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What do you do when you ears crap out at 14K?
Old 1st February 2009
  #1
Lives for gear
 
mmcfarlane's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
What do you do when you ears crap out at 14K?

I was runnning a signal generator through my preamps tonight to look at the frequency response when I push various buttons and turn knobs. I needed a break from mixing and wanted to test an SSL Alpha VHD preamp before I sent it in for phantom repair...

My monitors are HR824s, the room is fairly well treated.

I'm a 52 year old bass player who played music too loud in his youth (got the classic notches from the cymbals...).

So I start sweeping a sine wave and my hearing goes kaput around 14KHz. 13K is fairly loud, >15K is gone ( I didn't crank the speakers but 15K has to be -18db if not more). Listening tests were done with one speaker.

I'm guessing this is age related hearing loss.

So what do you do in this situation...
  • Find a friendly kid to audition your mixes?
  • Boost the high end on your speakers EQ to try to help keep from over EQing (might get me 1K of range),...
  • Use an FFT analysis on final mixes to make sure the high end isn't out of control?
  • Buy some ****ty speakers and forget about the high end?
  • Find a new hobby?
Listening to commercial references aint gonna help much if I can't hear it.

An audiologist visit is in my near future.
Old 1st February 2009
  #2
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
It's completely normal to lose >15kHz somewhere between 30-40 years of age...it's the standard.
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #3
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lord_bunny's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
There isn't many times i'm messing with stuff that high in a critical way, unless i'm boosting broadly at 12k or whatever, or dulling something thats to bright. Just keep making records that sound like the records you like, and there shouldn't be a problem.
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #4
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Waltz Mastering's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
I don't know if the speakers you are using are the best to do testing on (could be the system).
.
I don't know them, but you might want to use a system that produces full range.

Could be time to visit an ear physician and get a professional opinion.

My buddy who used to do a lot of arena/stadium shows just got a digital device that improved his hearing quite a bit.

Oh, and send out for mastering...

What's the feedback your getting on the mixes coming out of your room now?
As a visual the FFT might help, but shouldn't be relied on to much.

TW
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #5
Lives for gear
 
Cameron Johnson's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I wouldn't worry about it eithe dude. As said above, just compare your mixes to standards, and if they stack up, you're good.
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #6
Gear Addict
 
Monobasser's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I recently found a file I created when I was 21 (I'm 33 now).
It was the highest frequency I could hear back then, 19khz. I tried playing the file back recently and spent a minute wondering what was wrong with my monitoring chain

I'm at about 16.5khz these days.
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #7
Lives for gear
 
surflounge's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I'm 52 also, with same ear damage. Expecially deaf in the "loud gunshot" frequency in left ear. I only track sessions, never mix or master. I'm also color blind, so I hire non-deaf and colorblind engineers for audio and video post production.
Seems a good way to get off work. There's a reserved army of the unemployed out there to do the grunt work.
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #8
Lives for gear
 
deve's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
If you hear fine up to 4Khz you are in good shape to mix.
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #9
Gear Nut
 
audiogeekzine's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
get yourself a young assistant or intern to help you while you mix.
while you eq the highend watch his face, turn it up until he cringes and then back it off a touch.
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #10
Lives for gear
 
6 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
If you can hear 14 kHz, you can mix just fine. Do you think Bruce Swedien and all those other older mixing legends stop mixing because of age-related hearing loss? Are they magically immune to this almost universal phenomenon? In my experience, human hearing is wildly variable, even among young people. Most people are not listening for 15 kHz in any meaningful way when they listen to music.

We slutz like to think what we're doing is some kind of exact science, that all listeners will hear the frequencies in a mix the exact same way, so we try to quantify this whole procedure of recording audio. That approach is valuable, but only up to a certain point because people hear so differently.

