#1
So before I begin, let me first say that the purpose of this thread isn't to promote the use of certain 'substances', as YMMV from mine. But this phenomenon is based in first hand experience and I could use an explanation.

A little background - I've been having a lot of trouble with my(possibly any) studio monitors lately, and haven't been able to really get them to translate or sound very good in general, no matter: 1. where I located them 2. where I locate myself or 3. the treatments I have been putting up on my walls and corners (Owens Corning 703 wrapped panels).

So anyways, up until this point in my life Ive only tried weed once (I was drinking a lot at a college party once, smoked, and ended up gettin pretty sick). But very recently, a friend of mine gave me some THC lollipops, and I figured I would give it another shot.

You guys are going to think I am full of shit (and quite frankly, I thought I was too at first but I've tested this THREE times now)- but being high seems to unlock something physiologically for my audio perception IN AN AMAZING WAY. If I eat half of the lollipop, it takes forever to kick in (probably around 1.5 hrs to 2 hrs), but then it hits my like bricks. Both times, I was in the middle of mixing on my computer when I felt it kick in. Here is what I noticed:

1. Stereo Field - absolutely huge and clear, to the point that is almost visual. Centered audio almost seems like it is floating in an invisible 'middle speaker', right there in front of my face. Panned audio is also crystal clear, and I can tell exactly "how many" there are of things and where they are (usually I cant tell the difference between double-tracked or quad-tracked guitars; but when I was high, it was almost like I could see them panned and could take a really accurate guess at what the % pans were. Absolutely stunning.

2. Processing perception - this is equally captivating. You know how sometimes you use a parametric eq and it seems like you boost or cut some semi-surgical frequencies excessively before you could 'audibly' hear the change? I could literally hear changes with like minute boosts or cuts (between 0.3-0.6db was like drastic). It seemed like I could accurately EQ something very quickly because it was so responsive and it only took a few seconds to sweep around and find the frequencies I liked/didnt like. Some reason I CANT do this when Im perfectly sober. In addition, it seemed like I could detect deeper bass, pretty much in the sub-region that I normally have no idea whats going on (I originally thought it was my speakers but Im wondering if its me); for the first time I was able to accurately dial in the low end of my kick, bass and guitars exactly how I intended and had it translate well. This responsiveness in processing also carried over onto things like compressors and reverbs too.. I could more easily detect/feel pumping in the compressor (whether good or bad) or unevenness in an instrument, and I could really hear my reverb tails much more clearly.

3. Room noise - I dont understand how, but its almost as if my room was cancelled out completely when I was high. It sounded/felt like I was in a air-tight chamber with my music and it was just generally immersive without any sorts of reflections, surrounding me.

4. Listening Fatigue - I found that I still needed to step away from my computer to let my ears re-calibrate, but it was much less often and the results were less drastic than usual. Ive had to re-do mixes before after a 10 minute bathroom break.. but when I was high, it was usually just I had to turn the vocal or snare down 1db or so to correct myself.


So long story short tl;dr- Ive gotten pretty high a couple times now and mixed music while in this state and noticed I can just perceive everything way more clearly and make much better decisions. It seems like there is a physiological aspect to it, and Im wondering if there is anything else I can do (aside from taking THC everytime I mix) that will replicate this 'clear-hearing' state. I KNOW THIS SOUNDS CRAZY, but I'm not bullshitting here. Hopefully somebody else can relate and has some ideas!
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#2
I bet you all sounds a lot better while you're high too.

If you think about it, how many good albums were made by musicians/artist being sober?

I can't think of many.

Aerosmith lost the drugs and they're just not that good. So did many others and I've seen their songwriting suffer.
#3
This is not new, good ears + weed is awesome for mixing, my ears have better taste for guitar tones and mixing in general when high, it's shit for your guitar playing though so you have to keep that balance

I don't think I sound better when high though, I just become a lot harder on myself and my music but think on how I can improve instead of just thinking that I suck

I would recommend developing your sober ear until it's very good, then listen to your song high to add the final touches/changes that will make the song better, not just becoming dependent on it every time you mix

Hell I mix on multimedia speakers in my bedroom which is untreated and I still usually get good crits on my mixes, specially the most recent ones, but I bet monitors would help

Why is it messed up though? You just discovered something good, now use it the right way

Smoking is waaaay easier than THC lollipops though
#4
Quote by Watterboy
So long story short tl;dr- Ive gotten pretty high a couple times now and mixed music while in this state and noticed I can just perceive everything way more clearly and make much better decisions. It seems like there is a physiological aspect to it, and Im wondering if there is anything else I can do (aside from taking THC everytime I mix) that will replicate this 'clear-hearing' state. I KNOW THIS SOUNDS CRAZY, but I'm not bullshitting here. Hopefully somebody else can relate and has some ideas!


