Dave, a regular guitarist customer of ours asked me about taking his guitar tracks one step further and being able to mix the balances of the individual instruments in a backing track himself…
If I can get hold of editing software would you be able to sell your backing tracks as individual tracks (ie guitar, drums etc) so I can then choose which instruments I need? If so, how much would this cost per song?
Yes, we could do that but there are two possible issues you might want to consider before going down this route.
First is sync/timing problems.
Second is price.
The individual instruments would each be on their own stereo file and would be exactly the same length, so there’s no problem there. Also the faster the computer you have and the better the software you use, the less problems you’ll have with sync/timing problems.
But from my experience of trying to sync audio files, they do cause enough sync problems (no matter how tiny) to cause a great amount of frustration!
Putting the audio files together on a dedicated hard disk recorder rather than a computer would most probably be a more stable way to do things and avoid timing/sync issues.
The second problem you may find is cost….
We charge by the hour for studio time (at the time of writing £20 GBP per hour). So if, for example, you ask us to produce a song without rhythm and lead guitars just as we’ve done for you before, then in 1 hour we can open up the arrangement, take out the guitar parts, balance all the remaining instruments, re-record it, mix it down, master it, convert it to mp3 and send you it. Job done. One hour of our studio time and £20 GBPounds later, your audio file without guitars is complete.
But if you wanted individual audio files with single instruments on each one, then that’s not just one audio file (backing track) we’re producing and sending you – it’s half a dozen or more. We would have to produce seperate instrument audio files for each of the drums, bass, synth, strings, brass, piano etc and then send them all to you – and that costs more time, therefore more money.
For example, let’s take creating the drum part from a song.
We would open up the arrangement, isolate the drum part, re-record it, mix it down and master it so it is exactly the same length as any other instruments we’ll be doing for you.
This would take the best part of an hour to do and would cost £20 GBPounds. Mind you, if we are creating half a dozen different instruments for you all from the same song and therefore all from the same arrangement, the arrangement will already be open and the song loaded in to our studio machines so each further instrument may only take half an hour to complete (£10 for half an hours studio time).
So if you have 6 instruments in the song, the cost of creating would still be probably 6 x £10 = £60.
I know quite a few musicians who already do the kind of thing that you want to do – they like to mix the instruments themselves on their backing tracks.
But none of them do it the way you are considering doing it – and that’s primarily because of the cost.
They all agree that it’s much less expensive to just buy a midifile of the song for say £5 then run the midifile through a good quality sound module and they’ve got a similar result (and it has only cost them £5 per song rather than hundreds of pounds per song).
The other advantage of midifiles is that you can run a midifle + sound module live onstage and alter the balance of the instruments in real-time during your gig with no sync or timing issues…