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Studio vs Live technique?

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ThePowerOfOne
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I should preface this by saying I have no professional studio experience.

I have heard on several occasions that singers use different techniques when recordings vocals in the studio vs when performing live, and I'm not sure I understand this.

For this discussion put aside multiple takes, auto tune, pitch correction, various mics, monitors an all mechanical equipment aspects, and try to focus strictly on technique.

The argument is that in the studio you can go "all out" whereas in a live setting you need to "protect and conserve" your voice.

I don't understand this notion. In my opinion, if you are trained and have a strong solid technique and understanding of what you're doing, barring a health issue with may affect your voice, then you can always go "all out" and you are always "protecting" your voice be it in the studio or in a live setting.

They go on saying that in the studio you need to concentrate on dynamics and feeling, whereas live you need to concentrate on projection and singing lower or dropping keys is essential in order to not be tired or blow your voice and conserve it for multiple shows.

That just seems all wrong to me, if that was the case then why study technique at all?

Since when is lowering keys the default option?

The more I write this stuff the stupider it sounds honestly.... If I was to record today I would use the exact same technique as I do live and I wouldn't do anything differently. You always concentrate of projection (resonance), feel etc while protecting the voice and unless your sick there's probably no need to lower keys.

Am I missing something? Do these folks haven't a clue what they're talking about? Anyone with experience in both wants to chime on?

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you made me think back to my very first experience in a studio.....and how clueless i was....

when you record your voice and play it back you will be able to understand for yourself how they differ. years ago (before auto tune) there was simply no room for error...the slightest pitch or timing issue (for example) would be picked up on the recording......even tiny errors can get magnified in a recording.

even if the pitch was spot on and everything else, you come face to face with how your voice actually sounds vs. how you think you sound...this can really be a daunting experience...

you also have to mentally gear yourself up to perform your best in the studio, because the audience and the cheering is all missing.

then you have to pace yourself because you may have to do multiple takes, sometimes on just one line.

live, you sing the song without any interruption then go on to the next..with a recording if there are mistakes they linger simply because of the captured in time aspect.

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Singing is singing. Coming from a very extensive live background and a pretty busy studio background singing is singing there is not like a "click" here is my studio tech and "click" here is my live tech. But there is, if you are smart a difference in intensity. In the studio it may be one or two songs a day, so if there are some very hard high raspy parts you may "put a little more into it" and go harder to achieve an emotion and sound than you would if you were singing 4-5 nights a week 5 hours a night(i usually pace myself). However if you are only singing a couple songs live it would be the "go for it attitude".

Now, myself and other professional singers i know have said if there is a song with 2 very different types of vocals like soft and mellow clean and then a bridge part that is a Cornell, Grohl, grunty raspy thing I may sing the clean parts one day and the raspy hard parts another day.

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As for the singing the song in a lower key...Sometimes in the studio you will sing the song higher than comfortable to create More tension. Sometimes they will speed up the song after recording to make the vocals smoother.

In the studio the producer is in charge..... On stage you sing the song for yourself in your comfort zone or personal preference.

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It is the same technique, but there are differences in approach between the two. In the studio the producer or recording engineer is going to try to get the most emotion out of your performance. So you may be doing the same phrase over and over until it is just right - and not just right technically, but the right emotion / expression. And yes, you may tend to "go for it" more in the studio. In the studio you may tend to be more dynamic - quieter on the quieter parts, and louder on the loud parts.

In a live performance you may be competing with other instruments in the mix, so your quiet parts may become louder - that depends on your monitor mix and sound man. And you may have to watch not to blow out your voice on the loud parts. And like Daniel said you have to pace yourself.

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Thanks folks. So I guess what is really being said is that the APPROACH to live and studio singing is different which makes perfect sense, as opposed to different technique. I guess people sometimes use the term "technique" quite loosely to mean all kinds of things, kinda like the term "falsetto" is used in this forum. :P

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To me, the biggest difference between how I sing live and how I sing to record is that recording can require repetition to get the recording right. So, you might only get through a song or two in a given day. As oppose to where I have performed for others and the focus then was a number of different songs, no stops and back-ups and do-overs, make it work, now. I have more experience with the latter than the former. Picking up a guitar and singing a song in front of anyone to scared to run me off :lol: is way easier than recording, for me.

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I think the biggest difference between live and studio is finding the emotion, especially for more extroverted types of music like Rock. You don't have the audience there to share energy with. It's pretty hard to rock out when you're alone in a small, dark dead-room but of course you have to find a way.

It's pretty well accepted that many singers act kind of weird in the recording booth to do whatever it takes to get their mind in the right state.

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