I still remember the first time I heard a live recording of a gig. I was horrified! There I was thinking I was a rock star and then I heard the recording and I couldn’t believe people had stayed through the whole show. My singing was off in places, my stage banter and interaction with the crowd was aweful and the mix left a lot to be desired. After I listened to that recording a few times, I did start to hear some things I liked. I was able to pinpoint the things I had done well and also the things I had done badly. Now after all these years that recording is a precious posession because I have a record of how I sounded at 15 years old. And I’ve grown to really love it. Warts and all.
Over the years I’ve made hundreds of hours of recordings. I’ve recorded live shows, jam sessions and lots of songs in my home recording studio. I now have a:
Digidesign Digi 002 Rack Factory Pro Tools LE System
I love it and I’ve made some fantastic recordings with the Pro Tools setup but I do miss the days of laying down quick tracks on my cassette based 4-track. I even have some recordings where we just stuck a tape recorder in the back of the room and captured the crowd noise and all. They’re all valuable to me and I’ve learned more about improving my live performance from those recordings than any others.
So my point is this, whether you’re jamming in your bedroom, playing a gig in the living room, a gig at the high school, a club or a stadium, take a little extra effort and record it! Recording nowadays is easier than ever with all the flash memory based devices out there. You can patch into the mixer or just put a recorder out into the crowd. It’s a learning experience that will make you better.
I’m going to make a recommendation on a:
Fostex MR-8mkII 8-Track Digital Recorder Black
for a couple of reasons. First off, it’s really affordable! It’s also extremely portable so you can take it to live shows easily for recording them. It’s also has expandible recording time using Flash Memory cards. The good thing about recording a live show with a multi-track recorder is you can fix it up later on by adding extra vocals or instrument parts so you can release it for public consumption other than just for studying your performance. It’s just as cheap as buying a portable 2-track digital recorder and it’s most definitely an investment in your growth as a musician.
In summary, it doesn’t matter what you record on as long as you’re recording your performance. When you get older, those recordings will become a treasured legacy of your career as a musician.