Does anyone who plays along with songs on their androids have any tips?

Old Drummer

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I'm slow to adopt (and adapt to) gadgets, but after having a smartphone for about a year, it dawned on me that I could use it to play along with songs just like I did when I was a kid playing along with the record player.

I tried it today. I got the earbuds (I think they're called this) out of the box, plugged them into the phone, googled a song ("In the Mood" seemed a good one to start with), inserted the earbuds, hit play, and put the phone on my shirt pocket in order to be ready to play when the song started.

This system worked OK, but not great. The songs were kind of hard to hear through the earbuds, even though I maxed out the volume (against the warning of my phone about hearing damage). I was especially surprised by how hard it was to hear the rhythm section and therefore how hard it was to play. My guess is that this is because songs are mixed to put the lead instrument or vocalist up front, and those people do a lot of phrasing. It's way easier to play in a band. I also found myself unable to hear my own drums, or rather cymbals, adequately. I was trying out different ride cymbals too, and eventually resorted to taking the earbud out of one ear in order to hear my cymbals. Not least, of course, is the problem of the playlist. For some reason I can't explain, "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain" came up before "In the Mood."

But I got the hang of it more or less. Gosh, it's been over 50 years since I've played along with a recorded song, but it wasn't a bad way then to improve and may not be a bad way now to improve. Mostly, it was more fun than fooling around without musical accompaniment.

Others have to be doing this too, so I'm wondering what advice others might have for making the most out of it.
 

Browny

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You need some kind of headphones that will block out enough of the noise so you can listen at a regular/safe volume. They could be in ear monitors (I have some Shure 215s), earbuds that have a good seal to keep the noise out, over-ear style like the vic firth ones or even the classic old school shooting/contstruction/etc ear protection ones over the top of your 'normal' earbuds.
 

LarryJ

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I bought a cheap blue tooth receiver for my Bose stereo and run the phone through that.
 

MusicianMagic

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I use headphones. ATH M50X. But less expensive would be fine. I have five pairs & am used to them.
But to hear drums especially sometimes kick or snare I will adjust the EQ to boost those as needed if they are buried in the mix. My headphones are very flat so without the bass boost most earbuds or consumer headphones have.
 

mtarrani

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I use iReal Pro to play along to songs in their extensive library. Mostly jazz and standards, but I think they also have a blues library. The advantages are you can change the tempo, the time signatures and remove the drums from the mix. I play via bluetooth through my PA. Earbuds are an option as some folks previously stated, but that makes it difficult to hear yourself. You can be counted in with the app, and it has android and IOS versions.
 

Tornado

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I'm slow to adopt (and adapt to) gadgets, but after having a smartphone for about a year, it dawned on me that I could use it to play along with songs just like I did when I was a kid playing along with the record player.

I tried it today. I got the earbuds (I think they're called this) out of the box, plugged them into the phone, googled a song ("In the Mood" seemed a good one to start with), inserted the earbuds, hit play, and put the phone on my shirt pocket in order to be ready to play when the song started.

This system worked OK, but not great. The songs were kind of hard to hear through the earbuds, even though I maxed out the volume (against the warning of my phone about hearing damage). I was especially surprised by how hard it was to hear the rhythm section and therefore how hard it was to play. My guess is that this is because songs are mixed to put the lead instrument or vocalist up front, and those people do a lot of phrasing. It's way easier to play in a band. I also found myself unable to hear my own drums, or rather cymbals, adequately. I was trying out different ride cymbals too, and eventually resorted to taking the earbud out of one ear in order to hear my cymbals. Not least, of course, is the problem of the playlist. For some reason I can't explain, "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain" came up before "In the Mood."

But I got the hang of it more or less. Gosh, it's been over 50 years since I've played along with a recorded song, but it wasn't a bad way then to improve and may not be a bad way now to improve. Mostly, it was more fun than fooling around without musical accompaniment.

Others have to be doing this too, so I'm wondering what advice others might have for making the most out of it.
So if I understand your post correctly, you're able to get enough isolation that you can't hear yourself after turning up the music very loud, but it's still hard to hear the music properly. Maybe you just need better quality ear buds. There are bad quality buds out there. The suggestions for the KZ's above are solid. You'll get much better low end out of them, so you'll be able to hear the bass much better.
 

Kyuss24

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I use some Vic Firth isolation headphones. They cut out a lot of the drum volume, so it can be a little hard to hear the drums. I slide them off the ear a tad if I need to. Better to protect your hearing too.
 


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