Playing audio/midi tracks live



I hope this is the right forum, if not maybe someone can point me in the right direction.

I'm only researching at this point so I can't tell you what gear I use, because I don't have it yet. But, what I'm hoping to do is record a combination of MIDI and Audio tracks on a computer to be used as backing tracks for live performance. (I perform solo and in a duo).

I'd like to be able to play each song file using separate channels on my mixer. I'm not so much worried about mixing live as I am isolating certain individual tracks for EQ, Pan, EFX purposes. More than likely I'll only need 6-8 channels for this (Drums, Bass, Keys, Guitar and a couple of vocal tracks).

Is there such a device that will interface between my yet-to-be-determined computer and software that will allow me to do this? Just in case it matters, the mixer will most likely be an Allen & Heath MixWizard 3 or a Soundcraft GB2R 16.

If I'm not clearly explaining my question, feel free to ask for more details.

Thanks for your help and feel free to recommend brands, that goes for computers and software too.




Well-Known Member
Sep 26, 2005
What you're trying to do is not much different from what Todd Rundgren did years ago and what Sting did with a Synclavilier in the early 1980s. Let's face it, you'll probably be using a laptop. Any multitrack audio software should be adequate for your purposes. You'll create sub mixes a.k.a. stems that have already utilized your equalization & dynamics processing. You'll then be able to balance all of those items against your live performance. So it's really simpler than you're thinking it is. You can just use your mouse or you can use an outboard MIDI fader box that can integrate with your software. I've been trying to talk a friend into doing that for years but she feels that people would feel ripped off. She's wrong. You've got the right idea, especially where you can't squeeze a band into in certain places.

Squeeze him there. Maybe he'll pass another. (does anybody remember that quote?) We are all bozos on this bus and everything you know is wrong.
Ms. Remy Ann David


Well-Known Member
May 28, 2003
Kansas City, KS
While you have been given a proper answer, I would say that an iPod is simpler. Bypass the MIDI and click, requiring other hardware to work. Just use an iPod with a back-up CD.


We have a duo, and have been using tracks for years. Been through all the methods you mentioned - MIDI, Ipod, Multitrack playback, etc.
Firstly, MIDI sucks, even if you have a good synth to run it through. It’s also a pain to run live. Laptops fail, crash, etc. Ipod works, but difficult to see and use on a dark stage. It might seem cool to have each instrument on a separate track, but in actual use onstage, it’s a real pain.
What I do now is bring the MIDI track into Sonar, use good synths, like Dimension Pro to replace the instruments with samples, record the result and save as a WAV file. This is burned to CD, Ipod and Laptop, and used in that order. Triple backup.

It may seem like a lot of trouble to get a stereo backing track, but the result is head and shoulders above MIDI.