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What is the difference between location and studio recording? Digital Converters
Old 5th October 2002
  #1
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Remoteness's Avatar
Question What is the difference between location and studio recording?

As far back as I can remember, I always looked at recording this way...

When I'm in the studio, I always try to make it sound like it's live, but when I'm out recording live, I always try to make it sound like it's the studio.

What's you bag?
Old 5th October 2002
  #2
Missing from live:

Guaranteed overdubbing
infanite retake capability
last min arrangement changes
Instument swapping (cymbals & snares)
the chance to take a break if is 'not happening'


Missing from the studio:

The performance to a live audience 'thrill'
Non radio friendly 'extended' arangements are possible.
Guest musicians jamming along
Old 5th October 2002
  #3
Moderator emeritus
 

When I've recorded live performances, I try to make the best document of the the performance that time and budget allows. ; in the studio I'm trying to get the best performance time and budget allows.

An example the "Live At The Station Inn" CD I did. Real Audio files are at: http://www.thetimejumpers.com/Music.html
Old 7th October 2002
  #4
Gear Maniac
 

Recording In the studio:

Using the room and the room's gear to the best of your abilities, being creative and using gear in combinations to get the sounds that the artist desires.

Recording live:

Using the room, and what cards you are dealt to try to best caputre something that will provide a flexible mixdown (or just something that sounds like it did in the room that night) that can translate into an accurate representation of the music performed that night)

Last night I had to record a band opening up for a much larger label act, and did not have the time (nor consent) to perform splits off the shared stagebox. My buddy Alex and I ended up using a pair of Neumann tlm-170's in ORTF (all instrumental performances) run into one of the new Apogee Mini-Me's to 24-bit files. The larger act digged what we had going on and let us roll disk for the main set (in return for mailing a copy to the label). Suprising what a well placed pair of microphones can do. Every time I record like this, It makes me rethink the ways that most people mic things up in the studio, yet reminds me that you still need security in many of the "standard" methods of close micing....
Old 7th October 2002
  #5
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When doing a live record, I want the lister to feel like there were there, in a great seat, engulfed by what is happening on stage.. close your eyes and you are there type of thing..

In the studio, similar vibe, but you get to try to pick where you will transport the listener... if anywhere at all.
Old 7th October 2002
  #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by Steve Smith
When doing a live record, I want the lister to feel like there were there, in a great seat, engulfed by what is happening on stage.. close your eyes and you are there type of thing..

In the studio, similar vibe, but you get to try to pick where you will transport the listener... if anywhere at all.
I got a similar thing happening.

When I mix a live show, I do it as per the listener's perspective. Drummer's kit will have the ride on the left and hihat on the right (Right-handed drummers of course.) Most of the time, the rest of the band will be mixed as you see it. Just like the listener would see it if they were there. Of course, my imaginary listener is seating in the perfect center seat.

When I mix studio records, I do it as per the drummer's perspective. Meaning, overheads panned with hihat on the left side, ride on the right.
Old 8th October 2002
  #7
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Sugarite's Avatar
 

IMHO both live and studio recordings are after the same thing, reproducing an ideal live performance. (Is there any other possible objective?) Note I didn't say a traditional performance, I mean ideal, as in the product of a craftsman with the intent of representing an idea to perfection. If you don't have the idea, then there is nothing flowing through those cables. No two ideas are the same, and you can't represent two different ideas the same way.

I'd say the critical difference is that the studio is fully non-linear and live is fully linear. At any point any track can be replaced in the studio, and at no point can any track be replaced live. There are pros and cons to both, and different responsibilities to both.

The studio is like a batting cage, while live is like a full count with the bases loaded with the crowd literally on their feet. It's just as hard to play any position on that field as it is to make something really spectacular happen in a batting cage.
Old 15th October 2002
  #8
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You only get one shot at a Live show....
Old 6th June 2004
  #9
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Inky Goddess's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by our Moderator
When I mix studio records, I do it as per the drummer's perspective. Meaning, overheads panned with hihat on the left side, ride on the right.
interesting. other AE's i know pan the drum kit from the audience's perspective in the studio. why do you prefer from the drummer's?
Old 6th June 2004
  #10
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Tim Halligan's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by astra
You only get one shot at a Live show....
...just like driving a racing car.

Rule #1: Don't [email protected]%k up.

...aah the wonders of adrenaline!

