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Easy, cheap way for a luddite to play backing track for small gigs?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Dismalhead, Feb 24, 2021.

  1. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

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    Hey everyone,

    I've been working on a solo set, some of which require a backing track. I'm somewhat of a luddite, basically play along to my stereo and use '90s technology. What I'm hoping someone can point me to is a way to play MP3 backing tracks without having to lug my '70s style stereo and CD player to gigs.

    Existing equipment - I have a PA (no USB) and/or a Peavey KB60 keyboard amp that can run the tracks. I'm wondering if there an MP3 USB drive or something that can be hooked to my older model PA, or that can be run straight into the keyboard amp.

    I started looking online and there's all this stuff about running your smartphone with Bluetooth, but I'm technologically far behind anything like that.

    So how would you do it, and is there a simple, inexpensive solution to my problem? Please respond as if I was a musician from the '80s without computer/technology experience from the past 30 years so I can understand it.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Chandlerman

    Chandlerman Tele-Meister

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    My Boss RC-3 loop pedal has an Aux In jack. Plug in a MP3 player and you're good. That's the easiest way I can think of.
     
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  3. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Poster Extraordinaire

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    My suggestion would be to find an older refurbished phone, probably Android based, with a headphone out jack. You could use a cable to run from the headphone to the input for the PA. This assumes you know how to load the backing track files onto the phone. I find that phones are easier to use than dedicated MP3 players due to the screen size/quality, durability and better user interface. They're also smaller than a tablet, which would be another option if you don't mind the size.
     
  4. nickmsmith

    nickmsmith Tele-Meister

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    Iphone 6S, I still use mine daily. I found one a few years ago for 150 bucks. And I presume they've gotten cheaper since then.

    Or you can buy an old Ipod/Mp3 player of some sort.
     
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  5. buster poser

    buster poser Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

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  6. telleutelleme

    telleutelleme Telefied Silver Supporter

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    Look around for a used GDEC 3-30 amp ($100-150). It can play MP3 or Wav tracks using an SD card. Has line, USB and headphone out and can double as a backup amp. You can copy your backing tracks onto the SD card and play them using the controls on the amp. For the price these things are great. About 15 Lbs.
     
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  7. Ron C

    Ron C Tele-Holic

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    Here's an oddball idea, apologies for it drifting into computer realm: If you have an old laptop you may want to look at iReal Pro, and going from headphone out to your PA. It's like a cross between a digital fake book and Band In A Box (or whatever they call that computerized music player software). The laptop versions allow you to write your own charts (just enter chords, tempo, key etc), select which instruments would play and their relative volumes, and it plays them back.

    Nearly all the instruments used in the playback sound hokey, but I think the acoustic bass and drums sound good. It's my go-to tool for practicing - just me and the fake bass and drums. I think it could work well for solo backing tracks.

    I think it's fairly luddite friendly, too. Much easier than using a DAW, and frankly i never even got the hang of iTunes.
     
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  8. Thoughtfree

    Thoughtfree Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I would suggest playing back your mp3s with an outdated laptop, running some version of Linux operating system, which does not overtax elderly computers.
     
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  9. Mike_LA

    Mike_LA Tele-Afflicted

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    Stay Away from computer/phone based stuff.

    Too finicky

    Plug and Play, waaaay more bullet proof

    http://www.samsontech.com/hartke/products/accessories/pedals/hl77/

    I'm liking the Hartkey looper, BATTERY OPERATED LOOPER, with drum tracks and scads of recording time.

    Rerecord your loops in audacity/garage band as 16-bit 44.1kHz mono/stereo WAV files and you are good to go.

    I put my set on one and love it.
    My set of 8 tunes on the looper are set up so every 10 patches it repeats only louder than the last set. Just in case I need more gain out of the pedal in some situations.

    I mostly use it thru the fx loop of the amp so I can use the crunch channel.
    When I don't use an amp with an fx loop I use a Zoom G1on for tone control into the looper into a clean amp. The zoom is set up the same way with patches repeating at a higher volume with each repeat set.
    A volume pedal out of the looper sometimes to control the looper while performing is useful as well.

