Musical Mix Clarity Prediction Using Decomposition and Perceptual Masking Thresholds

Andrew Parker, Steven Fenton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective measurement of perceptually motivated music attributes has application in both target-driven mixing and mastering methodologies and music information retrieval. This work proposes a perceptual model of mix clarity which decomposes a mixed input signal into transient, steady-state, and residual components. Masking thresholds are calculated for each component and their relative relationship is used to determine an overall masking score as the model’s output. Three variants of the model were tested against subjective mix clarity scores gathered from a controlled listening test. The best performing variant achieved a Spearman’s rank correlation of rho = 0.8382 (p < 0.01). Furthermore, the model output was analysed using an independent dataset generated by progressively applying degradation effects to the test stimuli. Analysis of the model suggested a close relationship between the proposed model and the subjective mix clarity scores particularly when masking was measured using linearly spaced analysis bands. Moreover, the presence of noise-like residual signals was shown to have a negative effect on the perceived mix clarity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9578
Number of pages19
JournalApplied Sciences (Switzerland)
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 14 Oct 2021


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