HomeBlogsDekeSharon's blogA Cappella vs. Instrumental Production Differences?

DekeSharon's picture

Great question, Steve!

I think the experience I previously had in the "legitimate" recording world is what made me try transferring those techniques to A Cappella in the first place. Up to that point, there were ways to record a drum set, ways to record a guitar, ways to record a single singer, ways to record groups of singers. I started noticing that these glee clubs, as I had previously thought of them, were actually bands in a way -"hey, these guys here are doing guitars, these ladies are the horn section, etc", so rather than go with the "how-we-record-glee-clubs" standard technique of just putting a couple mics up and read a magazine while they sing through their songs, I started to focus on the individual elements (or more accurately "instruments") of the arrangement rather than the overall vocal blend. What if I record this vocal in the way I would a guitar? What if this vocal gets a far different EQ curve than the others? Soon, I stopped regarding them as "vocals" in the recording sense altogether, which is when I stepped "out of the box" completely.

As I said before, as far as I know up to that point the capture of the performance as the group sings it live was always the ultimate goal- it was just that no one had THOUGHT of doing it differently, not that the technology wasn't there. (Kind of the same thing in saying Buddy Holly and the Crickets never thought of writing and playing songs like Metallica, even though they played the same instruments.)

So yes, there WAS a huge fundamental difference in production styles - it was only by applying the production style of one (pop/rock instrumental music) to the other (Contemporary A Cappella) that this new sound was born, so it's actually the similarities rather than the differences that make it all work these days.

If you have any questions or suggestions of topics for me to blog about, please email me at bill@casa.org