Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Soundboard Recordings

This a term I'm sure we have often heard but never really understood and for good reason as each 'soundboard' recording will take on the characteristics of the source (the soundboard) but will also represent the author and/or the publisher as well. What I mean by this is that depending on where the actual recording was lifted, it could represent the live recording engineer's (author) mix of the show to an actual recorder, the monitor mix (that which the band hears on stage) or the channel feeds which in turn were then mixed at a later date and used (publisher). Obviously the quality of these recordings are often times better than those of audience based on equipment and access but if done incorrectly can often not fairly represent the show itself. Many of times the live mixer will accomodate for the room acoustics or submix mutliple channels. The monitor mix can often be a reflection of the individual players needs on stage. And although from a historical and workable format capturing in a multi-channel from the direct feed is the best, one must be aware of the people who end up working on the mix in the studio may end up "stepping" on it too much, thus losing the vibrancy of the performance itself. For examples, take a listen to some of the different sounds taken from Little Feat. From the August 10, 1977 show at Lisner Auditorium at GWU compared to the June 18, 1978 show at The Shrine in Los Angeles. On a side note, the Lisner show was one of two the band recorded and later worked on for the seminal release "Waiting For Columbus".