This week we started rehearsing with momokomotion
for our show this coming Friday.
Since momokomotion could not find a keyboard player yet, we will be using backing tracks on every song.
Being the drummer, I am in charge of feeding the PA system with the backing tracks. I am running them in Ableton Live (Version 5.x), off my Apple iBook G4, into the M-Audio Fast Track Pro; Channel 1 is the actual backing track, channel 2 the click track.
On one song I was persistently thrown off the beat, which was very annoying. Even more so because it did not seem to make any sense.
I did some research via Yahoo! and Google and found some valuable information.
The click track that the studio engineer had recorded for me was nothing more than a metronome sound (very annoying and poison for your hearing!), with an accent on the 1 of every beat.
In Ableton Live, I played the backing track (audio), then created a MIDI track, and went through different drum sounds to find one that I felt most comfortable with. I programmed the MIDI drum to play the kick drum on 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the 4/4 beat, added a dry tambourine sound to the 1, and set it to “loop”. Those MIDI drum sounds feel more natural to the ears, and grooving along to them is much easier and much more fun than the high-pitched metronome.
I played around with different sounds on the click track, and varied them slightly on two of the songs. (The kick drum sound I had first used was “drowned” by other frequencies in those songs, so changing the sound was the solution.)
To hear the backing track as well as the click track, I used the headphones output on the M-Audio Fast Track Pro. It has a nice “Mix” function. Depending on the song, I would change the balance (mix) between the backing track and the click track.
This solution, BTW, did not help to solve the initial problem. The engineer had done something wrong on the click track of that song, and there was no time to have him redo it. How did I work it out? Instead of a “proper” click track, I put the original song from the CD as my click track, and switched off the backing track in my headphones. Guess what? We went through the song without any difficulties!
On a sidenote: in some loud live situations, the M-Audio Fast Track Pro headphones output might not produce enough volume for you to be able to hear everything easily, so I recommend having a preamp ready, just in case. And always remember: use custom-made earplugs at any gig! The standard ones that are readily available in supermarkets are useless!
© Patrice Schneider. No reproduction without prior written consent.
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