And for live television:

Rule #1A: [email protected]%k art - just get it there!

Cheers,
Tim

ps. I've forgotten the other rules...and there aren't THAT many!
Old 6th June 2004
  #11
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Remoteness's Avatar
Quote:
Originally posted by Inky Goddess
interesting. other AE's i know pan the drum kit from the audience's perspective in the studio. why do you prefer from the drummer's?
I'm a right handed "air" drummer... I like the sound to follow me around the (air) kit as I play them. heh
Old 6th June 2004
  #12
Moderator emeritus
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Remoteness
I'm a right handed "air" drummer... I like the sound to follow me around the (air) kit as I play them. heh
That's as good a reason as I've heard yet.
Old 7th June 2004
  #13
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Hey, I figured most folks are right handed "air" drummers. And would rather have the sound follow their motion...

Furthermore, they may have spent plenty of bread on their favorite headphones or speaker system -- They paid for the gear, why not give them the total experience. heh

Air Drummers do loose out when listening to one of my live show mixes. For me the audience perspective is key. What you see is what you hear. It's another mindset, but not bad when the audio is part of a visual experience.
Old 11th June 2004
  #14
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ClickTrackAudio's Avatar
 

Hey, guys....

I lurk here more than participate, but here's one I've gotta add 2c to...

My take on it is this:

When I record live, I want to capture the spirit that's going onstage in a way that allows myself (or the guy doing the mix) to put it together at a studio-esqe quality level that the average listener expects these days. You only get one shot at it, but that's where your creativity (and hopefully talent) comes in.

The biggest compliment I get is "It sounds so clean...but it feels like its live!"
Old 16th June 2004
  #15
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You said it Clicky. Right on my man!
Old 10th April 2009
  #16
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Remoteness's Avatar
Here's another thread from the past that I felt should be reintroduced into the recent conversation stream.
Old 10th April 2009
  #17
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Corran's Avatar
 

I was thinking about making a thread about this a few days ago.

I got into a conversation with one of my professors about my recordings. Specifically that I was running so much stuff (14 mics) that it was more like a recording session [in a studio] than a concert. My argument is that the guys hiring me wanted a really good recording and I feel that for what I was recording (jazz combos) it's impossible to get a really good recording without using all that stuff. You could have a "live" sounding recording but that just doesn't do it for me for jazz. The clients love the results too.

So has anybody run into this as well? He's the only one that has brought it up and I don't want to "ruin" a concert for anybody, but I wonder if anybody in the audience said to themselves "I'd really be enjoying this concert except there's a dozen mics on stage."?

Of course you also have the fact that a concert has a "vibe" to it that you just can't capture in the studio or a session after the fact.
Old 10th April 2009
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corran View Post
... I wonder if anybody in the audience said to themselves "I'd really be enjoying this concert except there's a dozen mics on stage."?...
This "mics in the way" thing is kind of like the dentist worrying that his drill is too loud and is going to ruin the experience for his customers.

Maybe the conductor should get out of the way, too, I mean he's blocking the view!
Old 10th April 2009
  #19
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Well to be fair, one main pair on a tall stand and a 60cm bar is one thing, 12 mics and all the accoutrements are quite another.
Old 10th April 2009
  #20
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I just wish I had a studio.
Old 10th April 2009
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by boojum View Post
I just wish I had a studio.
That's because you haven't had one yet!

David
Old 10th April 2009
  #22
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Hey Corran, my take on your situation,

A lot of (us) jazz musicians grasp intuitively at the minimalist thing, it lends itself to the spontaneous and interactive nature of the music. That doesn't mean it's best from an engineering standpoint though (a topic for its own thread).

Setting up a dozen mics is a big investment of gear and time---Don't let someone other than your employer convince you that you NEED to be under the radar. I would call that, "Throwing a vibe on your thing" in this case convincing you that you are calling attention to yourself unnecessarily.
Old 11th April 2009
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corran View Post
The clients love the results too.
This seems to me to be the bottom line. Yes... ask, listen, learn, experiment, grow. In my case, I'm still learning what questions to ask; what, specifically, to listen "for" in my recordings; and how to achieve the sounds I want (and my critics/gurus want me) to achieve.

