Thread: Resetting Perspective

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  1. #1
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    WTF? Resetting Perspective

    Are there some tricks or techniques you can do to reset your perspective on a song?

    For instance... I spent a few hours yesterday mixing a song. I felt pretty good about where I left it, but I always like to get up the next day and listen to it with fresh ears. I get frustrated because the next morning I quickly catch things that are out of balance.
    Before I was even halfway through this song the rhythm guitar was sticking out. Not crazy, but enough that it needed a change and something I feel like I should have caught it the day before.

    So I'm wondering if there are some things I can do to help give my brain a break and create some separation between me and the mix as it sits in front of me. Sleeping on it is nice, but that's a lot of time between changes.

    Much appreciation for any input!

    -r
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  2. #2
    Highway to Hell is for Children Area 51 gardener
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    Default Re: Resetting Perspective

    Taking a walk helps. Just make sure you are NOT wearing headphones and try to concentrate on the sounds of the environment. It helps if you have some kind of park nearby.
    As you wrote, splitting work over two days helps. I like to start a new mix in the afternoon (starting includes setting up a projects, cheking out edits and performing them if needed and getting general "static" balance). Then I would finish mix (mostly automation and setting some "local" special effects and treatments as needed) next morning.
    When in doubt, mumble!

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  3. #3
    Little River Band on The Run Internet Meme
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    Default Re: Resetting Perspective

    I love to take the song for a bus ride. At least walking among people in a city. And the "next room" listening trick is what I use as well. Low volume - next room. Also try while reading a newspaper or similar.
  4. #4
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    Default Re: Resetting Perspective

    I find that after mixing a song for a couple of hours my ears need a break. Almost anything helps: mixing a different song, listening to other music, doing something else entirely, the passage of a day.

    When I come back to it, it usually goes one of two ways; 1) that sounds better than I remember, or 2) wtf was I thinking?
    Man! You have GOT to try a hit of this RANGE SUNSHINE!

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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Resetting Perspective

    That's typically how it goes for me, too.

    If you're not opposed to psychoactive substances then it can help. I kind of find that if I've got really stressed out ears, it will help me hear the mix 'gel' and I can hear the overall sound a lot better.

    But if you're already doing that, then maybe try not. It can burn you out really quick.

    Going for a walk or a drive, or just listening to NPR before you can't take it anymore and have to hear something stimulating. I do find it nearly impossible to evaluate how anything sounds after a certain point at night. Morning is when things seem to hit me the hardest, so I try to do most critical listening then.

    Very very very seldom, and only super-temporarily, will I strap a limiter or really hard compressor or other heavy handed processing on the master bus, just to hear it different. Then I take it off and realize how much better it sounds. Hopefully.
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Resetting Perspective

    I like the idea of splitting the task into two functions. Organization, editing and tasks like that. Then kind of switch more over to the listening for balance and placement of things. Even if I don't split them across a day. A more skilled person probably has the ability to do all of the things all of the time, but using something to help train my brain/ears seems helpful. I'll try taking a walk or switching over to something else for a bit. And by walk, I really mean having a beer on the deck...

    -r
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  7. #7
    Highway to Hell is for Children Area 51 gardener
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    Default Re: Resetting Perspective

    A more skilled person probably has the ability to do all of the things all of the time
    ...or has an assistant
    When in doubt, mumble!

    EVERYTHING SOUNDS LIKE SHIT IF YA LISTEN LONG AND HARD ENOUGH.
  8. #8
    In a world of ones and zeros...this one's the latter. Ron Jeremy's fluffer
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    Default Re: Resetting Perspective

    Are there some tricks or techniques you can do to reset your perspective on a song?

    For instance... I spent a few hours yesterday mixing a song. I felt pretty good about where I left it, but I always like to get up the next day and listen to it with fresh ears. I get frustrated because the next morning I quickly catch things that are out of balance.
    Before I was even halfway through this song the rhythm guitar was sticking out. Not crazy, but enough that it needed a change and something I feel like I should have caught it the day before.

    So I'm wondering if there are some things I can do to help give my brain a break and create some separation between me and the mix as it sits in front of me. Sleeping on it is nice, but that's a lot of time between changes.

    Much appreciation for any input!

