ear memory?

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by Cary, Oct 24, 2002.

  1. Cary

    Cary Guest

    I apologize if this is the wrong place to post this, but the question is related to mastering.

    I've been recording a project for a few friends and have spent the last 9 months on the tracking phase of it. It's a simple demo type recording, 12 songs of a church worship band. It's taken a long time because I've done it in my spare time, usually one night a week. I had been exposed to these songs so much that I had become aware of every nuance of the music.

    We hired someone to master the stuff and earlier this week, I listened to a sample CD containing a few of the songs. I am confused. I could distinctly hear the effects of compression. I am not, in any way saying that the engineer that is doing the mastering is doing a bad job. In fact, I find it sounds better each time I listen to it.

    My question is this: Is it possible for our ears to become so accustomed to a particular sound that if it changes it can be uncomfortable? I found that at particular points in a song, my ears felt like they suddenly became clogged or something. Is it that our brains can anticipate something and when it doesn't happen, it is fooled? Also, would this be unapparent for someone who has never heard the unaffected material?

    Thanks! :)
  2. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    I refer to this as demo-itis. It's a condition that does not allow you to accept anything that is different than what you have known. Without hearing the before and after, it's hard to say that what you are hearing is from demo-itis or if there is infact something to what you are hearing. As time goes by, demo-itis has less of an impact. I can listen to something I did 13 years ago and remember everything about the mix, the smell of a bunch of guys after 15 hours, the way the monitors sounded, the compressor on the snare.
    How does the mixes sound on different systems? does it translate well? do others hear what you hear? but yes are brains remember.
  3. Bowisc

    Bowisc Active Member

    Get a CD of ocean-sounds. Listening to it will help blurr out psycho-acoustic imprints in your memory.

    Or, spend some time by the seashore.

  4. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    What do you mean when you said?
    Do you hear pumping, or a loss of dynamics? I say if you hear pumping get your money back and get someone who knows how to really master do the job for you. This has become a problem these days, schmucks who have an extra bedroom and too much time on their hands suddenly become "Mastering Engineers". The truth is there are only a handful of true professional "Masterers" and I'll bet the person who "Mastered" your project wasn't one of them.......Fats
  5. Cary

    Cary Guest

    Actually, I'm really not sure what I was hearing. The issue was 'have my ears become so accustomed to something that any change in it becomes unpleasant'. When I'm expecting a part that has certain dynamic range and then suddenly it's not as dramatic, clearly I hear the effects of compression. The real issue is: does it sound bad to everyone else, or just me?

    To respond to your other comments, I agree with you. If money was no object, I'd pick one of those top guys too!

    Our case is different in that the project has a low budget and was really a demo to please friends and family. It doesn't even belong discussed on this board. I know the man doing the mastering for us is doing much more than we would expect and for a price that we could afford. At the end, if we are not pleased, then we will have to address that. But if the songs sound better, we will be happy.

    I really appreciate all of the replies. Thanks!
  6. themidiroom

    themidiroom Active Member

    Fats, this seems common these days. Just because you can buy some equipment doesn't mean you know what to do with it. I do offer pre-mastering as a service, but I am aware of my limitations. Being a perfectionist, I wouldn't try to sell anyone an inferior product or convince them they are supposed to hear certain flaws.
  7. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    There are all levels of things for everyone and every budget and each has it's place in the universe. At least when one becomes aware, progress can be made at any level. You have to start somewhere in order to get to another place. (zen and the art of mastering)
  8. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Well-Known Member

    Michael, I produced over 30 ( budget rpoject) Cds on the last 5 years. I was very disapointed with the mastering tasks done after my tracking/editing/mixing tasks.

    When you come to Brazil I will show you the $*^t that a Top mastering facilty did to a job of mine.

    In 10 minutes with just a MAster X 5 band mode plugin along with Power dither Level 3 and a Q10 from waves, I was able to achieve a better result.

    I myself have preferred the budget mastering of mine than of many top Sonic/sadie/high end analog gear proes on here. Even some very few jobs I did for Majors in Brazil.

    I know I do need to learn a lot, that is why bother so much my friends on the several forums I take part. In the PRW I even received a post with my name - hehehe - the most curious kid on the block, being everywhere.

    I am not writing this to be an ego thing. Acoustics, the right guy shall make a very big and excellent "surgery" on the material.

    I know that a bunch of plugins, a DAW and a reasonable cheap pair of monitors is not the best stuff in the world neither the right tools to arrive at results like you have been achieving with the great albums you have been involved with.

    Well, I am here willing to learn my friend.
    Many thanks

  9. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    I think learning with a small setup and progressing up allows things to mature and develope. Otherwise it's like learning how to drive in a formula 1 race car. Sure it's going to be fast but it's not going to make you a race car driver. I've heard many things done very well on setups that were cheap. But these were done by guys that knew what they were doing, they had a lot of experience. Not everyone can afford to master at a top line mastering facility, but that doesn't mean they can't have a good mastering job done. I think it's great that people hear take the time to try and improve and get new ideas. I know I'm learning a lot.
  10. invisibl

    invisibl Guest

    This is certified & true, Alecio is an inspiration to many & certainly to me!!.

    I wrote the post in question and mention this here in part to endorse the questions Alecio asks coz I am just as curious as him. Only I post a lot less
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