Visual Mixer – Inspired by David Gibson

Visual Mixer

Inspired by David Gibson


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The target of this device is to make it possible to mix a song in a tridimensional graphic environment in which every single sound is represented by a graphical object. This object will have a position and determined geometrical characteristics that should be related to every parameter of that characterize a sound as an element of a mix. The user will be allowed to interact with it using the movement of his own hands. The goal of this device is to substitute or be placed side by side with traditional instruments of the musical production of the recording studio and, more important, trying to create a new mixing approach.



The position and the dimensions on the 3 axis of every graphical/sound object (ellipsoids) in this prototype are determined by; loudness (position on z), frequency content (position on y and dimension on x) and width (dimension on y), pan (position on x). Various psychoacustic factors are taken into account for the analysis.



For the construction of this prototype I made use of two development environments, Max/MSP and Processing, which, by their nature, focus on the immediate development of algorithms through the use of base modules, referring code optimization to future developments.


A little Quick Start.

  • If you have a Leap Motion, connect it now.
  • Leap Motion is not required for using this prototype, but if you want to have some fun grabbing sounds with your hands, you have got to get one.
  • DEFAULT: for every channel you can choose an audio file. So, you can GOTO 2a.
  • 2a) Start selecting “ADD FILE” in the bottom of any of the 8 channel. It is good, if you want to use more than a channel, that the files are synchronized together, becouse there is no edit window to change region position and alignment as in every decent DAW. GOTO 3
  • BUT: if you click on the button “SINGLE MODE” it wil become “NORMAL MODE”, and it will be possible to choose an entire folder with a max number of 8 audio file. GOTO 2b
  • 2b) Start selecting “FOLDER” button. It is below the mixer. You must select a folder with a maximum number of 8 audio files. This audio files must by synchronized together, becouse there is no edit window to change region position and alignment as in every decent DAW. GOTO 3
  • My advice is to export some stems from your DAW.
  • 3) Click “PLAY”. But don forget to activate every channel, select a color if you don’t like the default and a name for the trak if you don’t like “chan *” as I do.
  • My advice is to make a little volume and pan balance now. Just a little, so to hear no nonsense before you start playng with the Visual Mixer.
  • 4) Now, if you want to use some fx (eq or whatever), for every channel there is a button named “CHANNEL STRIP”. Click it and play. If you want to add a little reverb, click “SEND”.
  • 5) Ok. Now, using Command-Tab, go to the “VisualMixerInterface” app. If everything is working fine you should see some balloons (or ellipsoids, to be correct…) moving inside a room with sky pictured walls.
  • If you don’t se any allipsoid, email me at I will be happy to help you.
  • 6) Now if you want to grab some ellipsoid press “p”. They will freeze. If you press “p” again, they start moving again.
  • You can freeze a channel and let the others move. Instead of pressing “p” press the number of the channel you want to interact with, from 1 to 8.
  • 7) Press “n” to see track names.
  • 8) Have fun!



Dott. Gianluca Agostini




Dott. Marco Bertola