What's the midi setup to use in a band for backing tracks?

Discussion in 'General Sequencing' started by Jackson5, Jan 16, 2003.

  1. Jackson5

    Jackson5 New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    What's the midi setup to use in a band for backing tracks?
  2. vondownsonfreid

    vondownsonfreid New Member

    Messages:
    590
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    How I do it....

    Okay, here's how I do it....
    First I use a Kawai Q-80EX sequencer to playback all my midi files.
    This seq. pulls sounds from a Roland XP-10 multitimbral synthesizer. I pre-set all the files I use for live gigs like this:
    Track 1 - Bass
    Track 4 - Harmonizer
    Track 5 - Keys
    Track 6 - Organ
    Track 7 - Strings
    Track 8 - Horns
    Track 10 - Drums
    Track 11 - Acoustic Gtr.
    Track 13 - El. Gtr.
    Track 16 - Special FX
    NOTE: This is the basic set-up. If I need a thicker bass, I'll double it up with another sound on Track 2. Additional horns on track 9, and the leftover tracks for whatever else I need.
    Obviously, I don't use all the sounds that I make the files with. I have two guitar players so we don't use any gtr tracks. In one band I play bass, so I don't use that track with them (I think you get the picture).
    My harmonizer (back tracks ) are on track four. I use for harmonies a Digitech Vocalist Workstation. Sometimes I will play in the actual harmony line of the song onto track 4. This allows the sequencer (on playback) to tell the Digitech what notes to sing in the Vocoder setting. The Vocoder setting gives options like 1,2,3, or 4 voices layered for harmonies. I can also just play, for example, chords as the song changes. This allows the seq. (on playback) to tell the Digitech to follow the song with the right chords in the proper key. The Vocalist gives options like Eagles, Oak Ridge Boys, Male/Female 3rd up, Male choir, Female choir, Jazz choir, Male/Female 3rd up and 3rd below (etc, etc, there are over 40 settings with lots of combinations).
    Lots of info huh? Essentially, the Digitech operates only when I tell it to, and how I tell it to (via chordal or scalic notes). This info is contained in the file itself. If you download a file from anywhere, look at the file in your midi-editor (I use Cakewalk Pro on my PC). The tracks will all have instruments assigned to them and usually at least the melody line somewhere. Some of the better files have the harmony line with them as well. Reassign that track to the appropriate channel for the harmonizer you are using and you're ready to go (with some tweaking to the velocity because that will affect the out put volume - right?)
    Limitations are that the harmonizer is not a sampler and neither is my Kawai. Therefore, with my setup, I cannot get counter melodies (i.e different words to what I am singing). My system is voice triggered. Which means: whatever I sing the Digitech will harmonize to- but that's it.

    That's enough for now. Read this and if you have any questions I'll check the thread later.

    downsie
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2003
  3. Stilcrazy

    Stilcrazy Just a Regular Midi Guy

    Messages:
    732
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Do you find the Vocoder sounds natural enough. Have always wondered about a set up like yours but was afraid it would sound mechanical.
  4. vondownsonfreid

    vondownsonfreid New Member

    Messages:
    590
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    mechanical or natural...

    The trick, that I find, is that I make sure that the vocalist track (track 4 for me) has a velocity set to zero. - not muted . This allows my voice to project the sound naturally with my own velocity and singing level.
    I've experimented with two set-ups:
    1.) One mic - send my voice via auxsend3 to vocoder. The Vocoder outs go to a channel on my board (eg ch. 15) where I EQ it (it is, after all another effect AND a voice).
    The other...
    2.) Two mics (double mic holder) and the first mic is my normal mic as I would set it up to just sing (EQ'd etc, etc.). The second mic I will take out of the main mix but allow to send via auxsend3 to the vocoder and to the approp. vocoder channel on the board.
    By taking mic2 out of the main mix the only thing that comes through on (channel 15 for the vocoder) is the affected voice sound.
    I like the second way better for a couple of reasons....
    By singing towards the mic2 when it's time for harmonies I can affect the loudness/velocity of the sound that comes through. For example, if the harmonies need to gradually come in or fade out, I just adjust how I sing towards the mic2 in relation to my main mic. I found I could get a better blend of the voices with mine.
    The other reason is just simple preference. When I do it all through one mic I wasn't happy with the output or "control" of the backup effect.
    Another thing: I know that you can adjust the velocity for (track 4) in a midi editor, like Cakewalk. But it's a bit of a pain in the ass. Why go through all the work of adjusting the harmony line's velocity when all the Vocalist needs is a midi signal? (which, as you know isn't audio). I found when I didn't turn the velocity down when it "came in" while I was singing it was less smooth and more abrupt (mechanical?).
    With the proper Eq'ing and a little bit of the normal applications that would be done for a human voice (comp/gate, delay, reverb) I've gotten the Vocoder to sound pretty "human".
    As a little added incentive if you're thinking of a "gizmo" like this....
    I played with a fellow who could lead sing fairly well (he had the voice for tunes by ACDC, KISS, even John Fogarty & CCR). He could also make the guitar literally sing. However he couldn't do harmonies for the songs that I sang - at all.
    So this is where I took his mic feed out of the mains but still sent it through the harmonizer and - voila! I had a pretty good back-up singer after all.
    ......cheating, but it worked for me!

