Gig Performer and Backing Track Users

Feb 2, 2024 | Gig Performer Blog, GP4, Specials

In this article we will focus on the Gig Performer features that make it a powerful tool for backing track users.

In the blog article Gig Performer is the best companion for all your musical efforts and more we showed that although primarily aimed at performing musicians, the stability, efficiency and feature-richness of Gig Performer have made it valuable for use in many other fields where stable real-time audio processing is of utmost importance.

As members of many forums and Facebook groups, we see that the field of backing track users – either hobby music makers, solo live performers and duos is growing, so among 49 billion features, we will cherry pick some of the compelling Gig Performer features that are valuable for backing track users.

Let’s start by looking at where to find backing tracks.

What are backing tracks

A backing track is a recorded musical accompaniment along with which a soloist can play or sing. There are audio backing tracks and MIDI backing tracks, where the latter need to be fed to an audio generating source to produce the sound. Make sure to check out the article How to improve the sound quality of instruments in your MIDI files to learn more about MIDI files, instrument tracks and routing them to high quality audio plugins.

An audio backing track can be a single audio file or can be composed of stems — all instruments from an (original) audio file available as separate (individual) tracks. Having stems provides you with more flexibility, for example, you can mute the desired individual track or adjust their volume levels.

NB: there are also karaoke tracks — backing tracks with the lead vocal stem removed.

On the screenshot below you can see Gig Performer’s Audio File Player with multiple stems loaded.

Note that you can also create and include your own ‘Cues’ track (track 5 in the screenshot above) where you can have some instructions for your band mates, for example “Chorus go now” or “Repeat verse again”. You can mute/unmute this track and you can route these messages to a separate output, to make sure that the audience don’t hear these messages — only the band members can hear these cues in their own personal mix.

NB: Gig Performer v4.7 and later also include the Streaming Audio File Player that will be mentioned below.

Where to find backing tracks

A popular place to find lots of commercially popular songs in the form of backing tracks is Karaoke Version. Although the web site’s name suggests ‘karaoke’ (see above its definition) you can also find there also all the stems for a desired song (along with the vocals and backing vocals). This is a paid service where every song costs $3.

Some other options are listed here, in alphabetical order.

– Backingtracks.pro – offers a variety of backing tracks, stems, medleys and bundles.
– Gemtracks – offers some free backing tracks, royalty free music, and paid resources (beats, samples, etc.)
– Guitartonemaster – most of the provided backing tracks are guitar backing tracks. Similar web sites include Guitar Maps, and Guitar Voice.
– Hit Trax – Australian MIDI and MP3 files provider.
– Isolated Tracks – premium membership is required to download multitracks.
– Just Backing Tracks – professional MP3 music backing tracks for singers, performers, auditions and learning.
– MIDI Hits – offers primarily paid MIDI tracks for various genres. MP3 backing tracks are also available.
– Sound Cloud – offers a range of custom backing tracks with different quality.
– Steve’s Trax – offers backing tracks and lyric sheet for £1.99 per track.
– Super backings – you can download more than 20,000 songs or have them create a backing track for you.
– Supreme MIDI – offers professional multi-track MIDI files and backing tracks.
– Ultimate Guitar – a paid service with chords and tabs for over 1,100,000 songs.
– X-Minus Pro – allows you to change the pitch of any track, create playlists and more in a large collection of karaoke tracks
– YouTube – you can find many backing tracks on YouTube using the name of an artists + including the ‘backing track’ keyword. You can also find individual stems, karaoke versions or drum and bass versions. A special shout out goes to Elevated Jam Tracks that Igor Paspalj uses for his videos.

Additionally, you can buy backing tracks, compilations and bundles from sites such as Amazon and you can even hire someone to create backing tracks for you on web sites such as Fiverr.

Can I create my own backing tracks

Yes, you can — and many musicians go through the process of making their own backing tracks. For example, there are applications such as Song Master or Moises that allow you to create stems from any supplied audio file. Additionally, you can change the speed or a pitch of loaded audio files. Check out the video How to efficiently learn songs for more information about these features:

Check out this Backstage with Gig Performer episode featuring the developer of Song Master to see many tips on how to integrate Song Master with Gig Performer.

If you play an instrument or you are a vocalist, you can build a powerful VST setup and record your own tracks using Gig Performer’s Recorder feature. Check out this article to see how to use free plugins to create a simple Gig Performer setup. Afterwards, you can load your recording along with other stems and cues in an audio player in Gig Performer and record the final result as a mono or stereo backing track.

Guitar Pro users can find many Guitar Pro files on the web sites such as GProTabGuitar Pro Tabs, and GtpTabs, or they can import MIDI files and perform the desired edits in this application:

Guitar Pro can export files to MIDI files

Afterwards, you can either:

a) use the RSE (Realistic Sound Engine), route its outputs to Gig Performer and record these tracks in Gig Performer’s Recorder (click here for an example using ASIO Link Pro)
b) export MIDI files and follow the guidelines from the article How to improve the sound quality of instruments in your MIDI files to create audio tracks using Gig Performer’s Recorder.

Needless to say, you can combine all above-mentioned methods and also use additional audio tools to create backing tracks that will best match your needs and be the most appealing to your audience.

