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One of the most important things to consider when you're recording is the volume level that you're listening at. If you listen at the wrong level, you can get a completely inaccurate idea of what you're hearing. I'd like to share with you some listening tricks that you can use while recording, to help you get the best sound possible. It's important when recording that you listen at a volume that is sufficiently loud so that all the frequencies of the recording are properly represented. If it's too quiet, you may find it difficult to gauge the low end properly, too loud, and ear fatigue or even hearing damage can occur.
High playback levels for long periods of time are generally not recommended for the following reasons: First the obvious one, exposure to high volume levels over long periods of time, may cause long-term physical damage. High-volume levels for long periods of time will not only cause the onset of ear fatigue, but physical fatigue as well. This means you might effectively be able to work only six hours, instead of the normal 8 or 10 or 12, that's possible if you're listening at lower levels. Our ears have a slightly different frequency response at all volume levels that overcompensates on both the high and low frequencies.
This means that your high-volume mix will generally sound pretty limp when it's played back at softer levels. Balances tend to blur at higher levels. What sounds great at higher levels won't necessarily sound that way when played softer. However, balances that are made at softer levels almost always work when played louder. Most engineers will listen at multiple levels when they're mixing. For example, if I go up loud for a minute to check the low end and then stay at a moderate level while checking the EQ and Effects, that works for mixing, but recording is usually done at a single constant level.
Changing the level too much can cause your listening reference points to drift, so you won't be able to gauge the frequency response of what you're recording. Some speakers don't reproduce all frequencies the same at different volumes, so changing listening levels can really fool you as to exactly what you're recording. Pick a volume level that's comfortably loud, but not too loud, and keep it there for the entire session. You will find that your recordings will sound better as a result, it's important to remember that level that you're listing at is directly related to the quality of your recording. A level that's too loud or too quiet or changing the level too much, might not give you an accurate representation of what you're hearing.
Choose a level that's comfortably loud and stay with it for the duration of the recording.
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