A follow up email came in from Aaron regarding using backing tracks with click tracks…
Thanks a lot for the detailed reply! I really appreciate
it! I just got back from the studio trying out our back
tracks, it worked!! Just one more question… by panning
click to one side and the music to the other, the music
becomes mono right? Is there anyway way to keep the
music (back track) in stereo?
Unfortunately if you’re working in stereo there’s no way to have stereo music output while still having a separate click track output.
This is because stereo is actually 2 track (i.e. left and right).
If you are using a stereo output, then you are already using one side (track) of the stereo for the click. So that only leaves one other side (track) for the music.
The only way to have stereo music AND a click track is to multi-track the backing track (in an 8 track hard disk recorder or a midi player for example).
With an 8 track hard disk recorder type of set up you could have, for example, track 1 as the click track and send it to your drummers headphones. Track 2 and track 3 could be your “left and right” stereo music which you would send this to your PA system. It could be taken one step further if you really wanted. Track 1 could be your click track, track 2 and 3 stereo keyboard synth sounds, track 4 and 5 stereo guitar, track 6 mono saxophone, and tracks 7 and 8 brass or strings etc.
Getting back to your present stereo setup though, one little thing I should have mentioned you should watch out for when you’re panning the click to one side and the music to the other is the “fullness” of the sound.
Because your music is only coming out of one channel (mono) it can sometimes sound a little thinner than it would if it was coming out of two channels (stereo).
If you’re only using the recorded music to augment your live band with a few extra sounds it’ll be fine. The fullness and energy from the instruments that are being played live by the live musicians will easily disguise any thinness there may be to the recorded music.
But if it’s the other way round, and most of your music is on the recording and only a little is being played live by the musicians, it could become more noticable – the whole end result won’t feel as punchy as it should…