Four Ways to Improve Your Ears

Ear Training for Everyone

One of the most important pieces of equipment that a sound engineer uses is his or her ears. Although naturally good hearing is required, there are also specific things that engineers listen to that must be learned. Amazingly enough, training for these things can improve your basic good hearing to be top-notch engineer hearing.

There are several web sites and phone apps that can help you train your ears. Most of them have training in several components that engineers listen for. These include frequency, equalization, volume, compression, delay, and tempo. Not all apps have training for each of these, but all of them have training in the most important: frequency recognition. Being able to quickly pinpoint a frequency is especially important for live engineers so that they can alleviate feedback.

In case you don't have ears like this.

In case you don’t have ears like this.

Auricula & Freqtrain 2

Both of these phone apps excel in frequency recognition training, although like all of these apps, the frequency tones they test are limited to only a few examples from the full range of audible frequencies. These examples, however, cover the range in increments that can at least help you know the general vicinity of whatever frequency you’re wanting to fix or enhance.

Freqtrain 2 offers no other training other than frequency recognition, but Auricula also offers training and quizzes in Core, Gain, and Delay recognition. Auricula has the added bonus of a feature that allows you to put your own music file in the program to test frequency recognition in a more realistic way. In addition, Auricula offers a desktop software version.

Knowing the frequencies to pull or push is essential for any live or studio engineer.

Knowing the frequencies to pull or push is essential for any live or studio engineer.


This app is available both online and for mobile phones. Instead of frequency tones, it tests frequencies via simulated instrument sounds. StudioEars also has some basic musical ear training for intervals, rhythm, and harmonics.

Philips Golden Ears

Developed by the Philips company to test the employees building their audio equipment, Golden Ears tests in five categories: frequency, details, soundfield, bass, and volume. The sound files are large in this one, though, and it is only available online.

What tips do you have for training your engineer ears?

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