Art of Record Production Conference
May 17-19, 2019
Berklee College of Music, 921 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02215
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Saturday, May 18 • 10:30 - 11:00
Nonlinear Mixing

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‘Nonlinear mixing’ is the term used in this research to describe the outcomes of using a recursive mutual sidechained compression system in audio mixing. Hitherto, sidechain compression has been unidirectional, meaning the system will have one element controlling the dynamic range of one or more instruments. The implementation and behaviours of a system that enables feedback paths to exist within compressor configurations across multiple channels, has apparently received very little attention.

Such systems cannot be implemented in typical DAW systems, since feedback is forbidden in signal routing (an exception to this is Cockos Reaper, which is discussed in this paper). Therefore, this paper presents an eight-channel nonlinear mixing system created in Max/MSP. It implements a high performance compressor design algorithm, created within a 'gen~' object. All the channels in the system are interconnected via a sidechain, meaning there is no one main channel from which everything is sidechained to. This enables the channels to interact in complex ways, creating a mercurial environment. The level of audio in every channel can affect the level of every other channel. It is, however, regulated by conventional parameters found in compressors, namely threshold, ratio, attack time and release time. Independent control of each of these parameters is offered for each channel.

This paper touches on the history of creative compression use in studio practice. Furthermore, the creative possibilities made available using an eight-channel system are explored.

avatar for Hairul Hafizi bin Hasnan

Hairul Hafizi bin Hasnan

PhD Student, University of York

Saturday May 18, 2019 10:30 - 11:00 EDT
Classroom 511 (5th floor) 921 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02215, USA