In work I do for clients (more this year than last), I'm often a much harsher critic of my work than they are. Good for me, good for them... but the bottom line is: Do they like what THEY hear? And, is it better than they expected, for whatever reason...? And, finally... do they call again for the next recording they need? I try never to feel bad over a satisfied client... and I try to be certain the next job is, at least incrementally, better than the last. Perhaps that will change when my "paying gigs" exceed the six to eight a year I'll do in 2009... but I hope not.
Old 11th April 2009
  #24
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I might've been a little unspecific.

It wasn't the clients complaining, it was a professor at the school (who teaches the students I was recording) He thinks my recordings turn the recitals into a recording session, which he disagrees with.

Sorry for the confusion...
Old 11th April 2009
  #25
Gear Head
 

I may be kind of a stuck in the mud but I tend to agree with your professor (that may have something to do with being 4 weeks away from a PhD myself). I think the ultimate expression of music is live performance, crying babies and all (to a point of course). The goal of live recording should be to replicate that experience. The musicians need to figure out how to blend their voices and instruments for an audience, when you get into much spot miking, etc. you end up altering that balance. My goal, when recording, is to let the musicians make the recording and to impress as little of my own coloring/style/taste on it as possible.

For similar reasons I also dislike doing a lot of work in post. Not that I don't take advantage of technology. I do like to multitrack things instead of mixing them live but when I do the post work I tend to treat it as if I were mixing live (not many little tweaks, mostly setting things and leaving them). I use the multitrack more for a chance to try different settings in the hope of producing a more faithful representation of the room than to improve upon it.

A few caveats: I am no expert recorder, nor would I claim to be. I'm really more of a systems engineer and FOH guy. Also, this opinion applies more to classical (choral/orchestra and band) and jazz than to popular music where I can see more benefit in making live recordings "studio like".
Old 11th April 2009
  #26
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As we mainly do orchestra, we are stuck as a location business only.

For us it is more concert versus session.

Mainly concerts change the role of the producer somewhat and you end up relying on the conductors work in the week of rehersal. It is no longer the producer that is responsible for the take being good. Instead you can focus on the score and making sure the sound is right.

The other issue is not being seen on stage. No one want a lot of crud on stage for an orchestra concert.
Old 11th April 2009
  #27
If anyone's onstage gear has blinking lights or little sirens that go off, or if anyone insists on draping mic cables looping up through the air, I could begin to see how these could be a distraction... otherwise, it's kind of a stretch (in my self-serving view) to notice and become peeved at a few mic stands in the midst of dozens of players, their music stands, the lights that clip onto their music stands, the chairs, the risers, the mic for the MC to make announcements, and everything else cluttering up what would otherwise be a perfectly good empty stage.

I think it's all probably alot simpler... there's something else going on, and it ties into this strange preference for 'fewer as opposed to more mics,' 'don't process it too much in post,' and other odd/random cliches/'wise sayings' floating around.

In the same way some people will flinch and shy away from a camera-- or the unease you might feel if your official biographer was sitting in the chair opposite yours-- it's an uncomfortable feeling knowing that someone else holds your life in their hands. This recording of the concert is irrefutable proof of what you do, and unless you are supremely confident in your abilities, you worry you will be cast in a bad light.

So don't put up too many mics, don't put them too close, don't call this a 'recording session,' I like it alot better if it's 'live' and want my and everyone's memories to be the final authority.
Old 11th April 2009
  #28
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Most symphony concerts I go to have a very uncluttered stage and anything that goes on the stage is highly visible.

With a good array of schoeps/DPA active stands (maybe sennheiser now as well)
and a elegantly hung main rig, one can achieve an aesthetically good performance that is DVD worthy.

I think Vienna Phil get this right every newyear. Great sound, and you never get distracted by mics (of which there are plenty, but well hidden and thoughtfully placed)


besides, there are quite a few orchestras out there that put heavy restrictions on visible distractions on stage. Add a DVD production to that and there will be a lot of opinions on visibility of mics floating around.
Old 11th April 2009
  #29
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One thing I've noticed that's great about the concerts I've recorded is that the musicians seem to focus on their performance and not care about me placing mics. I get a lot less "I know what works for me" on location... strangely
Old 12th April 2009
  #30
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I am a recording engineer/producer for our local classical music station.

I regard studio recording as an act of creation. I regard location concert recording as reportage.

In the latter case, the discussion is then about which philosophy you use - "you are there" (convey the sound of the location, good or bad) or "they are here" (the performers are in your living room, between the speakers).

I've been doing this for a while and I still don't know the answer. But I'm having fun finding out.
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