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Your Ears are Lying to You!

You know that frequency response chart that came with your nice set of speakers? Maybe it looked something like this. Well, if one came with your ears, it would look like this. What's even worse is that at different volumes, it looks like this. And what it means is you hear some notes better than others when they get louder and softer.


Take a song with prominent baseline and start turning it down, and you'll notice that the base goes away first. That's just not right, but that's the way it is. It makes a lot of sense that human beings would evolve to hear best around the frequencies that we use to say speak. It also makes a lot of sense that when you heard something that was a low frequency and it was loud enough, you might find it exciting.


What doesn't make sense is to make critical mixing decisions based on a frequency response chart that looks like it was drawn by a random two-year-old, depending on how loud it was. A compressor takes that moving goalpost and moves it even more, which is why it's irresponsible for me to talk about dynamics processing until we get a thumbs up from everybody that they understand this.

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