Using CD’s to playback backing tracks

Carol has asked me about using CD’s to playback backing tracks…

Good afternoon.. I
have to tell you how much I enjoy your website.. your info is great and covers sooo much! I just purchased a Yamaha Stagepass 500 system and for me and what I’m planning to do it’s wonderful.. however.. I am battling with cd’s.. I note your comments re mp3 players. and I’m wondering what you would recommend for this system.. are there things I should watch for or require of an mp3 player.. I would be using it for background tracks for performance..

Hi Carol

Using a CD live on stage to play your backing tracks will be a nightmare because of problems with pingerprints, scratches etc making the CD jump and skip.

This is not recommended at all!

MP3 is ,without a doubt, the way to go.

The two most popular machines for playing mp3 backing tracks on stage are the Apple iPod or a laptop computer.

Both have the advantage that they can also be used for other things.

The iPod can hold your personal listening music, photos, videos etc as well as your bacing tracks – very handy.

The laptop is…well, a laptop, so you have all the advantages of having a full Windows (or Mac) PC on the road with you every where you go.

The downside of an iPod is the rather small size of the screen – you need good eyesight to read the display on an iPod. It is back-lit though.

The upside of the iPod is the sheer usability and reliability – it is so user friendly, easy to operatem, and so far I have NEVER had an iPod freeze up on me on stage and I’ve been using my iPod for years live on stage.

The downside of a laptop is that it’s a computer – drop it and it’ll break.

Also Windows computers (and yes, even Mac computers) tend to freeze and crash from time to time and this is not good when you’re in the middle of a set. Imagine the crowd on the dancefloor waiting for the next song from you and you have to ask them to hang on while you re-boot your computer – not good!

The upside of a laptop is that the screen is large and is easy to see and operate on stage.

There are actually thousands of mp3 players which will do the same job as a laptop or an iPod. A lot of rack-mounted DJ style mp3 playing hardware has now come on to the market and is very popular with many singers.

However, in my humble opinion, when you are choosing an mp3 player to play backing tracks live on stage, there is only one thing which is important – the player needs to WORK perfectly every time and be reliable over, and over, and over, again without incident.

For a singer, there is nothing worse than the backing track player skipping, or stalling or failing half way through a song.

That’s why the iPod is the most reliable machine of all.

Yes, an iPod can freeze, crash or die at an inopportune moment just like any electronic device (although I’ve never personally experienced any problems).

It just happens to do it LESS OFTEN than every other mp3 player currently on the market.

So if reliability of playing your backing tracks on stage is your number 1 priority, then the iPod is the answer…