Backing Tracks for Singers - Virtual Band For Song Demos, Karaoke or Auditions
With the popularity of American Idol and America's Got Talent, The Voice, etc. there are many budding songbirds out there. Plenty of folks with hidden talents are coming out of the woodwork.
So to optimize your chances, you should jump at the opportunity to create your own professional sound recordings. For all you fantastic future artistes who are blessed with a singing talent but no instrumental prowess, there is a solution.
To begin with you will need this simple equipment:
A Multi-Track Recording Software Program
You'll need one with MIDI (musical instrument digital interface) capability and ideally a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). See our article - MIDI Recording – What Is It And Why Is It Awesome? for a review (or intro if you've never heard of it) of what MIDI is all about.
Some popular and reputable programs include Adobe Audition, Garage Band (for Apple), Reaper, and Sonar. Any of these systems will allow you to record your vocals on top of a pre-bought or downloaded MIDI track, not to mention allow you to record your own backing tracks if you play an instrument.
A MIDI Keyboard
A MIDI keyboard is essential for adding the virtual instruments you will need to complete your recordings. There are many models out there from many well-known brands including Korg, Akai and M-Audio. Personally, I use one similar to the Korg microKEY for this. It's small and sits right on my computer desk.
A Decent Microphone
Your computer's built-in microphone is probably not up to the task for creating professional audio. However, despite what most experts and music store employees will tell you, it is not necessary to buy an expensive microphone.
These days you can enter the zone of professional quality audio for the cost of a good USB microphone, such as the Samson Q2U for $59. This was not possible just a few years ago, but the quality of these USB mics in 2020 is very good.
When you have all your equipment the next thing you'll need is the audio tracks you want to sing along to. If you don't already have a recording set-up on your computer and if you don't play any instruments, fear not. Across the web you will find downloadable MIDI versions of many popular hits.
Some of these sites also have audio tracks of these songs with the vocals removed. Some of the best sites include: Midi-Hits, Cybermidi, and Hittrax. MIDI tracks are available on these sites for a few bucks and will allow you to basically have you're your own band.
Once you have downloaded your track, you will need to import your MIDI backing track into your Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). In the majority of programs you will find a basic IMPORT/INSERT button and by using this you can import your track.
As soon as your track is imported all you need to do is plug your mic into the computer, press the record button and sing along. You have the opportunity to mix the perfect track for your next live performance, karaoke party, or demo recording for that audition.
By the way, lesson 11 in our newest tutorial course - The Newbies Guide To Audio Recording Awesomeness 2: Pro Recording With Reaper - shows you how to use the MIDI tools in Reaper to do what I just mentioned above.
As you're in control of the mixing board as well as the vocals, you can edit your track post-production. If you notice a slight wobble in your voice, you can erase it. If you need to up the tempo you can.
If you notice the track is in the wrong pitch for your vocal range, you can change it. Using this innovative software you can edit your track until its note perfect. Maximize the value of your natural talents and maximize your chances of commercial success.
Get (Or Be) Your Own Band Now
The opportunity to work from your own home studio at your computer screen is fantastic. You can work in the comfort of your own home and test out as many different tracks and samples as you desire, without the worry of the cost of studio time.
If you're really serious about a career in music, investing in some decent software, a range of MIDI tracks and a decent quality microphone could seriously boost your chances. Who knows, you could be the next big star!
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