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> How Live Are Live Albums ?, Over dubbing
Ben Higgins
post Jan 10 2015, 11:49 AM
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Thanks to the widespread flow of media on the internet we've been able to view and be critical of bands in a way that was never possible before. We can see phone captured footage of gigs across the world, not just the ones that bands record and release officially. We can get a gist of the overall sound of a band during a particular era and, this may sound strange to some, we can often tell when something stands out as being a bit... too perfect.

What am I talking about ? Well, I'm talking about official live performances that sound a lot (and I mean a LOT) different to how a band sounds these days.

Yes, I know, it's professionally recorded and mixed etc but c'mon, we're not THAT stupid. That excuse doesn't wash for those who are attentive enough to know how a band really sounds and how it doesn't. There are certain recent live DVD releases that sound so polished, the guitars are never out of time or key and the vocals are strangely always in tune and always near perfect. In fact you'd almost say it was like a flawless representation, their dream performance. It is exactly that - a dream performance. It's not what really went down that night.

Before you say "You can't compare a professionally released performance with phone footage" I'll stop you there and say that you can even compare some of these polished concerts with some of their own pro releases from the 80's, 90's or 2000's. Even in their heydays, most of these bands weren't cooking as hot as they sound on their new live releases.

So we're talking overdubbing and studio magic. Yeah, it happens. I'm sure it's nothing new but it does seem very prevalent on nearly every official live release I've heard lately. I'm talking specifically about metal bands because that's what I'm exposed to but you may know some other examples in other genres.

Yes, some bands get better as they age.. I can think of a few. But generally a lot of the bands I have followed have changed as they've got older and the fire and intensity of their youth has diminished due to natural age. There's nothing wrong with that. But most of us with a brain know how our favourite vocalists sound these days, what they can do and can't do any more, so we know when there's something not quite right. But it's not just the vocalists that are in on the action, the guitarists seem to be overdubbing solos that they weren't happy with.

I'm sure that overdubbing live performances started as a way to fix small issues but has been used / abused a bit too much to the point where it's not really live any more.

As I said before, I'm sure it's not new. Overdubbing live performances has been going on for donkey's years but it does seem to have increased. And what's more, it seems SO obvious to us fans.

What would be the reason's for overdubbing a live performance ?

-To cover up mistakes / unsatisfactory sounding bits
-To cover up some technical shortcoming... maybe something didn't record quite as well as hoped
-This is really the same as the first but; accidents. Strings breaking, someone falling over and missing a crucial line

I'm sure most of us can understand it for the occasional occurrence of any of the above but if it's a case of re-recording all vocals or all solos then it's a bit.............. well, I'll let you say what you think it is.

What do you think about the over dubbing of live performances ?


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klasaine
post Jan 10 2015, 04:48 PM
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As a huge fan of 'live' recordings what I have noticed that's increased is the amount of fixes.
Pre the mid 90s the fixes would be fixing out of tune bkgrnd vox, possibly adding another rhythm guitar part to fatten the overall sound, maybe a bigger snare and bass drum sound and maybe added keys/stings/horns to reference the 'hit' studio version.
These days it does seem like just about everything gets enhanced or replaced. I know for a fact that it's relatively easy to replace and enhance pretty much anything on a live recording. *I was touring with someone in 1999 - 2000 and the crew employed an original rack mount Antares Auto-Tune for one note of one song (low cool.gif - seemed unbelievable at the time, lol!
I personally know quite a few recording engineers that make money 'fixing' and 'prepping' home videos for Youtube publication. I've even had a couple of them offer to fix some of those solo guitar vids I post.



This post has been edited by klasaine: Jan 10 2015, 04:48 PM


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Ben Higgins
post Jan 10 2015, 06:54 PM
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QUOTE (klasaine @ Jan 10 2015, 03:48 PM) *
As a huge fan of 'live' recordings what I have noticed that's increased is the amount of fixes.
Pre the mid 90s the fixes would be fixing out of tune bkgrnd vox, possibly adding another rhythm guitar part to fatten the overall sound, maybe a bigger snare and bass drum sound and maybe added keys/stings/horns to reference the 'hit' studio version.
These days it does seem like just about everything gets enhanced or replaced. I know for a fact that it's relatively easy to replace and enhance pretty much anything on a live recording. *I was touring with someone in 1999 - 2000 and the crew employed an original rack mount Antares Auto-Tune for one note of one song (low cool.gif - seemed unbelievable at the time, lol!
I personally know quite a few recording engineers that make money 'fixing' and 'prepping' home videos for Youtube publication. I've even had a couple of them offer to fix some of those solo guitar vids I post.


If only we knew the true extent of what went on, eh ?

Offering to 'fix' some of your vis ? Ouch. huh.gif


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klasaine
post Jan 10 2015, 11:00 PM
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QUOTE (Ben Higgins @ Jan 10 2015, 09:54 AM) *
If only we knew the true extent of what went on, eh ?

Offering to 'fix' some of your vis ? Ouch. huh.gif


laugh.gif What they mean is "do I want it to sound like a record?"
They hear the room sound, the finger squeaks, maybe my foot tap on the floor, a note sticks out here and there, slight volume drop, etc. You know, the imperfections of a hand held recorder in a room in my house ... assuming I even give a shit laugh.gif .
*My whole personal aesthetic doing those vids is 'this is exactly what it would sound like if you were in the room with me'.

This post has been edited by klasaine: Jan 10 2015, 11:04 PM


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bleez
post Jan 11 2015, 11:31 AM
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Ive heard some live vocals that you would wonder if it is the same person on the record huh.gif
I suppose its natural to want to fix all your mistakes on a live recording, I probably would. The live tv special sabbath done in paris 1970 has a few mistakes in it, doesnt sound like they overdubbed anything and its brilliant. Same with the video for 'all right now' at the isle of white. Paul Koss hits a hugely obvious wrong chord..... doesn't care and it all sounds great anyway. I dont think many bands would leave those kinds of things in now.
My favourite live album is Maidens 'live after death' that was my introduction to them and it took me a while to get into the recoded versions of those songs because I thought the live versions were so much better, if that was overdubbed a lot then I dont wanna know mellow.gif



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PosterBoy
post Jan 17 2015, 03:38 PM
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The Biggest band in the Contemporary Christian Praise and Worship scene for many years is Hillsong United, who started as a group of teens at youth group and evolved into the most influential band in churches worldwide.
They release a live dvd and album with their new songs each year and I think there is a huge amount of overdubbing going on and even with the amount of people on stage, there are quite a few tracks being triggered as well.

They use and have a grasp on music technology that only the top touring productions (the likes of Rhianna, U2 etc) have but use it week in week out.



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