pedal you listed right?

If you are comfortable with that and are playing at a venue with a house system, you could still run all three into your amp and take a line out of your amp (if that's an option with your amp) to the board of the house system (if there isn't a sound engineer.)

Hope that helps a bit,
Matt

Last edited by open-road-matt; 09-20-2021 at 09:02 AM.
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Old 09-20-2021, 11:03 AM
gtrplayer123 gtrplayer123 is offline
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Helps a little...no

Helps a lot YES!

Thanks very much Matt for your informative reply!

Still interested in others thoughts too if care to share but great info thanks
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Old 09-20-2021, 12:38 PM
gtrplayer123 gtrplayer123 is offline
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Default Backing Track Legality

I am now realizing using backing tracks may be more legal headache than necessary.

I thought if I bought them from a legitimate source I could use them, but now see the public performance licensing issue are widespread.

Would the producer/seller of the tracks not have already paid the royalties already?

I dont want overstep legal bounds.

Any advice...? thanks
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Old 09-20-2021, 01:01 PM
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Chriscom Chriscom is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gtrplayer123 View Post
I am now realizing using backing tracks may be more legal headache than necessary.

I thought if I bought them from a legitimate source I could use them, but now see the public performance licensing issue are widespread.

Would the producer/seller of the tracks not have already paid the royalties already?

I dont want overstep legal bounds.

Any advice...? thanks
I am not a lawyer but... I don't think copyright law is applied differently for backing tracks than for musicians playing and singing covers without backing tracks. Assuming that's the case, the burden of securing (or evading) copyright applies to the venue, not the musician. In practice this means the bars/breweries/wineries etc. pay a fee to major rights holders (ASCAP and BMI are the largest I believe), or they hope they don't get discovered and reported for violations. (There are also cases where Mom and Pop venues genuinely don't know they have to pay, but if discovered, they're still compelled to pay up). But the performing artist doesn't pay.

The above is my understanding of the law in the U.S., for public venues. I read somewhere that the law differs for private events--perhaps really small ones?--but I don't know if that's true. Separately I assume the outfits selling backing tracks to covers have to pay for those rights as well.
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Old 09-20-2021, 02:05 PM
tbirdman tbirdman is offline
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I have backing track on my Ipad. I use a Bluetooth receiver (Blackstar Tone Link) which I plug with a Y cable into the mixer. I actually bring a second receiver and Y cable as you need to be prepared for breakage.
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Old 09-27-2021, 07:39 AM
gtrplayer123 gtrplayer123 is offline
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Thanks everyone for your helpful replies!
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Old 09-27-2021, 05:07 PM
Hotspur Hotspur is offline
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So two issues:

From a copyright standpoint, ASCAP and BMI don't cover the use of the recorded version of the song. Those are songwriting royalties, but there are also performance royalties associated with the use of recorded material. Presumedly the person selling the backing track isn't concerned about that, but I don't know. If you, for example, digitally removed vocals from the actual version of the song, then you would still need to pay for the use of the recording. It's PROBABLY a non-issue, as in nobody's going to notice or case. But technically? Unless the person removing the vocals struck a deal with the owners of the recording, it is a copyright violation.

And it's not what you asked, but: I'd personally be more concerned about something else.

In my experience, a live performer over any but the simplest backing track just sort of tends to ... not work very well for an audience. You often end up in a kind of uncanny valley where the backing track that sounds exactly like the song really highlights how you DON'T sound exactly like the song, but makes it feel like you're trying to - so it doesn't quite work. Furthermore, being a slave to the lack of flexibility of the backing track stops you from really making it your own and removes some of the joy of a live performance, the magic of something being created in front of you.

So you can end up with the worst of both worlds: a cover that fails to deliver some of the pleasures of the original but doesn't replace them with it's own life and energy.

The vast majority of the time, I think performers are much better served by re-imagining and re-arranging the song to work with what they can actually sing and play live. YMMV.
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Old 09-28-2021, 08:09 AM
MikeBmusic MikeBmusic is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hotspur View Post
So two issues:

From a copyright standpoint, ASCAP and BMI don't cover the use of the recorded version of the song. Those are songwriting royalties, but there are also performance royalties associated with the use of recorded material. Presumedly the person selling the backing track isn't concerned about that, but I don't know. If you, for example, digitally removed vocals from the actual version of the song, then you would still need to pay for the use of the recording. It's PROBABLY a non-issue, as in nobody's going to notice or case. But technically? Unless the person removing the vocals struck a deal with the owners of the recording, it is a copyright violation.

And it's not what you asked, but: I'd personally be more concerned about something else.

In my experience, a live performer over any but the simplest backing track just sort of tends to ... not work very well for an audience. You often end up in a kind of uncanny valley where the backing track that sounds exactly like the song really highlights how you DON'T sound exactly like the song, but makes it feel like you're trying to - so it doesn't quite work. Furthermore, being a slave to the lack of flexibility of the backing track stops you from really making it your own and removes some of the joy of a live performance, the magic of something being created in front of you.

So you can end up with the worst of both worlds: a cover that fails to deliver some of the pleasures of the original but doesn't replace them with it's own life and energy.

The vast majority of the time, I think performers are much better served by re-imagining and re-arranging the song to work with what they can actually sing and play live. YMMV.
If you are playing music at a venue that has its PRO licenses in place, then using recorded backing tracks is neither a royalty or copyright issue. You only have to pay for use when reproducing the music either streaming online or in a physical form (CD).

But I do agree about a performer using backing tracks all the time. The other day I noticed a 'new' name gigging locally, went to his FB page and saw videos of him playing live - using full band tracks, and he sings and plays guitar over them. Between each song he is fooling with his tablet to get the next song started. All I could think is 'this is what bars are hiring now'?
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Old 09-28-2021, 08:32 AM
JackB1 JackB1 is offline
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I am fine with occasional backing track use....but using a full backing track and just adding your vocals and guitar is kind of too karoake-ish.
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Old 09-28-2021, 09:13 AM
DCCougar DCCougar is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hotspur View Post
...In my experience, a live performer over any but the simplest backing track just sort of tends to ... not work very well for an audience. You often end up in a kind of uncanny valley where the backing track that sounds exactly like the song really highlights how you DON'T sound exactly like the song, but makes it feel like you're trying to - so it doesn't quite work. Furthermore, being a slave to the lack of flexibility of the backing track stops you from really making it your own and removes some of the joy of a live performance, the magic of something being created in front of you....
I don't do any performing (except at a party on occasion), but this ^^^^ sounds like good advice to me.
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