Many times the only obstacle to getting great recordings is simply us. We think before we listen. We convince ourselves that the right mic has been chosen, that the room doesn't sound that bad, and that we've figured out how to work around what we hear from our fallible monitors. We look at the levels and tracks
in the computer. We then decide everything has been captured properly, and that we will have enough to work with in a final mix. 

Stop! Listen to everything with a clear and focused mind. Solo tracks or mics, and turn off every piece of gear or plug-in that doesn't have to be engaged. Is it audibly better? It just might be far better without processing. Try turning off your computer monitor during tracking and playback. Open your mind and close your eyes. 

Really listen. Hit the reset button in your brain. Use your ears, not your assumptions. 

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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