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  #1  
Old 02-01-2018, 10:33 PM
williamsbclontz williamsbclontz is offline
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Default Live Recording vs Studio Recording?

What do you guys think about live recordings vs recording in a studio setting? It seems like most of my favorite songs are from a live recording of a concert or recorded live in a studio as a one take. I love a lot of studio albums too, but something about live recordings are different, right? Is a good mix of both the best for albums or what do you guys think about all of it?
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Old 02-01-2018, 11:00 PM
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Default Re: Live Recording vs Studio Recording?

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Originally Posted by williamsbclontz View Post
What do you guys think about live recordings vs recording in a studio setting? It seems like most of my favorite songs are from a live recording of a concert or recorded live in a studio as a one take. I love a lot of studio albums too, but something about live recordings are different, right? Is a good mix of both the best for albums or what do you guys think about all of it?
A good portion of the time, it's near impossible to capture the "live" energy if you're pulling something together in pieces. The little "imperfections" inspirations and back/forth between the players are huge in terms of overall feel in a track.

Sadly, the "live" is de-emphasized over "perfect" "recordings" in studio lots of the time.
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Old 02-02-2018, 04:37 PM
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Default Re: Live Recording vs Studio Recording?

Somebody must love that sterile studio sound. I don't. I want to hear the dynamics, the live sound.
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Old 02-02-2018, 04:43 PM
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Default Re: Live Recording vs Studio Recording?

Sadly, the "live" is de-emphasized over "perfect" "recordings" in studio lots of the time.

Exactly. Well said. Best reason for buying live albums.
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Old 02-02-2018, 05:05 PM
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Default Re: Live Recording vs Studio Recording?

The sad thing is that very few live albums are actually live. Most are either fixed in the studio in post, or downright recorded in the studio with "live" elements added in for effect.
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Old 02-02-2018, 05:16 PM
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Default Re: Live Recording vs Studio Recording?

It depends.

If it's a live recording in front of a big crowd, it's usually pretty awesome. If it's not, well, much of the time it's not that great.
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Old 02-02-2018, 05:26 PM
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Default Re: Live Recording vs Studio Recording?

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The sad thing is that very few live albums are actually live. Most are either fixed in the studio in post, or downright recorded in the studio with "live" elements added in for effect.
Agreed. Rarely is there an album taken from the show itself in one shot. The only one I can think of is the bootleg Raw: Like Sushi album from Mr. Big. Recorded during Rush's Presto tour in 1989 where they plugged the DAT right into the front of house board & hit record. Epic sound too.

Doing a live take in the studio requires ALL the musicians to be on point with their performance. One screws up and the take is trash. A special skill to say the least.
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Old 02-02-2018, 06:00 PM
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Default Re: Live Recording vs Studio Recording?

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Originally Posted by GruntersDad View Post
Sadly, the "live" is de-emphasized over "perfect" "recordings" in studio lots of the time.

Exactly. Well said. Best reason for buying live albums.
One of the reasons I love youtube like sites is that it's chock full of live band videos that would otherwise be extremely hard to locate and watch.
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Old 02-02-2018, 06:09 PM
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Default Re: Live Recording vs Studio Recording?

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Doing a live take in the studio requires ALL the musicians to be on point with their performance. One screws up and the take is trash. A special skill to say the least.
I would argue that a band shouldn't be anywhere near a studio until they can 9 times out of 10 play the songs without screwing the pooch in a noticeable way.

Also, there are compromises. With sufficient isolation between the players, you can have "clean-ish" tracks for each player. This means that if the guitar player screws up the solo, or a specific passage isn't up to snuff, everyone else can keep playing and ignore the mistake. Then, because the tracks are recorded clean (as opposed to with bleed) you can have the guitar player just punch in that one part of the performance. Works for drums too. Last "live" recordings I did without intended scratch tracks on one of the songs I screwed up a fill in a rather noticeable way on an otherwise very energetic cool take. We were able to just fix that one fill and keep the rest of the "live" performance without messing with it. I think it's also okay to go back in and do double-tracking, maybe layer some solos or something, add some effects. All of that makes things sound more "pro" while still keeping the performance aspect of the track in place.

