Well, I thought, what if I was to use the tape deck as a 2-track recorder. That's what it is already, left and right channels of a stereo signal, 2 tracks... I'm just saying to use them differently. On the left channel, I could record the mono program that would normally go to both channels. But on the right channel, I could record a general pickup of the room's acoustics with a dedicated mic on high gain that goes straight to the tape deck without coming out of the speakers (which would get massive feedback at that gain). That way I can do post-processing on the tape recording later to implement the reverberations and ambient noise from the room as needed to warm up the sound of the recording.
Well, now I'm at that stage. I captured the tape into a 45-minute stereo WAV file, ran noise-reduction filters to get rid of the tape hiss, isolated the left channel as its own mono file, duplicated the right channel onto the left as an inversion of itself to place the ambient noise in the "surround" field, and I have both recordings in a multitrack session where I'm playing with the levels of the ambient noise.
I found that giving it a constant level throughout the recording doesn't work very well because some songs need more reverberation and others need less to sound right. So I'll have to use the volume envelope to adjust the level variant with time.
But as long as I'm doing that, I can also do something about that door slam at the end of this song. And those people talking in the quite part of that other song. And this, and that, and... it never ends! There's so much stuff going on in the ambient recording, which is expected at a live performance, but from an editing standpoint, what should I do with it? If I silence the ambience at the time of a door slam or something, it also removes the reverberations of the music, which sounds weird.
So, on the one hand, I should keep the reverb level pretty much constant throughout. But on the other hand, I have the *ability* to remove unwanted noises from the recording that listeners might wish could be removed.
I don't know what to do. :(
And the silliest part of this is that I'm not being paid to do it and the performer probably doesn't even have very high expectations of the recording anyway. I just have an inexplicable compulsion to do an awesome job on this.
I need to find a job doing this sort of stuff. My work ethic would be through the roof.