It has been a lively topic. There is no doubt about that. However, the tenor of some of the comments is such that it has caused my to rethink my enthusiasm and commitment to producing more OPB and OPBk resources. We’ll see how that goes.
But, in regard to “not totally live” music, I am reminded of two events in my life. I was living in Las Vegas, when canned music replaced live orchestras at major strip shows. Sure, the big singers still had live bands, but the spectacular/extravaganza shows all fired house bands, and created very good sounding midi tracks. Did the shows lose attendance because of this? I would say not. Siegfried and Roy continued to play to packed houses until Roy’s accident with the tiger. Cirque du Soleil uses canned tracks, etc.
In the late 90’s when computer based recording was still in its growing stages, I got my first rig, a rudimentary ProTools system that ran on Mac. It got me looking into midi, and I became very interested in midi guitar. Eventually, I came across the Roland GI-10, I believe it was, and a Yamaha MU-50 sound module. I wanted to learn more about midi, but the guys at my local store were inexperienced, and the nearest place where I knew of experienced staff was hundreds of miles away. (I was living in San Angelo, TX by then.) The local store knew of one musician locally who used midi equipment. They called him Midi Gene. They gave me his phone number and recommended I get in touch with him. So, I did. I met Midi Gene at his home, where he had a converted garage turned into his music room. He had 5, yes 5, 30 space rack units full of gear and they were all on wheels. He demo-ed it for me. The first track he played was Africa by Toto. It sounded like the real deal. I jammed with him for a bit, and he asked if I might consider playing out with him. I told him I was game. I asked what gear he took when he went out. He pointed at the 5 rack units. “They’re all on wheels. I have them labeled to what plugs in where,” he said. I said, “but doesn’t the crowd like say, geez that’s not really live, is it?” To that, I got an emphatic no. I also did not get invited back.
Would Ed Sheeran turn on a karaoke machine and sing along? Probably not. Would Ed Sheeran play a show where he fronted and sang, while playing guitar, if there were high quality backing tracks for bass, drums, strings, and brass behind him? I don’t know Ed personally, but depending upon how big the show was, I do know that many performers would not turn that opportunity down.
To those who have said there are other things for playing backing tracks. Well, maybe there are. Is there another unit for under $500 that will let me have a track with an intro section, a looping jam section, and then an outro section using prerecorded or pre-programmed files, allowing me to trigger my own sampled instruments from midi? Not that I know of. I don’t even know of one that would let me string more than 2 mp3’s together to get a similar effect, while being able to store and recall enough of said sets of songs for a whole show.
So, yeah, I am gonna keep using the Beat Buddy my way. And if, the forum has, heaven forbid, opened up a drums-only device to other uses, well then, so be it and hooray for us.