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The beauty of hearing what they're hearing onstage Recorders, Players & Tape Machines
Old 22nd March 2013
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joelpatterson's Avatar

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The beauty of hearing what they're hearing onstage

Intuition and counter-intuition... those are just two sides of the same counter! It just depends on which way you're facing... I am swept up in this odd reverie, sometimes, but it almost feels like every single thing I do is more improvisation than anything... even within the standard procedures, all is freeform and subject to change without notice...

So once I thought, "you know... what the musicians are themselves hearing onstage, the mix of live voices and instruments and whatever monitoring is helping them along... isn't that, like, kind of maybe, "the music," or a fundamentally reliable representation of it, anyway?" So for this particular exercise, as you can see if you squint, there's a Sony PCM D50 dangling over the stage, three feet from the singer's head... help me out, here... isn't there some kind of theoretical physics on my side, at least?
Old 22nd March 2013
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frans's Avatar
You mean, like the two pencil mics left and right from their head if recording acoustic guitar or a drummer? Of course. Physics? You want confirmation of what you hear or feel? Then better physics have caught up to what you found or you're left in the rain.
Another one would be the mono Coles 4038 over the drumset... or the whole idea of overheads. Or mics above a string quartett. Art travels faster than thinking in a intellectual mode.
Old 22nd March 2013
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joelpatterson's Avatar

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Exactly so... and also, just like your ears are conveniently located close by and within reach, whatever the pluses and minuses of this arrangement, it seems to me this could be a model for actually recording things and so hearing them like Nature perhaps intended... not that Nature is always a reliable partner in all this.
Old 22nd March 2013
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surflounge's Avatar
Congrats on your live performance recordings. Love the video and audio.
Wondering if you get a release signed by the artists for your use of the media to publish afterwards? How do you deal with the "paranoia issue" some of them have? I have a legal form they sign before recording even starts. Then it's all trusted and secure. They can get back to being creative and play without worries. It's like a prenup in marriage where "we're just doing it for love honey". Or do you have another approach?
Old 22nd March 2013
Lives for gear

This situation worked out OK, but you can't count on this technique to work every time. For example if a guitar amp is involved, 9 times out of 10 the upper frequencies will either be not represented well (if the amp is pointed out) or over represented (if the amp is pointing up at the mic).

However I'm a big fan of close ambient mics, like overheads for the entire stage, as a main component of a multitrack live recording. Since my clients are generally the performers themselves, it's pretty much guaranteed they are going to love having their familiar stage sound well represented in the mix. Plus their devoted fans always recognize and appreciate the front row perspective. Fill it out with the FOH mix and rear room mics, and you get the best of both worlds - front row seats with perfect sound reinforcement.
Old 22nd March 2013
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joelpatterson's Avatar

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Originally Posted by surflounge View Post
... How do you deal with ....?
For the people hiring me to do this kind of stuff, it's all spelled out, but for the pro-bono instances, I confess I approach it all with a disarming, blithe, happy-go-lucky obliviousness... I mean, I am completely upfront about what I'm doing, so I trust anyone who has a problem with it will speak up, and certainly most people are deliriously grateful. The venues fall all over themselves to encourage me and make me feel welcome, it's touching.

I have run into what you're alluding to, although it's spectacularly rare... people who are all about second-guessing and micro-managing their exposure, truth to tell I recognize this as a variety of self-destructiveness that eventually will doom their efforts at a career. One of life's mysteries... why anyone would think exposure and publicity are negatives, in a world that is indifferent to them anyway... anyway, the few times this has come up, I delete their video, roll my eyes and wish them luck!
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