‘comping’ tracks..feels like cheating

‘comping’ tracks..feels like cheating

This one is for all the people who record themselves and others..

With all the software available thesedays it is easier than ever for music producers to assemble compiled tracks to present vocal / instrumental performances. It is common practice in the commercial music industry and for most music styles I have no problem with this. Somehow part of me doesn’t feel right doing it with this music, Most recorded music now is an illusion in that it all sounds like everyone’s playing together at the same time wheras infact the tracks were laid down at different times, comped etc.

Didn’t one of the beatles once say they had never made an honest recording, ever, that was interesting.

For my own amateurish efforts I would maybe comp to replace the odd bum note or someone accidently hitting the mic during what would otherwise be an inspired take, but I would aim to avoid heavily comping people’s performances. When it’s all finished the listener can’t tell it’s been done at all but there is part of me that knows it’s been stitched together. For this music, were the ability to play well off the cuff without fancy effects and editing, is paramount, it feels like somehow cheating.

What are peoples feelings towards this practise and are the resulting tracks somehow less genuine than those old 78s were someone just played into a mic, no comping or fancy editing?

Anyone with professional experience in recording trad like to comment ?

Just interested ,that’s all.

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yeah I don’t like it either

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One of the major points for me is that nobody hears anyone playing naturally, except for Youtube, old home recordings and the like. I’ve heard very good aspiring musicians on the point of giving up say, ‘I’ll never be able to play like that,’ without realising that the recording ‘artist’ can’t play like that either. It’s the equivalent of airbrushing and photoshopping. While it is here to stay as long as records are made for profit, we should know it for what it is — artificial.

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Well that’s told ME. Guess I’ll just have to grow an extras five pairs of arms instead, now.

Don’t disagree with the sentiment - but what’s a lone recorder to do?

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I think that when you are making a recording to sell to the public, the general expecatation is that it is the best effort the player can make. People expect no glaring mistakes, so you have to edit them out. My experience in studios is that after a few takes, you are just wasting studio time. So doing the tune over and over hoping for that one perfect take is an illusion. So what’s a fella to do?

the thing is that since CDs came out 30 years ago, the standard for a recording that you lay your hard earned money down for is pretty high

if the aesthetic was for a more natural, warts and all, sound then things would be different.

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All photography is artificial, light is distorted by the lens, colour is processed by chemicals and/or computers. The idea that photoshop is in some way immoral is as silly as saying clothes are in some way moral.

And there’s no difference between recording light or sound. It is what it is.



"When it’s all finished the listener can’t tell it’s been done at all but there is part of me that knows it’s been stitched together."
Silly silly romantic nonsense.


Me? I’d rather fly over a fruit tree nursery in the snow than look at a picture someone has taken while flying over a fruit tree nursery in the snow. But this is, of course, irrelevant to the value of a work of art created by taking a picture while flying over a fruit tree nursery in the snow.

We have no problem differentiating between the experience of being in places and seeing things on the one hand, and appreciating photographs as works of art in their own right. So why make such fuss over the difference between the experience of being in places and hearing things on the one hand, and appreciating recordings as works of art in their own right?

It is what it is. Get over it.

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another thing to keep in mind, along the same lines as Michael’s point, is that because the instruments are all fed into a mixing board and levels set from there, you get an aural perspective that does not actually exist. Even standing in the middle of an ensamble, you will never hear the parts balanced like in the final recording

so you can really say that recording in any way other than putting a single mic in front of the group and letting them play is "photoshopped"

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A friend of mine made an improvised "live" recording in a cathedral once. Two of them, swapping between lots of instruments ranging from pipes to synthesisers. It was recorded live (no mixing later) on to two tracks from two microphones placed over the ears of the sound engineer who wandered around the musicians whilst they played.

You listen to it with headphones on and it’s supposed to give the virtual reality experience of moving around the tremendous acoustic space of the 12 Century building. Actually, it made me feel a bit sick.

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My point is not that the products are not works of art, be they music or image, but that people are led to believe that the images are realistic.
Unlike Michael, I am unable to fly, but at least my feet are on the ground.

