Spafford Official Live Audio
I've yet to have a chance to see Spafford live. They're coming to Boston in October - likely will then. I have listened to quite a bit of their officially recorded audio and that's what this post is about.
I've never heard such amazing clarity and separation from all the instruments in live recordings before. I used to put Phish and UM at the top of the live recording engineering dept but Spafford just takes it to a new level.
So I'm curious - I'm a novice when it comes to recording and setting up FOH sound. What gives their recordings such clarity? Does that level of clarity exist in the room when they play live? Is it the amount of compression put on the instruments? If it's compression is it self applied (I know Brian and Jordan both have pedals in their FX chain) or is it mainly applied at the mixing board?
Thanks in advance for any discussion from people more astute in this area than I am.
In my opinion, the mix on the Nugs recordings can usually be a bit off and, overall, pretty quiet. The mix is usually good but like a 10% boost in volume could really help - I shouldnt be at max volume with ear buds and still be fighting subway noise being louder than the music.
Live, in my experience, has been spot on with the mix as long as in youre in the right spot. Again, I think a bit of boost in the volume could help especially at some venues since it can be a little quiet in the back where the talkers take over. Find a good spot in front or by a speaker and you'll hear things great - some nice earplugs help filter out the chatter around you as well. I think as they keep moving to bigger venues the mix is only going to get better.
Not sure about their compression set up, but I know Brian and Jordan both have compressors in their chain and Id guess theres some compression at the board for the mix. Its out dated now, but you can get a rundown of Brian & Jordans pedal rig here: https://forum.spaffnerds.com/topic/193/breakdown-of-the-guys-brian-jordan-current-rigs
There are definitely people on here that can speak to the more technical side of things. In terms of personnel, there have been some changes through the years, which accounts for some of the inconsistencies on Nugs.
Jordan did pretty much everything early on, and the final product and song cuts still go through him. They hired on some different people during their first few national tours to run FOH and help Jordan with the mastering and uploads. There were growing pains here, which resulted in some sub par audio and misplaced cuts. To be fair, I would imagine Spafford is not the easiest band to mix if you aren't that familiar with the music.
People started noticing the difference in quality over the Summer, and that is because they added a new sound engineer. He brings a lot of good experience to the table.
Jordan is really happy with him so far, and is excited to hear it playing on all their own gear dialed in this Fall. We are really lucky to have a band that cares as much as they do about stuff like this, and I expect to see them keep evolving as they grow.
@Frito-Pie Thats great to know! I lost my debit card over the summer and havent signed back up for Nugs with the new one yet so I havent listened to any of the new boards since Firefly fest was released. Guess now is a good time to redo that so I can catch up before Fall Tour!