When doing sound design I often have difficulties to judge my work objectively. I spend so much time on one particular scene or even one sound that I lose my ability to judge my work. Two examples:

1) I spend a lot of time designing a scene and feel very pleased with the result. When I bring in other persons, they do not like somehting I am actually very proud of and want me to remove it. This can also be the other way round, that they like something I am not so enthusiastic about. In the end, it often turns out that they were right (even if I still disagree with some decisions).

2) When carefully adding some sounds to enrich a scene (a car horn here, a telephone ring there), I often can't turn off my analytical brain listening to the scene as if I was an audience member. To my ear, the sounds I added always stick out resulting in me lowering their volume. The result is that my sound design tends to be rather quiet. When other people listen to the scene, they didn't hear any of the sounds (which of course doesn't need to be a bad thing). Goods sound design should remain unnoticed, but my knowledge of my work hinders me to just watch and not listen to the film.

What are your tricks to listen to your sound design as if was your first time? How do you work subjectively and judge / listen objectively?

1 Answer 1


First of all it requires 'Experience' !

Second of all take some break and listen to the stuff after a day or two and use different kind of headphones to judge your sound design. Also sitting not too close to the monitors helps a lot.

But still you have to listen to people's opinions, we often miss things here and there or we just over do.

  • Good points. I still have the feeling the breaks I need are just too long. Often, I can't believe what I have done listening to a movie I worked on couple months ago...Hopefully that will improve over the years.. Sep 11, 2015 at 20:01
  • I have been surprised by my work, in both ways over the years. It feels bad when you listen back and get a 'what was I thinking?!' feeling. But It feels equally great when you get a 'Was that really me?!' feeling.
    – n00dles
    Sep 13, 2015 at 5:44

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