On Wednesday 22 August 2007, Ken Restivo wrote:
Eh, no matter how well-rehearsed, a live band's sound can never
sparkle as much as a recording agonized over by a practiced
electronic musician, producer or engineer. The best they can do is
try to approximate it and play a little faster to make up for the
shortcomings of live sound. Conversely, I would question whether
electronic musicians are really trying to approximate that live
sound; I know that when I've used a sampled break, for example, it
was because I wanted it to sound like a sampled break.
Live bands might have more "energy" or whatever it is that caused
people to follow bands like the Dead and Phish around slavishly, but
even in those cases I've always found their live performances lacking
compared to their comparatively primitive studio releases with their
well-defined stereo images, carefully chosen effects and precisely
mixed vocals. Compare a studio recording of "Terrapin Station"
or "Reba" to the live equivalent, and I really think anyone with an
ear would be hard pressed to say the live one sounds as good.
I think it's just a matter of taste, but live recordings are a weak
sister to "the real thing" as far as I'm concerned. But as someone
who'd even rather hear a Mellotron string section than an actual
string section, I guess I'm probably in the minority.