What is MP3?

MP3 is a computer file format which compresses music to “shrink” it to a fraction of it’s original size. The idea is to compress the music in such a way so that quality is still kept intact. MP3 does this by throwing away parts of the music your ears can’t hear anyway (audio frequencies that are outwith the range of human hearing). It also throws away very quiet pieces of the music which can’t be heard because of the louder parts drowning them out. After it has performed some other tricks to the audio, you are left with an audio file which sounds exactly the same as the original, but is up to one tenth of the size. For a more detailed explanation, see my article on CLICK HERE“>mp3 encoding and what it is.

Using backing tracks on stage

Before going anywhere near a stage and entertaining an audience, the first thing you should have decided is which format you want to use for your backing tracks. Over the years, I’ve used every single format there is for backing tracks and have come to some conclusions that may help you decide.

CD’s skip if you get finger marks on them, cassette tapes are too hissy, DAT is unreliable because they sometimes don’t read on hot sticky live stage environments and minidisc, while good, only hold 15 – 20 songs. That leaves only one format to consider and it’s the best…MP3.

You don’t need to lug your computer around with you either – you can play mp3’s from a small hard disk based player like the apple ipod or creative jukebox. And…don’t forget to use a good PA system and pump up the volume! More in depth info on this subject can be found in my article at the CLICK HERE“>MP3 Backing Trax website

Backing track licensing and prices

If you buy backing tracks regularly, you’ll know that prices can vary hugely. Generally, companies who operate illegally or do not pay the proper licences to the Mechanical Copyright Protection Society can offer the lowest prices (so beware).

But did you know that large companies like MP3 Backing Trax can be competitive? This is because large companies like ours enjoy economies of scale which means we can offer fully licenced backing tracks while keeping prices down because of the sheer volume of backing tracks we sell.

You or the venue you sing at could be fined heavily if you are caught using illegal backing tracks so always ensure you are buying from a reputable source. My CLICK HERE“>article at our main website gives more details.

Types of backing tracks

I’m sure by now you know what a backing track is – simply put, it is music that you can sing along to. However things get a bit confusing when you try to decide which type of backing track to buy and use. There are many different formats and it’s important that you choose a format that suits you.

Most singers opt for audio type backing tracks which usually are the least work and give the best sound quality. Audio types of backing track to consider are CD, minidisc, mp3, Cassett or DAT. Midifiles and Karaoke tracks should be avoided because there are more poor sounding midis around than good ones and midifiles really need the skills of a professional musician to tweak them in to sounding half decent. Karaoke files should be avoided because they simply scream “unprofessional” and the backing vocals on them usually drown out your voice so are not recommended.

For more information, see my CLICK HERE“>article on this subject at our main website.