I'm getting ready to do a show where I play guitar & sing and use backing tracks I've recorded and turned into mp3s, but I don't really want to take my laptop out of the house, would rather use a portable mp3 player.

What is a good portable mp3 player for doing something like this, and would it be better to hook it up to my amp, or through the mixer/PA?

  • 2
    A couple of questions: Are the backing tracks in stereo? Do you need to be able to operate it from stage, or can someone just hit play on it from wherever? Sep 6 '14 at 22:46
  • Buy a cheap laptop or tablet and dedicate it to performance use. Sep 7 '14 at 12:29
  • 1
    To clarify, this question is obviously concerning the practice of musical performance and the logistics concerned therein. I think other people could benefit from this question as this type of performance is becoming increasingly common. Perhaps a change to the title of the question would help. Sep 7 '14 at 15:28
  • Make sure you have a monitor speaker so you hear the backing track enough. Just a tip, cause people tend to forget that. Sep 8 '14 at 11:15

The following pieces of equipment offer cheaper alternatives to purchasing a dedicated performance computer:

  1. Use the house stereo (if available)
  2. Use your smartphone (if available)
  3. Use your dumbphone (if you still have one)
  4. Use your tablet (if available)
  5. Purchase a candy bar-style digital recorder and use it as your device (I do this personally and it works fine.)

Pat also brings up a good point: a stereo recording played through your amp won't do the world any good. It's also not going to provide a very wide stereo field for people to listen to. I'd advise you to use the house's amps whenever available and set them up wide to give you a full sound. If you own your own PA setup, then yes, I'd lug that around if it gives your backing tracks the presence they require.

To clarify, my equipment recommendations were made with the thought that you'd be plugging an audio out into a larger set of speakers for performance.

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