SoundGym is an ear training programme that helps you hear better in our high definition world. Apparently, that’s what will give you the edge and ensure your music touches the lives of millions of people. I’m paraphrasing a little but SoundGym are convinced that better ear training is what separates the hits from the flops in music production. And if it didn’t work last time then they’re back with version 2 to do it better.
Are you sensing my scepticism? Really I’m just poking fun at the marketing because it’s quite funny. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it’s all completely true. SoundGym suggest that we all use the same gear, the same software and plug-ins and yet only a fraction of producers “create the deep sounding tracks that touch millions”. This is because they have “top-notch listening skills”. You can have these skills too if you sign up for SoundGym. The question they don’t answer is what happens when we all have the same top-notch listening skills? I guess we’ll need version 3 in order to retain that edge.
Cheekiness aside I am in no doubt that my poor old abused ears could benefit from some training. Many of us do flounder around, trying to learn the skills on-the-job to correctly identify what processes need to be applied to audio. More often than not it’s a process of trial and error. How much better would it be to be able to identify frequencies that need attention, to understand where and why to apply compression, to have better, critical hearing. They talk about “transferring your emotions into mixing decisions” – that sounds flippin’ awesome to me.
Having fun while you learn
SoundGym works in a style of games, challenges and achievements. It tries very hard to make it fun and accessible, a bit like those health and exercise apps you get on your phone. Once you’ve signed up you get a new audio workout every day, working on your core listening skills. The training then adapts to your level of ability and tracks your progress pointing out strengths and weaknesses. It’s free to create an account and get started. I got to stage 4 out of 5 on the first exercise of identifying EQ boost frequencies before I ran out of lives. I got a handful bang on and a lot more wildly all over the place – see if you can beat my score of 903 – honestly, that’s not going to be hard!
For the full training programme is $14.95 a month, $95 a year or $316 forever. I think it could be enormously beneficial if you are prepared to stick with it. The look and style of it is really quite engaging. Although I do wonder how interesting it still is after a year of daily exercises. And, of course, how many gym memberships have you had that last past that initial first month?
What’s changed from version 1 is really hard to say but more information can be found on the SoundGym website.