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A Case Study of Cultural Influences on Mixing Practices

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While sound mixers of popular music may share common principles across cultures, different engineers produce different mixes, and different listeners judge a mix differently. We designed a mixed-methods approach to examine this highly multidimensional problem in both style and perceived quality. Five student sound engineers from the Paris Conservatoire mixed the multitrack source of two pop songs and fully documented their mixing process. The resulting mixes were then used as stimuli for a blind, multi-stimulus listening test in a high-quality listening room that 13 students and 1 faculty member commented on and rated in terms of preference. Our outcomes highlight cultural and generational mixing specificities and offer a better understanding of the artistic side of the practice.

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AES - Audio Engineering Society