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Hello. I'm John from the UK.
I have a simple question. When playing rendered files from a player, (like an MP3 player), to an on stage mixer for PA, when device do you favour, please?

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Hi John. Welcome.

I assume from your question you are not looking for advice on the MP3 player, nor powered or PA amps and speakers - you want to know what we use just for the mixer. Is that correct?

If it is, does it matter if your mixer has iPad connectivity? Mine does, and that’s very cool to be able to walk around as you adjust the mix (my sound man does that).

Or are you looking for something such as a personal monitor like you use when laying down tracks in a studio and you can adjust the monitor mix?

Or are you looking for affirmation of brands ex. Behringer, no; Mackie, yes. Etc.

Finally, are you playing along with BIAB tracks? Not essential to the answer but just to get an idea what you are doing.


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Hello Matt!
Actually, I AM taking about the MP3 player!
I have mixer and powered speakers etc etc all sorted. This is because I do open mic nights and have done about 300 I suppose.
I write, sing, and play the guitar and 80% of what I do is original material.
Using band in a box to create some substantial backing tracks for my own music only occurred to me recently. I know that my wife has bought me the ultra pack 20 24 for Christmas, but of course I'm not allowed to actually use it for another week or so!!!
The only thing I really think that I lack is an MP3 type player. I did plan to at least try to start off by using my phone but since it's only has a USB c output and using that is shockingly awful, I'm looking for something a little bit more, shall we say, industrial.
I did wonder about using playback from a handheld Tascam or something of that nature, and I have also seen an MP3 player advertised on Amazon UK which seems to have a quarter inch line out, however I have no idea what they quality of that it actually is.
What do you think?

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Ok. Now we know what you need. I agree, don't use your phone.

I have an older Tascam portable that is great, and it has RCA outputs that I like.

I have a newer Zoom H4N Pro and I like everything about it better EXCEPT that the output is a 1/8" headphone jack. Boy, do I hate those. The contacts can break and they can get noisy such that if you jostle the cable when it's connected to a PA, it sounds like thunder. I'm OK with 1/4" outputs, either two mono or one TRS. They do not suffer the same problem.

Five tips you might consider:

1) I do not use MP3s. I use WAV files. My devices have far more room than I need, so why not use the best quality?

2) I add 20 seconds of silence to the end of each song. If I'm performing to a recording, I want to be able to acknowledge the audience before scrambling to turn off the player.

3) Make sure your player has Folders. You can put all the songs for a set or an evening in the same folder.

4) If you are playing with a recording and want to start playing together with it at the beginning, unless you have a click, then I add a brief bit of hiss before the song, one or two beats out depending on tempo. I hear it, but the audience does not, or doesn't recognize it for what it is.

5) Assume any sound person at the open mic is woefully unprepared so bring any adapter cables they could possibly need. They may have a snake, but if they don't, you are either looking at telling some sound person how to operate your player (don't do that) or you need a very long cable to reach back to their mixer so you have the player next to you.


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Matt has a good point about the mini jack output but most mp3 players do seem to use a headphone jack output. one thing i learnt was not to use an ipod. if you play a file, the machine plays ther next file automatically which is a pain when you are live. I think other mp3 players do the same unless you create a playlist for each separate song. but if you use a tablet and select the file you want to play and use a playback app it just plays that one file. i've retired my ipod and now use an android tablet with all my songs and then from a file explorer window click on the file i want and use the default music playing app.

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Yes, I use the term folder in the same sense you called it a playlist. And you are correct, sometimes I only put one song in that folder.


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Matt and Bob.
Guys, I'm really grateful for your input! Brilliant.
Some of your points will go into my "remember this as essential good sense" list. Very handy!
Sorry about the long delay, but we're 8 hours apart, and I've had a quick kip.

So........ Anyone hve any ideas of an mp3/wav player with a proper output jack, please? (UK 06,26 a.m.)

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Have you considered a laptop computer instead of an mp3 player.?

I use one to gig with, I can go from song to song instantly if I want, decide what song to play at the very last second (no playlist needed), and have immediate controls over all the functions.

If I'm doing a fast song, and had a slow song planned next, but change my mind because I think they want another fast one, two or three key presses sets the song up. When the current song ends, I hit Enter and the next one starts immediately.

Full description of how I use it is here https://www.nortonmusic.com/backing_tracks.html

It may be more than you need, but it's worth checking out, anyway

Notes ♫


Bob "Notes" Norton smile Norton Music
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& Fake Disks for MIDI and/or RealTracks
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Notes:
Thank you!
I really want a small, pocketable device which suits my neuroses.
Why?? Because I have a "thing" called, "in an emergency, can I still complete the gig? "
This means I rely as little as possible on gear, especially anything heavy or awkward, (apart from PA, of course).
Sorry, I'm just eccentric, I think.

Great to "meet" you, and your site looks fascinating.

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of course, with a tablet you can have your phone as a backup - and use the same method to play the mp3s albeit ona much smaler and fiddly screen

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Originally Posted by John Lancelotte
This means I rely as little as possible on gear, especially anything heavy or awkward, (apart from PA, of course).
Sorry, I'm just eccentric, I think.
That's not eccentric, or if it is, there are a lot of eccentrics out here laugh
Minimal complexity means minimal risk.


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Hi Bob!

The screen size doent matter at the moment, as the device will only hold a setlist and nothing else, (which I'll write on my hand!!).
My biggest concerns are:
Portability
Reliability
Quality

Not necssarily in that order! :-)

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Gordon, Hi!!

Yes. Yes indeed!!