    • 99 phrase locations with six hours of record time
    • 20 backing rhythm tracks in 3/4 or 4/4 time signatures
    • Unlimited overdubs with Undo/Redo functionality
    • USB connection for importing and exporting phrases
    • 1/4" instrument and control inputs
    • 1/8" stereo input for sampling external sources
    • Dual 1/4" outputs
    • Operates on 9-volt battery (not included) or optional AC power adapter
    • Rugged, die cast stompbox-style design
    FEATURES No Limits The HL77 offers over six hours of record time with 99 locations for storing your individual loop phrases.
    Real-time recording is logical and straightforward, even offering Undo/Redo functionality.
    A USB port allows importing and exporting of WAV files, while the 1/8” (3.5mm) stereo input lets users sample loops and phrases from external devices.
    A playback level knob helps establish the proper blend between overdubs.
    Jam To get you started, the HL77 includes 20 backing rhythm tracks in 3/4 or 4/4 time signatures, ranging from a simple metronome to full-kit drum tracks spanning various genres.
    The volume, tempo and time signature of the rhythm tracks can be adjusted for serious jamming.
    A selectable Auto Record mode and three different playback Stop modes provide additional loop control.

    The HL77 can be connected to a Mac or Windows computer to backup or load phrases (as WAV files).
    The HL77 can only accept and playback 16-bit 44.1kHz stereo WAV files. Connect the HL77 to your computer using a mini USB cable.
    Turn on the pedal by inserting a battery or connecting the power adaptor and plugging an instrument cable into the OUT L jack.
    Note: The HL77 will not operate on USB power. The pedal display will show “ “ when it is successfully connected to the computer.
    You will now be able to import WAV files to the HL77 pedal or backup the recording from the pedal to your computer. Importing WAV Files 1. Open the HL77 Removable Disk 2. Open the HARTKE folder 3. Open the WAV folder.
    In the WAV folder there are 99 folders for the 99 memory locations in the pedal numbered W001 through W099.
    To load a sample to a memory slot on the HL77 1. Select a memory number - e.g. W002 2. Rename the wav file - w002.wav
    3. Drag the WAV file into the folder. The file is now successfully loaded into memory slot 02.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2021
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  10. 39martind18

    39martind18 Friend of Leo's

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    I use a laptop with Band in a Box installed, using the headphones out on the laptop into my PA mixer. Putting in the songs into BIAB is a bit of a learning curve, but the results are good, and the hookups are dead simple, so it works for an old Luddite like me.
     
  11. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

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    Cant you just use an iPod into your amp? Or is the problem getting your tracks to the iPod? Apple iPods are dirt cheap used and plentiful. ... and tiny!
     
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  12. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

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    I was just looking and Sony makes a Walkman MP3 player for $60 that gets great reviews. May go that way.
     
  13. Junkyard Dog

    Junkyard Dog Friend of Leo's

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    Since you used the term MP3, I'm going to assume you at least know what that is and what an MP3 player is. You will need the following two items:

    1. An MP3 player
    2. A cable to connect the MP3 player to your PA. The cable will need to have a 1/8" male stereo (or mono if one channel is OK) connector on one end to connect to the MP3 player and male RCA plug or 1/4" male plug (whichever your amp or PA will accept at the input) at the other end to connect to the amp/PA
    If you can't just find these items laying around already, then you're looking at $5 for the cable and $20-30 for the MP3 player.

    I'm also assuming you have basic computer skills like what would be used to post to this forum...like you don't have a secretary or something doing this for you.
     
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  14. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

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  15. kennl

    kennl Tele-Afflicted

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    decades ago I used a Roland Sound Brush & Sound canvas as a MIDI backing band
    The power adapter for the SC went up in smoke on a Cleveland gig (2 hours from home) once, and I did a 5-hour set of solo guitar
    I have since rendered all the MIDI to audio and set up playlists on iPhone (and bring a backup)
    Only failed me once when I left the phones behind. Luckiy, I had my looper in the (wrong) gig bag I brought and played a 3-hour set of looped stuff.
     
  16. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

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  17. Mike_LA

    Mike_LA Tele-Afflicted

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    Got to be careful going the 1/8th jack route.
    I tried that for a while but the jacks aren't that sturdy and you get a lot of pops and clicks and drop outs after a while.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2021
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  18. Huck73

    Huck73 TDPRI Member

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    IMG-1564.jpg

    In a pinch, this one will double as a pick ;)
     
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