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Are You Always ON? A Bit Of Perspective For The “Amrchair Audio Experts”

A live show is supposed to have a little hair on it. I mean really. Get over it.

By Dave Dermont February 3, 2009

Chief Lizard in the house...

It’s Super Bowl time, and all the experts on the ProSoundWeb forums are telling us how they just know what parts of the halftime show were ‘live’ and what were pre-recorded tracks. Or whatever.

Pre-recorded tracks can make what is already a technical nightmare a bit less terrifying to those involved. As long as it’s the same person live and on the recording, what’s the big deal?

Oh yeah, just because the video is out of sync with the audio does not mean it’s because the audio is pre-recorded. Audio/video sync has its own special set of complications that a lot of us who deal with just audio don’t really understand.

Then there is the discussion of the distortion that could be heard when Bruce Springsteen yelled into his microphone at the start of the show. We also know how live musicians hit harder at show time than in rehearsal.

I’d certainly be annoyed if the distortion at the beginning continued throughout the performance, but it was taken care of, and the show was all good.

Hey, a live show is supposed to have a little hair on it.

I really think all these “Armchair Audio Experts” need to lighten up and just take pleasure in a show once in a while. I mean really. Get over it.

It doesn’t really matter if you could have done a better job, or conversely, if the technical aspects of the production would send you running for the hills – you’re still just a part of the audience. Like 94 million or so other people.

Sit back and enjoy the show.


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Mike Butler (media) says

Hah, my whole cable company’s programming is out of sync. Not just live remote feeds, but everything. Prime time drama, network anchor desks, local broadcast sources, the works.

Tyler says

Amen my brother.  Couldn’t have said it better myself.  I toured with a gal that had live drums, keyboards, lead, rhythm and bass guitars, but for some of her songs, they had a Pro Tools rig for additional tracks.  What was better, carrying another half truck worth of gear and another bus for the other backup vocals, steel guitar, fiddle and whatever else was on track, or having a helluva performance from the band that WAS there, and supplementing the rest with tracks from HER CD?  I agree, it was also better to have to setup and run monitors (and FOH) for a 5 piece band + star vocals than having an 8-10 piece band at the festivals, TV shows and other run-n-gun shows that we did.  Something as high profile as the SuperBowl or Music Award shows? COMON!!  Almost ALL of the artists that I have worked with on Awards shows are singing to canned music.  The people on stage are usually just that, people on stage.  They maybe playing along, but they don’t usually have a live mic.  Besides, if it was all live, there wouldn’t be as much work for those “Audio Experts” who never leave the studio environment.

Dale Bernier says

Well, Someone had to say it!

I agree with you, I wish people would just enjoy their experience rather than pick it apart. I find that this is happening in a lot of avenues, not just sound production. Every time someone seems to be a little versed on a certain subject or domain, they always have to pick apart other people’s work.

I will say though that I don’t agree with canned music on awards shows.
I would rather here the blemishes and problems to make it seem more real than have my musical or theatrical performance be too polished and perfect. The whole point in being a creative musician to be is to be a little different every time and not sound exactly like a CD or recording. I would rather here some mic feedback and a gruff voice then just watch people dancing to a track, but that’s just me.

I think it’s great that people take an interest in learning about audio and are proud of the work they do but that does not give them the right to pick apart every single live performance that they see. In the end you are still part of the audience and who knows you may even learn something new. Please check out my sound blog and some of the work that is done at our post production studio below.

Keep up the great articles and I will keep reading them.

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