How to Deal With Live Recording of Performances

Posted on April 18, 2016

It is necessary to start with a question why live recording is so popular nowadays.

In the first place such performances are recorded to create movies or TV films about a concert or about the whole tour, for the history if it is something unique: performance, festival or event for later performers’ listening in order to work on the bugs.

Working with television studios require, of course, complying with the standards of signals level, signal / noise ratio and so on. There are also standards, such as the observance of the required bit depth of the digital signal, and the sampling frequency, and the like.

live recording

But of course the main thing in live recording is the desire to obtain the best possible sound quality of the recording and the most completed material for the follow-up work with it. There are actually only three ways to record concerts:

  • recording the mix directly from the control panel in the hall
  • recording with a number of high-quality microphones installed in the auditorium
  • and the multichannel recording, regardless of the sound in the hall

live recording of performances

TV crews often use remote for live recording, but the quality recording can only be obtained at a very high-quality and properly configured hardware amplification of the hall, in this case, the engineer’s task is akin recording in the studio. As a rule, for the television sound, it is enough to record a few tracks with the same type of instruments and microphones groups. The reason is primarily, in a small number of audio tracks in professional chambers. Hence TV crews like “phonogram” performances, as adding the finished soundtrack to the television picture is much easier and cheaper than to bring together several dozen tracks.


Recording from microphone is used more often for classical music, and use the same microphones for amplification is impossible. Sometimes very good results are obtained by the combination of records from the remote and microphones in the room, you just have to remember that the microphones in the room are a good distance away from the scene, and the sound from the remote goes virtually without delay, and when mixing, it is necessary to detain it for the match in phase with the sound, recorded with a microphone, and due to this delay you may to some extent affect the surround sound of the final mix.

movie lab

According to the location of the hall microphones, there are many options – each soundman must know fifty spots of the possible installations. Every soundman takes the decision to use specific brands of microphones himself, based on the overall sound in the hall, its acoustic characteristics and his own experience.


The most professional, but also the most expensive way to record a live show is a multi-channel recording. The task for the sound engineers is at first glance very difficult: it is necessary to record sound separately on a multi-channel media from each microphone, each amp and the instrument on the stage, the mix from the console in the hall, and even the overall sound panorama of the hall, and applause, of course. Without all of this you cannot play authentic atmosphere of the show in the studio.

It is no secret that all modern concert recordings are again reduced in the studio and artists have the opportunity to re-sing the bad moments of live performance, although it spoils a bit the authenticity and accuracy of the recorded events, but on the other hand, gives more creative options to sound engineers and producers.

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