Hey guys, I've heard good things about this site and decided to try and pick your knowledge here for the first time.
First, my setup:
My band uses a crude-but-effective backtracks rig when we play live in lieu of having an actual keyboardist (whom we lost a while back.) I'm no expert in it, but I use Reason to map out all the keyboard, then pan it hard right while I pan a click hard left. I put this on an iPod, then use a headphone splitter, sending the click to our drummer via a very simple mixer, and sending the backtracks to an DI box, then, ultimately, to the board.
Now, the problem I have is this: despite exporting them at basically max volume, the keys are never loud enough without turning the gain on the board up a bit, which can sometimes cause some hissing, and often bitching from the sound guy. I suspect this is probably due to the fact that I'm splitting the audio. If so, is there a way around this volume loss? Using a higher quality cable perhaps, or using some kind of software that maxes out of the volume of an mp3/wave? Maybe it's a problem with Reason (I use 4.0)?
As far as the inquiry goes: Eventually, I'd like a less ghetto setup, with the ability to actually send the keyboard stereo while still sending a click to the drummer. What is the easiest way to accomplish this? I've heard it's easy if you have multiple sound cards, but I'm using a 4-year-old laptop that only has the one. Would an external, USB soundcard be what i'm looking of here (or does such a thing even exist in a form that's worth a damn?)
Welcome to the forums! I play in three bands and each band uses track. We have slightly different setups live, both similar to what you have. One band runs minidisc, one band runs a rackmount mp3 player.
The rackmount MP3 player is awesome as its XLR out. The minidisc is phono out which we then convert to jack and chuck it into a D.I. Box to convert it to XLR. I'd definitely try a D.I. box, as it takes your unbalanced signal and converts it to a balanced signal (reduce noise and alike).
With regards to the soundcard, you'd want a multi out external card. I've ran this setup before, and I used my profire 2626 with my laptop running Cubase 5. I subgrouped instrumentsand sent each one to a different out, giving FOH complete control over the mix (sometimes a good thing, sometimes not.....)