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Well, as commercial trad recordings go I tend to favour recordings that use the "less is best" approach where production trickery is concerned. I like recordings that sound like a bunch of folk having a good tune, how thats achieved during recording and subsequent mixing I’m not really concerned, provided it sounds real.

Compare Liz Carrol’s "Liz Carrol" with say ‘lost in the loop". One has a dynamic element intact, the other compresses things too much and has little or no dynamic element present.

Both are fantastic albums but only one sounds natural to my ear……..

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you’re absolutely right, there, gam. I remember before CDs came out, any live band sounded better than the best record player. After the advent of CDs, any CD player sounded better then most live bands. As a result, in the 80s when we played live people liked us to sound "clean" and "tight" like the CDs they listened to.

and just last week when I was asking about flatpicking, one of the clips was double tracked and I said myself "I’m glad you told me that was double tracked, because if that was one man one take I’d throw in the towel right now"

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Neither sound or are natural, that’s the point. You merely have a preference for the one that sound "more" natural, to you,

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People aren’t led to believe that images (visual or aural) are realistic. People lead themselves to believe they are realistic.

You make it sound like a feckin conspiracy

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Let’s name names to make it more exciting!

It’s really only in the last ten to fifteen years that digital manipulation has crept in.

I still like the straightforward simplicity of albums like ‘Jackie Daly and Seamus Creagh’ or ‘Matt Molloy’ (his first album, to name but two). They were ‘modern’ albums but not flash and they didn’t need technology as a crutch.

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…(his first album), to name but two.

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"People aren’t led to believe…" Really Michael? I thought you knew something about advertising and marketing.

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maybe so for digital, but I worked in a studio in the late 80s that did advertising jingles, and with reel to reel tape and equipment the size of furniture we could do quite a bit. In fact, alot of the digital procesing now is modeled after post production from the reel to reel days, it’s just affordable enough that regular folks like you and I can afford to own it ourselves.

I think it is just a case of "it is what it is". Realistic or not, people’s sensibilities have been changed so that a "realistic" recordings sound like a scratch demo tape to modern ears

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I will go with Michael’s analogy. Is the ‘art’ part is essential though ? If, say, I fly over a fruit tree nursery in the snow and enjoy the visual experience I may want to take a photo of it as a souvenir for myself or to show other people. Doing that effectively is a matter of experience, skill and technology. They may be the experience, skill and technology that an artist would use. But in that instance it need not be artistic (although it could be). The result would still be a photograph and people would know it was a photograph.

If people want to use the audio equivalent of Photoshop to help me experience something close to "a bunch of folk having a good tune" that’s fine by me. Also fine if they ( or a lone multi-tracking musician) want to use the technology creatively.

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What a lot of snobbery and ignorance!
Live recordings are fine. You get what was done at the time warts and all. It’s one flavour available to you. It’s what recording was in the old days when the result came out on a wax cylinder or a 78.
But what has subsequently been done in the studio with the help of multi tracking (i.e. one person playing more than one instrument apparently simultaneously), FX, compression, double tracking, faux instruments, drop ins and outs, cut & paste, pitch correction and other digital tricks, klik trax and so forth has created some of the best music of the last 60 years! The skill required to create such works of art is immense. It is also a partnership of musician and technician. Although they may be the same person! The producers, the true creators of music for our age: Phil Spector, Joe Meek, George H Martin, Lee Scratch Perry, Rick Rubin, Muff Winwood, Guy Stevens, Glyn Johns…
I agree that the best Trad Irish recordings are done live. But even so, I bet a lot of your favourites aren’t as pure and free of studio-ness as you’d like to believe!

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Yes, I sometimes find it funny that lots of this organic sounding trad music has seen more technology than you could shake a stick at, A lot of the audio treatment that goes on isn’t obvious, stuff like editing, audio compression etc..

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I’ve been present when some absolutely amazing music has been played, that went unrecorded. And amazing music is being played–right now–where neither you nor I are present. Studio engineers and musicians use their craft to recreate that experience. I thank them for it.

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That said, as we all know, there’s no substitute for actually being present and being part of good music with friends.

