Monday, June 29, 2009

Tell Me Your Wish - Live Performances

I think I mentioned before that there are three major Korean TV networks (KBS, MBC, SBS) and each has a weekly music performance show that typically features the same artists each weekend. The shows are on different nights:

Friday - KBS Music Bank
Saturday - MBC Music Core
Sunday - SBS Inkigayo (Popular Song)

Each show is only an hour long but can take up to six hours to tape due to multiple takes and set changes. It must be a busy weekend for groups that are promoting their album. The video above is a mix of SNSD's performance of their new single 소원을 말해봐 (Genie). They must be using the same background track each show since the audio matches perfectly.


OK, I'm going to be a sound nerd and complain about the audio quality again. They obviously spend a lot of time and money on the stage set each week. What I don't understand is why the sound quality, as heard on the TV broadcast, is so bad. Even though it's a "live" performance, the broadcast is not; the many hours of taping are edited into an hour-long show. The most glaring example for SNSD is when Jessica sings her solo parts; I think her singing voice is softer than other members. The audio level in the mix for her is always low, often barely audible over the backing track. Why? Don't they sound check each mic before the performance? I know there are a lot of groups performing and they have to share mics, but they should have a digital sound board where you can store level settings for each group. Maybe they don't keep track of which wireless mic each vocalist uses so they're all set to the same level... unlikely but extremely sloppy if true. Although the scale is much smaller, I think we do a better job with the sound mix at NewSong each week.

Also, they should be using a least two sound boards, one for live sound and the other for broadcast/recording. If I ever travel to Seoul, I want to check out their sound setup. Since these are music performance shows, you would think that there would be an emphasis on sound quality. The audio engineer on the broadcast sound board needs to pay attention and balance the different channels in the mix through headphones. Since they're going to edit the broadcast, they also should be recording each channel separately and remixing the sound during the edit. I'm not sure if they're doing all this; it sounds like they're just using the final house mix, which is rarely suitable for broadcast or recording. In the past, I've talked with the sound coordinator for Promise Keepers and they use at least 5 sound boards for their live events: house mix, stage monitors, live broadcast, recording for CD/DVD, and something else (can't remember).

소원을 말해봐 performance on SBS Inkigayo (6/28/09). Jessica is the 2nd solo singer... see, can't hear her at all. This seems to be true for different TV networks, which is really weird.

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