The Live:Studio Project Conclusion.pdf

In 2013, whilst I was still going by my maiden name of Jordan Singleton and was in pursuit of a Master's degree in Record Production at the University of West London, I researched whether it was possible to fool people into believing a song had been recorded live when it had really been recorded in studio, and vice versa. I worked with West London-based recording artist James Perryman and his band to create all new recordings to test my theories.

I found that the "best" mix (technically speaking) wasn't always the listeners' favourite mix, and that listeners used the same "authentic" qualifiers to describe a song mixed to appear live when it wasn't actually recorded live. Listeners said the songs sounded authentic, honest, "real" and "human" even when the liveness was falsified.

I don't doubt that people really did hear more reality in the live mixes; what I do think my research project shows is that the process used to mix live recordings is an integral part of creating authenticity. The difference is this: Eminent live album mix engineers begin with audience mics. Usually, studio mix engineers begin with drums and bass and build the song from there. Neither process is wrong; they just give very different results.

If you participated in the research project and would like to see the results, I've posted the relevant section of my thesis for download here. If you'd like to see more of my research, please contact me.

The Live:Studio Project Conclusion.pdf