What is Off The Grid?
Off The Grid is a collection of videos created for musicians and audio nerds who want to learn how to become playback engineers and show programmers.
What is a playback engineer?
Show programmers and playback engineers are in charge of the musical technology that lives on stage during a live performance. We take care of things like music backing tracks, live autotune, and MIDI routing on stage.
How do I get started?
There's a huge demand right now in the music industry for capable playback engineers & programmers, with salaries that match that demand. Join today to begin learning everything you need to know about getting started as a show programmer and playback engineer and start making that $$!
WHAT YOU'LL LEARN
How to use Ableton Live quickly and accurately
How to import stems and gain stage with headroom
How to warp stems and change tempo/key
How to use the IAC driver to do advanced MIDI mapping
How to automate VSTs and use MIDI triggers
How to automate Autotune and work with SMPTE LTC
How to automate and build song loops
How to optimize CPU and prevent crashes
WORKING WITH A TEMPLATE
Download and learn to use my fully-functioning playback template including:
Autotune automation clips
Clicks, counts, section slates, etc...
A full linecheck file
Song Section MIDI clips
LTC reference mix template
How to use the UAD Apollo hardware and Console software
How to use the UAD autotune plugin
How to program keys, scales, retune speed, humanize, and flextune in Ableton live
What to listen for when programming autotune
How to perform common playback engineer tasks, including:
Cutting and adding song sections on the fly
Editing stem volume and structure
Building transitions and merging two songs together seamlessly
Adding intros, outros, pitch references and guides
How to perform live troubleshooting
How to setup a redundant playback system using iConnectivity software and hardware
How to setup a session on multiple computers for redundancy
How to use a MIDI controller to control multiple computers at once
How to setup a live Autotune system
ADVANCED MIDI TECHNIQUES
Using MIDI interfaces & advanced MIDI networking
Making MIDI connections using RTP via CAT5
Sending patch changes to instruments on stage
WHAT MUSIC PROFESSIONALS SAY ABOUT ANDY
Peter Dyer (Mariah Carey, Katy Perry, Adam Lambert, St. Vincent)
“I’ve worked with Andy for many years. Andy’s command of modern playback craft, and mastery as both an engineer and musician make him the perfect guide for the current gig world of playback. I would have benefited greatly from having an extensive resource like this when i was learning on my own through trial and error how to manage playback properly."
Q: What is Off The Grid?
A: Off The Grid is a collection of videos created for musicians, engineers, producers (anyone who’s into music and technology, really) who want to learn how to become a playback engineer or show programmer.
Q: What’s the difference between a Show Programmer and Playback Engineer?
A: A Show Programmer is someone who uses a Digital Audio Software (like Ableton Live) to design and build a backing track system, live autotune, on-stage MIDI, etc… for an artist or band. A playback engineer operates that system while an artist performs live onstage.
Q: What skills do I need to be a Show Programmer or Playback Engineer?
A: You need 3 things to be a great programmer/engineer: 1) basic music knowledge (key signatures, time signatures, bpm, etc…), 2) be organized and a clear communicator, and 3) a quick and efficient Ableton Live user (which I can teach you!)
Q: What do I need to take this video course?
A: You’ll need a computer with internet connection and a copy of Ableton Live (you can get a free, fully functioning trial for 90 days on their website)
Q: Can I be both a Show Programmer and a Playback Engineer on a gig?
A: Absolutely! In fact, in many cases, the person who designs & builds the show operates it live.
Q: How long is the video course?
A: Currently, it’s about 3 hours of content, with more on the way.
Q: Do I have to watch every video in order?
A: The videos are designed to be watched in the order they’re presented, and later videos definitely build upon information presented in earlier videos. But certain videos (“Warping”, “IAC Driver”, etc…) are more standalone concepts.
Q: How do I purchase the course?
A: Use this link to purchase a membership & create an account.
Q: I don’t like subscriptions is there an option to just pay a flat fee?
A: The short answer is no, with the reason being that I plan on rolling out new video content very soon! Playback and Programming is an industry that is constantly evolving, so as software/technology/hardware evolves so will the videos.
Q: Will I get charged again at the end of 1 year?
A: Nope! You’ll get an email a couple weeks before your membership ends with an option to re-purchase if you’re still enjoying the content.
Q: Are you planning on adding any more videos soon?
A: Yes! My plan for Off The Grid is that as the industry and technology evolve, I’ll update my videos accordingly.
Q: Can you help me get a job as a playback engineer or programmer?
A: There are no guarantees, however, it’s quite possible. Taking this course doesn't automatically make you a great playback engineer, but it'll give you a decent starting point and empower you with the information you need to break into one of the fastest growing (and best paying) positions in the live music business.
Q: I don’t live in LA, NY or Nashville, can I still work as a programmer or Playback Engineer?
A: Absolutely! Wedding/event bands, DJs, & Houses of Worship all often utilize playback, and can be a great place to start if you’re looking for gigs.
Q: I want to start using tracks in my band, does this course teach me how to do that?
Q: My card got charged twice by accident, can I get a refund?
A: Accidents happen. Just reach out on the contact page and we'll get you sorted.
Q: I want to start getting into playback but I don’t have money to spend on interfaces, plugins, and multiple laptops, where should I start?
A: Building a full playback system from scratch can cost a pretty penny. Fortunately, you’ll be able to rent everything you need from us very soon, stay tuned for more info!
My name is Andy
I'm a musician, producer & engineer in Los Angeles. I've built shows & worked as a playback engineer for a bunch of artists, including NKOTB, Joji, Miguel, Rick Astley, Tori Kelly, Morat, Jackson Wang, & tons more. I'm neither the best or the worst playback engineer I know. I don't have 50 years of experience & I'm not Ableton certified, but I've made a bunch of mistakes over the years and would love to teach you how to not make them. I really like wine and the Houston Astros.