Do things sound better live vs. recorded or is it me?

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by cantstoplt021, Apr 25, 2015.

  1. cantstoplt021

    cantstoplt021 Member

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    I don't mean professional studio recordings mixed by pro tool wizards, but raw amateur recordings vs live sound. I've always been amazed at how bad recordings sound when it comes to the tone of things, especially when using a cheaper mic. For instance my guitar can sound great, but when I try to record it with my macbook mic it just sounds bad. I know it isn't a good microphone so that weighs in heavily. I recently got a nice condenser mic and I've used it a few times and still things don't sound that good. I don't know what I'm doing in terms of mic placement so that's a big thing, but just in general it seems to me that things sound better live. Seems that imperfections stand out more on recordings when they aren't noticed live so much. Am I right in this?
     
  2. greggorypeccary

    greggorypeccary Member

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    Well, yeah, if you're talking about amateur recordings. Aja and Court and Spark sound as awesome as they do because the producers and engineers knew what to do with the equipment. A guy with a $100 condenser and a Macbook...not so much.
     
  3. rhinocaster

    rhinocaster Supporting Member

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    I'm always amazed when someone hears themselves on a recording and says, "I don't sound like that!" Yes you do....

    We really are only partially aware of what's happening live...the placement of our ears relative to the sound source is a big part of it, but I've noticed that lots of people can't really tell if they're sharp or flat (and they're usually flat) when they're in the moment. It can be a shock to hear it back....

    Recording is one of the best things to do if you want to improve. Don't deny what you hear, work on fixing it...it's truth! :)
     
  4. BADHAK

    BADHAK Member

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    I even prefer most live album guitar tones to some of the iconic studio albums. I like most of Jimmy Pages studio tones, but i love his live tones. Same with Aerosmith, Thin Lizzy, Joe Walsh and many more.
    Guys like VH and ACDC sound good all the time.
    On a personal level, most of the amateur recordings I've done have sucked at getting a decent gtr tone and sounded nothing like my rig. .....even when that rig was a poorly dialed in Peavey Special played by a beginner. Usually cause of the ****** mic/placement and the 'producers' insisting on laying on gobs of reverb and compression and eq ing the guitar till it sounds like a mosquito.
     
  5. BADHAK

    BADHAK Member

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    I agree that recording yourself is a great tool to critique your playing, but I've got better recorded gtr tone with a Zoom H2 than some of my professional recordings.
     
  6. mattz

    mattz Member

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    I prefer live in every way.
     
  7. FFTT

    FFTT Member

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    As long as a group is tight, it can be easier to capture what they are about with a mix off the board.

    Even with top pros, it is very difficult to capture the same live show energy in a studio.
     
  8. slybird

    slybird Member

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    OP, even the cheapest gear you can find is probably as good if not better than most recording equipment of 50 years ago. It is not the gear that is the issue. The real issue is how you use it and how you mix it.

    If you want a great live recording of practice it means many mics and cables, a mixer, and iso walls for the drums and singer.

    As for micing a guitar cab, I think a cheap Shure 57 does a great job of capturing the sound. At home I sometime go straight in from the preamp. Just dial the eq to match the response curve of a typical guitar speaker, slight 3db boost at the 3k range and huge dive bomb for all frequencies above 5k.
     
  9. rhinocaster

    rhinocaster Supporting Member

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    I've used a Zoom Digital recorder since they became available and I record all rehearsals with a Zoom H1 ... If you can't get a good live room sound with these things, it demonstrates that your live sound isn't good. I thought that was part of what the OP was talking about.

    I'm definitely in the camp with those that enjoy (and often prefer) live recordings. I really enjoy just hearing a band playing together rather than songs assembled in the studio. :)
     
  10. MikeVB

    MikeVB Supporting Member

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    I've noticed the "slightly flat" problem with vocals from myself and other singers in bands I've played with over the years. Obviously, I'm not tone deaf because I can immediately hear it during playback, but not during the tracking.

    How does one correct this or train themselves to stop doing?
     
  11. hellbender

    hellbender Member

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    Always, always always. Recording is a piss poor reproduction of how musical energy is generated and propagated. But its the best we have.
     

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