    -r
    Just don't mix your own songs
  9. #9
    Join Date Nov 2006
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    Default Re: Resetting Perspective

    I like the idea of splitting the task into two functions. Organization, editing and tasks like that. Then kind of switch more over to the listening for balance and placement of things. Even if I don't split them across a day. A more skilled person probably has the ability to do all of the things all of the time, but using something to help train my brain/ears seems helpful. I'll try taking a walk or switching over to something else for a bit. And by walk, I really mean having a beer on the deck...
    I like to get a rough balance before I start editing. I like to hear it in the mix so I can tell if it really needs editing. I'm trying not to edit the life out of it
    Man! You have GOT to try a hit of this RANGE SUNSHINE!

    IMTBO = In My Thoroughly Biased Opinion
    CMIIW = Correct Me If I'm Wrong
    Never underestimate the amount of contempt a failed musician has for those of us who are still trying.
    If the party's good enough, you can actually suck to a remarkable degree.

    Greedle
  10. #10
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    Default Re: Resetting Perspective

    ...or has an assistant
    I've put adds out. No takers yet. haha.

    I like to get a rough balance before I start editing. I like to hear it in the mix so I can tell if it really needs editing. I'm trying not to edit the life out of it
    I like that thought. I'm adding a 3 "stage".
    I'm sure it will wind up less formal than it may sound here, but I'm going to try and organize my sessions into stages and see if that helps me hear/catching things any better.

    -r
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  11. #11
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    Default Re: Resetting Perspective

    Just listening from the next room with the door open can reveal all kinds of issues!
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  12. #12
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    Default Re: Resetting Perspective

    Just listening from the next room with the door open can reveal all kinds of issues!
    Love this idea, thanks Bob!
    shut up and play yer guitar...
  13. #13
    Little River Band on The Run Internet Meme
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    Default Re: Resetting Perspective

    You're welcome.
  14. #14
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    Default Re: Resetting Perspective

    Just listening from the next room with the door open can reveal all kinds of issues!

    I've been a big adherent of that for a while now. Especially when wearing my producer hat and not actually mixing.
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  15. #15
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    Default Re: Resetting Perspective

    Time, as in waiting a few days. (if you have it). Also playing it to someone you know, you will immediately pick up on things in the mix or arrangement that you feel a slight twinge of embarrassment about. Also listening to it in a completely different environment. On holiday lounging at the pool side ?

    Obviously depends on your available time and vacation arrangements. Even putting it on some ear buds and taking a look out at the horizon somewhere beautiful can give a perception window that staring at a computer screen does not. That space between awake and sleep is a magic and perceptive place, lay back and relax and listen on earbuds when you are a bit sleepy.

    There are no short cuts to a rest off for a few days.
  16. #16
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    Default Re: Resetting Perspective

    Tony Clarke told me he always left six months between when the Moody Blues finished an album and when they mixed it. He believed it was the secret of their success because a few last minute changes kicked everything up a giant step.
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  17. #17
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    Default Re: Resetting Perspective

    Time seems to be the best thing for me. I also take my good headphones upstairs and listen as I'm going to sleep.
    It's tough to do and not get myself in trouble, but I listen at the office quite a bit too. I feel guilty actually writing down mix notes, so I try to remember the things I want to change. But nothing seems to beat having some space between listening sessions.

    -r
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  18. #18
    Plays in Winger cover band Enjoys scratching self too much
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    Default Re: Resetting Perspective

    Tony Clarke told me he always left six months between when the Moody Blues finished an album and when they mixed it. He believed it was the secret of their success because a few last minute changes kicked everything up a giant step.
    Six months??! Wow... I'd love to see the reaction of today's execs to such a proposal... "We're done recording. We're scheduling the mix to happen in 6 months..."
  19. #19
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    Default Re: Resetting Perspective

    Listening in the next room is a great one. Listening in mono for a while and then switching back can give a bit more perspective too (similar in effect to listening from another room, I guess).

    I've found it can work the other way too. That coming back to something with fresh ears, I notice everything that sticks out and it can end up with nothing sticking out and the mix becomes more sterile and perfectly balanced (well, obviously not perfectly... I don't have the skill to do that ). Whereas an impulsive mix can be rough around the edges but retain more life and energy.

    Listen to some of your favourite songs with critical ears and pretend it is your mix. I bet you will hear lots of elements sticking out to the point where, if it was your mix, you would start to think it was distracting and needed to be tamed.
  20. #20
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    Default Re: Resetting Perspective

    Six months??! Wow... I'd love to see the reaction of today's execs to such a proposal... "We're done recording. We're scheduling the mix to happen in 6 months..."
    That blew my mind too. We were recording Rare Earth but the album never came out because the band felt Tony had them sounding too much like the Moodys.
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