NPR

The Best-Sounding Tiny Desk Concerts, Vol. 1

The Tiny Desk's audio engineer shares some performances that caught his expert ear, and explains why.
Andrew Bird performs a Tiny Desk on April 5, 2016. Source: Brandon Chew

I've recorded over 500 Tiny Desk concerts and, of course, have countless favorites. But which sound the best? Well here they are, according to me — the guy mixing the performances and bopping his head along just off (and sometimes on) screen.

We ask of the artists who come to play at), or a PA system. Gone are performance riders demanding or a huge support crew. They simply, with the general rule to do so quietly enough for an audience to hear singing, unamplified, over the instruments. Because of this, musicians have to strip songs down to their essence — the music should sound like it did when it was created, before producers and computers put their grubby hands all over it. (Just kidding! There is, of course, of room for creatively produced studio albums too.) The best Tiny Desk Concerts exist on their own terms and with their own rules — and often can reveal the raw talent of those who perform here. They are only trying to be exactly what they are.

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