CAS Quarterly

Spring 2024

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72 S P R I N G 2 0 2 4 I C A S Q U A R T E R L Y cure could be much worse than the disease. In addition, I expected the interviews to reveal the mixers' commitment to super-high quality, which would include ultra-high sample rates (384 kHz). What I learned was that the cost of operating at such high sample rates far outweighs any perceived benefit. And the benefits at that scale start to align with the law of diminishing returns (Ravichandran et al., 2017). Another striking finding was the prevalence with which the interview participants preferred analog technology for tracking sessions. Figure 1 shows this in two significant ways. First, analog is the preferred technology over all other options. Second, the hybrid option includes analog as a portion of the option for the preferred technology, while entirely digital and/or a control surface is the least preferred technology for a tracking session. Of note is that the two mixers who rated digital technology higher than any other technology were not the same as the two mixers who rated the control surface technology the highest as the preferred technology. In light of this, they still were half the preferred technology count as analog, and 30% of the total analog plus hybrid preferred counts. In addition, the satisfaction score for digital and control surfaces had a mean and median value of 6 and 5, respectively, on a scale of 1–10. This validates the insight that digital and control surfaces alone are not the preferred technology when looking at the sample as an entire group. My interpretation of these data is that it is not impossible for digital or control surface technology to be used for a tracking session; except, it would be difficult to convince the day-to-day operators of the sessions to adopt it at the present time. If a change initiative emerges to promote an all-digital or all-control surface environment, much work is to be done to promote or educate the scoring mixers to the advantages and benefits of such an environment. Conclusion The purpose of this study was to gather feedback from sound mixers regarding the critical needs and considerations for mitigating technology obsolescence. Specifically, this study sought to learn more about these stakeholder's perceptions regarding analog audio, digital audio, audio quality, workflow flexibility, and how [a studio] might balance these elements to remain viable as a creative business enterprise. This study will inform future decisions about whether to purchase new analog equipment to replace failing equipment, or whether to transition to a partial or entirely digital audio version of a recording studio. Ultimately, this study recognized that the active working scoring mixers prefer to work utilizing analog audio technology in the scoring console. Even when it includes a hybrid model, analog continues to be the preferred technology choice for the recording sessions. This study is also only the beginning of the conversation between stakeholders, management, and clients, in terms of decisions about what future technology to purchase and integrate into the next iteration of a major scoring stage. Other scoring stages on the West Coast, and around the world, all face the same dilemma at one point or another: When the technology is beginning to fail, what do we do next? And when do we do it? The viable recommendations presented in this study serve as reasonable launching points for the next phase of conversations about what to do next, when to execute an intervention, and whether it is a sustainable way to carry the recording business for decades to come. References Duretec, K., & Becker, C., (2017). Format technology lifecycle analysis. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 68 (10): 2484-2500. Ravichandran, T., Han, S., & Mithas, S., (2017). Mitigating diminishing returns to R&D: The role of information technology in innovation. Information Systems Research, 28(4), 812–827. https://doi. org/10.1287/isre.2017.0717 Robinson, S.B., & Leonard, K.F., (2019). Designing quality survey questions (1st ed.). SAGE. Rogers, E.M., (1995). Diffusion of innovations (4th ed.). Free Press. Tuck, K., & Yang, K., (2014). Youth Resistance Research and Theories of Change. Routledge. Figure 1: Number of Mentions As Preferred by Type of Technology

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