The "first sound is the right sound" problem..also known as the "affection to a sound" dilemma:

It often happens to me , when I start choosing and placing some sounds, that those sounds will remain the same until the end of the work.

The problem is that some of them usually don't satisfy me. I really feel those sounds are in the right "direction" for my idea but they're not complete and despite all the adding/removing/replacing sounds it won't work to my ears, probably because I get used to them by that time.

Does it happen to you too or I'm just a crazy man? If yes, how do you usually solve it?

This is a strange question, but this really happens to me a lot of times..

  • 1
    The only solution I see for your problem, is having an homogeneous mix, same quality sounds, and progressive amelioration of your technical skills. If one sound feels better than the other, then try to have the same quality/clarity for all of your sounds ,If you only work on one sound try to put it into an audio(visual) context, also compare your sound with other sounds or production of the same type.Cheers :)
    – JSmith
    Nov 10, 2015 at 0:58

3 Answers 3


I know this all too well, though more in a general mixing context:

In a mix with certain qualities (but also problems that has to be fixed), it feels like no matter what you tweak to get around the issue, it influences the part you like too. It may not directly translate to descisions on wether to use a given sample or not, but I think it has a lot in common:

I usually do one or more of the following things:

  1. Take a break and work with something else (if possible)
  2. Do something drastic to the mix to take the focus off the issue. That could involve muting/attenuate the related sounds for a while, turn something else up. Change the overall volume to a very low, but audible setting.
  3. Analyze! What is going on? why is this so difficult? Does it change when I mute things I didn't consider remotely related etc.
  4. Ask someone else what they think (as much as possible in an unbiased way ;-) ).
  5. Leave it be / ignore it and focus on something else. Let time do its wonders - if it matters I probably get a chance to fix it later.

It may also be the client that had some early raw mix preview after their tracking session. They listened to that so much and is so overly biased they can't accept changes or deviations - even though the original raw mix is nothing but levelled direct sources.

As much as this is annoying, I try to turn it into something positive: the direct sources were that good, awesome! But I still need to get some things fixed etc and at the end of the day it is too dry for them.

I usually end up using prefader sends to create a drymix that can be mixed in as wanted.


hi your on the right track ...in script and in narration of story is important.so even if the sound quality is not so called perfect if it sets the feel or compliments the scenario then please use it and for heavens sake dont feel guilty.


What I do is I add additional sounds as I’m writing/recording, but I don’t take any away until the final mix.

For example, if I get to a point where I think the guitar sound is no longer working, I will duplicate the guitar track and then modify the duplicate track’s sound until I get the new guitar sound that I want. I might mute the original guitar track at some point, or I might just let them both run together for a while until later deciding to mute one or the other.

Then when I’m done writing, I take a break before mixing. Ideally I wait until a different day. I start the mix by duplicating the writing session and turning all the faders down. Then I go track by track and bring up the drums, then bass, etc. while building the mix. If there are 2 (or even 3 or 4) guitar tracks, I can use my fresh mixing ears to either choose one of them to keep, or I can combine them. In some cases, I put one in the left channel and one in the right. But at the very least, I can refer back to the original guitar sound by muting the later tracks. Since everything is still there, there is no chance of accidentally deleting an awesome sound because my ears were tired when I was writing, or it got late and I wasn’t thinking as sharply. In some cases, I find that the original sound was actually the best and I throw away the newer tracks I made as I was writing. In some cases, I find that the original sound might not be as good as the later ones, but the original sound fit in with the rest of the mix better and added some kind of spark, so I end up being glad that I kept it.

Generally speaking, we have too many tracks today for most sessions. Even an iPad with a 64-bit chip can do 32 stereo tracks. So instead of thinking in terms of replacing, it is often better to think in terms of adding. Give yourself more options when you’re mixing and your view of the song is fresh and you are seeing the finished song.

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