Audio Engineering Theses


This thesis explored whether listeners could perceive the differences between samples recorded and mixed according to methods reported by the so-called popular audio press and samples that did not utilize those methods. The three recording methods were: aligning multiple tracks to achieve a coherent phase relationship, microphone selection, and the style of recording. The three mixing methods were: inverting the bottom snare drum microphone to match the top snare drum microphone, having a pre-delay time on a reverb that matched the tempo of the sample, and routing the room microphones to the drummer’s perspective. ABX listening tests, preference surveys, and subjective ratings were used to determine the efficacy of the methods. Testing revolved around a null hypothesis that assumed listeners could not perceive differences between, would not have a preference for, and would not grant higher ratings to samples mixed according to popularized methods. Results provided mixed evidence on all these accounts. The ability to perceive changes like pre-delay timing, polarity and time alignment of multiple tracks are harder than the more obvious spatial and timbral changes of routing the room microphones and using microphones commonly used for drum recording.



First Advisor

Wesley A. Bulla

Second Advisor

Doyuen Ko

Third Advisor

Eric Tarr


Audio Engineering


Entertainment and Music Business, Mike Curb College of

Document Type



Master of Science in Audio Engineering (MSAE)

Degree Level


Degree Grantor

Belmont University


audio engineering; drum; Glyn Johns; mixing; phase; recording; comb filtering; ABX; listening