Do you have any helpful suggestions concerning my performing a solo gig using a DVD player and amp for playing the background tracks? This is the least expensive way I can think of to get started playing in public.
Thanks timobrien. I guess I could just punch in the number of the song I want to play from a list (which I already made up), but I just thought that there would be less chance of error if I could see the song I want to play highlighted on the screen. No big deal. I was thinking that maybe the video signal could be sent back to the DVD. Thanks again for your reply.
MP3 players will have a screen, are much more portable. Many have a "progress bar" on the screen so that you can get an idea of where you are in the tune(helpful after 9 chorus' of Impressions) They often have the "play the track once and stop" feature. MP3 tags let you do things with the album/artist name that are great for locating tunes quickly... A 2 gig player will hold enough tunes for a nights worth of playing.
Thanks Saxist for the reply. I didn't know you could get enough output from a MP3 player to feed a guitar amp (which is what I have). Would I hook it up the same way as I did my DVD player? I didn't want to experiment with it myself before getting your reply because with my luck I'll destroy the MP3 player or the amp!!
Dvd and CD players are subject to unusual wear and tear in traveling from gig to gig that they really aren't designed for. I have had the misfortune of showing up to a gig and have a player not work. Not to mention that cd's and dvd's will scratch regardless of how well we take care of them.
I wanted to pursue performing my original works and own arrangements. Once I had the tracks completed, I loaded the sound files into a laptop and use an audio player. I use a usb mixer, so the music does not go through the soundcard, so clarity and quality is dependent on the sound file and the sound system. I found that I have much better control of my show and less down time switching between tracks. This can be handy when the audience responds to something and you want to play more tunes like it. Just make sure that you turn off all of the system sounds and adjust the screensaver before going out to your first gig. Nothing like hearing the Windows sound scheme at a wedding!
Hooking up an MP3 player to an amp of any type would be a normal connection as long as the amp input has enough gain. 99.9% do. The real issue is the frequency band width of most guitar amps will make your tracks sound muddy and covered. Git amps don't have the extended highs nor much bass below 200hz(nothing wrong with that if you're a guitar player)you'll need. Also, Git amps are made to be placed on the floor, usually. If you get a gig at a noisey venue (like a yuppie sandwich shop), you won't be able to hear yourself, nor will the crowd. I almost went this route, but after listening to my tracks through keyboard amps and seeing friends doing this exact thing at venues, I went with active speaks on a pole. If somebody complains about the volume, just turn down and plant your ear next to the cone!!!
I'd suggest a combination of low and high tech for your solution:
1. Get either a used powered mixer and some speakers, or an unpowered mixer, and amp, and speakers. If you're just doing the solo thing and have no plans to expand in the future, then the cheaper the better. You could also get any variety of small portable sound systems for your local Guitar Center or online at places like Musican's Friend or Sweetwater.com. Don't use a guitar or keyboard amp for reasons mentioned earlier...it just won't sound good.
2. Download your tracks to an MP3 player instead of CD or DVD...unless you want to burn a new CD/DVD before every gig, or you want to run the risk of skips.
3. Get an adapter that will push the amplitude of your MP3 signal up to a level where it is good for your mixer. Those are easily found at the above stores for about $50.
4. Low-tech part: Write down the songs in order on a piece of paper. If you're really cool, make an Excel spreadsheet out of it.
Cost of cheap (new) small non-powered mixer: $100.
Cost of cheap (used) powered mixer: should be under $250
Cost of cheap (used) speakers: variable. I got some good ones for around $125 that have lasted me for years.
Cost of adapter: $50
Cost of set list: free
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