The death of midifiles and minidiscs part 2

Danny replied to me regarding midifiles versus mp3…

Hi Kenny
Thanks for your reply and advice, i did suspect he was not being honest. I noted you said minidisc is becoming harder to get and i take from you reply that you are saying Mp3 players are the way forward, my only concern is our set lists and playing the songs in any order and more to the point not playing one after another without stopping, i do have a mp3 player but it plays continuous i would need a player that stops after each song, as this is all going to new to us i want to get it right, is there any mp3 player that fits the bill without braking the band, as we have just upgraded our PA system.
Thanks Again

Hi Danny

With the iPod you can group songs together and make them in to a playlist (i.e. a set list).

The iPod also has a cool little function called the “on-the-go” playlist which is superb and really easy to use too. It lets you pick songs and make them in to a playlist from the iPod itself rather than setting it all up on your computer via iTunes.

I’ve written a short article about organizing songs in your iPod.

Regarding getting the music to stop after each song, there are a few ways this can be achieved on the iPod even though it doesn’t have an autopause facility. My¬†article about how to auto pause the iPod explains more.

The advantages of using MP3 are enormous compared to any other music format. MP3 is open-source and has no restrictions, unlike Microsofts WMA format and Apples AAC format which are protected formats which restrict what you can do with them.

This means that you can, without restriction, transfer your MP3 music files from your computer to your mp3 player, burn a CD of them, back them up on to a data stick etc. There are no restrictions and EVERY player in the world will play MP3 files. Home DVD players, newer CD players and car CD players nowadays all play MP3 files – many won’t play WMA or AAC files.

Even Microsofts Zune and Apples iPods play MP3 files even though these big companies try to force their own formats on the public (they’ve all had to concede that MP3 is the choice of music format for all the world now so all Apple iPods and Microsoft players will all play MP3 files).

The only advantage I can see of the old midifile format is that a band can easily drop instruments in or out of the midifile while on stage. Although this might not seem to be a major benefit or particularly important, it can be depending how your band normally do gigs. For example, if one night the bass player takes ill or doesn’t turn up, with a midifile you would simply put the bass back in to all your songs for that night.

Similarly, if you sometimes go out as a duo or a trio or a full band, midifiles are ideal for dropping in or taking out various instruments depending the bands line up that night.

Of course, it is entirely possible to do a similar thing with MP3 backing tracks. But the difference with MP3 is that you would need different versions of all your songs – one with the bass in and one with the bass out, another with the guitar in and another with the guitar out etc. In other words you would need a seperate backing track created for you with those particular instruments removed to suit each different band line up you intend to gig with.

As I say, there’s absolutley no reason why you can’t do this and have different mp3 tracks for different band set ups (and the MP3 track would definitely sound far better than playing a midifile), but it may work out a little expensive having all those duplicate songs created with different instruments removed…