Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Eye's vs. Ears when mixing audio

This debate comes up quite frequently on audio forms. It usually is a statement purposed to end a debate about which software or plugin is better.

I Won't attemt to answer this question, but I do wish to discuss some key points
  • Is what you see on the screen a distraction?
  • Can you really hear all that you need to or is a graphic representation required?
  • Are blind audio engineers better than seeing ones?
Audio engineering is a wonderful mixture of art and science. If you know what a compressor, gate, reverb or EQ is doing to your audio then you can more easily know what should be done artistically to obtain your goal of a great sounding track. Any modern DAW is loaded with meters and all sorts of visual data to help you make the right artistic decisions.

But here is where it gets difficult... What constitutes right decisions? Will a meter tell you that? Well, maybe if you have specific technical guidelines, but within those guidelines you still have countless artistic/creative options.

It is often suggested that you close your eyes and listen as you mix, that is why there is now a myriad of control surfaces for DAWs.

My advice is if you want to close your eyes to mix, don't be afraid to occasionally peek at the screen for some clues to what you are or aren't hearing.

No comments: