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adjusting BK9 metronome
I've been reading, and it does seem like playing along with a metronome is the only realistic way to go.
The files are mainly just bass and drums so he would be syncing to 'bass'.
The metronome has a 'pitch' on the downbeat and the drummer has complained about attempting to sing with the pitch. I can see his point.
Is there any way of adjusting that metronome other than volume? (I'm aware of the global metronome page)
Is it possible to sync that metronome signal to a device that gives off a big light - I can imagine hearing the bass and watching the light and staying in sync.
I imagine we're not the only people with this problem:)
However, if your drummer has an old drum machine lying about, you could always program a custom click for him on a specified channel (ch.16 is rarely used), and route that track to ONLY the MIDI outs.
That might be a lot of work if you use a lot of SMF's, though.
Alternately, you might slave his old drum machine to MIDI clock, and have him leave a drum pattern up with his click pattern of choice. Only issue there is if a song has got time signature changes in it (the odd 3/4 or 2/4 bar).
Bottom line... All workarounds involve a LOT of work. I'd think that, if he knew how much (and had to do the work himself!), your drummer might manage to get over the problem of singing to a different key from the click!
If I remember correctly, there ARE a few visual metronome devices (I remember seeing Bjørk use one on the Covent Garden DVD) but I sort of remember looking them up a long time ago and they were EXPENSIVE!
There are a few drummer metronomes that can do a visual click, but I'm rather doubtful they have a MIDI in (but it's worth looking around).
I hope your drummer has extensive credentials playing to a click... Good ones that can groove and still lock to a track are hard to come by!
If you are using SMF's and no styles, you can always simply convert your sequences to audio, and use a computer laptop or tablet to play the audio files. There are quite a few software visual metronomes and software allows you to use a multi-channel audio interface so you can route custom click tracks to the drummer and still output full stereo to the FOH.
You can also use MIDI codes at the same time (OnSong, for an example) as the audio, which can do stuff like call up your BK9 Performance when the song is selected.
Styles, OTOH, I can't see an easy way to do this. Perhaps a USB from the BK9 to a tablet with a visual metronome (if it can sync to incoming MIDI Clock and Start/Stop), but I don't know any specific softwares for this.
Last idea... use the lyrics out video to send to a screen (or use the iPad Lyrics Viewer app) and, if you aren't using it for lyrics, embed a '1-2-3-4 1-2-3-4' into the SMF every bar. Nice and visual. I actually use this on some SMF's at the beginning if I want a silent count in but still hit the 'one' nice and tight.
I tried looking up Bjørk's device, but I could no longer find it.
Sadly, Behringer makes (made?) a great device that does the 'Cylon' bouncing LED metronome, the BTR2000 rack mount tuner/metronome, but it has no MIDI in. Bummer!
Or perhaps eliminate snare, cymbals toms. and leave BD and Latin percussion. (and leave the HH 1-2-3-4- count-in)
That way I could avoid playing bass,(because it's in the SMF), thus improve piano playing(!) (and leave the possibility of horns strings etc)
We could even have the drummer play a fake e bass drum pedal so it feels right!
If it were the drummer himself doing all the work, sure, let him do whatever he wants! But his niggle is going to cost YOU days of work, and the results still might not work well. A click only works well (whether it's click sounds or percussion) if it runs through rests and breaks, which isn't ideal for the listener out front. There's a REASON the metronome has its own output! You really don't want to subject the audience to audible clicks if at all possible.
TBH, if your drummer absolutely CANNOT sing to the click, I think the approach I'd take if you are willing to edit all your SMF's (how many are we talking about?) is to find an old drum module, or a used old Sound Canvas module, something dirt cheap, and use a dedicated channel (ch.16 is usually unused) and send him the click over MIDI. He can pick his sounds, let you know if he needs 1/4 notes or anything different, and he has direct control over its volume. At least this way, the audience won't hear the click at all. I hate to say it, but I have rarely ever heard a drummer lock well to kick patterns, hi-hats (they want to play those! plus real hi-hats are WAY better than MIDI ones) or anything other than things like woodblocks, clave, spiky sounds like that (easy to hear over their own playing), and I have NEVER heard a drummer like anything other than a steady pattern, which the track's kick or hi-hats certainly won't be (unless you are doing dubstep!).
It's bad enough that the drummer needs to lock to a track with a solid click, it's MUCH worse if you make it so the audience HAS to hear it, too...