Missing the small details in sound...ain't gonna go away for a while
Have you ever watched a tutorial on mixing or mastering and thought:
"What? I don't hear the difference that they're talking about. Is this nonsense?"
... Well, could actually be complete nonsense 😅
I will say this though, if you stay in the audio world for long enough, usually and over time you will develop a better and better hearing for ever smaller details. Eventually you yourself will play around with a preamp simulation, a tape simulation or very small EQ moves for example, and somebody else will think: "Hey what are you doing? I don't hear any difference!". 🤷♂️
It's not ignorance! It's the lack of experience with the tiny subtleties (that will become important) and it's completely normal. Sometimes it helps people to understand better, when they are pointed towards the part they're supposed to listen to. Sometimes it won't. That's just the way it goes. Fortunately, the ability to hear small details, is not what defines a good person, so we're good on that level.
But if you are looking towards becoming better - and this is where you might get sad - developing the ear for those subtleties will often take many many years...emphasis on MAAAANY.
I shall forget that I ever wrote this and you shall forget that you ever read this. Et voilà, nobody sad!
Or you could try these out and find more resources on that journey:
Saher Galt has a comprehensive video up about frequency ranges. Train Your Ears For Mixing And Mastering
Fluff from Riffs, Beards and Gear is comparing three UAD Tape plugins, which differ from each other. So for the sake of education, this might be interesting.
These are only a few videos and you will discover many more.
There are some things that you can do for training like Dave Moulton's Golden Ears series from the early 90s.
There is soundgym.co too, which has these little games to train your ears.
If you're producing and mixing your own music, the number one advice I can give, is to have reference tracks in your projects, ready for A/B. This has made a huge impact on my productions and mixing, when I wasn't confident in my results.
Until next time
Author: Robert Hundt // Date: October 4th, 2020