Anyway, I think all the players laying down tracks at once and keeping them really helps with the "sterile" factor when you compare it to just "getting a drum track" then having each member go back in and completely record new takes for their instrument over the drum track. At the same time, you do have a trade off where it's not so "perfect" as a lot of people expect out of studio work. When you lay down live you can't nit-pick and re-do everything a hundred times but you also get to keep the unscripted inter-play magic between players.
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  #10  
Old 02-03-2018, 05:35 PM
williamsbclontz williamsbclontz is offline
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Default Re: Live Recording vs Studio Recording?

Thanks for all the input guys. I think Dr Watso said it best, it's hard to get the same kind of energy if everyone plays a seperate piece isolated from the song. I always find myself wanting to rerecord over the finished track because I hear something in my groove I could change to better compliment the bass or guitar player. With a live recording you can feed off of those guys in real time. I guess it's just best to have an isolated studio room for each musician with headphones and then have them all go nuts when you hit the record button? At least that's what I am taking away from all of this
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Old 02-04-2018, 04:21 AM
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Default Re: Live Recording vs Studio Recording?

“Live” is performance art. Studio recording is not. I prefer the “art” and all its problems/inspirations.
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Old 02-04-2018, 04:36 AM
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Default Re: Live Recording vs Studio Recording?

Plenty of live "real time" albums were recorded on the 60s and 70s... I doubt there was much if any post manipulation of those recordings beyond cleaning up the sound a little bit. Not sure when the studio-improved method took root?

I keep waiting for a huge public backlash against "all things phoney" in the world of popular music. Not sure I will see it in my life time though.

Wondering when people will start to appreciate the value of a group of musicians making music in real time?
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Old 02-04-2018, 04:48 AM
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Default Re: Live Recording vs Studio Recording?

I see there's some confusion about what studio recordings are, and aren't.

I suppose they can be sterile sounding, but that depends on the production, and the playing. Did Zappa's studio albums sound sterile, or did the performances suffer? How about Steely Dan? Weather Report? Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, et al? Pink Floyd? Beatles? Elvis Costello? U2? Chick Corea? Hardly a lack of energy and dynamics with any of them. You have to dig a bit deeper in the post-synth era for live, pop music makers, but they're out there.

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“Live” is performance art. Studio recording is not.
I would agree that the creation of music is art, and performing it is also an expression of the art. But studio recording is simply capturing the art, just without the applause, and song intros by the artist. A number of artists issued studio recordings before they ever put out something live, and it's unfair to suggest that those renditions aren't art.

Obviously, live and studio recordings will differ in some ways, particularly with arrangements, solos, intros and endings that only exist live, lyric changes, and instrumental differences, such as missing a few guitar parts, or an orchestra, or maybe adding an orchestra.

I've been asked why Al doesn't issue a live album, and the answer is that we sound pretty much like the record already, there's really not enough difference. However, we've had two successful live DVDs, because the visual elements - wardrobe, video, choreography - make it worth hearing and seeing.

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Old 02-04-2018, 07:31 AM
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Default Re: Live Recording vs Studio Recording?

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“Live” is performance art. Studio recording is not. I prefer the “art” and all its problems/inspirations.
I would absolutely not agree with any part of that statement!

Both live playing and any music that gets put to someone's ear-holes is art and it's someone's expression of "art".

Perhaps you prefer a specific style, but for most people, that's true of all forms of art. And that's perfectly fine.

For the record, in my opinion, both "live" style, and layered style, and even electronic music is all both really fun to create, but also possessing artistic merit.
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  #15  
Old 02-04-2018, 03:54 PM
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Default Re: Live Recording vs Studio Recording?

To clarify....I appreciate all kinds of music recorded anyway, anywhere....

The only point of my post was that I feel it is wrong to "sell" a track as "live" when it is a studio track-or if it has been manipulated with overdubs....AND this is intentionally kept quiet.

Give me Live at The Fillmore....not faked at the studio! Lol 😆
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  #16  
Old 02-04-2018, 04:52 PM
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Default Re: Live Recording vs Studio Recording?

If you can't reproduce your recording in a live setting without all the post-production BS, then you can't call yourself a musician---piecing together a bunch of scraps can make a hamburger, but when I am paying good money to see a live show I expect a Steak dinner!
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  #17  
Old 02-04-2018, 06:14 PM
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Default Re: Live Recording vs Studio Recording?