Assuming that you have built your backing tracks, we’ll explore other Gig Performer features relevant to backing track users.

Streaming Audio File Player and Timeline Actions

Gig Performer’s Streaming Audio File Player allows you to have thousands of backing tracks instantly available — they are not loaded into RAM, but instead they are streamed from your computer’s disk or SSD thereby saving your RAM for more plugins or samples. Additionally, this plugin allows you to create markers and trigger various actions as a song is playing. For example, you may want to trigger the Metronome, change the BPM, send MIDI to your external gear, change sounds or add effects. Check out this YouTube video to learn more.

Lyrics and visual cues

Check out the article Scrolling your lyrics or lead sheets to learn about lyrics, ChordPro support and ways to automate lyrics scrolling in Gig Performer.

If you collaborate with other music makers and you have different band members from time to time, or your setlist contains thousands of songs, or you simply cannot remember the song structure for some reason, it may be useful to add different cues. As mentioned earlier, you can have audio cues, but you can also have many visual cues that will help you maintain a cohesive performance.

For example, you can display various images at specific positions of your song using the Image Viewer extension and the Streaming Audio File Player.

Image Viewer Extension and Streaming Audio File Player in Gig Performer.

Click here to learn more.

Gig Performer allows you to have a custom metronome with visual feedback — large buttons that flash beats and accents with optional audio feedback.

Custom Metronome with Visual Feedback using the System Actions plugin in Gig Performer

Check out the article How to create a custom metronome with visual feedback to learn more.

Make your vocals stand out

In the YouTube video How To Create A Vocal Effects Chain In Gig Performer 4 singer and keytar player Marty Wade shows how versatile Gig Performer can be in handling live vocal effects.

Additionally, you can use Auto Tune plugins, vocoder plugins or hundreds of other vocal effects plugins during the whole show, only one song, or a specific section of a song all processed real-time.

Whether you use a karaoke track or simple mono backing tracks you can enrich your vocals and achieve a premium overall sound during your show.

Gig Performer can accommodate all your band members

Gig Performer is a tool for every musician, ranging from vocalists, drummers, keyboardists, keytarists, guitarists, bassists, Chapman stick players, Wind players to FoH engineers. You can use the power of modern computers to accommodate multiple band members. You can, for example, have both vocal and guitar setups in the same Gig Performer instance:

Vocals and guitar setup in one Gig Performer instance

Or you can run multiple independent Gig Performer instances for different band members.

NB: you can download this gig file for free here and check other complete templates from our huge Gig and Rackspace files repository.

Travel as light as possible

We have a dedicated community section called Gig Performer in Action, where Gig Performer users share photos, videos, and anecdotes from their live shows. In lots of threads, music makers praise the fact that you can travel to your gig just with a bag pack. For example, check out this thread where Samson Andersson showcases the content of his bag pack.

Gig Performer’s powerful Rig Manager feature allows you to use any rented or back-line gear that a venue provides and seamlessly integrate it in your setup in under a minute.

Guitarists and bass players will appreciate the possibility to carry only one guitar or use a guitar that a venue provides and use that same guitar all night to play songs with different tunings. See this YouTube Short for a brief demonstration:

Also check out this video where a dedicated pitch shifter is used on a 15 year old Windows laptop. This template allows you to play power chords just by playing one note on your guitar.

Integration with other applications, hardware, or computers

Gig Performer’s powerful MIDI supportextensive OSC implementationSDK and third-party extensions supportAVB integration, Ableton Link and a powerful scripting language allow for great integration options with many iOS, Android, Windows, macOS or Linux apps and hardware devices. If you use additional apps in your setup such as Bandhelper or a StreamDeck device, we have a number of tutorials that will get to speed ASAP. We’ll mention 15 useful resources below:

– Stream Deck extension,
– Bandhelper
– Mobile Sheets
– OnSong
– Lemur
– TouchOSC
– Open Stage Control
– AudioGridder
– Live Prompter
– Song Master
– RJM GT Mastermind,
– Novation SL MK3 series keyboards extension
– Morning Star MC8, MC6, MC6 Pro extension
– BOSS SY1000 connector

What else to try?

Gig Performer include lots of other features that may come handy such as the Auto Sampler:

If you don’t play to a click track, Gig Performer allows you to step through a MIDI file manually using keys on your keyboard or by pressing a foot pedal. See an example here:

And check out this YouTube Short to learn how to set this up.

If you are interested in setting up loopers, Gig Performer comes with the TH-U Essentials package, so check out how to set up a looper using this plugin in this thread. Needless to say, you can use many other loopers, such as Melda’s MSuperLooper. For more tips about live looping you can check out this video created by Arthur Oliveira.

If you want to record your show, you can use the Gig Performer’s Recorder as previously mentioned above in the article.

To get to know other Gig Performer features and get the sense of what is possible to do with Gig Performer, we have built a giant “How to” repository with many useful articles and videos. Check it out here.

If you have any questions or you want to share your feedback, please visit this Community thread.

Share this article to support Gig Performer and spread the word! 

Own The Stage® with Gig Performer®

Nemanja Pudar

Related topics:
– Gig Performer is the best companion for all your musical efforts and more
– Why use a computer with Gig Performer rather than hardware