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The Impact of Compressor Ballistics on the Perceived Style of Music

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Dynamic range compressors (DRC) are one of the most commonly used audio effect in music production. The timing settings are particularly important for controlling the manner in which they will shape an audio signal. We present a subjective user study of DRC, where a series of different compressor attack and release setting are varied and applied to a set of 30 sec audio tracks. Participants are then asked to rate which ballistic settings are most appropriate for the style of music in their judgment and asked to select one of a series of tag words to describe the style or setting of the song. Results show that the attack parameter influences perceived style more than the release parameter. From the study this is seen more evidently in the case of Jazz and Rock styles than in EDM or Hip-Hop. The area of intelligent music production systems might benefit from this study in the future as it may help to inform appropriateness for certain DRC settings in varying styles.

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Permalink: http://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=19806

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