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If you can't reproduce your recording in a live setting without all the post-production BS, then you can't call yourself a musician---piecing together a bunch of scraps can make a hamburger, but when I am paying good money to see a live show I expect a Steak dinner!
Nonsense. If you make music intentionally, you're a musician. Doesn't matter how you do it or put it together.

Again, just because you don't like an art form or method of creating art doesn't mean it isn't art and has value.
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Old 02-04-2018, 06:59 PM
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Default Re: Live Recording vs Studio Recording?

Man interesting question-I've forgotten all the great live records of the past. I had a huge closet full collection of records from early 60s-82" when they all burned up in a fire-damn it. Get Yer Ya-Yas Out, Live At Leeds, Made In Japan, At Filmore East were great live recordings, just to mention a few that come to mind. I still got to have a dose of Filmore East which is an under appreciated album.
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Old 02-04-2018, 07:09 PM
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Default Re: Live Recording vs Studio Recording?

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I still got to have a dose of Filmore East which is an under appreciated album.
Sorry to hear about your record collection! I’ve also got a huge record collection, and would freak out if something like that happened to them! Also, Fillmore east is probably my favorite live album, along with Europe ‘72 by the Dead. I got around Christmas time the 6 Disc set that’s got all the shows they made that weekend in their entirety, so there’s no studio trickery there.
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Old 02-04-2018, 08:03 PM
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Default Re: Live Recording vs Studio Recording?

I definitely prefer live performances. I like to hear the mistakes and the "imperfect" parts of a live perf.
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Old 02-04-2018, 08:31 PM
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Default Re: Live Recording vs Studio Recording?

Whaaaat? Talk about jumping to conclusions...my reference to(live)"performance art" was meant as part of a definition of live-recorded music. Studio-recorded music is still it own art type. Both are artistic(I hope) and differently recorded and produced, making them...well, related but different.
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Old 02-04-2018, 08:56 PM
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Default Re: Live Recording vs Studio Recording?

I wouldn’t be as categorical as you are. Some live performances are worthwhile some not. Especially some old ones where there was energy, yes, but very often, a poor sound (due to technology available).
Im into prog rock, and I like the sound perfection of the true studio album. I’m sorry I prefer studio album from dream theatre - can’t stand Labrie live, even Portnoy, live, annoys me. I love Floyd, but Pulse... I can live without.
On the contrary, Porcupine is as tremendous live as in studio, Marillion is often too mellow in studio (bad mix) and much better live. Anathema wasn’t that good live, but Universal (live) is so perfect. Iron Maiden, I like the energy live, but prefer their studio sound.
Some live performance can be messy (Metallica anyone?)
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Old 02-04-2018, 10:23 PM
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Default Re: Live Recording vs Studio Recording?

Getting musicians to rehearse is a luxury. Recording in a real studio with enough room and equipment to record everyone playing live together is another luxury. Try it for yourself. Put a band together and get them to rehearse enough music for a typical CD (say 50 minutes) and then record the band playing together LIVE, mix, master and release it. Then feel free to report back on how it went and let me hear the results.
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Old 02-05-2018, 03:16 AM
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Default Re: Live Recording vs Studio Recording?

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Getting musicians to rehearse is a luxury.
Unless they are good, dedicated musicians who want to make cool records. Going to the studio unrehearsed might sound punk rock, but in my experience it's a recipe for wasting money.

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Recording in a real studio with enough room and equipment to record everyone playing live together is another luxury.
Here in the bay area there are plenty of really good studios with great rooms and gear, plus talented engineers who can usually create isolation without actually using that much space or separate rooms. The rates tend to be in the few hundred dollar per day range, which a dedicated band can put together.

Quote:
Try it for yourself.
This is fantastic advice.

Quote:
Put a band together and get them to rehearse enough music for a typical CD (say 50 minutes) and then record the band playing together LIVE, mix, master and release it. Then feel free to report back on how it went and let me hear the results.
Nobody here is denying that doing it the sterile way isn't more efficient and doesn't produce cleaner, more perfect tracks in general. What this thread is pointing out is that if you go to the trouble and record a real performance where each musician is really listening and playing off the inspirations of the other, it can create a sound/vibe that you can't duplicate by putting the works together in pieces in effort to achieve the "perfect" representation of the song.

