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Thread: Staying objective

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    Staying objective

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    Sometimes you'll have listened exhaustively to something you're working on . Various adjustments are made .Or Re takes. Monitoring between components . Etc .However what to do when you just feel the whole thing sucks . You get into a mindset that it's just me and how it is . How do You get back into objectivity and the belief you can make a difference

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    Try not to spend more than ~1 hour at a time mixing. Mix quickly. Use reference tracks to clear your head and ears. Drop the level way down and/or listen from the other room. Put it away for a day or two.
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    I back away for several hours.. or days. I play it all in my head over and over and that has always worked for me. Sometimes I'll even strip it all back to what is working and start from there again. I've done so many rewrites - nearly all in my head - I've lost count. Keeping in mind that what I'm after is achieveable keeps me on track.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gtoboy View Post
    Try not to spend more than ~1 hour at a time mixing. Mix quickly. Use reference tracks to clear your head and ears. Drop the level way down and/or listen from the other room. Put it away for a day or two.
    All good suggestions. The last is one I do not do often enough, to my regret, because it's amazing how some "huge" flaws can recede with a little bit of time, and equally, how some other things you might have missed (from being focused on some irrelevant nit) will reveal themselves.
    "... I know in the mornin' that it's gonna be good
    when I stick out my elbows and they don't bump wood." - Bill Kirchen

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    I'm relatively inexperienced . I think this is why i listen exhaustively . I try moving something small and see if my brain can actually pick up on what improved and what doesn't . There are really so many variables. It's a minefield . Hoping for some epiphanal breakthrough whether it's a detail or some major oversight

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    Quote Originally Posted by maxman65 View Post
    I'm relatively inexperienced . I think this is why i listen exhaustively . I try moving something small and see if my brain can actually pick up on what improved and what doesn't . There are really so many variables. It's a minefield . Hoping for some epiphanal breakthrough whether it's a detail or some major oversight
    I suppose once you become familiar with your equipment and what it does for you, you will know what to expect when listening back the first time. The feedback from this will be quicker and you will become more proficient. You'll begin to audition the sounds in your head before you add the FX or processing to your tracks. Now you can have fun and enjoy it.
    Failure - - the path of least persistence
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    As many have said, walk away. It will be there when you are back. I once had a track and one of my vocals I tracked had a real big pitch problem. Well man, I couldn't hear it, it was part of the song! I was ready to push that thing out, my master piece was waiting for the world!!!!!

    But I had learned not to be too quick with that publish button (since I had screwed up plenty of times before), waited about 4-5 days, went back and, wow, what the hell!

    You really have to just step away and come back to it. Also, you might be fixing something that isn't broken or it just didn't track right or it isn't working. Don't be afraid to start over. Save your file, then do a "save as" tear it up. You still have the old one. If you do a save as, you can go back
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    Probably not needed but +1 to all of that.
    It's so common, particularly with a mix which has issues or right at the start of the learning curve, to spend way more time than can be productive in one sitting.
    You get to the point where you're making things worse and thinking they're better, and the first listen the next day confirms this.

    It's not something I run into anywhere near as much these days but when I did I made an effort to call it quits for the day at a sensible time,
    and make first impressions notes (before changing anything) at the start of each session.

    When you sit down to begin play the entire song without touching anything and note down 'snare too bright' 'vocals too loud' 'guitars muddy'.
    If you find yourself tinkering endlessly with stuff that isn't on that list, call it quits for the day.

    It's even worth doing it with the displays turned off. Might sound silly but try it before you decide.
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    A couple of thoughts.

    I have found that when people come in to record, two things perversely happen simultaneously. The first is that they hear things that they don't like and spend a lot of time trying to fix when in fact those things are of absolutely no consequence to the listener, and the second is that, while they are fixing those things, they miss hearing things that are going to have a major impact, and most definitely need to be addressed (such as a vocal linbe being badly out of tune).

    I can understand how your brain can tell you lies and convince you that all is well . . . so you hear what you what to hear rather than what is actually there. This often happens towards the end of a long session when you get tired and you want to be done with it.

    Beng objective is really difficult because you can't un-know what you know. If you know you fluffed a note somewhere, you will be always be aware of its presence, even if a new listener wouldn't have a clue and wouldn't care either. But you get a semblance of objectivity by, for example, playing material in one room while doing something in another. That tends to hide trivialities but reveal major flaws.
    Last edited by gecko zzed; 10-14-2020 at 14:14.

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    What a cool thread. I'll throw a +1 out there too. Sometimes you're working on a track for a client and it must be finished. But for my own purposes, there isn't a deadline - ever. Sometimes I'll have a song that kind of works, but I don't have the puzzle piece I need to make it really click. So I just put it aside for later. I can't count how many times I've solved a current puzzle with a piece that I put aside years ago from a different one.

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