Expanding beyond BB...at times

We’ve used BB on pretty much every song we’ve performed for the last 6 or 7 years. In many cases the drums, bass and keys when needed are adequate and the ability to extend solos on command are worth the trade-off. A number of contributors to the forum have crafted exceptional tracks for our trio to play over. Willin’ (Phil Flood), While My Guitar Gently Weeps (Persist) and Comfortably Numb (Phil Pingber) to mention a few.

However, there are songs where a richer piano or drum part or quality horns are beyond BB’s reach. We’ve started to experiment with .wav audio files rendered from REAPER triggered using an embedded transmogrify/player button on the iPad screen displaying the associated cheat sheet (UnRealBook software).

Having already broken the barrier of not having a drummer on stage, and gaining flexibility for a trio to play parts as needed if BB is used judiciously, fuller backing tracks should provide the audience an unexpected variety in a performance mix. As with all art its up to the performer to decide where the karaoke boundary is and not cross it ensuring the set retains vitality.

As an initial post-production experiment I matched an existing recorded performance of While My Guitar Gently Weeps – which used a stock beat - with Persist’s file (updated Dec ’20). After all using BB is like having a click track that ensures the tempo is correct. Oddly enough that’s the reason we got BB planning to only use it for rehearsal years ago. Worked so well we haven’t stopped using it on live performances.

On a ‘return to live’ performance recently for a small audience the full audio backing idea seems to work (The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down).

The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down

I recently recorded congas from BB (Phil Flood’s Santana kit) and layered them on another track (attached) for Dixie Chicken (transposed to G).

Dixie Chicken (If the Box link doesn’t trigger copy and paste into your browser)


You could also look at using a synth/sequencer and using BB as the timing master.

I hesitate to ask - recalling our worthy exchanges about developing low end sound output in the past. I did benefit however. I’m pleased with the Seismic Audio as a low-mid fill addition to the PA. What did you have in mind?

My path so far has been: struggle with BB limitations as noted>learn enough REAPER to craft files and improve matters somewhat>realize BB limitations that are insurmountable>render .wav file using better sounding plugins instead. Done.

What did we chat about before…? I don’t recall being rude, but it isn’t beyond belief by any stretch. Hope I wasn’t too offensive!

Never mind. :slight_smile:

How can I help?

Ha! It is I who should apologize for attempting to be clever in my earlier message and falling short. Besides you, like my wife, are Canadian. You lack the ability to be rude.

Pre-pandemic you helped me think through getting better low end (bass and BB) in the live mix. I had tried sub-woofers but realized nothing in our sound spectrum needs that. We don’t do EDM. You advised me on some Seismic Audio products you were familiar with. I wound up with a powered unit we have used since as a fill sending bass and BB via an AUX channel to complement what goes to the tops.

Sadly these being made in China like many things are difficult to come by now it seems. BTW you also advised to my benefit on other things such as crafting drum kits and doing video of performances. So if my earlier comment sparked an idea let me know.

Of course, the Seismic gear discussion! Sorry, I’m told memory is the second thing to go (don’t remember what the first thing was). What did you end up getting? How do you like it?

Seismic Audio PWS-12 500W. Its perfect for the intended use. Where the EV ZXA1 10" tops are clean for vocals this one takes the load off. You can see it on the floor in the video I posted. I see they still are not listed for sale. I think I paid $200?