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Activity Flow in Music Equalization: The Cognitive and Creative Implications of Interface Design

The mixing desk metaphor found in many Digital Audio Workstations (DAW) creates a quantitative visual display that is highly structured and segmented. While this is useful for transmitting large amounts of quantitative data it can inhibit the more intuitive and performative aspects inherent in music mixing. This paper's focus is the cognitive and creative issues encountered using current music production software equalizers and the influence they exert on the initial approach, task workflow, and final output of the user. Equalizers have been chosen to exemplify this, due to their pivotal balance between aural and visual modalities. The paper draws conclusions as to the effectiveness of current software equalizer designs and proposes modifications to design.

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