Ear training is an important part of being a musician, bedroom producer or music lover. One of the best tools for frequency training specifically is TrainYourEars, made by the very talented Luis Herranz (check out our recent review here).
We cornered Luis recently to pick his brains about all things ear training/softwarey and he was nice enough to let us pick away.
LaptopGuitarist: So who are you guys?
Luis Herranz: TrainYourEars is a small company from Madrid, Spain. It was founded in 2011 by me (a sound engineer with some coding abilities) with the goal of promoting ear training in the sound engineering field.
How did you get into software? Are you an audiophile dev guy? Or dev a guy interested in audio?
I am probably in between. Music and coding have always been my two passions. I used to code when I was in high school. I started studying Computer Science at the University but after two years I drop it because I wanted to work with music and became a sound engineer. After several (happy) years in the studios, I came up with the TYE idea and I had to give it a try. So I went back to coding.
Do you have heroes in the audio industry? If so, who?
Bob Katz is certainly a reference. Of course Alton Everest and Dave Moulton, the first ones to promote the training method used in TrainYourEars. I also like Mike Stavrou and his book Mixing with Your Mind. The chapter about EQ and his reasoning to concentrate on the sounds and avoid ‘sweeping’ was a great inspiration for the project.
Why did you decide to make ear training software? Did you see a gap in the market or is it a project of passion?
A bit of both. I was inspired by the previous works of Alton Everest and Dave Moulton (Critical Listening Skills and Golden Ears). I experienced how good some ear training can be. On the other hand, nobody had developed a proper software where a user could design their own exercises and use their own music to train. So it just made sense.
What goes into making a plugin like TrainYourEars? What’s the timeline? Walk us through it.
We have very limited resources, so we work at our own pace. We try to get as much feedback as we can from our users and add the features most people want. It’s a slow process but we are happy with the results. What’s important is not the tool itself, but the training methods. And of course, the user’s determination to improve their abilities.
What kind of feedback have you received so far?
That’s the best part. We haven’t stopped collecting incredible feedback from our users since we started, and we keep receiving it almost every day. TrainYourEars has helped many people to become better professionals and that’s a dream come true. Besides, we always ask our users how we could improve the software and try to improve it from that.
Is it a challenge to be profitable producing software like this?
At the beginning, I didn’t know much about how to create software and I knew nothing about how to promote it. So it took some years to make it profitable. But over the years we have improved both the software and our marketing a lot and things are much smoother now. At the end of the day, you have to learn three additional professions: entrepreneurship, computer science and digital marketing. But I have never regretted it and it’s been a wonderful experience.
What advice would you have for younger audio dev guys looking to follow in your footsteps?
Embrace the new technologies and embrace the internet. Only a couple of decades ago big corporations controlled industries like music recording and distribution, news/media publishing or software creation. Now, anyone can compete and create incredible products/content from their homes. So I’d say, start something. Even if you fail you’ll be learning the proper skills needed to succeed in the next 100 years.
What’s next for you guys? Is there another project on the horizon?
Yes, we are already working on the design of a new edition, which could be used to train anything, not only EQ or Compression. We think we have a killer idea, but we are still in the early stage phase, so this will take a while!
What’s the big picture dream for you? Where would you like to end up?
I’d love to keep working on products that help people. TYE has already helped several thousand sound engineers to improve their ears and that’s really gratifying. I hope the next one can help hundreds of thousands 🙂