Content-based Processing for Masking Minimization in Multi-track Recording

TitleContent-based Processing for Masking Minimization in Multi-track Recording
Publication TypeMaster Thesis
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsVega, S.
preprint/postprint documentstatic/media/Vega-Sebastian-Master-Thesis-2010.pdf
AbstractAn important task in music post-production is masking minimization. When minimizing masking, an audio engineer carefully crafts each instrument's sound into the audible spectrum and the stereo panorama. This is done in order to achieve an intelligible sonic mixture in which the intended role of each instrument can be clearly appreciated by the listener. As with the rest of the post-production chain, masking minimization is a task where both technology and creativity co-exist in equal proportions. This means that there is not a single right way of approaching the problem, but rather every engineer will have its own approach and personal taste. Nevertheless, based on the assumption that one possible approach to music post-production is entirely rule-based, recent research has been concentrated on the topic of Automatic Mixing of Music, focusing on areas such as automatic equalization, automatic stereo panning and automatic gain-control. Given that Masking minimization is a crucial aspect of multi-track down-mixing, this thesis is concerned with developing an intelligent audio system that is able to automatically minimize masking between the di fferent acoustic sources that comprise a musical mix. Because auditory masking is a perceptual phenomenon, the system makes use of a computational model of perception to transform the audio signals into a perceptual domain. In this domain, masking can be detected and quantiz ed. From this analysis stage, the processing parameters to minimize unwanted masking are obtained. The processing stage consists of an adaptive filter-bank that is able to equalize the tracks in a time-varying fashion. Because of the subjective nature of the results, a subjective test is performed in order to find the system parameters that result in positive evaluations from the listeners in an attempt to further understand the phenomenon of auditory masking in a musical context.