Deruty, E., Roy, P. and Pachet, F. Human-Made Rock Mixes Feature Tight Relations Between Spectrum And Loudness. Journal of the Audio Engineering Society, 62(10):643-653, October 2014.

Sony CSL authors: Emmanuel Deruty, François Pachet, Pierre Roy


The tremendous success of rock music in the second half of the 20th century has boosted the sophistication of production and mixing techniques for this music genre. However, there is no unified theory of mixing from the viewpoint of sound engineering. In this paper, we highlight relationships between loudness and spectrum in individual tracks, established during the process of mixing. To do so, we introduce an ad hoc, three-dimensional model of the spectrum of a track. These dimensions are derived from an optimal monitoring level, that is, the level that optimizes the number of frequency bands at the same, maximum loudness. We study a corpus of 55 rock multi-tracks and correlate the model with the loudness of the tracks. We suggest that (1) at high monitoring levels and/or on high-end monitors, track loudness is a linear function of its spectral centroid, and (2) at low monitoring levels and/or on budget monitors, a track’s optimal monitoring level is a linear function of its loudness. This indicates that under good listening conditions, human mixers tend to focus on spectral balance, whereas under bad conditions, they favor individual track comprehension. We discuss the implication of our results for automatic mixing.

Keywords: audio, automatic mix


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BibTeX entry

@ARTICLE { pachet:14c, AUTHOR="Deruty, E. and Roy, P. and Pachet, F.", JOURNAL="Journal of the Audio Engineering Society", MONTH="October", NUMBER="10", PAGES="643--653", TITLE="Human-Made Rock Mixes Feature Tight Relations Between Spectrum And Loudness", VOLUME="62", YEAR="2014", }