Even if you can hear 18 kHz, you might not really notice it in the normal course of a listening experience. Do you think Jerry Harrison of the Talking Heads doesn't have this kind of hearing damage or any of the many other musicians-turned-producer who stood next to drummers for thousands of hours during their youth? We're all in the same boat dude. You just happened to take a hearing test. And I'll bet a lot of famous mixers/producers in the industry would get worse results than you.
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #11
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Waltz Mastering's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by deve ➑️
If you hear fine up to 4Khz you are in good shape to mix.
I think you meant to say 14 K.
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #12
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
I really wouldn't worry too much. At the end of the day the really crucial area is the 'auratone' band. As long as you dont start doing crazy 18k boosts that you can hear working, it'll be fine.

Crack on.

J
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #13
Lives for gear
 
deve's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Waltz Mastering ➑️
I think you meant to say 14 K.
No. it's not a typo.
Old 1st February 2009
  #14
Gear Guru
 
theblue1's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
What do you do when you ears crap out at 14K?
I'd say, It's great to be young again!

Seriously, though, when I realized my high end was going south, I started looking out for all the little ways that impairment might hose me. I started zeroing in on frequency ranges to brighten and define -- rather than blithely reaching for the 10K knob. I did start looking at frequency display graphs. (Happily my favorite EQ has an animated spectrum display mode, so when I've got it strapped across the buss -- or anywhere else -- I can see if there's any nasty business going on at the high end.)

But as I became more accustomed to working in the box and having much greater control options, I developed a much more sophisticated approach to EQ, in general, getting serious about cutting instead of boosting [I'd paid lip service for decades but actually having decent parametric EQ meant I could actually put it into practice with some finesse]. I became much more surgical and restrained in how I used EQ, where before, mixing OTB on boards with less than complete EQ options, I'd just grab the old 10K knob and crank...
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #15
Gear Guru
 
🎧 15 years
take the tissue paper off your NS-10s
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #16
Gear Guru
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 ➑️
I'd say, It's great to be young again!
badumbum
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #17
Lives for gear
 
Waltz Mastering's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by deve ➑️
If you hear fine up to 4Khz you are in good shape to mix. No. it's not a typo.
Really? I think you'll have a whole lot of people who disagree with that statement.

It' would be like playing drums with one arm. Not sayin it can't be done, because it has.

TW
Old 2nd February 2009 | Show parent
  #18
Lives for gear
 
glenn Taylor's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Oh yea I am about at 14k. I have an assistant about half my age I hire for a second opinion after I get everything in the ballpark. I think he is about 26? A lot of times he will hear things like the backup vocals sound great on song 3 and wimpy on song 4. Not related to highs at all. Highs can be a challenge, but if you don.t mind having a little help You should be ok. One could laugh at me for this example, but what the heck here I go. I don.t know long you have been in the music business and what you bring to the table. I engineer.produce,play a lot of intruments and help clients by ghost writing if they need it. Also on the business side I have to promote myself, pamper the killer session players, deal with the fire marshall and receive visits with my dear old uncle sam and on and on and on. I am not trying to toot my own horn, but just saying if you have been in the business for awhile you too probably have a lot experience in a lot of areas. Knowledge Rules. ( here is the funny part). Just look at recording and mixing like you are a Experienced Pleasure Boat Sea Captain. Sort of LikeTHE LOVE BOATwith maybe with a small team of Topless Dancers that perform just for you, You,ve had years of experience. You know how to deal with the guests. The crew. The boat. Storms. You just might have a little trouble (as I do) Gliding the big ship in between the markers at the very end to make a perfect docking. Get a young dude to help. I really like having someone else towards the end of mixing process running the board. I always mix better when I get away from the board and listen from down the hall. Or through headphones then back to the board. Having another set of hands allows me to walk around and I believe in the long run helps my mixes. GT.
YouTube - Love Boat Theme
Old 2nd February 2009 | Show parent
  #19
Lives for gear
 
mmcfarlane's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by audiogeekzine ➑️
get yourself a young assistant or intern to help you while you mix.
while you eq the highend watch his face, turn it up until he cringes and then back it off a touch.
Old 2nd February 2009 | Show parent
  #20
Gear Maniac
 
seansolo's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I thought one could only reasonably hear to 20K was if they were a 13 year old girl, living in the midwest, not under a flight pattern.