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I like what yhaalhouse says there about the creative skills of producers, and what Michael says about people leading themselves to believe in what isn’t exactly true. I listened to classical music records for a long time before I ever went to a live classical concert (or playing music myself). For my first few concerts I was utterly mortified by every little glitch I heard from the orchestra, so much so that my enjoyment was completely ruined by the fact that I was worriedly anticipating glitches. That’s what I got from constantly hearing the "perfection" of my records.That was quite an education (I’m over it now, needless to say). A concert is a one-off experience that vanishes into the ether once it’s over, leaving traces in your mind and nowhere else. But a recording is for repeated listening. I don’t give a monkeys about a bum note in a gig, but I do not want to hear a bum note in the same place every time I listen to a record, thanks, any more than I wanted to hear that same damn click…click…click…click on my favourite vinyl in the same damn place every time I played it!

Diddlin’ music with a bit of digital magic ~ black or white?

A well known and well recorded acquaintance, no name will be given, did a studio album with a group calling themselves something like ‘The Music Factory’, or something apt considering the result. Several recordings were done, and then they went through and took the best bits and produced one recording, then they went through again and cleaned up anything else by cut-and-paste and other digital magic, and even, where there was a preference for a particular articulation/attack that was capable in one specific area of the instruments voice, they even cut that out, changed pitch, and used it in several alien areas where the accent was ‘naturally’ not so strong. In the end the heavily doctored sound, other things layered in, was something the artist will NEVER EVER be able to play live, as, for one, the natural instrument could never produce some of those results.

That’s one recording, though I quite like a lot of the tunes on it, that I’ve never been able to break down and purchase, and if it was given as a gift, I think I’d pass it on.

But, I have had fun doing that kind of cr*p myself. It’s a kick, but I’d never pass it off as anything but processed music, and while we enjoy some such things that don’t pretend to be anything else, like ‘natural’, our greater love is for raw acoustics, without all the diddlin’ and fluff…

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Yeah, but much of the technology and tools used are there to improve the mount of detail and quality of the sound being recorded, not to mention editing doesn’t have to be about editing out notes. A lot of editing has to be done to raw recordings to make all the pieces fit together in a way that sounds natural and balanced. No problem in that, many professional photoshopped pictures have nothing added or removed aside from fixing the color balance and such.

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And if you took your 35mm film into a ‘high street lab’ in the last ten years for their standard process the prints you got back were the result of an awful lot of semi-automatic digital processing to "improve detail and quality" and "fix colour balance". If they had not been you would take the film to another lab next time.

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Technology did at least give us the wonders of albums such as "Derek Bell Plays With Himself".

Genius.

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…and some of the technology is simply there to make up for the shortcomings of other technology and make it sound as though there was no technology involved…

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Hmm….well, having worked in audio all my working life, I’d say that of course, there is editing and editing. Just ‘cos you don’t hear it doesn’t mean it’s not edited (after all, that’s the skills of any craftsperson, to make their craft invisible so you just listen through the artifice to the music).

There’s also editing in the sense of selecting what’s good enough to go on CD / audio file / radio in the first place.

I personally don’t think any of that is "cheating" any more than buying a better instrument is cheating because it makes the final product better. The ideal, of course, is to get it as right as possible at the time - the less you have to do afterwards, the better the final product will be.

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It’s all lies.

Santa.

Love.

The American Dream.

Recorded music.

All lies.

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No, Santa is real!

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I guess I’d better also share a story which is DEFINITELY cheating.

I had a colleague who was recording a live concert on analogue tape from the Festival Hall in London a few years back. It was a symphony by Mahler, or some such. In those days Radio 3 did these "deferred" live broadcasts, which were "as live" but delayed by about an hour. As the first tape finished you’d have started the second one recording, edited the first at a suitable place, take it down to the studio to be played out on air, and then come back and look after the next reel, and repeat the process until the concert finished.

You’d always have an overlap to edit on, and you’d always run a backup recording just in case something went wrong, although the backup was just the same piece of tape which you turned over and ran more or less as a safety.

