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Vol. 38 No. 1 (2022): Rebooting Chroma

Professional Views of Digital Audio Workstations and Collaborative Audio Mixing

November 12, 2021


Digital audio workstations (DAWs) play a critical role in audio mixing and post-production activities, facilitating audio engineers and clients to work collaboratively in a studio environment. The coronavirus pandemic brought into focus the need to carry out these activities in an effective manner with remote participants. This article explores the requirements for an optimal remote collaboration platform to facilitate post-production audio mixing through a qualitative study. We interviewed a group of Australian-based professional music/sound practitioners about their use of DAWs, work-case scenarios, use of remote control and collaboration features, and perspectives for an "ideal" remote collaborative music post-production environment. We derived several insights from the analysis of this data that can inform the design and development of a new collaboration platform. The evidence showed that the most common practice for remote mixing collaboration is an iterative process of sharing audio files/recordings with audio engineers who perform mixing/post-production work, which is shared back with clients for feedback asynchronously. Professional audio mixing practitioners do not typically engage in real-time remote collaboration outside of remote one-to-one sound source recording because synchronous post-production collaboration methods are unavailable. Our analysis derives a vision for such a platform: a "virtual" remote collaboration environment that emulates an in-studio experience.