Emil Kraugerud, University of Oslo, Norway
Abstract: In Rock: The Primary Text (2001), Allan Moore defines the soundbox as “a ’virtual textural space’, envisaged as an empty cube of finite dimensions, changing with respect to real time (almost like an abstract, threedimensional television screen)” (2001:121). The dimensions in question refer to listeners’ perceived illusions of depth, width and height in recordings, which in turn are affected by properties such as sound level, stereo placement, reverb and frequency range. In Moore’s definition, the soundbox represents a visual metaphor for what producers and engineers would often call ‘the mix’. Why, then, should we apply the term ‘soundbox’ when ‘the mix’ seems to be an adequate term in the context of record production?
In the proposed paper I seek to extend Moore’s (2001) definition of soundbox, to also encompass record production in a practical sense. Although the soundbox is intended as a model for music analysis, I believe it can be adequate also in record production. Certain models bare certain similarities with the soundbox, and are widely used in record production, e.g. William Moylan’s sound stage (2015) and David Gibson’s threedimensional model (1997). However, as I will argue, while these models seem to be focused on mixing, the soundbox has the potential to be a tool embracing all parts of the production process. My overall argument in this paper, then, is that practical applications of the soundbox as a tool for record production, can contribute to an increased awareness of how producers and engineers work. Thus, it is my belief that an extended definition of the sound box as a unity can be a good tool for working with the ‘total balance’ of a mix, in which frequency balance, stereo balance, level balance and mix density is represented.