Posted November 17, 2012 by Stephan Earl in Tips and Tutorials

Mixing Essentials: Quick Tips to Avoid Ear Fatigue

Mixing Essentials - Quick Tips to Avoid Listener Fatigue - Home Music Production

Mixing music in your home studio tends to run long hours when you become engrossed in your work. After a period of time, you start to notice that everything is starting to sound monotonous, preventing your ears to catch those tiny screw-ups in your frequencies. One thing’s for sure – it’s ear fatigue or that dreaded problem any mixing engineer or producer is bound to experience.

The ear drums are too delicate that too much stressful activity can cause fatigue. And it is through mixing, that you tend to subject your ears to the constant beating. To pull yourself out of this horrible rut, here are a few tips on how to care for your most valuable asset when you’re mixing.

Take Five (or ten) in Between Hours

Frequent breaks can give your ears the much-needed rest after an hour or two of continuous mixing. Do something else while you’re tired ears are relaxing. Read the newspaper, water the plants, wash the dishes or feed the cat. Any other activity is fine, as long as it doesn’t involve listening. Taking breaks will also keep your mind off work for a short time, allowing you to recoup your drained energy supply, too. If you do it regularly, your senses are refreshed and so is your listening ability.

Keep the Volume at Moderate Levels

Resist the urge to turn up the volume just to pick up parts of your mixes. If you’re mixing too loud, it can result to ear fatigue due to distorted sound waves. On the other hand, mixing too low forces your ears to exert more effort. That is why you must keep the volume at a safe moderate level. Try this out and you’ll discover you can work longer without getting tired, ending up with better quality of mixes at the end of your sessions.

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Your studio is your personal realm while recording and mixing. Make an effort to step out of the “control room” to get a fresh perspective from other systems like listening to the mix in your car stereo or headphones and simple portable speakers plugged into your iPod. You can also listen to it in another area of the house, like your living room or bedroom. Soon you’ll notice some details that you left out while mixing in the studio. Take notes and use it to improve your mix when you return to your realm.

Try Listening to Other Songs

If you ears have been listening to the same sound over and over again for hours, just imagine how stressful that can be! Listen to other mixes or songs you intend to put in the mix. Another option is to listen to a different song that sounds similar to what you’re working on. Doing so would keep both your brain and ears safe from fatigue. You may not notice it but it can be tiring for the brain as well to process the same sounds for a considerable length of time.

Stephan Earl

Composing, recording and producing music in the home studio environment for over 25 years, musician and author Stephan Earl now enjoys sharing his home studio setup experience with other home studio recording musicians via HomeMusicProduction.com.