Monday, August 29, 2022

Recordings of concerts may sound disappointing at first – give it time

I often record the songs I teach in workshops and the concerts that my groups do.

But when I listen back a few days later, I’m often disappointed. Why is that?

I’m old enough to remember taking my holiday photos to be processed at the local chemist. I’d then have to wait a week or so before the prints came back.

I would eagerly open the packet only to be disappointed by the results.

I’d put the photos in a drawer, then a few days later I’d look at them again and realise that they weren’t so bad after all.

It can be the same with sound recordings.

We carry with us an expectation, even if it’s a subconscious one. We remember the singing experience in our heads and it usually sounds great.

We may well have glossed over any imperfections in our minds. But also, it’s not possible to accurately reproduce the experience of being there – at the concert or in the workshop.

It’s no wonder that we’re often disappointed when we first hear the recordings.

There are so many factors at play: the warm fuzzy feeling of a group working together, the live 3D acoustics of the space, the goodwill and great mood of the singers, the adrenaline and excitement of the occasion. A single recording can never do justice to all of that.

So, just like my old holiday photos, put the recording away for a few days then come back to it. I promise you will be surprised by how much better it sounds on a second listen.


Chris Rowbury


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