I'm sure half the producers I work with (who have me boost 10K almost randomly sometimes) can't hear about 11-13K but they seem to do just fine!
Old 2nd February 2009 | Show parent
  #21
Lives for gear
 
FeatheredSerpent's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I did a sine test and my hearing drops out at just over 18KHz. I'm 32. Plus I'm losing at least a couple of dB due to a sinus problem at the moment, and have never had my ears syringed or anything like that, so it could be/will be better.
But I was always a clubber and not a rock gig person when I was younger so maybe that has helped a lot.
Old 2nd February 2009 | Show parent
  #22
Lives for gear
 
deve's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Waltz Mastering ➑️
Really? I think you'll have a whole lot of people who disagree with that statement.

It' would be like playing drums with one arm. Not sayin it can't be done, because it has.

TW
Exactly! I might be exaggerating a little bit. There is so much emphasis on that golden ears thing in the engineer community. My point is, if our main focus is music then the rest should fall together effortlessly.
Old 2nd February 2009 | Show parent
  #23
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vernier's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
No problem . . .

8 kHz is enough. Or maybe even 7.
'
Old 2nd February 2009 | Show parent
  #24
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maxpidge's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
huh, can you speak up....heh
Old 2nd February 2009
  #25
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
No problems now -- but when you reach 80 years and 200 Hz, you can do what Beethoven did:

Attach a ruler to your piano and bite it while you play to FEEL the vibes in your teeth (if any, at that age:-]).
Old 2nd February 2009 | Show parent
  #26
Moderator
 
narcoman's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
definitely don't worry about it. How high do you think Wallace, Lord Alge, Pensado and my hero- Alan Moulder - can hear?
Old 2nd February 2009 | Show parent
  #27
Lives for gear
 
Batchainpuller78's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Don't worry? well okay but I can imagine the awkward and annoying feeling you get
when you notice that you suddenly lost some range on your ears.
I worried about it for a while, when I suddenly noticed I could not hear the very high pitches I could hear.
Televisions sets annoyed the hell out of me with their high pitch whining, and cuts or little clicks in the mix stood out as well 10 years ago when the seasoned producer did not notice them anymore.
but now my right ear has lost substantial amount of highs because of gigs and sitting between speakers for years.

so I can understand the OP is feeling a bit uncomfortable with the situation.
I mean it's your hearing.
Old 2nd February 2009 | Show parent
  #28
Founder
 
Jules's Avatar
I heard about a theory that a cricket batsman (and perhaps baseball batters?) are unable to actually follow the path of fast balls thrown towards them because the speeds are simply too fast for the human eye. Instead, the theory suggests they make 'location prediction' judgments split seconds after the bowler (or pitcher) lets go of the ball and just kind of 'wing it' from there..

How does this info tidbit relate to mixing? There will be info available to you that IS within your hearing range that will be clues to whats going on OUT of your range... I believe that brain gathers this info well enough for mixers with high frequency hearing loss to keep working.

I think if you 'wing it' by using your instincts with some some a/b checking here and there - you should be fine. That's what everyone else does.

Sure get tested and be aware / inform yourself of deficiencies if you like, but I wouldn't say that was compulsory.. Don't get too hung up on the negatives..

After all you have a lot of experience behind you.. That will count for a lot and assist you to 'wing it' perfectly well.

That's my 2 Euro cents..

Old 2nd February 2009 | Show parent
  #29
Moderator
 
narcoman's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jules ➑️
That's my 2 Euro cents..

tuppence. Jules. tuppence.....
Old 2nd February 2009 | Show parent
  #30
Founder
 
Jules's Avatar
Jeeze, how can ya keep track these days..
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