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The Impact of Subgrouping Practices on the Perception of Multitrack Music Mixes

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Subgrouping is an important part of the mix engineering workflow that facilitates the process of manipulating a number of audio tracks simultaneously. We statistically analyze the subgrouping practices of mix engineers in order to establish the relationship between subgrouping and mix preference. We investigate the number of subgroups (relative and absolute), the type of audio processing, and the subgrouping strategy in 72 mixes of 9 songs, by 16 mix engineers. We analyze the subgrouping setup for each mix of a particular song and also each mix by a particular mixing engineer. We show that subjective preference for a mix strongly correlates with the number of subgroups and, to a lesser extent, which types of audio processing are applied to the subgroups.

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AES - Audio Engineering Society