    downsie
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2003
  5. nufan

    nufan New Member

    Messages:
    34
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    yea i want to know too LOL!
  6. nidogflynn

    nidogflynn New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I Play in a sequenced Duo. However I do all my sequencing in Sonar and then render the files out to audio to be burnt to CD. These are then used on stage in a normal multi disc CD player.

    The Up side is that this makes for a very portable, easy to use set up and I can over dub guitar and vocal trax.

    The down side is that you have to make sure the mix is spot on.
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2003
  7. Stilcrazy

    Stilcrazy Just a Regular Midi Guy

    Messages:
    732
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Von ... very cool ... you have my interest peaked ... would love to try it
  8. seacruzinal

    seacruzinal New Member

    Messages:
    100
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Oh wow, I have all this gear, but still haven't learned really what it will all do!
    I have the same Harmonizer, and I am running Cakewalk 9.0 through a SC8850. so far, I just use the presets on the harmonizer, clicking it on and off where appropriate...but of course I have to make sure I hae the right key and mode selected, otherwise some really strange things come out. SO...how do I split out that channel for the harmonizer to work?
    I am using USB from the laptop - - will the midi still send messages to the harmonizer?
  9. seacruzinal

    seacruzinal New Member

    Messages:
    100
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    ok, so I'm clueless...I admit it ! I knew all this stuff COULD be done, but never ever figured it out !
  10. vondownsonfreid

    vondownsonfreid New Member

    Messages:
    590
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    4 channel vocoder...

    With the Digitech Vocalist Workstation, the 4 MIDI Channel Vocoder setting allows each of the four individual voices to have its own channel when using the "4MID" Vocoder style within any Vocoder program.
    In our case, Program 16-20. Some midi files have the melody and the harmony tracks - perfect for this application. Assigning each voice it's own MIDI channel and using the program stops "voice swaping" which causes voices panned in the stereo field to switch positions. If you run in mono, or stereo mode and you don't mind the voice swapping, you can use a "4MID" Vocoder style on the same MIDI channel as the system.
    The system channel, I'm referring to is, for me, channel 4. Again you can choose this under Utilities. The default is MIDI channel 1. But I read somewhere that it's more common to change it to channel 4 so that's what I did.
    If you leave it on the default channel (channel 1) then you would set up the midi file as follows: (assuming you take out melody track because you are singing)
    For the midi file: You would change the harmony tracks to channels that correspond to them on the harmonzer. i.e channels 1, 2, 3, & 4.
    For the harmonizer: Under the Utilities main menu, press the soft key corresponding to MIDI. This presents the MIDI Utilities sub-menu.
    a.) Press the soft key corresponding to Channel.
    b.) Press the Right Arrow button.
    c.) You can then select voices 2,3,and 4 using the soft keys below them. Again, Voice 1 follows the system channel (that you have already chosen - and can't be changed here).
    If you have a song file that has mulitple tracks of harmonies, then thie set-up works beautiful.
    My first succesful vocoder experience was with the song "Drift Away" by Dobie Grey. Real deep to real high harmonies and with me belting out the melody it came out totally rich!
    I hope this wasn't too unclear....

    downsie
  11. vondownsonfreid

    vondownsonfreid New Member

    Messages:
    590
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    re: USB to MIDI

    Sorryseacruzinal , I forgot to answer your question.
    Remember, the reason you are using the USB connection for MIDI is because you can.
    It takes over the transmission of midi information when you aren't connected the traditional way (midi ports).
    This should still work for your set-up. If it doesn't, let me know.

    downsie

Share This Page