A Real Audience-Room-Mic Vs. Artificial Reverb

From July 5th to 7th 2019, I was invited by my friends and musicians THE EARLY TAPES to join them on a weekend-tour to a play three concerts in Thüngersheim in southern Germany as their front-of-house engineer and provide them and the audience with a superb live- and monitor-sound.

One of the two guitarists, Olli, plays with in-ear-headphones and said he always lacks the atmosphere and input of the audience in this very closed-up listening situation. That’s why he brought an extra microphone to point to the audience and he asked me to blend the signal into his in-ears giving him the opportunity to communicate with the crowd better.

Since I recorded all other instruments and microphones, I added this one to the session and it turned out to be the major source for room and ambience in the mix of  their live-recording. No other reverb needed afterwards.

With the help of WAVES‘ SSL E-Channel Strip I removed most of the bass and low-mids resulting from the bass amp, kick-drum and stage rumble revealing more of the high-mids and highs of the snare, guitars, vocals, cymbals and the room itself. I only had to add a bit of mids and high-shelf.

A limiter compressor with the fastest release and attack settings helped to push back the loud snare hits while bringing up the depth of the room, even adding more excitement through a fair amount of gain-reduction.

A second eq helped to weaken some very high resonances and the warmer, more analogue sound made the track more pleasant to listen to.

Blending in this audience-track at about 50% and automating it with the arrangement of the song served well as a glue between all those close mics and this kind of authentic reverb gave the recording the desired atmosphere we all enjoyed during the shows.

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