Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Live vs. studio recordings

Posted By on Wed, Sep 1, 2010 at 10:36 AM

My band is at a crossroads.

We put out a studio CD last summer that we ended up being happy with. A local sound engineer with experience recording jazz-fusion groups and — believe it or not — experience recording vibes did a bang-up job and gave us a great sounding CD.

Since then, we’ve changed quite a bit and have added a guitar player that gives us more of an edge and our live shows have gotten more energetic. Folks have been telling us that we should do a live recording for our next CD so the energy of our live show will get captured and the CD will better represent us.

Like anything, there are pros and cons.

The studio CD is fabulous because you can sit down and craft the sound for each individual song once it has been recorded. The first go around, I was amazed at how much control we had over the sound of each drum in the drum-kit.

Also, since my group does a good amount of improvised soloing, the studio seems attractive because you can go back and do that solo over and over again until it’s just right.

The cons are that the studio is a controlled environment that can produce a rather sterile sounding end product that doesn’t capture the warm energy of the live show. All that sonic control comes at a cost, I fear.

The live recording has its pros and cons as well.

Ideally, it captures the live show and will make the listener want to see the group live. It can capture those unexpected moments of improvisational magic that often occur during a live show.

On the flip-side it can capture the moments when weird stuff happens onstage. Not only mess-ups but also unexpected things like someone close to the stage loudly talking to the band in the middle of a song. Hell, we played in Wilmington once and had a drunk guy actually get up on stage and hug our bass-player in the middle of a song. That would make for a hoot of a live recording!

Tell me your thoughts people. Tell me your thoughts...

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