Are you a nature lover who could sleep under the stars rain or shine in summer, fall, winter, or spring? Do you love every facet of nature from the flora to the fauna to the mysterious sounds of the night? Or maybe you are a daydreamer, and when you hear a plane, you imagine the exotic places it could be going. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it.
There are many who love this way of life. On the other hand, some people call animals, aircraft, and pests noise pollution and will do all they can to avoid it. Most of the time we just put up with what we have visually and aurally around us and make the best of it. However, if you are recording outdoor music, the task becomes a veritable chore. All kinds of sounds that seem background and insignificant suddenly dominate your music, and you are not sure where to turn.
I know people who record open air concerts and have the best equipment for it. They want a “live” sound experience and not the more controlled studio one. There are, of course, advantages to both. In the studio you can do all kinds of things electronically to alter and improve the sound. It is not any different for outdoor recordings. You can filter the noise and make changes after the fact. But sometimes certain sounds get left in regardless of any effort to eliminate them.
One individual I know records outside on a regular basis for music festivals around the world. People like the natural sound quality and most don’t even notice or care about any infiltration of extraneous noise (unless you are an unadulterated purist, and nut). However, he told me that on one occasion, he had made what he thought was a perfect recording of an event and was packing up for the day. He wanted a sampling of what he had just done and played a bit of it before heading off to go home. What he found was the noticeable and irrepressible sound of flies and mosquitoes whenever the volume was turned even a little bit up. It was heard in all the wrong places. His post-concert work was going to be cut out for him.
Other people complain of different kinds of “pests” that cause noise interference from barking dogs and hooting owls to hissing snakes and neighing horses. Imagine trying to record something in the country where you think it is absolutely quiet. Then think again! Technicians all know the problems that occur and how to deal with pests as a rule. Sometimes it is a matter of laissez-faire and move on.
Some odd places that are a different sort of venue for music performance outdoors are simple ampitheaters in the woods, parking lots in the city, balconies, and school track fields in suburban neighborhoods. So recordings are going to vary upon occasion. I don’t think live albums are expected to have an absolute and unforgiving purity of sound. The average listener does not have particularly special ears. Our senses do their own filtering most of the time, and they do a pretty good job. Do we really need more?
Sometimes music is spontaneous in a group setting such as a party or other social get-together like a meeting. Sometimes is happens without planning or organization. You are lucky if someone records it with a smart phone. You get what you can get. Then there is that professional level where just the right technical equipment must be on hand. Critters are not, a good sound can be obtained with experience and knowhow.
So you don’t have to get the pest control service out to take care of the crickets. In fact, they might add a pleasant or at least unusual, though unwanted, touch. Amateurs frankly don’t care and their recordings are for reminiscence purposes of a concert large or small. Pros have the gear to get quality sound. Everyone is in the same boat, however. They want to record music for posterity for others to enjoy and savor so that it goes beyond a given moment. They also may want a part in promoting the music industry as a viable concern with a market that reaches around the globe.