This post is part of a series called Your Recording Environment, where we look at how to create an environment for the best quality recording.
This can make or break a recording. In some situations, you want the environment to be as quiet as possible, when recording a studio album for example. Trains rumbling past, traffic noise or people talking downstairs can make a track sound very amateur-ish and destroy the illusion of being immersed and secluded in the music. In professional studios, ambient noise is a big deal and even things like the air-conditioning systems installed have been specifically designed to be as quiet as possible.
On the other hand, live shows sound very odd without some crowd noise or ‘atmos’ mixed in. Bands on stage at big gigs like festivals or award ceremonies will be miked up with very close microphones, so as little as possible of the audience is picked up to give maximum control over the band. However if the gig is recorded and released at a later date, the audience will need to be miked up too so they can be mixed in to give that all important ‘live feel’.
As a rule of thumb, unless you’re doing a live gig keep ambient noise to an absolute minimum.
[image via byronv2]