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I use an iPad playing AVI files that include both scrolling chord sheet video and .WAV audio. Output from the iPad goes through a lightning cable into an audio interface, and the output from the audio interface goes into my Yamaha StagePas1K Mark II or to a JBL Eon One Compact for small rooms. I use the free VLC video player to organize and trigger everything. It's nice to be able to simply scroll and click with the fingers of one hand and to be able to glance at the scrolling chart if necessary.

The iPad is very light and thin and fits into a gig bag pocket designed especially for tablets. I'm very happy with this arrangement.

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Many thanks everyone!!

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Originally Posted by John Lancelotte
Notes:
<...snip...>
Why?? Because I have a "thing" called, "in an emergency, can I still complete the gig? "<...>

I agree. The show must go on.

I bring a spare computer, and it's up and running all the time.

I use ThinkPads, because they are ultra reliable.

Since 2002, when I started this, I had to go to the second computer twice. I simply moved the USB cable from one to the next, and the audience never knew I had a problem.

Originally Posted by John Lancelotte
Great to "meet" you, and your site looks fascinating.

Nice to meet you, too. I hope you find what you need and it works out perfectly for you.

Notes ♫


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Hello John! if you have an iPad you can use a small adaptor that allows you to charge the iPad while sending audio out through the small 1/8" stereo headphone jack. The one that I have is "Model CAAB" purchased on Amazon I think. This is USB-c format but lightning versions should be available if that's your iPad's format.

In addition to above: FWIW ..... I agree with others here ..... I'm no BIAB expert but I have been a performing musician for a few decades & used MP3 backing tracks through several different PA systems extensively. I highly recommend against using MP3 format for backing tracks here's why: Imagine you have a cheep low resolution digital camera and you want to blow up your photos, the results are blurry and hard on the eyes of the viewer. if you are close to the picture you may not even be able to decipher the image at all. Now apply that concept to amplified audio files. The additional cost of the storage required for larger files is worth the results in terms of sound quality and listener experience.

Maybe the better quality backing tracks won't get you paid more and Mp3's will get the job done "well enough" but in my opinion: Being AWESOME is way more fun than being adequate.


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Hello Banj

Thank you for taking time to comment.
I've never owned.,or even used, an Apple product, but I believe I understand what you are saying.
You'd suggest .WAV files, then? (If I've understood you correctly).

Sorry for the brief reply, but it's 5. 38 AM, and I'm getting ready for work.

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HI John!

Yes I am saying use wav. files (Not Mp3) format especially if you are amplifying the backing tracks through a PA System.


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Thanks Banj.

D'y' know, I think I'm guilty of saying "Mp3 Player" when everyone else means "DAP"

I suppose it's just habit from years back.

Appologies to all for being imprecise all through my thread! (I've even managed to confuse myself).

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LOL no worries What's a DAP? LOL!


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grin Digital Audio Player.

It seems that this means an MP3 player on steroids!!

Why the marketing folks make life more complicated by using strange terms I dont know.
"MP3 player with lossless file capability" may be longer, but it makes immediate sense.

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Thanks John! I don't mean to hijack your thread but I am now "all over this" but can't seem to find a portable DAP on Line that has more than 128GB storage which will fill up pretty quickly I imagine smile

Do you know of any portables with 1-4 TB Drives ?

Thanks,
Stefan


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Actually, I might. I shall just do some searching...... Back in 15 minutes......

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2TB with a suitable card. No experience of it, so can't tell you anything definitive..... Thought I might buy it myself...... 4.4 jack? Unknown quantity.

HiBy R3 II Hi-Fi MP3 player with bluetooth and wifi supports streaming DSD PCM MQA dongle 3.5mm+4.4mmBAL jacks


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Wave files on a laptop.


You can find my music at:
www.herbhartley.com
Add nothing that adds nothing to the music.
You can make excuses or you can make progress but not both.

The magic you are looking for is in the work you are avoiding.
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That’s a joke about 128 GB not being enough, right? How many open mics do you play?

You load files onto these players via a USB connection to your computer. Files can be loaded onto a folder, but they can be erased, too. Folders can be added but they can also be erased.

If I played non-stop using my MP3 player (excuse me, my DAP with WAV files), I don’t think I could live long enough playing open mics 24 hours a day for the rest of my lifetime to come anywhere near running out of space, even if I didn’t delete any files.


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Hmmmm...... I'm sure Banj has his reasons for wanting a high storage capacity. Regarding laptops, I for one would never trust them to be reliable, and of course, they take up space.... You could much more easily use a portable widget.
BUT, I don't know. I'm simply learning here.

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My SONY digital player is about 15 years old. It has 1 GB of storage. It’s still more than fine for everything I do. Most of the new players have SD cards and ship with a 4 GB card, although you could swap that for one with more capacity. I can’t imaging using it as a player and needing more than 4. If someone is using it to record, especially if they are composing multitrack songs, then I understand.


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FWIW, I've just looked at the USB pen-drive I use in my car's MP3 player to get a size example.
There are 2819 songs taking a total of 16GB. They're a 128ksps (the car's sound isn't really good enough to warrant much higher).


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Yeah ... it's just a "me thing" for sure! I am definitely over the top when it comes to memory, I'm the guy who always gets the MAXIMUM available memory in any device that I buy. Plenty of reasons in my little brain-hole ... unless someone wants to know I'll spare the audience!


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If you have too much memory, you don't have to use it.
If you have to little it's, um, let's settle on "it's an inconvenience".


Jazz relative beginner, starting at a much older age than was helpful.
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