Staying objective

maxman65

New member
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
 

Gtoboy

Active member
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.
 

spantini

COO of me, inc.
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.
 

keith.rogers

Bobby'); DROP TABLE USER
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.
 

maxman65

New member
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
 

spantini

COO of me, inc.
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.
 

DM60

Well-known member
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 :)
 
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. ;)
 

gecko zzed

Grumpy Mod
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:

Supercreep

Lizard People
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.
 

miroslav

Cosmic Cowboy
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.

Did you get another studio up and running? :thumbs up:
I recall awhile back you had to break down your studio...kinda move on from it...?
 

miroslav

Cosmic Cowboy
It's a much simpler affair now. Using Superior Drummer. :drunk:

Great stuff.
I've been using SD for a long time now...that said, I'm still keeping the drum kit (actually two of them now) in the new studio space since I'll have the room now...but realistically, I'll end up doing more SD drum tracks than live ones unless I hook up with another good drummer...though the way everyone is distancing these days, it might not be for awhile yet.
 

grimtraveller

If only for a moment.....
Using Superior Drummer
You are a superior drummer. Do you no longer have a drum kit ?

Mix quickly
I think this should be the aim. In the early days of recording they mixed quickly. In fact, very often the mix was done before the artists went home at the end of the session and they'd be given an acetate of what they'd recorded to listen to at home.

Try not to spend more than ~1 hour at a time mixing.
That may be dependent on the length of the piece and the instruments and arrangement and the way everything meshes together at various points in the piece.

How do You get back into objectivity and the belief you can make a difference
Keep in the forefront of your mind that "finished is better than perfect." Equally, by "finishing" you may sometimes see where you need to make a slight adjustment. I never know beforehand what a mix will sound like but some people have it in mind and aim for it. We're all different. As I'm mixing, I find that the mix begins to emerge and the song starts to make sense as a coherent piece, despite the fact that all songs are different and have different emphases. I try to keep everything as simple as possible. I've had 20, 35, 19 minute pieces that were quite easy to mix and 2 or 3 minute songs that felt like a complex nightmare. But however difficult, I know there is a mix there somewhere. I just want to find it, tease it out and get it out of the way so I can actually spend the rest of life being able to listen to and enjoy it {hopefully} rather than always be in some state of planning {writing, arranging, tracking, mixing, mastering} it's upbringing.
 

Supercreep

Lizard People
I have a drum kit, but no studio to set up mics and record. If I did set it up, the quality would be subpar. SD is an acceptable alternative, if I want to record rock music.
 
Top