Mix with your ears...not with your eyes!

I still remember, with a certain nostalgic feeling, the “no-screen-in-front-of-the-mixing-desk” days. And it’s probably to this vivid memory that i never got strongly attached with the visualisation of audio…

Don’t get me wrong here, I do love the detailed editing capabilities of modern DAWs and I certainly take advantage of the informative graphic representation of my signal chain and flow…however I also do learned to rely exclusively on my ears and not in my eyes when it comes to mixing. And I do know that this is a very very difficult task to perform! I know how addictive is to stare at the screen waiting for this editing point in the waveform to occur…. But just take a minute and think how wrong this can be : how exactly can you judge your editing if you always know exactly the moment it occurs? And how exactly can you really listen to your audio material when you struggle to fit all this visual information in your (constantly growing bigger) displays?

I guess all these impressive GUI’s are addictive to stare at, especially in a gigantic (or two) led displays…the virtual tape reels, the peak meters, the shinning VUs etc etc …I also guess that I am one of the lucky ones that got to work with the “real things” and naturally I am not easily impressed by moving frames and shinning pixels… That’s why I never felt comfortable with multiple gigantic displays in front of me….actually from the first time I got to seat in front of a DAW i tried to find a way to escape from this visual representation of my audio material… so here are a few tips:

  • Learn to close the editor window when you are not editing

  • There is absolutely no reason to have every single aspect of your DAW open at any given time…create a visual workspace with just the necessary information available…your eyes will thank you.

  • Try to turn off your monitor display every now and then and just listen…you’ll find out that your brain will process the audio information received in a much more complex and creative way.

Try these easy little steps and rediscover the true nature and beauty of audio…and kickstart your mixing creativity….and don’t forget that your monitor display, your GUI and all that shinning pixels are just a visual representation…no matter how great your music “looks” it’s what your audience will hear that matters!

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