Well, at the end of the last reel, my colleague, who wanted to get home as soon as possible, stopped the backup tape just before the end of the concert, kept the transmission tape running until the end and the applause, tidied the tape up ready for transmission and did the usual duration checks on it. Only, unfortunately, he couldn’t hear anything on the end of the tape and realised in his horror that he’d press "record" accidentally. He had completely wiped the last 10 seconds and the first bit of the applause. And he didn’t have the backup tape because he’d already stopped the machine. As the symphony had already started being broadcast, he was faced with an embarassing hole in the program. He had to beg the security people to let him into the library where he got out every CD he could find of that particular work, and then found one that most closely matched the performance, and mixed the last few seconds of that into the live performance, followed by the applause.

He took the last reel down, and apart from asking why it was so delayed, no-one was any the wiser, the thing got played out, and a massive copyright infringement went unreported.

I never did anything (quite) that bad but I have to confess a bit of admiration for calmness under pressure. This was a long time ago and we have both long left the BBC but as an example of "cheating" it’s fairly major.

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Wow - that’s industrial-scale musical fraud!!

Cheating v Clean-up so the shine can show through

"~ some of the technology is simply there to make up for the shortcomings of other technology and make it sound as though there was no technology involved…" - ian stock

Yup, and as others have said, and that’s the real fun in it all, helping to make the artificial sound more natural, spit and polish… ;-) The best editing is when it isn’t noticed. But it can be equally fun to go OTT, unabashedly, to layer and distort and just have an open display of fun, like ‘the wall of sound’… Trying different recipes, mixes. But then, I enjoy all kinds of music, though also admitting I’ve my druthers. :-D

Loved the story Mark…

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Michael, When you said, "The idea that photoshop is in some way immoral is as silly as saying clothes are in some way moral." didn’t you mean the opposite? In other words:
"The idea that photoshop is in some way immoral is as silly as saying clothes are in some way IM-moral."
After all, most of us consider the wearing of clothing to have something to do with adhering to our society’s moral code, not to mention the positive esthetic value clothing has in covering many of us up, especially us plump old bearded and balding guys who are so common at sessions!

:-/

Just the thought of mentioning personal dress & morality in the same breath seems very odd to me. I really could less about anyone’s attire.

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I don’t wear clothes in order to comply with any "moral code." I wear clothes in order to avoid arrest.

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There is a 4-piece instrumental band that records its CDs in the studio exactly as it performs live on stage - no headphones or separate enclosures, and no post-dubbing whatsoever. The result is what you hear on stage is what you hear on CD, and vice versa. How do they do it? – basically, meticulous attention to detail in every aspect of rehearsal and performance. When recording they rarely need to do more than one take per track.

That band is Spiro, who record on the Real World label. http://www.spiromusic.com/

Before Photoshop ~

special films, filters, papers, work in the studio, fartin’ around with film, and audio, goes back to the beginning, and as far as music goes, I’m just glad we’re not hauling around stones and tree trunks anymore and slapping ourselves silly while hammering the ground with bare feet… :-D Actually, that sounds like fun. It’s been ages since I last collected a slew of driftwood and made a giant marimba…

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Considering the volume needed and the narrow band of frequencies that mechanical sound reproduction was capable of the Stroh fiddle is the musical equivalent of studio lighting in photography.


Here’s one I did yesterday, a composite of two images because the wide angle lens (already a 17mm) didn’t cover the whole band from the angle I took the shots. Cheating? Yes, probably. But a means to an end.

http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii19/Kilfarboy/Willie%20Clancy%20Summer%20School%202012/Willie1200066-2.jpg

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No Al, I meant what I said. Being an atheist, I believe it’s important to distinguish between what could be described as immoral behaviour and what is merely social or religious (same thing) convention.

For example, I believe killing people is immoral, and so is the mutilation of female genitalia.

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Hey prof, I’d say that giving the box player his own mike and making two of the fiddle players share is worse than cheating.

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A recorded performance has to be near perfect, to bear repeated listening. Minor imperfections (not necessarily mistakes) which would be unnoticed or ignored in live performance can stand out when they occur at exactly the same point every time you hear the track.

A great many players, who may be superb musicians and live performers, nevertheless feel the pressure to get it it right in the studio, which of course often has the opposite effect. Repeated takes just end up taking the life out of the music. Some editing can solve this problem and I don’t see it as cheating - after all, the musician has actually played it. The aim is to create something listenable, not a documentary record.

It’s been going on long before digital recording, which has just made it easier.

