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Factors Influencing the Spectral Clarity of Vocals in Music Mixes

Vocal clarity is one of the most important quality parameters of music mixes. The clarity of isolated sounds depends heavily on spectral factors and can therefore be manipulated with EQ. Spectrum is also an important factor in determining vocal timbral and quality parameters. An experiment where listeners rate the spectral clarity of equalized vocals within a noise backing track can provide insight into spectral predictors of vocal clarity. Overall, higher frequencies contribute to vocal clarity more positively than lower ones, but the relationship is program-item-dependent. Changes in harmonic centroid (or dimensionless spectral centroid) correlate well with changes in clarity and so does the vocal-to-backing track ratio.

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AES - Audio Engineering Society