In a studio environment, musicians will sometimes get increasingly nit-picky over their performances as the session gets longer – even if nothing was really wrong (to the average listener). It is the producer’s job to pay close attention to band member energy levels. If throughout the day you notice that a player is getting increasingly tired (or bored) with playing the same song, it may be wise to just shelve it for the day and listen again the next day with fresh ears. It may be the perspective shift needed to truly recognize a good or bad take. In many cases, you will find that ear fatigue had blinded you the day prior. In some cases, you may end up wondering why you ever questioned the performance to begin with!
Sudden-Onset Ear Fatigue (a term I’ve invented) can sneak up on people when they least expect it, and by the time they notice its arrival it is too late. Therefore, it is important to have a threshold for knowing when good enough is the best you’ll get in the moment. It is the best approach to using studio time effectively, while keeping a band motivated and capturing the best moments that the session can offer.