The airbrushed, photoshopped and "perfected" image of a model on a magazine cover is maybe technically superior if you're using that magazine editor's measuring criteria... But at the same time, I think a lot of people might also find comparable "beauty"(hard to define in the first place) in the natural form of the same model.
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Old 02-05-2018, 05:28 AM
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Default Re: Live Recording vs Studio Recording?

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Originally Posted by Dr_Watso View Post
Nobody here is denying that doing it the sterile way isn't more efficient and doesn't produce cleaner, more perfect tracks in general. What this thread is pointing out is that if you go to the trouble and record a real performance where each musician is really listening and playing off the inspirations of the other, it can create a sound/vibe that you can't duplicate by putting the works together in pieces in effort to achieve the "perfect" representation of the song.
I agree completely. I was just suggesting that actually doing it, is another thing completely. Unless you have an endless stash of cash, you're going to end up very frustrated and disappointed. If the music is very simple and/or you have great charts and great musicians who can read well, you should be fine. However, if the music requires a bit more facility, you're going to need many hours of rehearsals, and you'll have to pay the musicians to rehearse. A decent recording studio with decent engineer will cost a minimum of $50 per hour. Then factor in the time to mix, master, manufacture... It all adds up.

If you have a well rehearsed band and everyone is pitching in, you're laughing. In that case you should definitely record live, and then punch in or correct any glaring flubs. Not only should it result in a better recording, but you'll actually save a lot of time too.

Then again, pretty much everything you hear on TV or the radio is completely void of real instruments and the singing is tweaked to death with Melodyne and similar tools. Pretty pathetic really.
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Old 02-05-2018, 11:29 AM
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Default Re: Live Recording vs Studio Recording?

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Pretty much everything you hear on TV or the radio is completely void of real instruments and the singing is tweaked to death with Melodyne and similar tools. Pretty pathetic really.
This.

I remember an edition of Logic my mate had which had a Killers track that had been produced with this software so you could strip back to source. The turd polisher earned his money with this.

Studio engineering used to be an art form on both the engineers and the artists.

Sadly live recording has fallen foul of the cancer that is autotune. Toto's falling in between live sounds like robots singing it. I saw them a week before it was recorded and it didn't see a need for it.

As for 70s live albums I think Monsieur Zappa hit the nail on the head with Sheik Yerbouti with the tongue in cheek recorded live. The only one I can think is truly live is Made in Japan, the rest were overdubbed heavily like Live and Dangerous.
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Old 02-05-2018, 01:15 PM
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Default Re: Live Recording vs Studio Recording?

I also in the camp of most my favourite albums were recorded live. I also know that they often record several shows and pick the best performances.

The music is better know, the interpretations have matured through cooperation, the whole energy, dynamics, communication in the moment. It's a whole different thing.

Tower of Power mostly record live, but they're tight, play more shows together
than almost anybody etc....


As mentioned, the need to beat detective and pitch correct everything... I dunno
.. It doesn't really add anything. If if was that bad on should really just rehearse more before going to the studio.

I don't mind add tracks and working that way. It's a way to experiement and fine tune an idea that will inspire many greater live performances in the future. I know this will be what I mostly do in the future. Because of time, money and my teaching gig I'll do it mostly spradically and by myself, but the record isn't the final say. Why would people go to shows? Unless they think Justin is really hot, of course. lol
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Old 02-05-2018, 03:33 PM
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Default Re: Live Recording vs Studio Recording?

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Originally Posted by eclipseownzu View Post
The sad thing is that very few live albums are actually live. Most are either fixed in the studio in post, or downright recorded in the studio with "live" elements added in for effect.
I made a recording once, sounded plain, nothing special. Then I added some background audience sound. The recording came to life, sounded much more exciting. And the audience sound is just noise, not musical at all.
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Old 02-05-2018, 06:26 PM
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Default Re: Live Recording vs Studio Recording?

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I made a recording once, sounded plain, nothing special. Then I added some background audience sound. The recording came to life, sounded much more exciting. And the audience sound is just noise, not musical at all.
I can't tell. Are you inferring that the live "energy" is accomplished with a recording of an audience? Must disagree if so! If anything the audience is an annoyance I wish we could better filter out in a lot of live performances.

Often venues will offer to give a recording of your performance from the board and I usually tell them to turn off any crowd mics entirely if they're there.
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