Listening to music may have a lot to do with crystal clear audio reproduction quality because we perceive it to be run by such criteria. But upon more in-depth observation, as I personally can vouch for, there is this other side to it that we do not really know about initially. The more we delve into concepts like how music and audio quality affects us emotionally or how musical performance levels impact audiences — the lesser we get to fully understand what we are missing in such aural experiences.
Music industry practitioners and those working in like-minded businesses that have to do with sound and industry-standard audio reproduction understand this with a higher level of consciousness. Music business sound engineers and film industry sound designers can quickly volunteer the missing link to you: Good audio quality happens when unnecessary noise is successfully brought down to a minimum or totally gotten rid of.
A high level of control is necessary in recording studios for music and those in foley studios for film production. Musical artists and their producers strive to successfully achieve creative goals that combine instrumentation, orchestration, lyrical content and aural delivery under the able controls of a sound engineer manning the consoles. The work is truly collaborative and musical heads may bang at each other at times. By the end of any recording day, how they sound on record will still be the thing that will matter most for bands and solo acts.
Sound designers and film directors come up with aural collaborations of their own in the way sound effects and foley go in films. A film director’s vision as auteur and that of a sound designer’s approach to the way sound is applied on film sequences likewise demand a high sense of control. Creative and technical by nature, whatever aural work results then combines further with that of another aural element — the musical scoring. Musical scores can be canned or commissioned to musical artists although the amount of work involved in such is lesser compared with that of a sound designer’s.
At the end of the day, the outcome of whatever work musical artists and their producers, sound engineers, film directors and sound designers do shall all depend on the sound choices they make. That which follows the criteria inherent in all great audio reproduction work — the absence of unnecessary noise. Which brings us all back to the missing link we were talking about earlier, and which by now we all can understand perfectly.
Lounge or music hall settings are a totally different story. The level of acoustic behavior and aural textures can vary depending on how lounge and music hall interiors are designed and how the natural acoustics in them behave. Sound technicians can manipulate sound from stage to house monitors and back to main venue speakers via consoles efficiently. With adequate sound approach input of course from the band during routine pre-performance sound check.
Live sound in film as captured by sensitive microphones can be recorded as shooting transpires. Additional sound overlaying of ambient sound add-ons (dogs barking, cars honking, for example), stingers (the crazy sounds used to highlight comedic punch lines), filters (to mimic telephone or radios sounds) and the like, can be laid over later on in foley studios.
Unnecessary ambient sound control can be employed in all of the above proceedings. Lounge and music hall performances, especially those featuring classical music or stage plays, disallow conversations, telephones ringing and call answering. If you’re part of the audience in such concerts or stage plays, be considerate. Set your mobile to silent mode and let all inbound calls go through the call divert functions in your company’s VoIP phone services.
In film sets using live sound in locations like city streets, production people usually cordon off a number of street blocks within the vicinity. This prevents or “silences” noise coming from vehicular traffic, pedestrians, and nearby establishments. Shootings in big film studio sound stages are much easier. Studios usually come fitted with adequate sound recording systems that are capable of recording dialogue and only necessary ambient sound involved in shooting film sequences.