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Blackberry's avatar

Is it just me, or do music artists not sound as great live?

Asked by Blackberry (31011points) August 13th, 2010

When we hear songs we like, it is usually from their album or on the radio or something, although when you hear them at a concert, their voice is muffled, you have the background noise etc., and you just can’t hear the fullness of the song; the little details. Does anyone else feel this way? Have you been to a concert where the artist was similar to their studio version?

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29 Answers

Steve_A's avatar

Depends on the artist some(many?) sound better in the studio, with all the effects,mixing,panning and EQ letting all the instruments stand out.

When they’re live you get what you get.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I have seen live shows that were better than what I hear on the radio or on CD. But I agree, most of the time it sounds like garbage.

WiseOldUnicorn's avatar

Live music is never going to sound exactly like the studio version, for any number of reasons. That’s one of the things that makes it cool, though. You’ll never experience the music in quite the same way on a CD as you will attending a concert.

It depends hugely on the artist too, of course. Some artists sound like absolute garbage live because without all the editing they do in the studio, they turn out to not actually be all that talented.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Eh. It’s a variable. It depends on when you see them during their tour, their actual ability to sing, are they sick, do they have a problem in their lives taking up space in their heads, is the audio guy awful, is the keyboardist drunk, whatever.

I saw a band, Grizzly Bear, last night where I had also seen them at the beginning of their tour for this current album the year before, as well. You could tell that by last night, they were tired. And they are sick of playing certain songs.

marinelife's avatar

Some artists sound worse live and some sound better. It depends on how much their work is polished in the studio.

janbb's avatar

James Taylor and Carole King were absolutely amazing live in MSG this June. Just sayin’

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

Live music isn’t there so you can here the details, because studio music often has several layers of recording. Live music is worth going to for the atmosphere, and for the show. Both Toto and Dragonforce were better live than their studio albums, because they threw in solos and extra showing off and messing around all through their shows. Dream Theatre was great live, but thanks to a bad venue it was probably on a par with their studio work.

El_Cadejo's avatar

Start listening to better music. :) Those that dont sound good live are bullshit hacks that couldnt make it if it werent for studio effects :P

I know quite a few bands that I would rather see/listen to a live cd over the studio albums any day.

This weekend im going to see Sound Tribe Sector 9. The great thing about their live performances is they expand so much on what they did in the studio, and make the song so much better, playing around with and tweaking it on stage.

Id also rather see any electronic/rave group live for the same reason. Whilst i havent seen them, ive heard the cd’s, daft punk live is about a kajillion times better than studio daft punk.

rpm_pseud0name's avatar

The Wilco concert I went to would like to disagree.

Blackberry's avatar

@uberbatman Oh Definitely, Daft Punk is just in a whole league of their own.

ragingloli's avatar

I think so too.
Mostly the volume ratio between music and vocals is not to my taste, then there is interference from the audience and their stupid cheering, echoes caused by the environment, and the fact that missed tones can not be corrected by trying again.

wilhel1812's avatar

Well, yes and no. The quality of the music and vocals I usually worse on a technical point of view.
However the experience of seeing your favorite artist live is something truly unique. I think you’ll have to have heard the original recordings a lot before you can really enjoy a live gig though.
(Not that you can’t enjoy a gig of a band you haven’t heard before, because you really can!)

El_Cadejo's avatar

@wilhel1812 yea…you definitely can. I got familiar with a lot of the bands i love by seeing them as opening acts for other bands :)

seeing that1guy live for the first time not knowin who the hell he was was a pretty cool experience.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

If you listen to music made by musicians instead of nerds with computers, you will realise how good live music can be.

wilhel1812's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh Yeah, but electronic music can be awesome live, when they make the music on their computers live! I saw SlagsmĂ„lsklubben do it. It’s one of the best gigs I’ve been to, and i usually listen to Heavy Metal!

El_Cadejo's avatar

@wilhel1812 you saw SlagsmĂ„lsklubben… you lucky bitch….

@FireMadeFlesh i agree with wilhel some of the best live music can be electronica.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@uberbatman I’ve never seen an electronica band live, but I think the best live music is music that is open to improvising and chucking in extra bits here and there. A live musician has to adapt to the mood of the audience to put on a good show.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh thats the beauty of electronic music. They do this very very well.

deni's avatar

my personal opinion is that if someone is not good in concert, they probably aren’t that great of an artist. a musician should be even better in concert than they are on a recording.

anartist's avatar

The acoustics are not as controllable as in a studio, and there are no retakes, no relaying tracks to make it perfect. It’s just the experience of a live show—“the roar of the greasepaint, the smell of the crowd . . .”

DominicX's avatar

Michael Buble sounds exactly the same live as he does in his recordings. I find that awesome. :)

In general, I don’t find them to sound as good, but that’s not the point of going to a live performance. However, interestingly enough, I find live classical sounds much better than recorded. Could be because classical is always recorded live and when you see it live, you get the full experience of the concert-hall acoustics.

Seek's avatar

The bands I like sound as good live as on their recordings – if not better. Do they sound the same? no. Music is a human activity. Adding digital corrections, triggers, removing inhale and string squeaking really diminishes the art, in my opinion.

I saw Rob Zombie live this week for the first time. Hearing “Thunderkiss” live was almost a spiritual experience, seriously.

Opeth is consistently awesome live (five shows and counting).

The Upstate NY band “3” is so much better live than in the studio. I think Metal Blade did them wrong, big time. Their studio album is so clean and friendly… live it’s raw and powerful. It was an honour to see them on Dream Theatre’s Progressive Nation tour a couple of years back.

Loreena McKennitt’s live show (which I haven’t seen personally – she’s never toured to Florida – but I have several of her live DVDs) is incredible. Something about seeing 20 musicians on stage with myriad instruments I didn’t even know existed (what’s a “Hurdy-gurdy”, anyway?) ... it’s truly moving.

NaturallyMe's avatar

I feel the same way, their music is just not as good as it is when recorded in a studio for CD.

labodamie's avatar

it really all depends on the artist and style of music. also depends on the venue and the crowd

El_Cadejo's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr rob zombie puts on a hell of a show doesnt he? What with the stippers and giant robots and crazy shit on the tv’s :P

Seek's avatar


Oh yes! He put up every one of my favorite old horror movies – everything from the silent film “Phantom of the Opera” to “Night of the Living Dead”. He even had a clip of Hermann Munster driving a race car. It was great! And the Anime tentacle porn didn’t hurt, either.

As for the props, this picture says it all. I happened to have a pit pass, and got covered with streamers, confetti, fire extinguisher fluid, and came away with a gigantic playground ball (which I happily gave to my very excited 2 year old).

And on top of all the theatrics, the music was excellent.

El_Cadejo's avatar

Ok soooo the sound tribe sector 9 and Lotus show I went to last night…..fucking amazing. In a couple days or so the sound boards will be online. If i grab them, ill post them here to show that live music can sound quite well :P

@Seek_Kolinahr sounds like you had a great time. Ive seen rob zombie twice now and both shows were fucking amazing.

El_Cadejo's avatar

As promised, here is Sound Tribe Sector 9 and Lotus

enjoy :)

BoyWonder's avatar

I’ve seen the Eagles, Carlos Santana, the Doobie Bros., Steve Winwood, Chicago and countless others live and they all sound so much better live. So it’s either the venues you’ve been to or it’s just you.

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