When knowing the music genre really matters.......

Discussion in 'Tracking / Mixing / Editing' started by paulears, Jul 10, 2015.

  1. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

    Clearing up a few boxes I came across an old VHS recording from 1984 - recorded at the RAF base in Lakenheath, UK. Watching it for a bit of nostalgia made me think.

    For those who can't stand Big Band music, stop reading now.

    Recorded with quality equipment, and enough Neumann microphones to keep ebay happy for years, the real problem is that the person(s) mixing clearly didn't really understand traditional big band music and even worse was they didn't know the tunes.

    A very easy mistake to make when faced with big band arrangements where the melody, is not always played by the same person in each piece, or indeed, the tune is thrown from section to section. At the start the first song seems to feature all the outer parts, and the actual tune is lost. It sounds really odd to hear these favourite Glenn Miller tunes so unbalanced. In an orchestral concert, the guys mixing and balancing have the music, and can follow the lines through the piece, but I've never seen a big band engineer use sheet music, they just 'know'.

    Have a listen and see what you think. (Unless you hate Glenn Miller music!) Frankly, it's not really very good - but the three original band members are worth a watch if you like that kind of thing.

    the sync is a bit out - but I didn't have a chance to re-edit it.
    DonnyThompson likes this.
  2. freightgod

    freightgod Active Member

    Oh, I DO like that kind of thing! But yeah, this is not the best band ever assembled...plus of course I think whoever was mixing this was trying to highlight the original member performances.

    The original bands which sounded awesome didn't need or even have access to individual mikes, or many of them. There is such a thing as overkill.

    Thank you for sharing this!
    DonnyThompson and Kurt Foster like this.
  3. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    I love BB music. I played drums in a swing band the summer between my Freshman and Sophomore years in college, I was he youngest in the band by a mile - LOL - and those older guys were serious cats. A few of them had played with Paul Whiteman and Tommy Dorsey, and man, those cats could swing.

    The video above - with the exception of the familiar musical style - doesn't sound "cohesive", in the way that I remember hearing those older/famous big bands sounding when listening to records or watching old film clips. Perhaps it's because of the players involved... I'm not hearing the same level of talent that I've heard with the original lineup... or, it may be the result of exactly what you mentioned, Paul, with so many mics present... and there's no doubt that there is a certain skill in mixing ensembles like this. You can't approach a mix for an act like this like you would a rock band, that's for sure.
  4. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

    Indeed - I did a show for a big band who in their rider specified that they wanted ONE microphone, for the band leader to use between numbers. They presented the 'authentic' big band sound, and they were brilliant. They were also VERY loud! I suspect that band were balanced for the people there, but the recording messed up. Mind you, I often wonder how the unamplified originals coped with double bass - one bass wouldn't be heard, but I suspect that's perhaps why baritone sax was so essential down the bottom. The bass would be there in the quieter numbers, but they just accepted the fact that DB would be lost in the full on numbers. The thing I really liked was the light playing of the drummer - fitted in so well.

    For my money, the big band I really liked working with was the British Syd Lawrence Orchestra - who did Glenn Miller material really well. Worth a spotify or iTunes if you like the style.

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