PG TIPS: Use backing tracks to your advantage

I’m gonna keep this one short. Most of the bands I see live these days play with tracks – often a mono feed out of an iPod.

And usually, engineers mixing these bands fall into the same trap.

The tracks always sound better than the band – be it an intro, middle 8 or backing vocal. You can always hear when the track starts and stops, and usually it’s detrimental to the show.

My one tip is simple – make the tracks sound shit! High-pass your intro music, so when the band kicks in there’s more sub, and low-pass your string interludes so that last chorus has the extra high frequencies.

Drown any backing vocals in reverb so they sit, rather than make your lead vocal sound like a karaoke rendition (an issue I’ve been told Eminem succumbed to last week at Reading Festival!)

Backing tracks are a part of many modern bands at the moment – use them to your advantage rather than embarrassing yourself and the band you’re working for.

Picture: Eminem at Reading Festival 2013, taken from official Eminem Facebook page.

PG Tips is a new regular advice column from Bring Me The Horizon FOH engineer Phil Gornell. To read Gornell’s previous contributions, click here.

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