Change the key of a backing track

Ray has asked me one of the most common questions we get asked here at MP3 Backing Trax…

Hi There
Can you tell me once Ive purchased the track is it possible to change the key and maybe edit the track?
Cheers
Ray

Hi Ray

Yes, you can change the key of audio backing tracks using karaoke style software to pitch shift the song.

However pitch shifting (i.e. key changing software) degrades the sonic quality of a track quite considerably so just bear that in mind when you do it.

Pitch shifting a track to change its key is obviously not something we would ever do or recommend you do, but you are welcome to try it.

We change keys by re-mastering the track from our original multi-track arrangement, so there is no pitch shifting, therefore no loss of quality when we make key changes.

You don’t say what sort of other editing you want to do to the track, but global cuts are sometimes possible on rare occasions if you have a good audio editing software (programs like Audacity, Soundforge and Wavelab are good editors). However if the point where you want to cut the track isn’t in a convenient place in the song you will probably get some glitches doing this. Tweaking individual instruments won’t be possible at all, no matter how good software you have.

To be honest, editing is not something that many customers attempt to do themselves because you only have two channels (stereo L&R) so there are serious limitations when you try to work with a stereo audio only track.

We on the other hand have access to the original multi-track arrangement to work from.

This means that we are able to change keys without pitch shifting and without loss of quality and we can edit individual instruments from within our master multi-track arrangement which we keep here at our studio (see http://www.mp3backingtrax.com/customtrax.htm for more info on our custom track service).

Drum backing tracks

Thanks to Brian for this question about drum parts for backing tracks…

Hi,
just wondered how much the cost would be for drum backing only.  we have found 16 tracks from your catalogue.  ie on Driftaway, is it cheaper to have drums, lead + harmonies or just drum backing?
Kind regards
Brian

Hi Brian

A backing track with drums only will cost £20 GBPounds (the same price as it would cost if you have any other instruments taken out or left in).

To edit any of the songs in our catalogue taking out instruments, there is 1 hour of studio time per track required (£20 GBPounds per hour is the studio rate).

The amount of instruments we remove doesn’t affect the price – it’s the time it takes us to do the work that you’re paying for. Once we have the arrangement opened up in the studio it takes pretty much the same time to take out one instrument and remaster the song as it does to take out half a dozen instruments.

The bulk of the one hour of time is opening the master arrangement in the studio, adding a count-in where necessary, re-balancing the remaining instruments, and re-mastering the song after editing with the relevant instruments omitted. Then it needs to be uploaded to the server ready for you to download.

We don’t record backing vocals/group harmonies on any of our tracks so all our tracks come WITHOUT backing vocals.

Hope this information is useful…

Another sound problem with Audacity

Ah, it looks like a few other people are having some issues with sound in Audacity, depending on their particular PC setup.

My guess is Windows 7 may be causing a lot of these issues, but in saying that, I have Audacity working perfectly on a Windows 7 laptop.

So my guess is that the problem is not due to Audacity but rather each individuals particular PC configuration. If you’re one of the people having problems, it’s most probably that you have some other audio program(s) installed on your PC which has “hijacked” your PC’s default settings (and when Audacity installs it will assume that your PC still has all its default sound settings in…

Kenny,
I have been through the tutorial but I can’t seem to find an option for recording a vocal whilst listening to an imported MP3 backing track. I can’t seem to record whilst listening to the backing track only in silence. This is making it very difficult to align tracks correctly and to speed up or slow down my vocal to the track. Any suggestions.
Many thanks
Dean

Hi Dean

To hear the backing track playing while you are recording your vocal go to “Edit Preferences” and select the Audio I/O tab (if your microphone is plugged in and configured correctly you won’t have to make any changes under “Recording”).

Check to make sure “Play other tracks while recording new one” and “Do not modify audio device settings” are both selected.

If you put on your headphones and start recording you should hear the mp3 backing track music play…

Volume problems with Audacity

Hello kenny,

I downloaded audacity but cant get any volume with the program.

Can u advise as I cant buy any mp3s until I can alter them to my liking…

Cheers

Jim

Hi Jim

Sounds like you haven’t configured Audacity with your PC’s sound card so your sound card isn’t playing the audio that Audacity is sending it.

There are a couple of things you could try:

Solution 1.
Check that you’ve got Audacity looking at the correct audio device by going to “Edit > Preferences > Audio I/O”

Solution 2.
Open up your Windows “Control Panel” in Classic view and click on “Sounds and Audio Devices”.

Select the “Sounds” tab and just check that system sound events will play.

If they do, then click on the “Audio” tab and check what you have selected for “Sound Playback” and “Sound Recording”.

Finally, open up Audacity and go to “Edit > Preferences > Audio I/O” and set the to the same…

Hope this helps…

Regards

Kenny

How to make a backing track medley

A customer contacted me to say she was entering a talent competition and wondered if she could use an audio editing software program to splice two songs together to form a medley (or whether we could do it for her)…

Hi Alice

We personally don’t use audio software to combine songs and would never do this, but it is something you may want to consider if cost is an issue and you decide to make the medley yourself.

Just bear in mind though that although it IS possible to “glue” two audio backing tracks together just as you suggest using a program like Audacity, it’s NOT possible to get good, proper, professional results by doing it that way.

That’s why we, as a backing track company, don’t produce medleys in this way.

A proper professional medley needs to be specially put together using multi-track arrangements of the songs so that the instrumentation in all the songs in the medley remain constant (i.e. the songs in the medley all use the same piano, the same bass guitar, the same drum kit etc for all the songs in the medley).

It should, in effect, sound as if you have a band or an orchestra with you on stage playing the whole medley. 

It shouldn’t sound dis-jointed in any way…and dis-jointed is sadly how it sounds when you just take audio backing tracks of separate songs, all with different sounds, and try to “glue” or “chain” them together using an audio editor.

You mentioned that you’ve reached the final of a singing competition and you’re intending using the medley in the final…

I’d just say to be careful – you could do your chances more harm than good by going out there and using a “patchwork quilt” type backing track made up of songs you’ve just stuck together.

But on the other hand, if you’re not getting paid for singing in this competition perhaps you might be considering whether you can really justify spending money getting a medley produced properly…

It’s a bit of a dilemma!

 

If you DON’T spend money getting the medley produced properly it could lose you the competition…

But if you DO spend money getting it done properly and then don’t go on to win, you’ve wasted all that money (unless you intend using it again in future competitions or at any gigging work you might get).

Whatever you decide to do, just let me know if I can help in any way, I’m only an email away….