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Subjective Differences in Digital Audio Workstation Math

he subject of sound quality often arises when discussing the merits of various digital audio workstations (DAWs). While many engineers argue that one DAW “sounds better” than another, very little quantified data exists on the subject. In order to test these claims, multiple DAWs are fed the same multi-track digitized audio from a single converter. This audio is then processed by lowering all faders in each DAW by a fixed, arbitrary amount, generating identical mixes, save the internal math performed through the gain change and the internal summing of each DAW. The resulting mixes are then tested for discriminability by trained listeners through the use of ABX testing. While there were differences between mixes, most listeners struggled to discriminate between DAWs.

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