wav backing tracks

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wav backing tracks

Post by SandyE »

I have a dozen wav backing tracks from different sources that I'd like to use in a performance. I'll be singing and playing acoustic electric guitar with the tracks. My problem is that some tracks are louder than others and some are too distorted, tingly, or bassy and need to be re-EQ'd for my sound system. I have a Numark NDX500 CD player to which I burn all the tracks to a single disc. How would I go about normalizing the volume and adjusting the EQ for multiple files? I have FL Studio 20 for which I do a little home recording using Band-In-A-Box but other than that I'm strictly a recording novice. I'd like to set my mixer for the entire performance and not have to constantly adjust it each track. I have both an IPAD and a Win 10 laptop which I can use if I can find software to prepare the tracks. However I'm not comfortable using a computer during the performance itself and prefer to use a physical CD disc.
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Re: wav backing tracks

Post by blinddrew »

Hi Sandy,
The easiest way to do this is going to be to load all your backing tracks into FL and then manually tweak their volume and EQ until you're happy with their levels and tone. Then save them each as new separate files and burn yourself a new backing track disc.
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Re: wav backing tracks

Post by Fishnish »

You could do it all in FL I guess, or you could use a basic "mastering" type software such Steinberg's Wavelab Elements which has good tools not only for correcting any level or EQ imbalances between tracks but also for compiling an error free CD with track titles, defined start gaps, space lengths between tracks etc.

It has a good suite of audio editing functions so compiling CDs is just one of its many uses.

It's not free, but not super-expensive either and there is a trial version so you can check it out and see if it's for you.

There a fair few other programs which do similar jobs, this is just the one I happen to be most familiar with.
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Re: wav backing tracks

Post by Mike Stranks »

blinddrew wrote: Thu May 26, 2022 10:10 am Hi Sandy,
The easiest way to do this is going to be to load all your backing tracks into FL and then manually tweak their volume and EQ until you're happy with their levels and tone. Then save them each as new separate files and burn yourself a new backing track disc.

Yup! If you already have that software and it gives you the ability to record tracks, adjust recorded levels etc that's the way to go.

I don't know FL Studio, but many similar products give you the ability to set a song to a notional level - eg 90% of full scale level on peaks. That can be a good basic starting point, but your ears will always be the best judge...

Good luck! :thumbup:

... and do come back if you need further advice...
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Re: wav backing tracks

Post by SandyE »

Thank for your advice. I'm in Panicsville right now because I have a gig coming up next week. I placed all my emphasis on the backing tracks and they all sounded good on the PA. Never thought I'd have problems when I hooked up my mic and my guitar for a test run. The gain on them were barely audible even with the channel gains all the way up. If I turned the Master Volume up half way, the mic and guitar levels were OK but the backing tracks, wow about blew me out of the house even with it's channel gain almost off. That's with I decided to keep the mic/guitar mixer settings as is and then adjust the wav files way down to a level that blends evenly with the other channels.
My wav files come from different sources so I'll probably need to individually adjust their decibels- maybe some as far down as 70. I don't know of any other way to normalize all 12 wav tracks other than adjusting decibels.
Sure would be nice to have a sound person during performances but that's not possible. I need to set my mixer during a sound check and then "forget it!".
This is my first gig using backing tracks. I learned a lot of what not to do the next time I create a different set CD. You all have been such a big help. Thanks
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Re: wav backing tracks

Post by Sam Spoons »

If the problem is balancing the guitar and vocal against the backing tracks generally then it's purely a matter of gain structure, there will be a happy medium where the tracks are loud enough without being too loud and the guitar and vocals sitting nicely above them*. But if, as you said in your OP the issue is with wildly varying levels of backing tracks then you do need to address those in the computer before the gig.

* Getting the guitar and vocals to sit well and 'gel' with the tracks is another matter, often the glue that holds a track together is the overall reverb applied and unless you made your own tracks you are unlikely to be able to match the vocal and guitar reverbs to that on the track.
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Re: wav backing tracks

Post by Music Wolf »

You have a number of issues here.

Overall level of the backing tracks - as Sam says, gain structure. If these are commercial recordings they have probably been mastered using multiband compression - they are going to be loud.

Difference between tracks. You are going to need to balance them one by one. Load your 12 tracks into your DAW (FL Studio in your case), one track per song. Set the balance between mic, guitar and backing on the physical mixer then do not touch it. Go through the entire set balancing the backing level using the virtual faders in FL (this is why you want a track per song). You can then burn each backing track to a wav file at this level.

Getting everything to gel together - well that's practice. Playing to backing isn't as easy as you might think but you will rapidly adjust.
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Re: wav backing tracks

Post by James Perrett »

Music Wolf wrote: Fri May 27, 2022 8:33 am Difference between tracks. You are going to need to balance them one by one. Load your 12 tracks into your DAW (FL Studio in your case), one track per song. Set the balance between mic, guitar and backing on the physical mixer then do not touch it. Go through the entire set balancing the backing level using the virtual faders in FL (this is why you want a track per song). You can then burn each backing track to a wav file at this level.

Just to add to this suggestion. When balancing the tracks find the quietest one and then bring the level of all the others down to match the quietest.
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Re: wav backing tracks

Post by blinddrew »

And I'd suggest not getting hung up on any numbers on your meters. Balancing the levels by ear will do the job.
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Re: wav backing tracks

Post by SandyE »

Thanks for the feedback everyone. I took a while but I completed the project.
I set the master volume to 50% and then adjusted the gain on the mic and guitar channels to a suitable level. I then re-recorded the gain on each backing track to blend with the mic and guitar. Some of the tracks took as many as three attempts to re-record but I finally got there. I have a larger than usual gig next month (a nursing home with about 100 people residents planning to attend. To accommodate the larger room I tested an increase to the master volume to 75% and everything was still pretty well. About blew me out of house but I think in a larger room than my living room everything will sound OK. I'm a newbie at this- I've only done one gig before and that was before COVID. I started a new set list CD for hopefully repeats and from what I've learned from my mistakes and with all the good feedback from all of you I'm sure the repeat project will go much smoother. In my college days (many years ago) and throughout the years my late wife and I had a magic and ventriloquism act which we did occasionally. My career was as a computer programmer which I spent 45 years in. I've played guitar since my teens but never sang much. Since my wife passed I've not done much magic or ventriloquism and decided to put together a 50's/60's "sing-a-long" for nursing homes. I'll make balloon animals after the songs so I'll have personal interaction with the residents. Nursing homes are eager for entertainment now that COVID has subsided a bit. But any entertainer that wants to do nursing homes is required to show their vaccine card showing they have the initial 2 shots plus at least one of the boosters. Don't know when that restriction will be lifted but that's the way it is now where I live in Ohio. Thanks again for your feedback and would appreciate any more you may have.
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Re: wav backing tracks

Post by blinddrew »

Sounds like you're sorted for now, good luck with the gigs. :thumbup:
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Re: wav backing tracks

Post by Guido3 »

SandyE,

I hope the gig went well.

As someone who has a parent in a nursing home here in the UK, I dock my cap to you. I hope it brings you as much enjoyment as the residents you are playing to. :clap:

To this end, if there are any backing tracks you ever struggle to find drop me a PM and I'll try do them for you FOC.

Guy
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