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What do you do when it sounds wrong and you don’t know why? Or to give some possible scenarios: do you ever find that when you are designing sound, you just can’t work out an approach that is going to work, or you just aren’t ending up with the result that you had anticipated, or perhaps you thought you had nailed it but it just isn’t working at all in context, and after a few iterations you find yourself in a rut scratching your head wondering where you went wrong and how to fix it?

This is a situation I find myself in regularly, and while I have obviously come up with some approaches of my own to try to overcome it, it can be stressful, frustrating and really get me down. For me personally, my lack of experience (having jumped straight in the deep end of sound design 3 short years ago) has certainly left some massive gaps in my abilities, and the fact that I work solo probably doesn’t help. Sadly I sometimes end up so stuck, and on deadlines, that I end up shipping sounds which I know are way off but I simply didn’t have the time or ability to fix.

So, of course there are some specific areas in which I’m aware I need to develop my skills and hopefully in time get into this situation less often, but I’ll leave seeking advice on these specifics to future posts.

For now, I’m just interested in any general discussion, even for the experienced veterans around: do you ever find yourself in a similar situation, or have you found that with experience (and developed professionalism) comes the ability to avoid it? If you do experience times of ‘it sounds wrong and I don’t know why’, what do you do about it?