I got into sound engineering as an assistant at a commercial studio in New York City. One of the benefits of the job was that I could use it to work on my projects when the studio wasn’t booked. I spent a lot of time experimenting, recording, and perfecting my mixes.
The first thing I noticed was that when I took stuff home and listened to it on my stereo, it sounded different than it had in the fancy studio. Sometimes things I had worked on for hours were not even noticeable. Other things that I hadn’t even noticed sounded like total crap.
I soon realized that just because something sounded good on one set of speakers didn’t necessarily mean that it was going to sound that way on another. I learned to check my mixes on different monitors, in different environments. I learned how the size of the room and where you’re sitting can color the sound. And everyone has their own listening history and personal tastes.
There’s a concept that a wise engineer told me about called “traveling.” The theory is that if you can make your music sound effective, as it travels through all kinds of different environments it’s much better than getting something to sound perfect in the studio at one particular time, under just one circumstance.
From this I learned how to reference my mixes in lots of different environments. I learned a little bit about the science of audio. And I did a lot of listening and comparing of music that I love with the music that I was making.
I think this same theory applies to wisdom. There’s a lot of great advice out there. But, if you’re not in the right headspace it’s not going to stick.
Everybody is listening to things through their own set of speakers, in different environments. Just like how you have to take into account the acoustics of a room, sometimes wisdom needs the right environment for it to resonate with someone. Otherwise, it could just sound like a bunch of noise.
Below is a playlist of songs that I’ve been listening to for the past month. I hope it brings more joy and flow into your life. – Thanks for listening, MMM
Included are songs by Songhoy Blues, Hum, Adrianne Lenker, The Budos Band, Mr. And the Mrs., Kiwi jr., Nazar, Shannen SP, Herman Dune, Y La Bamba, Yo La Tengo, Danalogue, Alabaster DePlume, Eric Voeks and the Ghosters, Fala La, Mdou Moctar, Squarepusher, Rainbow Room
(Subscribe to get a new playlist every 1st Monday of the month. Click on my user link or search: Major Matt’s 1st Monday on Spotify to cruise past playlists and discover more music.)