There's No Such Thing As Golden EarsDec 06, 2013
I’ve heard it said that there are some people in the world who have some kind of superhuman hearing. They hear things that the rest of us don’t. They have what are called “golden ears” and unfortunately it’s a natural gift that you and I can’t manufacture. The thought is, these “golden ears” are what give them the edge when it comes to recording and mixing music and why their tracks sound so good and ours don’t.
Via Caninest Flickr
It’s A Total Myth
Let me put it to you straight. The idea that some people’s mixes are better than yours because they have better hearing than you is a joke. More than that it’s a cop-out, an excuse. Labeling some as having “golden ears” helps us to accept the fact that our mixes stink. “Well it’s because they were born with something that I don’t have, makes sense why my tracks aren’t as good.” This is ridiculous. It’s just as ridiculous as the excuse of gear: that some how the reason your recordings are lame is because you don’t nice expensive gear.
In both of these scenarios we are missing the point and putting too much emphasis on things that aren’t the difference makers. There are a million factors to a the pros churning out a great mix and you and I churning out a subpar one. It’s just an easier pill to swallow to tell ourselves it’s because of their ears or their gear, not their skill, which can be learned.
You Can Get Good At This
Did you know that the only way to get good at this craft, this art, is to simply do more of it? That’s right people. The secret to audio success is…practice! In fact, the reason most people will never be good at this is because they give up too soon. But not you, you’re not going to quit. You’re going to continue to make bad record after bad record until slowly over time your tracks improve and your skill level increases. Which will only fuel you to do more of course.
It’s unfair in some respects to compare your mixes to a Chris Lord-Alge or a Dave Pensado because let’s face it, they’ve been at this a lot longer than you have. And not just in number of years mixing, but in number of albums per year. If you mixed 25 albums each year for the next 10 years, you’d get really good too!
If You Know Good Music, You Have What It Takes
At the end of the day, being a good recording or mix engineer is all about knowing what good music should sound like. If you are a musician or huge music fan then you’ve likely listened to hundreds or albums and songs and you have developed your tastes. You know what you like. You know what cool drums sound like, and a rocking vocal, and a fat bass. It’s in your head. This is paramount to your success.
When recording and mixing your job is to simply use the tools at your disposal to turn what’s in front of you into what you hear in your head. No “golden ears” required. Just normal, average, everyday, music loving ears. Because at the end of the day, music is all about connecting with the average fan. Your job is to simply make a song that is fun to listen to. It’s a lot simpler than we make it out to be.
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