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I think the one thing I’d stop at (although some producers did it to classical pieces) Is using the same audio (ie, copied and pasted) for a repeated section. I think that’s definitely not right, but I’ve heard of people doing this.

Equally I think to assemble something out of many different takes (even if you can make it sound flawless) is something that’s not really about "music" any more even if it is technically perfect.

It’s all a balance. I think anyone doing a recording for their own pleasure (if it doesn’t require adding layers, of course) would definitely be better off concentrating on being able to perform well rather than using the technology - really, you want to do the minimum intervention possible.

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I disagree. Really, you can do what ever the hell you want. It doesn’t even have to be about music.

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I can’t quite see how anyone can have an ethical objection to splicing together a track from two or more takes. If you think that is ‘cheating’ then presumable you should only ever record one take of a track - after all, when you play live you can’t stop and try again if you fluff a solo, so by that way of thinking you shouldn’t do it in the studio.

The only reason I can think of for recording things that way is if you want to show how amateurish your band is. If you want to make your best recording, then you want to use your best performance. And if your best performance of the solo happens to have occurred on a different take to your best chorus, splice them together - it’s still all your own genuine performance. It’s not like using a sequencer or autotune.

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George Martin and the Fab Four were the first to realise they were using the studio as an instrument .

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My last remark really was directed at the original post, which was about whether this is OK to apply in traditional music. To add to Michael / skreech, then the mere fact you’re recording it is already tinkering with it. So it’s a question not of "whether" you should tinker with it, but "how much".

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I made a live album once.

Recorded on to a 24 track mobile studio (pre digital). We recorded a full concert in the afternoon with no crowd and recorded the same set as the concert in the evening.

Then took the tapes into the studio for about a week.

We said we didn’t want to do much overdubs, but we did do a fair bit in the end. There was some out of tune stuff we left, and some mistakes, but mostly it’s the recording of the concert with occasional splicing from the afternoon. It was hard to splice from the afternoon, because of the speed differences, but ok in small bits. One I remember doing that was fun though was we decided to redo a whole vocal in the studio. We just couldn’t get it to sound anything like live until someone suggested the singer go for a half mile run. We got him back in the studio and straight away and recorded him singing puffing and panting. Worked a treat.

The crowd were great, they knew in advance that the gig was gonna be a record and made every effort to get themselves heard, it was a hoot. And while the album is "flawed" and I wince at all the mistakes and out of tune bits, it’s still a great laugh. What more could you want? I’ve never had that much fun recording in a studio.

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Thanks for the replies, I’ve been holding out on mine because I’m interested in what other people think, there’s some great points been made about this and in some ways I am surprised and encouraged more people haven’t been completely hostile to the use of comping.

Mark H made a great point about there being editing and editing, I agree, and it’s the second kind I’m talking about here! Another Really good point someone made before was about red light fever, this happens to people sometimes and it can really the pressure off artist and recordist knowing you can stitch a part together later.

I am experienced in comping parts and can do it flawlessly and am not really looking for an argument or saying it is necessarily always deceitful, but for all the advantages there is sometimes a part of me that feels it would be more genuine to take more time and get whole takes that are good..Paradoxically though this would increase pressure on the talent though, that is always counter productive. Like I say I happily comp and if people don’t know people don’t notice. Only I do.

Don’t worry Michael I am not losing any sleep over this so there is nothing to ‘get over’ but thanks for your concern..
Though I do like your thought provoking differentiation between the photograph being just a photograph and the photograph being part of a work of art…Nevertheless as a musician can you not see that it can feel a bit fakey to use a fiddle part cobbled together from 12 different takes…

Makes me think of that old black and white picture were the construction workers building a skyscraper are having their lunch sitting on a beam hundreds of meters up with nothing between them and the ground..

Would this image have the have the same power or dare I say value, if you knew the moment portrayed never actually happened ? (maybe that pic is a composite too, Im not sure ,but let’s just assume it’s genuine for the sake of argument..)

that it was stuck together in photoshop and there was no danger of them falling. (think of the difference between someone playing music in a pub or on the street and someone playing in a studio with all the safety nets technology affords, track comping, autotune and all the rest)

Some recordings thesedays are a little too perfect for me. Sometimes you see I enjoy a recording being just that, a kind of audio photograph with real time interactions, perhaps an element of risk involved..