From your post, I'd gather it's more of a psychological thing. I doubt THC actually physically affects your ears (it might do so for nerves though), and from some of the points you made (like there being no room noise) I'd gather that it's at least partly "illusionary". Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that you'd be hearing things that aren't there or hearing things "wrong", but I think a big part of it might be due to your brain thinking that it hears things more clearly, while physically nothing has changed, and it's just THC messing up with your perception.

And if you hear changes in the track you couldn't hear sober, do those changes really matter that much?

Quote by diabolical
If you think about it, how many good albums were made by musicians/artist being sober?


Like a shitton of albums.

I think that weed might be useful in a mixing situation like Watter explained above, but honestly if you can't write a good song or express yourself sober that's a flaw in your ability as a musician.

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Why is it messed up though? You just discovered something good, now use it the right way


I think it's about the concern of not being able to mix sober, which honestly would suck. The point I made is applicable here as well: if you need THC to mix properly, you're not much of a producer are you?

Of course, if you're a good producer and you use weed to make it all easier etc. that's cool if it works for you.
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#6
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I think a big part of it might be due to your brain thinking that it hears things more clearly, while physically nothing has changed, and it's just THC messing up with your perception.
That makes no sense dude. I think you may have been confused by the term physiological change". This doesn't imply (and no claim has been made for) any physical change in the external sounds or any physical change in the construct of the ear etc.

There IS however a physiological change to the normal function of the brain due to the effects of THC. Those changes affect perception. His claim is the affect on his perception allows him to hear things more clearly, focus on different aspects of the sounds more intently, and perceive more acute changes.

It IS just the THC altering his perception. This is due to a physiological change in the function of the brain due to the effects of THC.

Watterboy...this is a very common experience. Things just seem to sound so much better when you're high. The experience of music is a different experience when under the influence of THC.

The question isn't "how do I recreate that experience without having to take mind altering substances?"

the question you should be asking is:

Do I want to be reliant on THC in order to feel confident in my mixing abilities?
Do I want to be confident of my own sense of reality and skills when sober?
Are there other effects of THC that I need to consider?

I don't think there is anything wrong with THC as a creative aid and recreational drug from time to time. I acknowledge the altered experience can seem almost magical and can be quite exciting. However, a professional mix engineer should be able to do his job sober. That means practicing and learning your craft while sober.

If you think about it, it's like you are listening to the song through the filter of THC. The point of good monitors and equipment is to hear the sound as straight as possible. So the question is: Does the THC colour the sound in some way (like listening through monitors that make everything sound really good)....or does it allow you to hear everything more clearly? Similarly is your judgement impaired or enhanced?

Try a few experiments.

Get some originals. Save the originals. (A)
Work them to a finished product sober and save that (B)
Then starting with the originals again work them to a finished product while under the influence of THC (C).

Then a week or so later do some critical listening tests A/B/C and see what produced the better results. There are flaws with this test since doing it the second time may result in a better product due to learning made from the first go around. So maybe develop some other kinds of tests to help you determine if your altered perception actually leads to a better result.
Si
#7
I know what you mean by 'listening through a filter'- but it seems like theres more to it than that, particularly because of the insanely enhanced stereo field. The stereo spread was so perfect, it reminded me of how when people over-describe or over-hype a gear description; except in this case it was literally all these things.

So yea, its not quite as simple it seems as my a filter that pumps up bass and smooths treble; it actually felt as if my ears were working independently from one another, clearly separating the left and right, almost as if I was wearing headphones. It was like, a massive headphone chamber. I loved it, and the mixing benefits were great
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#8
Question - what do your high mixes sound like when you listen to them sober?
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#9
Im working on this one rock song right now that I was high while I recorded and mixed about 50% of it and its coming pretty good so far lol. I havent done a mix high and listened to it the next day and hated it yet (happens all the time when im totally sober). Pretty crazy stuff
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You are now my favourite person on UG.....You write cool shit.

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#11
I would guess you probably are doing a better mixing job when high, but I doubt that it's because of the 'hearing change'.

There are two effects going on from the MAS (mind altering substance) you took.
One is a perceived difference in the sound, thus you like what you hear.
The other is that you are probably very relaxed and worry free. (because of the MAS)

Try this: Back up your project, so you don't have to worry about screwing it up.
Listen to it with the attitude of: "I like this. It's good, and other people will like it too. I'm just going to see how good I can make it."

What that does is put your mind in a positive state about your music.
If you think your music sucks, no mixing decision you make is going to sound right.

The other thing is to relax - take a few deep breaths - tell yourself "I CAN do this. I've done it before."
Like the man said, "It's just music. No lives are in danger"