Thu - Oct 01, 2009 : 04:40 pm
It's All About The Ears.
So, over at homerecording.com, we have quite a few discussions about, well, pretty much anything that has to do with recording audio. One of the dicussions we recently engaged in had to do with critiquing a member's song he was working on.
Of course, there were the usual suggestions on what this person should do, whether it be "bring the drums a bit more to the foreground", or "the reverb on the vocal track was a bit too overemphasized", all of which I'm sure were appreciated. One suggestion, however, caught my attention.
The suggestion was simply to "follow what your ears tell you to do."
This caused me to think, as well as others, because there was a whole discussion on that comment alone. The thought in me was, "Hmmm... What if my ears don't tell me what to do, or even worse, what if my ears tell me it's just fine the way it is?"
Well, my friend, I'm here to tell ya that the more you engage in critical listening, the better your ears get at picking up the subtle differences between, "this sounds good", and "this is amazing!" The trick is to be able to hone in on a specific instrument and decipher what is currently sounds like, and contrast it against what it could sound like.
I recently listened to a piece of music which was recorded by an amateur (at least that's what he claims he is) in his home on sub-professional equipment. This song, when I listened to it, made my jaw drop. The song sounded as if it had been recorded and processed by professionals for at least a year.
The more I found out about what this person had done, the more I realized that the recording equipment doesn't matter as much as the ears and critical listening ability of the engineer working on the song. It inspired me to do better, and work harder as a recording engineer.
But more importantly, it let me know that, although it does help, you don't have to have the best equipment to get a professional sounding record...
...on the other hand, if you've spent thousands on the best equpiment on the planet, but you can't hear what the music is telling you, you're better off saving your money.