Live Recording


New member
Is it just me or are people to obsessed with using trillions of mics during the recording process? Being a musician, I think that the quality of performance takes on much more precedence over the quality of recording.
I'm not saying that music should be terrible quality, but all most music should be recorded live especially in jazz/funk cases.
I think that live performance captures an essence that multi-tracking will never do.
Please tell me what you think.
see ya'z
Naaaahhhh. Since multitrackers provide amazing levels of accuracy, it's up to the sources to get their act together. It can still be delegated to later, more convenient sessions to accomodate all the musicians in the multitrack environment. You have to capture it all at once with your method.
You mean "overdubbing" not multi-tracking.

One can record live to 16 tracks for later mix down.

The dull stuff happens when a band overdubbs to often and too much. Borring basic drum beats that do not adapt to interact with soloists etc...

I agree with your assesment.

What the overdubbing process does and ALL it does is enable Recordng enginners to put off making and commiting to decisions until the last possible momment.

Also if the musical act sucks, there are plenty of easy opportunities to do error correction.

The most committed is live two stereo. If something is wrong the whole thing will have to be done again. But why make mistakes? Do it right the first time. If the band is awesome, their skill will shine through best in a live together all at once recording. And 2 mics to stereo recorder is affordable to many more than the multi-tracking isolation booth monitors etc. manner.

Anyone can make fantastic recordings that can stand up to professional standards as well as marleting sales standards of any ensemble with only
2 excellent mics
2 excellent mic pre-amps
an excellent stereo recorder.

Even if you have "good enough" components, the results can be great.

If you do all your sound contouring, interest making etc work before you record.
Cool! SN, you shed some light on this topic!
Can someone answer me this question?
Does the majority of the public enjoy a live recording, which has a lesser sonic landscape than that a good studio recording?
That's a tough question.

The majority of the public prefer a really well marketed act/album with lots of sex appeal. The actual music is not all that important. The album sucking is not that big a hindrance (Jennifer Lopez, Janet Jackson etc).

People who really focus on the music first is a lesser in numbers grpup.

People who really focus on "recording" more than the muscic those recordings capture is an even lesser number.

Jaz and classical fans want "inaudible recordings" that is the recordings do not sound like recordings. It sounds like the musicians playing. "close your eyes and it sounds like your there with them"

Pop fans accept recordings that do not represent reality.

Techno/ Drum n Bass fans demand recordings that at least in part, cannot be created without the use of electronics, and recording manipulation. Otherwise it's a jazz album.
I think that it is important here to compare recording live and overdubbing to the difference between a play and a full length movie shot on a set.

In a play, preperation is essential to a great production. The "moment" is going to be captured. There is no retake. If somethings goes wrong, it is wrong. No changing it.

In a movie, you can reshoot the sceen until it is done right. The right "flavor" can be achieved. Many advantages here.

But also you have to look at some of the technical difference. In a movie shot in the studio, you can hide the strings per se. You can add special effects later. You can cut and spice tape. You can even redo something if it is just not working. With a live performance, you get what you get. Obviously, having the best production can help hide some of the strings and what not. But you are still limited to what you can do on the stage. And there is the issue of no retakes.

Recording a CD using the overdub method is about the only way some artists can get across their musical vision. The ability to change the arrangement, add tracks, and the extent that tracks can be manipulated assures a much better product sonically speaking.

I will agree that live recording certainly has a more exciting feel for the most part. With some bands, it is the only way that they can get their sound across.

But let me tell you something here. It is called the Art of recording. And musicians are called Recording Artists. What does this mean?

What I think it means is that like most things in life, not everyone will achieve the highest caliber of proficiency in their endevors. In recording, I believe it takes a special something to sound great on tape. A lot of people do not have this ability. That is why there are so many lame demos out there (we have all heard them).

Not all artists posses the same skill level in recording. That is why there are bands that make great recordings, and some that don't. I currently have a client in my studio that used to sound great live, but really fell flat in the studio. Now, the table has reversed. They sound really good in the studio, but kind of suck live. Go and figure. The point I am trying to make is that how you decide to record really depends upon what you would like to get out of it. In a more "live" studio recording, you are bound to have more performance mistakes, but a better feel. In over dubbing, you will of course usually achieve better playing on the takes, but MIGHT lack some of the great feel. I say might because I have heard many great sounding recordings that were overdubbed all the way that have a great feel. In some cases, the drums were recorded last!!! They just laid down a click track and concentrated on being good musicians while tracking. I have also heard some live recordings that should never have been released. Some bands can record a great CD, but can't get a very good feel going live. Oh well.

Obviously, overdubbing allows for much better fidelity in the recording. The best equipment available at the studio can be used for every track, thus, really increasing the over all fidelity of the recording. In a lot of cases, the band may not have much more going for them than good fidelity :) So in this case, overdubbing is the best way to go. Some bands just can't hang with the overdubbing route, thus, going for a more live recording may very well get their music to come across much better. The fidelity may suffer a bit, but getting the right feel is what would be important here.

Let's face it, many great recordings have been done either way. I will not subscibe to either way being superior to the other. They both server different purposes. I totally believe in the concept of just doing whatever it takes to make the song sound right. Why argue over what techniques are used to accomplish this end? If it works, then keep it!!!

That is all from me.

Ed Rei
Echo Star Studio
Hey! It seems that the great Rock and Roll genre of music has been over looked by our well informed and learned friend SN. Nevermind! I, in my own personal opinion believe that it is far cooler to listen to a track that has been recorded direct to a two track in opposed to listening to some recording that was made over the course of two days and encompassing each so called musician playing seperately and more often than not having their mistakes edited out or being dropped in just before where they were made so that they can repair the poop and then be punched back out again.

Lets face it. Though it has been done by few it is a very hard task to capture the life, feel and energy of a live performance on a multitrack recording.

I don't know about anybody else but when I play a gig there is a lot of emotion on the stage. I put a lot into what I do and I know that my bend do the same. It is somewhat like a mental relationship that we have from the first note is struck until the feedback of the guitars at the end of the performance dies a slow and solemn death. We feel each others emotions and feed off of the energy ommited by each. When we are placed in a studio environment to record, and we all stand in seperate booths, imprisoned by glass and segregated from each other, something very important is lost.

The notes may be the same, the chords identical and the level of tightness superior to our live offerings, but our feel is compromised for the superior sound quality and the comvenience of being able to EQ, filter and effect each instrument independently.

Is this really the way ahead?

Because consumer, listener and record company exucutives alike, expect to have a recording presented to them that measure up to certain criteria it is no longer the musicians choice to record anyway he wishes and is forced to conform to standards.

However. Wouldn't it be nice to hear albums recorded on two track with all the emotion, energy and mistakes intact?

Multi-tracking will never compete.

Just an opinion.

The Mighty Druid. 99
I must confess, I'm WAAAAYYYY more partial to studio recorded pieces. I can appreciate the 'excitement' of a live record BUT, the audio quality is not nearly as good and it make's it much more difficult for me to hear the details.


I much more appreciate the ability to perceive the 'art' as opposed to the 'talent'. I would rather be able to decipher the extreme edge of a composer's creative mind as opposed to be subjected to the limit of a performers capabilities.

Lastly, I can get alot more work ($$$) thanks to a studio which allows me to come in and record a guitar part whether I'm with the band (real time) or not. If I was forced to play 'live' with every one I recorded with, I'd never make any appreciable money. When you add all the rehearsal time required to prep for a live show, one ends up working cheap! Call me greedy, but hey... I've got my habits to support! hehe.

So much for my 2 cents worth...

The guitar half of RockNGunz