Is the Apple iPod really the
mp3 player for backing tracks?
Apple have always
been famous for producing user-friendly products so it's no surprise
then that iPod has revolutionized the music industry. An iPod
is like a Walkman but with a hard disk which can store music,
much in the same way the hard disk of your computer can store
Musicians and singers
are not too good at embracing new technology and I can understand
why - we don't like to have to concentrate on new pieces of equipment
while we are on stage because it can detract from the contact
we have with our audience. Even a couple of seconds trying to
get a new piece of equipment to do something while your on stage
is often enough for an audience to sense that you're "turning
your back" on them and lose you the momentum that your performance
However, we, as singers
need to move on - we cannot continue working at a high level unless
we keep up to date with the new developements in our industry
like the iPod. All it takes is a few gigs to get yourself familiar
with your new iPod and then you'll be wondering how you ever managed
to gig without it!
The last big thing to hit the entertainer/musician/singer market
was the minidisc player and if you remember back then, it took
you a few gigs to get comfortable with it on stage but after that
you could really relax and appreciate it's value and the way it
made life easier for you on stage.
Well it's exactly the same with the iPod, so if you haven't already
done so, it's time to take the plunge and start using your iPod
Why should I use
an iPod for my backing tracks?
A question that's often asked! Well, because the iPod is small
and portable enough to fit in your pocket, yet holds thousands
of backing tracks! Many one-man acts, duos and bands are now using
the iPod for their backing tracks. They need something that's
simple, small, has massive storage and is reliable onstage...and
that's exactly what you get with an iPod.
The iPod has a tiny
hard disk which can hold thousands of backing tracks. There is
no moving parts so it makes the machine more reliable. Now you
can have instant access on stage to every backing track
in your repertoire and can play a wide range of other easy listening
music during your break. iPods come in many different models and
However, no matter which model you choose, they are all solidly
built, small, light, reliable and have one distinct advantage
to the singer/musician which sets them miles apart from all other
brands of music players - Apples famous user-friendly operation.
If you shop around,
you will find many mp3 players which may boast features such as
bigger hard drives, integrated radio, longer battery life etc
for less money, but don't be fooled... none can compare to the
functionality and quality of an iPod. If you don't believe me,
try buying a cheaper mp3 player and see how difficult and cumbersome
it is to do even the most simple of tasks like making up a playlist
or skipping to a particular song on the hard drive.
Singers need their backing tracks to be quickly accessable onstage
so the iPod is the clear winner when it comes to ease of use.
If your computer is quite new (ie no more than a few
years old) you should be able to connect your iPod to it. However,
do check before you buy! If you don't have a firewire port or
USB 2.0 port, don't worry. You can buy a firewire card or USB2
card at most computer stores quite cheaply. Likewise, USB 1.0
will still work - it's just slower at transferring songs between
your computer and the iPod. An internet connection isn't necessary,
but if you want to get the most from your iPod, you'll want to
be connected to the internet to download backing tracks.
iTunes is a software
program which Apple produce which helps organize and play the
music you have on your computer. It's also used for transferring
or moving music between your computer and your iPod. It's worth
noting that you don't need to have an iPod to use the Apple iTunes
program - it can still organize your backing track collection
just the same. And here's a tip...why not download the iTunes
program even before you buy an iPod - it's a great program and
If you are shopping
around, bear in mind that some sellers may throw in a few accessories
like external speakers or engraving the back of your iPod etc
to help sweeten the deal but make sure your not inadvertently
paying for these accessories via a higher price tag!
Should I buy a
You may consider buying a used iPod. Many iPod owners simply upgrade
to a bigger or newer model so "second-hand" doesn't
necessarily mean that there's something wrong with it. Buying
a used iPod is exactly the same as buying any other piece of electronic
eqipment - be careful to ensure that it's in good working order
before you part with your hard-earned cash!
Check if the model
you're buying has recently been replaced by a newer model - a
new model with a better spec usually makes the price of older
models tumble so you could bag a real bargain! If the used iPod
is less than a year old, you should be able to transfer the manufacturers
warranty and have any problems fixed under it's original guarantee.
A word of warning
- although the used iPod you are buying may appear to work just
fine, the battery may well be on its last legs and replacing an
iPod battery is a costly affair!
Article Written by Kenny Campbell
(This article cannot be reproduced without express
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