Producer Problems: Resetting Your Ears

Music producers listen to the same track for hours at a time while adding and editing their way to the final render.

Losing the ability to even hear your track’s problems is a common occurrence. I am proposing my own solution. It will be new to some of you.

My intent with this solution is to get your ears, body and mind recharged as much as possible, as quickly as possible. First I’ll mention a commonly used solution as contrast.

That solution is to walk away for a while. Go do something else. Literally anything else. Exercise. Visit a quiet place. Whatever. Let your ears have a break from the music world.

My solution turns that concept of quiet escape on its head.

While your music is unique, you probably want it to sound a bit like someone else’s too. I mean this in the sense that all tracks receive a mixdown and have reverb.

When you get ear fatigue, you’ve been listening to unprocessed material for at least a while. Your body might want to move around, even if you don’t realize it.

This solution will immediately seem really obvious, but some people won’t have had the idea yet. Ready?

Load up tracks you like with a similar sound and listen to ’em. Get your body into it. This serves two purposes.

First, ear fatigue happens when you become used to whatever your work-in-progress sounds like. You want your ears to hear something else for a while. But instead of quiet, you can use whatever you listen to as a frame of reference for quality. That way when you go back to producing, your errors will stand out more. And supposing your fatigue is caused by repetition of the same sounds instead of volume, the change will feel really good.

Second, sit for long enough and your body’s kinesthetic response to sounds will fall off. It’s the same as when you sit down on a couch and notice your body becoming unresponsive. But you need responsiveness to experience the sounds in your track. So it can be a good idea to move around and wake your body up.

With this method, you should be able to get fired up and ready to start again within half an hour.

This is only a suggestion, and it won’t always be the right choice. Sometimes walking around outside for a while will be the better option. But sometimes this strategy will get you back to your DAW the fastest.


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