Activity flow in music equalization: the cognitive and creative implications of interface design

Mycroft, Josh and Paterson, Justin ORCID: (2011) Activity flow in music equalization: the cognitive and creative implications of interface design. In: Proceedings of the 130th Audio Engineering Society Convention, 13-16 May 2011, London, UK.

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The mixing desk metaphor found in many Digital Audio Workstations (DAW) creates a quantitive visual display that is highly structured and segmented. While this is useful for transmitting large amounts of quantitive data it can inhibit the more intuitive and performative aspects inherent in music mixing. Furthermore, it can potentially disrupt the user’s activity flow; their attention is drawn to the representation at the expense of the auditory character of the sound and the immediacy of the mixing task is displaced by the complexity of the interface.
This paper's focus is the cognitive and creative issues encountered using music production software and the influence they exert on the initial approach, task workflow and final output of the user. Equalisers have been chosen to exemplify this, due to their pivotal balance between aural and visual modalities. A Case study of the Pro Tools III equaliser has been used to understand the implication of current designs. Observations with MA Music Technology students and lecturers have been used to examine the practical implications of theory. Finally, the paper draws conclusions as to the effectiveness of current software equaliser designs and proposes modifications to design.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Subjects: Music
Music > Record production
Depositing User: Justin Paterson
Date Deposited: 13 May 2016 14:31
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2021 07:20

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