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Design and Evaluation of a Scalable Real-Time Online Digital Audio Workstation Collaboration Framework

Existing designs for collaborative online audio mixing and production, within a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) context, require a balance between synchronous collaboration, scalability, and audio resolution. Synchronous multiparty collaboration models typically utilize compressed audio streams. Alternatively those that stream high-resolution audio do not scale to multiple collaborators or experience issues owing to network limitations. Asynchronous platforms allow collaboration using copies of DAW projects and high-resolution audio files. However they require participants to contribute in isolation and have their work auditioned using asynchronous communication, which is not ideal for collaboration. This paper presents an innovative online DAW collaboration framework for audio mixing that addresses these limitations. The framework allows collaborators to synchronously communicate while contributing to the control of a shared DAW project. Collaborators perform remote audio mixing with access to high-resolution audio and receive real-time updates of remote collaborators’ actions. Participants share project and audio files before a collaboration session; however the framework transmits control data of remote mixing actions during the session. Implementation and evaluation have demonstrated the scalability of up to 30 collaborators on residential Internet bandwidth. The framework delivers an authentic studiomixing experience where highresolution audio projects are democratically auditioned and synchronously mixed by remotely located collaborators.

JAES Volume 69 Issue 6 pp. 410-431; June 2021
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AES - Audio Engineering Society