Audio mixing is both a technical and an artistic task. Nowadays it is even a fundamental component in the performance of a number of artists. This task is usually achieved with the use of "panpots" and faders, which are the standard controls in mixing desks. But perhaps it is time to question a design that has remained practically untouched for around six decades, taking profit of current state of the art technologies and let interface design for audio
mixing catch up with avant-garde spatial mixing technologies. We propose a control interface that may be used to control a mixer, a DAW or a mixing engine (such as a Meyer's D-Mitri system) in order to simplify and improve the mixing process, taking into ac- count the spatial features of technologies such as surround and 3D audio and exploiting the features of multitouch interfaces.

Inactive Zone: channels are initially located here before being moved to the desired place. When channels are in this position, they remain muted and do not generate any control data.

The Stage:
after channels are moved here, they become active.

Listening Point (LP): reference position for mixing.
Control zone: controls for general functions, such as resetting the LP, selecting between differ- ent stages, and displaying / muting / showing the equalizer for the selected channel.


Listening point: easy creation of different submixes by means of moving the listening point





Surround, 3D, stereo: the mixing inter- face controller would integrate seamlessly in sur- round and 3D mixing environments, but it can be a great creative tool for traditional stereo mixing as well.



3D positioning: 3D coordinates are sent via OSC as ambisonics-compatible values.





Open Sound Control:
OSC communication

Channel: 3D positionable, with gain control or Surround position, with gain and LFE control or stereo plus gain and LFE controls

Equalizer: 4-band parametric, multitouch enabled equalizer per channel.
Paper prototype Hi-fi prototype User tests Application development (pending)
Table computer app: the prototype is currently working on a multitouch table, but the finished app would run on a tablet and would be able to control mixers, DAWs and or mixing engines

Published in Proceedings of the New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME2011) conference: www.nime2011.org
More information: jp [at] jpcarrascal [dot] com / sergi.jorda [at] upf [dot] edu
Music in demo video: "Se desvanece" by Fabricamusic.com