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Would M/C music be more intresting if recorded "live"

Discussion in 'Music' started by Rachael B, Oct 3, 2004.

  1. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    After listening to a particularly disconcerting M/C mix, I started thinking if live recording with 5 mikes or maybe a few more, would be more listenable than many of these mixes. ...sort'a a direct digital disc, know what I mean vern? I know I have some SA-CD's and CD's that fit the M.O., not that many, but some. They're certainly not major label titles, Chesky and such.

    I thinkin' live, in studio, recording here that really captures the room's sound. Live takes, no mixing. Would, could M/C music sound better, more acurate, done 'dat a-way? Some of the mixes I've heard lately have left me flabbergasted, wonderin' if a better way, there is not? Yoda, yoda, yoda...[​IMG]
     
  2. PaulDA

    PaulDA Cinematographer

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    It's possible, as mixing involves having to listen to (usually) one person's version of the event as opposed to being there and listening to the event unfiltered (let's leave out the epistemological problems of unfiltered experiences for the moment). However, two channel mixes are also "mixed" and one could argue, more mixed, as all the sounds have to be collapsed into two channels, rather than more. Not to say that personal preference for two channel mixes over multichannel mixes is wrong (enjoyment of music is highly subjective, witness all the Celine fans out there). However, I'm curious as to what it is about the multichannel mixes you dislike. I've heard a number of M/C mixes and with few exceptions, I prefer them to the two channel, largely because they allow for better separation of the instruments on the same playback system than two channel (I could, of course, keep spending money for ever more revealing speakers to resolve more details in two channel, but if I just got 5 of those speakers, I'd hear still more details). On a few M/C mixes, I prefer the two channel versions, but that's largely a matter of taste, not format specific. I'll give one example.

    On ELP's Brain Salad Surgery, the producers included as a bonus track Lucky Man. Near the end of the song, the vocals are mixed to the rear surrounds for about one measure. The first time I heard it, I found it a bit freaky, as I'd heard the song about a bazillion times before (amazing that I can use bazillion and epistemological in the same post, eh? [​IMG] ). By the third listen, though, I found it not only acceptable, but a neat effect that, IMO, adds to the song in a way not achievable before. Does that vindicate haphazard M/C mixes? No. But it does point out the potential to configure music in ways that we might not have imagined before, thinking out of the box, to use a tired cliche--and it's an effect that can only be done after the fact, not in "live" take.

    Bottom line, I think that "live" takes might generate some excellent M/C recordings, but I don't believe that "out of the box" mixes should be dismissed a priori (to use another hoity-toity word).
     
  3. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    Paul, the M/C mix that left me dumbfounded last night was Ray Charles' Genius Loves Company. Most of the vocals are mixed about equally in both left and right channels. On some of these duets it sounded like there were 2 Ray Charles, one in each of the left channels plus 2 duet cohorts over in the right channels. To me it sounded way beyond artifical. It's a stereo only album for me from now on.

    On the other hand, I listened to Hiromi's BRAIN in M/C for the 1st time last night and really enjoyed it.

    I'm a tough customer, I suppose...? [​IMG]
     
  4. PaulDA

    PaulDA Cinematographer

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    Not too tough, I think. I tried a bunch of two channel CDs with DPLII Music to see what it would be like. At first I was quite enamoured of the spaciousness the processing seemed to provide, especially on recordings that include synths. However, in the last two weeks or so, I've been going back to simple two channel presentation (using my player's ability to do 2.1 internally so no processing occurs at the receiver) and for the acoustic jazz I love, it's the way to go (Coltrane, Miles, Haden, Monk, Baker, Rollins, et. al). With M/C hi-res, so far I still like the M/C mixes, but they're all pop/rock with few exceptions in my collection. Brubeck's solo Pvt. Brubeck Remembers was recorded with multiple mics, as you mention above, and is quite nice in multichannel hi-res, however. My approach has been to try the fancy stuff and where I like it, I stick with it, and where I don't, I go back to the basics. In the end, it's all about enjoying the tunes, right? With that in mind, I've got a date with Sonny Rollins (in mono, no less). [​IMG]
     
  5. Zen Butler

    Zen Butler Producer

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    Some of my favorite albums of all time are recorded in a similar fashion. I think Cowboy Junkies: Trinity Sessions would have done well recorded m/c. Although, it is near perfect as is. Some of the smaller sounding bands of the past would have sounded fantastic like this.

    Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians
    Cowboy Junkies
    Jefferson Airplane
    Lone Justice

    To name a few.



    Disheartening for sure. I've pulled out my old Quadraflex (Quad Sound) receiver. [​IMG]
     
  6. gene c

    gene c Producer

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    For live performance, how about one channel of amplification and one speaker for each performer? This would eliminate most mixing altogether. But it wouldn't be practical for many reasons. Just for fun, a couple of weeks ago I moved my surrounds up front about 3 feet to the left and right of the mains, a little closer to me and angled in, plopped in Boz Skaggs greatest hits live dvd (outstanding btw) and felt it sounded closer to a live show than anything I've heard out of speakers yet. Had to put them back though. Looked kind a strange having all those speaker stands up front.
     
  7. charles white

    charles white Second Unit

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    I'm surprised this push for multi channel music has not brough t back the familiar binaural recording technology. I heard a demostration many years ago and it was incredible. I bet it's adaptable to 5.1 audio today.
     
  8. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    Charles, I've heard the name of that bisexual recording bandied about, but I don't know what it is.[​IMG] I bet alot of people don't.
     
  9. ChristopherDAC

    ChristopherDAC Producer

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    True binaural recordings involve a model head suspended over the audience at a concert, center about five rows back, with microphones inside the head fed from the earholes, in an attempt to capture the listening experience of an audience member. Most binaural recordings, however, simply use two microphones facing forward or a little splayed, positioned about a foot apart in the region of the hall just mentioned. You may have seen this rig at symphony concerts.
     
  10. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    I have 3 Direct-Disc LP's, which are one side takes of music straight to a record cutting machine. I've heard it suggested that the musicans are too cautious in such a setting. Doing one song takes should erase that kind of concern.

    Gene, wouldn't it be cool to hear a trio, one in each front speaker? When you start tryin' to figur what you'd move to the back for a quintet, well that's problematic for me. Then there's 10+ pieces bands. However, I don't think you'd have to be limited to 5 mic's as long as there was no or minimal signal processing at the boards where the mic's converged.
     
  11. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    C-DAC, I have seen that at the symphony. Great, what an easy concept! How 'bout poly-binarual rooms with however many mikes it takes to create a soundfield something like the room's sound? ....and of course a 5 channel recording... [​IMG]
     
  12. gene c

    gene c Producer

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    That's where the second part of my reply comes in. Put all five (or 7, or 10) speakers up front (who said m/c had to be surround sound?). But as I also said, not practical for many reasons, just something to think about.
     
  13. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    Gene, have you ever read David Chesky's philosophy of what M/C music should be like? It's on his record company site. He sez: 2 centres, L & R, and L & R sides. That's not going to happen anytime soon. I'd like to see such a system demo'ed though.
     
  14. ChristopherDAC

    ChristopherDAC Producer

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    I prefer the classic Four Corners arrangement. Left Front, Right Front, Center Front and Center Rear just leaves me cold; but Left and Right Front and Rear is plenty engaging. I have some J-Pop which sounds pretty good with DPL-II and the Center set to "phantom"; there is a good deal of sound which sounds, in stereo, as if it's coming from "off-stage" to one side or the other, and the processing wraps it around the room.
     
  15. David Tolsky

    David Tolsky Supporting Actor

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    You might want to check out some of the AIX label DVD-A's. The good ones are based on live studio recordings. The Nitty Gritty band disc quality is pretty insane (meant in a good way [​IMG] )
     
  16. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    David, I might try them. I have several vinyls of them from other thymes. [​IMG]
     
  17. gene c

    gene c Producer

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    I'll have to look it up over the weekend. Too much baseball on the screen right now! Should be a good read, but I agree that speaker set-up will most likely stay as it is.
     
  18. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    Gene, I wouldn't be so sure of that??? I severely doubt Chesky will ever get his way though!
     

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