Maybe this is why I enjoy listening to ‘casual’ recordings. I’ve heard recordings from walkmans on pub tables that have more music in them than many souped up studio productions.Though obviously the sound quality isn’t there. I know these scenarios are different things and for different purposes but the walkman scenario is more real somehow in that there are two or more people playing together in real time, the moment actually happened, the musicians’ energies were both focused on playing the music together, allowing for interactive nuances of rhythmn and feel that might not have occured if the guitar part (say for example) was put on later.

For myself maybe there is a comfortable balance to be struck somewhere between convenience and veracity, maybe its knowing were to draw the line, it’s difficult because thesedays we can do so much if we choose to. When it comes to audio I would not describe myself as a romantic I’m actually fairly practical and pragmatic and am ruthless when it comes to editing .

Anyway my final word on this is thatI’ve always been a bit of a minimalist when it comes to recording acoustic music………….but thats mostly because I’ve only got 3 mics LOL

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Peter - being practical and still have a touch of a romantic notion about music are not mutually exclusive concepts. I’m sure you would agree the best music producers are those that can balance the energy of a great "take" with the practicality of useful edits.

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I find it much more interesting to look at ‘real’ amateur photographs (of places in particular, e.g. on Google Earth) and YouTube clips rather than professional media these days. Somehow it’s much more immediate.

I recently had to teach about human responses to the Japanese tsunami, and we ended up using a lot of YouTube clips. The amateur stuff was much more compelling than any of the documentaries that were made, even using the same, but edited material. I think the students felt the same. (I think it is safe to assume it was genuine footage).

One of the benefits of such technology, though I haven’t quite worked out why it should be so. Similar situation with music, perhaps?

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I have had much pleasure looking at ‘real’ amateur photographs as well…ooh er matron!

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Jusa, good point, I do agree. My approach is that If something good happens when recording then I will note when that happened and work with that bit later on at overdub or mixtime, even if it is a bit rough round the edges .

For me, scruffy recordings that have vibe and feel easily trump perfect recordings with perfect intonation that lack spirit.. As a mostly amateur producer I have the luxury not having to deliver nice perfect polished shiny files to a record company

I love some pub session recordings I have because they capture a moment that actually happened. I have heard trad recorded in million pound rooms that sounded stilted and over controlled, too perfect by far, without much ‘vibe’

Indeed can music even be said to be happening when we overdub ? I ask this because the recorded parts can’t interact back with the person who is dubbing….That’s another can of worms though and I don’t wanna go there except to say that yes ,music is still happening…….. but in a different more 1 sided way .

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@ian stock I would agree totally. There’s an immediacy and rawness with YouTube stuff which is way different from "professional" footage. I suppose the latter has a sense of considered distance. Also the news prepares us for events and we don’t see the shocking, initial trying-to-make-sense-of-things, because that’s all edited out and replaced with the voice of authority in a studio. Which helps us make sense of events and brings balance, but also takes away the immediacy and engagement.

I think this does relate to music too - we have a choice to have the immediate rawness or the professional, perfectly-honed glossy product.

I guess they’re not mutually-exclusive choices but it’s a rare documentary / recording / whatever, that gives us all of these: the engagement, the perfection, the sense of balance etc…


And @peter wsll, such a great question you asked. 3 microphones are plenty - it’s only when people feel they have to throw a lot of technology at something that it gets silly.

I guess if you want an answer to whether it’s "OK" to do / not do something with recording technology, in the end I think it’s down to "purpose". Why are you doing it - to preserve the actuality of what happened in a session / recording? To present something which people will want to listen to time and again? To document a warts-and-all feeling of what happened? To present something which makes total sense and is as perfect as it can be?

Perhaps the truly great recordings are those which capture all of the above - and it’s also incredibly rare to do so, in my experience.

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Just to add, since your last post crossed with mine, my favourite recordings are also the ones that are done in a pub or elsewhere. They don’t have to be technically good, but they’re great in other ways.

