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how do you improve your listening skill ? - Page 2

post #16 of 32
In my experience when I close my eyes while listening dark ambient or similar genre, it gets really interesting: music somehow makes me hallucinate
Sometimes I am on the beach, sometimes in the mountains or forest, etc. I suppose its just my vivid imagination
post #17 of 32
Thread Starter 
Looks like we have a consensus about the impact of whiskey. Too bad I'm allergic to alcohol so need to find some other medicine. :-)

mlantinen: that's an interesting perspective to look at things.

jax: well said. I guess I have taken the first step to find out what type of headphone that I like and now need to continue with a bit subtle aspects such as amps/DACs.
post #18 of 32
Listen when you are relaxed !!...and although I really like some serious cocktails - in my experience alcohol does not contribute to better hearing - quite the opposite actually. I would never try to A-B anything while drinking.

And I do not think that drinks contribute to a more enjoyable listening experience either. Which does not mean I do not listen music when I get drunk
post #19 of 32
Excellent post jax ! (and BC,FA,HJ among others)...agree completely. Listening skills take training, time and experience. It's not something that comes overnight. It took me a few years (even after having professional ear training and being a musician on top of that, that learned songs by ear) to really sharpen things up to a finer degree. I still have to concentrate really hard in order to nail down differences. Some gear is really revealing while some is truly awful...price tag, pedigree has little to do with that outcome I've found. Overall system synergy palys a far greater role in deciding overall performance of a "system", the hard part is picking the right combination of components. Experience helps with selection of gear as does dogged research. Spending time reading and listening, asking questions etc is a prerequisite to building up a gear library of sorts....

The live show reference point is absolutely critical IMO. It's too bad live shows are bloody expensive these days....I've been to well over 200 big name acts and well over 1000 small venue/ medium size live events along with thousands of rehearsals, both side of the recording room glass (as sound engineer and musician) so the actual reference point to what instruments should sound like in real life in a real space is key to forming a base for judging any playback medium no matter what it is.

Recording quality over the last 3 decades has slid from good to bad with the big labels (unless it's a marquee artist that insisted on the highest production
standards)...hopefully this trend will reverse in the next 20 years with a higher resolution standard making it's onto the scene (not holding my breath on that one after DVD-A/SACD bit the dust).

post #20 of 32
Thread Starter 
Peete: thanks for sharing your thoughts. It's good to know from a pro that the listening skill can be trained over time, as my initial impression is that this is to a large extend a born skill. At a time I did a listening test in which you were given a bunch of A/B sounds to listen and you need to differentiate them. I got a horrible score, based on that test it's waste of money for my ear to spend more than say a few hundred dollars on audio equipment. Hence the doubt.
post #21 of 32
I think you should train your ear to appreciate good music, rather than to be dissatisfied with mid-fidelity.
post #22 of 32
Originally Posted by sfrancis View Post
Looks like we have a consensus about the impact of whiskey. Too bad I'm allergic to alcohol so need to find some other medicine. :-)
That's a damn shame. You have my sympathies.
post #23 of 32

Become a musician

becoming a musician changed my listening experience more than anything ever has

the more i played, the more sound types i and others around me experimented with, the more i started noticing different sound qualities, and preferences.

after playing for some time, recording albums in a studio also majorly honed my listening skills

hearing crappy instruments, getting used to them, and than trying a high end instrument, the difference is amazing... over time hearing so many different styles and qualities of instrument, amp, strings, mics, woods, metals, builds etc... your ability to differentiate develops substantially. Especially if you have an equalizer on your instrument, then you really start dialing in all kinds of sounds.

After a couple years i started finding that i could hardly listen to certain albums, or especially certain bands perform live because the sound quality or mix was so poor.

when i first started playing bass, i couldnt tell one instrument from another, after a few years, i could tell you what frequencies on the equalizer i needed to adjust and how the sound would change without looking, i could tell you what type of wood someones instrument was made of by hearing it. I started adjusting my eq to compensate for string wear... i could hear the difference between a bolt on and a neck through construction...

thats my advice.. become a musician... :-)
post #24 of 32
hey by the way.. does anyone know of any tests that test your ability to listen critically, or critical listening trainer programs... i have never actually looked but there is bound to be some. It would be great to get a list going
post #25 of 32
a few more tips:

follow this how to equalize your headphones tutorial
even if you dont like the results or don't agree with the premise its a great exercise for fine tuning your ears. Work on it daily for 2 weeks and you will definitely have different listening abilities

just play around with equalizers while listening in general. Either try to dial in what you feel is an ideal sound, or just take each band to extremes to hear what that sounds like. the more you do this the more you will get a feel for balanced sound, and sound that you like

of course, trying as much gear as possible always helps. particularly if you have a really great pair of headphones and a so so pair.. switching back and forth once in a while will really give you perspective.
post #26 of 32
a studio/music production related training aid:

Moulton Laboratories :: Golden Ears

you should learn some minimal amount of basic psychoacoustics - no one above has pointed out Fletcher-Munson loudness curves - changing perceived frequency balance as a function solely of listening level

level matching and blinding are critical to determining if a perceived difference is due to physical acoustic differences or "uninteresting" level differences or unconscious "expectation effect"

"just listen" is a prescription for perceiving differences - but not for making real, consistent, reliable progress
post #27 of 32
JCX - sounds cool- cant figure out how much it is though...

i think what youre saying is that volume changes can trick you into thinking that some other change has occurred. Yeah, thats a tough one to negotiate. its so easy to trick yourself when it comes to your hearing...
post #28 of 32
How to improve your listening skills?
Take music lessons. Really! If you understand music and all, including theory, it opens a whole new world.
It is indeed a different language.
post #29 of 32
Listening to a variety of music on softer volumes can help. With a balanced headphone, preferably with a flat frequency response you'll be able to hear things you never heard before.

I'll dig deeper on musical theory and maybe more because the more I listen the more I want to know...
post #30 of 32
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the suggestions. Just ordered a ticket to a classical music concert here in Ottawa. It's been a while since I attended a live performance. Looking forward to it.
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