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Author Topic: Loudness Wars  (Read 8350 times)

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September 29, 2011, 09:48:04 AM
Ok i read the article. But it was too technical to understand it in detail.

But what i could extract from it is:

The loudness war exists and it also harmes the soundquality but all the fighters against the loudness war just term it wrongly and see this too globaly?

there is a foundation running by Friedeman Tischmeyer against the loudness war. He tries to get the industry to standardize the "dynamic range" (wich sound on sound stated to be wrongly used in this context) of music. And he will do research about other topics like:
- Loudness War and the increase in hearing loss.
- Or heavily compressed music causes stress and is fatiguing.
Also he explains the problem with heavily compressed audio converted to mp3 and such.
And tries to prove that the sells are not related to louder music

http://www.pleasurizemusic.com/
« Last Edit: September 29, 2011, 10:02:35 AM by novikthewise »

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November 01, 2011, 12:48:36 AM
Seems like common sense; it's not the 70's anymore.

1) We can through technology make better gear that can process hotter signal without distortion.
2) Thanks to portability, it's more common that someone will be listening to your mix in a noisy environment, anyway.
3) People are now listening on a wide range of transducers: from artificial low end boosting (Bose) speakers to low end lacking ear buds.
4) The louder you have to turn your speaker, the more you are hearing the frequency response of the drivers, as opposed to the mix.
5) Generally speaking, people aren't buying whole albums anymore, they buy singles. Albums aren't mastered as a whole like they used to.
6) Personal preference. I don't care if it's taboo, I think trading the transient for more sustain is GENIUS. I LOVE compression.
7) Nobody wants to adjust the volume of iTunes every time they go from a modern heavy metal song, to an acoustic cover of it.
8) The radio isn't the main target anymore: It's mediums that don't add extra compression, like you-tube, spotify, last.fm & pandora.
9) Majority of Zep records were made with like 8 tracks total. You didn't need as much if any compression to glue together 6-8 tracks.
10) People like shit loud. Only audio engineers complain about loudness. Music fans and most musicians (especially rock) think it's awesome.

I could probably go on but I'm rocking out to some throwback Killswitch Engage as I type this. And it's REALLY loud. I love it. My neighbors probably hate it. If you don't turn it down. You'll still end up hearing more out of the track since the dynamic range is so selective.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2011, 12:54:26 AM by Cereal_Killer »

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November 01, 2011, 04:59:57 AM
The sound on sound article makes the case that dynamic range hasn't changed too much, but the average RMS has increased. The most interesting graph is the very last one (I think) where it shows clipped samples. UNtil the last couple of years, you saw almost no actual clipping, now it's quiet prevalent. The issue with clipping is that some playback system can handle it relatively smoothly, while others (like older CD players) just add nasty sounding distortion, and some encoding algorithms don't handle clipped samples well.

The interesting thing that I notice, both when listening to commercial releases, and when working on projects myself, is that the fewer elements in the mix, the louder you can get it to sound. Led Zep sounds big because there aren't 20 layered guitars, 5 lead vocals, and so on. When you start piling on distorted guitars, it gets hard to make the mix sound loud. I listen to some currnet mixes and they jsut sound mushy and cluttered. Black Parade by My Chemical Romance is a really small sounding mix, to my ears. And when you take a mix like that and put it on radio, which adds multiband limiting, it just gets smaller and less impactful. I switch stations to a classic rock station playing 70's rock, and that stuff sounds huge compared to modern rock stuff.

Take a singer songwriter with an acoustic guitar and out a limiter on it, and see how loud you can make it. It can get much louder than a rock band with distorted guitars, etc.  Dynamic range can make for a louder net volume, if done correctly.


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November 01, 2011, 08:30:11 PM
Led Zep sounds big because there aren't 20 layered guitars, 5 lead vocals, and so on. When you start piling on distorted guitars, it gets hard to make the mix sound loud.

Sums it up well. With such a zen and simplistic approach to production a song was basically together by the time they finished dubs.

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November 08, 2011, 12:57:00 PM
This post on my blog is probably of relevance.  3 of my favourite CD masters that had the balls to say "HELL NO" and preserve their full dynamics- and sound amazing as a result.

http://darkandtwistedsounds.edrock.net/2011/11/3-cds-for-21st-century-audiophile.html

When you hear something that sounds that rich and expansive it really puts the "loudness war", and how unbelievably stupid it is, in its place.  There's just no point, no benefit whatsoever.  It's nonsensical.  It's not rock n' roll.  Hell, it's not even musical.

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November 09, 2011, 09:52:40 AM
Trouble is we're dealing with lowest common denominator as far as playback is concerned. I don't know many folks with a decent HiFi , heck most of them just put their speakers behind the sofa or listen to stuff via their computer speakers. Alot of the subtlty of a dynamic mix is lost in the average listening enviroment.

I grew up listening to my Dad's HiFi gear , I remember he had Quad system with Electrostatics at first and then over the years I had to sit and listen whilst he auditioned different gear. Most folk can't hear the difference between a mix that's been ruined by overcompression and one that hasn't.

CD
We never finish a mix - We simply abandon them.  Adam A7's , Focusrite Pro24 DSP, Focusrite LiquidMix, Presonus FaderPort, Sennheiser HD250 Linear II

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November 09, 2011, 05:21:23 PM
Trouble is we're dealing with lowest common denominator as far as playback is concerned. I don't know many folks with a decent HiFi , heck most of them just put their speakers behind the sofa or listen to stuff via their computer speakers. Alot of the subtlty of a dynamic mix is lost in the average listening enviroment.

I grew up listening to my Dad's HiFi gear , I remember he had Quad system with Electrostatics at first and then over the years I had to sit and listen whilst he auditioned different gear. Most folk can't hear the difference between a mix that's been ruined by overcompression and one that hasn't.

CD

I think what you're saying is true for certain genres, obviously top 40, etc. But I think that in some genres you can get away with a lot more subtlety, and not just jazz and classical. I know that my friends who are into indie rock, even punk, take their stereo listening pretty seriously. They notice immediately when something is clipped or too compressed. Not that they put a premium on fidelity, per se, but they do put a premium on fidelity to the artist's vision/sound. A Guided By Voices cd that was recorded on 4 track and distorted and everything else has a certain sound to it, and if that's wrecked by bad mastering, you can tell.

Having said that, the majority of people are happy to listen to Top 40, and they just want it in the background,  on the elevator speaker, etc.

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November 15, 2012, 09:46:35 AM
Thanks for the read