Author Topic: Ear Fatigue  (Read 3662 times)

wildcat

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Ear Fatigue
« on: January 21, 2016, 11:31:44 pm »
After producing for 3-4 hours a day 4 days in a row, I've hit a new level of ear fatigue. I can feel the pain. I need to start being more conscious of my volume while producing & mixing. 

I don't know why I push it, even when I feel fatigue coming there's this masochistic urge to continue at the volume I'm at. I somehow convince myself it's okay and it's worth it.

I feel like at lower volume I can hear the sounds as well. I know that's false, I've learned that your ear can actually differentiate sound better at lower volumes, kinda why at a nightclub you can hear someone easier if you stick your finger in your ear.. Overall volume goes down and you can mix out different sounds easier. You can finally understand that friend asking you to buy him that Moscow mule.

How did you guys learn to produce at lower volumes? How do you still get the same enjoyment out of it? How often do you turn it up? I can't keep hurting myself. Wanted your thoughts on it.
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Schematic

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Re: Ear Fatigue
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2016, 12:32:28 am »
How loud are we talking about exactly? I try to do most of the critical work around 85dB SPL which is the level we hear relatively flat at, but even that is pretty 'loud' to me for long periods so I turn it down in between.

Taking frequent breaks helps, get up and do a lap around the house in silence. Continually drink water or tea so that you are forced to get up and go to the bathroom frequently (plus it's good for you!).

A lot of things can play into ear fatigue though, not just the sheer volume. Your monitors will play a huge part, if they tend to be fairly mid-forward and present that is going to be more fatiguing to a lot of people. And similarly, how well you're actually mixing will have an impact too. If your mix is full of overlapping elements fighting for space in the midrange and being squashed by compressors and limiters, that right there is going to get very fatiguing very quickly, and not just to you but also to the listener at the end of it... another reason to not participate to heavily in the loudness wars.
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wolv

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Re: Ear Fatigue
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2016, 12:32:53 pm »
Frequent breaks + water
Stop overdoing shit. Stop downloading new plugins for the sake of it. Your fancy stereo enhancer won't make you any better musically, your hard work will.


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Re: Ear Fatigue
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2016, 12:35:13 pm »
And this is a bit yucky but it's a good idea to clean your ears often.
Stop overdoing shit. Stop downloading new plugins for the sake of it. Your fancy stereo enhancer won't make you any better musically, your hard work will.


IKIS

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Re: Ear Fatigue
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2016, 02:31:29 pm »
I usually just end up turning the volume down. Are you on headphones or monitors by the way?


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Re: Ear Fatigue
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2016, 08:47:06 pm »
yeah the key is to take breaks. often.

Download an SPL meter for your phone. It won't be perfect but it will give you a good idea of how loud the music you're listening to really is.
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kushpush

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Re: Ear Fatigue
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2016, 09:54:54 pm »
As a human we like things loud. Your brain likes loud music. Turning music up loud is a great way to trick your brain into thinking the music you are listening to (or making) sounds better than it actually is.

It is best to produce at the lowest volume you can. That doesn't mean the lowest level to where the track is still audible. After increasing level past a certain point on your volume knob, you are simply amplifying sounds you can already hear just fine. You want to be around that point. (obviously, a good sounding mix at low levels is going to sound even better turned up)

I've seen TeeBee brag on twitter about the low levels he mixes at......

IKIS

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Re: Ear Fatigue
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2016, 09:58:19 pm »
The trick ive used, is to always set my audio interface volume knob to the same position. That way I'll get used to that volume and know how shit sounds when the knob is set to my default position. You can take a marker and mark a little spot so you'll remember the volume position.

Ofc this requires some listening and judging, it takes some time to find the right volume.

If u dont have an interface just do the same with windows mixer or whatever your using.

This has helped me to get used to lower volumes.

iAmXan

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Re: Ear Fatigue
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2016, 12:37:39 am »
I understand the urge to turn up the volume.  Like another said, things sound better louder.  However, this is detrimental to not only your ears and hearing, but also your mix.

Ear fatigue induces not only to the physical pain as you mention, but it also wanes the sensitivity of our hearing.  After listening at such high volumes, our ears begin to become desensitized to certain frequencies and it may cause us to over/under-compensate and make terrible mixing decisions.

A bit of discipline at this point could be of some great use.  Don't fall into the urge to blast the volume so often and instead, learn to monitor at low levels.  You can check how it sounds loud every now and then, but sparingly instead of regularly.

Joseph

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Re: Ear Fatigue
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2016, 09:13:30 am »
I rarely produce with my headphones on, I'll do most of the stuff on my monitors and then put on the headphones to make the final touch, even then I'll don'y use them 2 hours max. I listen to things a lot quieter than most people do, so I don't get much ear fatigue.
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Re: Ear Fatigue
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2016, 06:54:27 pm »
After producing for 3-4 hours a day 4 days in a row, I've hit a new level of ear fatigue. I can feel the pain. I need to start being more conscious of my volume while producing & mixing. 

I don't know why I push it, even when I feel fatigue coming there's this masochistic urge to continue at the volume I'm at. I somehow convince myself it's okay and it's worth it.

I feel like at lower volume I can hear the sounds as well. I know that's false, I've learned that your ear can actually differentiate sound better at lower volumes, kinda why at a nightclub you can hear someone easier if you stick your finger in your ear.. Overall volume goes down and you can mix out different sounds easier. You can finally understand that friend asking you to buy him that Moscow mule.

How did you guys learn to produce at lower volumes? How do you still get the same enjoyment out of it? How often do you turn it up? I can't keep hurting myself. Wanted your thoughts on it.
I keep a DB meter on my desk .Constant 78 DB . Once you get used to it your mixes will improve too by keeping it at a constant level .I do crank it at the very end of finishing just to checl at high volume,but always work low

myda

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Re: Ear Fatigue
« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2016, 05:27:16 pm »
it takes some willpower but keeping your volume at a safe level is very crucial. of course it's fun listening to it if it's blasting you in the face, but that often translates to a sub optimal mix. i know i get a better mix 100% of the time if the volume isn't super loud(this is partly due to ear fatigue and partly due to the fact that everything sounds better loud). i turn it up every once and a while, but usually only every hour or so for one play through.

triartmusic

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Re: Ear Fatigue
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2016, 12:55:52 pm »
It might sound odd, but you can also chew a gum to balance the pressure on your ears like how it works when you're on the plane. That way, you can prevent or decrease ear fatigue little bit more.


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Re: Ear Fatigue
« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2016, 08:11:39 pm »
Nothing new from what others have said.

But, maybe you're just to attached to the work that you're doing.

It might be beneficial to take a step back and just call it a day when you feel that you need to push yourself. Don't get me wrong, it's ok to do that every now and again, but you have to be smart about knowing when you can push yourself and when you just need to let it rest.

Quite the difficult balancing act to feel.
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