Originally Posted by GregLee
Originally Posted by arnyk
That leaves the engineer to control the recording because he can sit where he needs to, and he does know how to set up mics and run the mixer.
Sure. There might also be an arranger, an artistic director, a piano tuner, and many people with relevant expertise.
They would have to be there, and they would have to care. In the real world, not so much.
One big problem with musicians of any ilk is that they strongly tend to listen to music as opposed to sound quality.
BTW this is not an abstract discussion for me. I've been doing live sound and live recording routinely for about a dozen years, with literally thousands of different recordings in the hands of the public/clients.
Literally 100s of them were done with the composer/arranger working as a director and/or performer.
He's a friend and actually a pretty good mixer of multitrack recordings, but what he knows about mics and micing fits nicely on the head of a pin. His idea of effective micing is an small omni in an arbitrary location in a small reverberent room. I've heard his recordings, many times.
Important people. Maybe indispensable people.
Often, the wrongest people you can find on the earth!
How do we get from there to this weird idea that the purpose of a recording is to convey to us the inner vision of the recording engineer?
Practical realities tend to intrude. But you make a good point - if you are engineering music either recorded or live, it really helps to have a vision for and of the music that you are recording or reinforcing.
My vision is guided by two lights:
(1) If the musical part is being played/sung competently, then it should be audible in the final recording.
(2) Make the recording have a similar sonic perspective as the best sounding commercial recordings of the same kind of music. If you've heard good live performances of the work by a top group from a good seat, consider that.
Don't you find that a little strange?
Reality has this nasty tendency towards disposing of idealistic thoughts and schemes.
One very idealistic thought is the idea that performing musicians have any idea at all what they sound like to the audience.
Another very idealistic thought is the idea that most musicians care more about sound quality than musical values. They are two very different things!