In the pop world, its fairly essential to be running multitrack playback to match the recorded material we are trying to emulate on stage. So much money is spent on producing today’s pop music, that artists, labels, and audience all expect the live show to match the record. This is next to impossible without half a dozen synth players and electronic drums onstage, not to mention the amount of BVs and guitars that would be required to make the sound. Of course the budget, the stage space, the tour etc. would never allow for that many people, so we turn to playback to cover those areas.
This has been happening for decades and will always continue within pop music.
Laptops on stage has become the norm, and while there is nothing wrong with that, for me personally, laptops make me both nervous and distracted in my role on stage.
For this reason I have been using the Cymatic Audio range of playback devices on a range of gigs that I‘ve found myself musical directing and I could not be happier with their products.
In most cases I will use the Cymatic Audio LP-16 live player. A dedicated 16-channel stand alone playback device. It has MIDI onboard and also double as a 16-out USB interface. I‘ve been using this for 4 years straight now. In every situation from small clubs to 10k plus arenas and festivals. It‘s gone with me around Australia, USA, UK and Europe.
It‘s small & discreet, about the size of a VHS video tape (who remembers them?) and so far I‘ve never had a single issue with it. It does exactly what it should. In my case I trigger it with my foot switch that sits next to my hi-hat. Outputs on the LP-16 are TS unbalanced so should run into a D.I. rack.
The process is really simple. Simply use your DAW of choice to make your stems as you normally would, then the Cymatic Audio software, “uTool” is used to format and arrange your songs. You can make multiple “playlists” or “sets” so to speak, much like iTunes/spotify etc. I guess. You can then make any mix changes to your stems as desired and then you simply select the playlists you want and in a matter of seconds export them to an USB stick. Insert the USB into the LP-16 live player and it plays direct off the stick.
There is a larger version, a 1RU 24-channel playback AND recorder call “uTrack24” which has balanced out and DB25 connectors.
Lastly, one of the most appealing factors of the LP16 for me is the price, compare that to a laptop and multi-out interface and you are looking at at least $4k. I know which price I prefer!