Is the iPhone good for backing tracks?

Thanks to Gavin for this question about using the iPhone for backing tracks…

Please can you help? I am looking to buy a mp3 player to play backing tracks through a pa system. I have looked at both the apple ipod and iphone and I am leaning towards the iphone (as i need a new phone) as well so i thought it would be a good idea to combine both if possible.

Have you heard or know of any problems using the iphone as an mp3 player instead of the ipod?

Thanks very much

Kind regards


Hi Gavin

Basically what everyone seems to agree on is that the quality of sound appears to be comparable no matter which you choose so that’s good news.

It really comes down to ease of use and how much you will be using it on stage – every singer or musician will use their backing tracks in a different way and this can make a difference to your choice.

For example, I play keyboards at most of my gigs (I play live piano on top of the backing tracks) and while 10% or so of my set is purely live keyboards, 90% of my set is using backing tracks plus live piano. That means that I need quick and efficient access to the backing tracks on the device because I’m using it 90% of the gig.

But a friend of mine with a similar set up to me plays at gigs where 75% of the time he’s playing live keyboards so only uses backing tracks 25% of the gig.

So, for me, the iPod would be my choice because it is more dedicated to what I do 90% of my time at a gig (which is use backing tracks).

But for my friend, the iPhone would be his choice because he only uses backing tracks for 25% of his gig so the little extra awkwardness of using the iPhone to play his backing tracks isn’t so important to him – finding the odd backing track now and again on his iPhone is no big deal to him but would be if he was using backing tracks a lot more at his gig like I do.

So it’s probably down to how much you use backing tracks at your gig.

If the majority of your set is with backing tracks, I would always suggest you buy a device that’s been specially designed for that purpose and the iPod is the obvious choice – it has been designed from the ground up specially to play music.

You should also take in to account where you intend to place your iPhone or iPod on stage to make sure the position of the jack socket is in a convenient place fore you…