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I just knew someone would go down that route, Yhaalhouse… 8-)

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Last Christmas I was playing in a big carol concert in a local church. The church had all the audio facilities, and then some. There were 14 of us in the orchestra, each player individually miked. Likewise, there were 6 mics covering the 16-strong choir, and further mics for assorted soloists, speakers and presenters. The mixing desk was impressive, to say the least. All a bit OTT, I thought, but we were fed well afterwards.

Re: ‘comping’ tracks..feels like cheating

Thanks Mark for your considered reply and everyone else too, That’s interesting you bring up the matter of purpose or intent , some food for thought there.

Talking of favourite pub recordings but going slightly O/T, is anyone familiar with the bootleg known as ‘Through The Window At Queeleys’ that has been going round for donkeys years ?

I would like to know who recorded it and any more information people may have about this recording.

Re: ‘comping’ tracks..feels like cheating

I’ve been listening to this lot of young ‘uns recently:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7wFNjI0QCo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0V6HYts5z38


Possibly the Next Big Thing so far as the more commercial end of things is concerned, but IMHO probably very listenable, live. I bought their latest CD, but unfortunately, Donal Lunny seems to have over-produced all of the life out of it. Which is rather a pity.

Re: ‘comping’ tracks..feels like cheating

The greatest recording I have is Carlos Kleiber conducting the Bavarian State Orchestra in 1983 in a live concert performance of Beethoven’s Pastoral. This orchestra records all its performances, but the master tape for this one was accidentally destroyed. Fortunately, someone recorded it separately on a cassette machine. An engineer worked desperately to make the best of it. The sound quality is pretty poor for the 1980s, but I’ll tell you what. If you get this version you’ll chuck any others you have in the bin. It’s like the first time you hear Jacqueline Du Pré’s recording of Elgar’s concerto with Barbirolli. You don’t get many moments like that in life when you’re not actually there in the hall.

Re: ‘comping’ tracks..feels like cheating

I had been wanting to ask and Ian gives the opportunity. Those youtubes he linked. Any rough guesses on how many cameras, how many microphones and how many takes ?

Re: ‘comping’ tracks..feels like cheating

Ian, I love the young ‘uns links! The way (or one of the ways) forward, I think :)

Jim (Worldfiddler)

Re: ‘comping’ tracks..feels like cheating

Do you think The Irish bands recordings in the 70’s were all "live" recordings?

Posted .

Re: ‘comping’ tracks..feels like cheating

It’s amazing how Google managed to find several pages of images for "goitse" (including a lot of people from Botswana) without even once suggesting I really meant "goatse" instead.

Re: ‘comping’ tracks..feels like cheating

yhaalhouse, I wouldn’t say the Beatles were the first to use the studio as an instrument. I would have said it was Les Paul, when he made his wife Mary Ford sound like the Andrews Sisters via multi tracking. But when I looked him up on wikipedia, I found mentions of others experimenting with multi tracking all the way back to the pre-WWII era. So manipulating sound in the studio has been around for a long long time.

Re: ‘comping’ tracks..feels like cheating

Apropos to this conversation:
"So what makes this album [As It Happened] remarkable, then, is not that it was recorded live per se, but that O’Mahony and Ó Raghallaigh – two musicians who essentially grew up in studios – are part of a new generation of players that is pushing back and embracing a sophisticated but minimalist approach to recording Irish music in a way they feel suits their music."
http://irishecho.com/?p=72070

Re: ‘comping’ tracks..feels like cheating

I’m told that "Bridge Over Troubled Water" involved 74 ‘drop-ins’ of individual notes by Art Garfunkel into the final mix……..

Re: ‘comping’ tracks..feels like cheating

Whenever I’ve recorded the method has been to record it all together but to have a good degree of separation on our tracks. This way we could lay down the initial tracks as we would live. If there was a glaring mistake, then we would have that person play again on a separate track and the engineer would borrow just the notes where the glaring mistake occurred. This left us with a recording that felt very natural and didn’t have a glaring mistake repeating for eternity. When you play live mistakes might occur, but they only occur once. On recordings they occur forever, and this is why we try to fix it.

If the guitar player, for example, also played banjo, we might over dub it since there’s no other way, and I would sometimes add the flute on tracks where I played concertina… and occasionally I would ad the bodhran. Sure wouldn’t it be great if we could just clone ourselves.