Our job is all about sound and audio. Our tools are not only computers and plugins, but ears. And if you know how to interpret the audio in front of you and how to treat it right, half of the job is done. So training your ears comes with experience and time, but you can also be actively involved in the process. The more you are able to note sound deficits, the better your production will sound. Easy thing. And good news for you: I found different ways to get golden ears!
If you are able to recognize what an audio track needs to sound better, your mixing will be improved and of course your whole production. Triggered by a post on Pro Tools Expert, I gathered ways to train your ears.
1. App: Train Your Ears ($49, reg. $89)
Train your ears is an application which is based on different exercises. The method is simple: the app adds an equalizer to the original audio and you have to guess which parameters were changed. Another task would be to use the equalizer to make the audio sound like the original.
Seems to be a pretty funny concept!
2. App: Quiztones (mobile: ¢4,99 + ¢2,99; Mac: $13,99)
I have Quiztones on my iPhone for some years now and I love the app. There are also versions for Mac and Android. It basically works like Train your Ears with some additional lessons: Choose the right frequency, guess how equalizers were set up, or how gain was changed. It is nicely visualized and very fun using it. My personal recommendation!
3. CD: Golden Ears (from $120)
Golden Ears by Moulton Laboratories is a CD collection for intensive listening sessions. It contains different content e.g. frequencies, effects & processing, delays & decays, and master frequencies. Note that you won’t find this range of content in the other apps. At the other hand, using CDs is not very interactive. A guide leads you through the audio and you are listening. There are different Packages which start at pricing $120.
4. App: Studio Ears ($6,99)
I haven’t used Studio Ears yet, but it looks really interesting. According to the screenshots, it contains exercises like mix match, compressor match, chord match and reverb lessons. Nice!
4. Mr. Soundman (free)
I also found this free app. I can’t tell something about the quality and workflow, but I wanted to mention it here. It’s only available for Windows – if someone of you tests it, let me know what you think about it!
5. Listen To Music (free)
The most classic ways to train your ears is by listening to music. But not just listen the normal way. By critically identifying different parameters like dynamics, frequency range, panorama, balance and so on, you can learn from the best. Microphone manufacturer Shure published some guidelines on their blog how to listen critically to music and learn from it.
I’m sure all of these options will bring you to the next level, when used regularly. And 5 minutes a day will do that. Let me know if you are using any of the above-mentioned or if you do ear training another way!