Backing tracks, click track, need advice

I hear a lot on this forum about using the media player to trigger backing tracks for performances. I’m at the point that I need to do this. The band needs to learn a song which has EP, string and horn parts intermittently throughout the song. Obviously, I only have two hands, plus I will be singing background vocals. I have the idea that I need to pre-record the horn and string parts throughout the song to the beat of a click track. The recorded click track would be primarily for the benefit of the drummer. He’s played with a click track before, but we’ve never tried pairing that with prerecorded instrument parts. For those of you that are familiar with what I’m trying to do, how are you doing it? Are you using Cantabile exclusively or are you laying down tracks in a DAW, rendering all into one file and then triggering that in Cantabile with the media player? I use Reaper for my DAW although I’ve never done anything like this before.

Any suggestions for this newbie would be appreciated.

In my case, I create a mp3 backing track for each instrument in the total backing track. As a solo, I sometimes have players sit in and this method means I can simply mute out a part from the backing track dynamically whenever it is required.

I alos have a version of the backing track that is all the parts mixed together!

A great (although not really touted) feature of C3 is the ability to load up several media players with several individual media files but have the all syned to start and stop at the same time. Simply brilliant haha!

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naaaaah - just re-arrange the song so it works with your two hands. Copying the originals 1:1 is boring - people could just listen to a CD.

Since I have moved to only one single 88 keys keyboard with Cantabile as my live rig, I have had a lot of fun with layering - fading in or blending sound with my expression pedal or sliders. One of my go-to setups is a layer of acoustic piano and hammond, with brass on EXP in some octaves. Very interesting sound textures, and very versatile - just kick in some brass riffs for some notes. And nobody notices that the piano or the organ follows the brass (you could even fade OUT the piano with the same EXP if you really want to). Layering is often far more intuitive and creative than splitting the keyboard (and jumping all over your keys to play that brass riff at C7 upward…)

I’d rather be creative with song arrangement and sound design than slave myself to a fixed backing track.

But that’s just my 0.02 EUR…




Using an expression pedal for brass is a great tip - thanks, @Torsten! I have been trying to move to a single keyboard for gigs, but haven’t considered that approach. My previous attempts using multiple keyboard splits have been unsatisfying…not to mention hard to keep track of :wink:

You can also use velocity switches for brass hits. That works well, too.

I’ve never had success with tracks. Seems like the singer wants to repeat a chorus “one more time” or the drummer gets excitible-boy syndrome, etc. All of the reason Ableton has a market.

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How are the backing tracks going?

Not the original poster, but I use Cantabile for playing backing tracks (4 media players per song (click, keys, guitar, backing vocals)) and using the built-in metronome clicks. I also use loopMIDI to control QLC+ on the same PC. It works amazingly! It’s totally stable and easy to work with. It’s the first software license (performer edition) I’ve ever bought out of my own money, and it’s worth every penny!

I can hardly wait for Brad to implement time based triggers! Once that’s done, we’ll be stepping into the big boy world of automation for all my bandmates.


Got to admit that time-based triggers are quite a biggie for me, too. It will be so liberating to just play the songs and let Cantabile sort out the patch switching for us. The last gig I did I accidentally clicked forward two patch changes and ruined a solo I’d been practicing for months!