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Loudness compression, loudness wars.. What exactly it is and why is it happening?

maty

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Today, maty auditions presents: The odd case of the vinyl with lower DR that sounds a lot better than the XRCD.

Van Cliburn, Kondrashin - Tchaikovsky - Piano Concerto No 1 (1958), Vinyl, Half-speed Remastered, RCA Red Seal .5 Series 1981, US

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky - Van Cliburn, Kiril Kondrashin - Concerto No. 1 (Vinyl, LP, Album, Stereo) | Discogs



DR Peak RMS Duration Track
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DR10 -0.05 dB -14.25 dB 20:37 01-I. Allegro Non Troppo E Molto Maestoso; Allegro Con Spirito
DR14 -1.26 dB -20.73 dB 7:01 02-II. Andante Simplice Prestissimo; Tempo I
DR10 -0.09 dB -13.50 dB 6:49 03-III. Allegro Con Fuoco
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Number of tracks: 3
Official DR value: DR11


CD, 1993

Sergey Rachmaninov, Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky, Kiril Kondrashin, Fritz Reiner, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, RCA Victor Orchestra, RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra, Van Cliburn - Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No.1 / Rachmaninoff: Concerto No.2 - Amazon.com Music


Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 (Van Cliburn 1958 recording - Wikipedia)
The Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No.1 was the first recording of Van Cliburn in 1958 for RCA Victor. It won Cliburn a Grammy and was the first classical recording to go platinum, that is to sell more than a million copies. The RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra was conducted by Kiril Kondrashin who at Cliburn's request had been allowed to leave Russia.


Van Cliburn, Kondrashin - Tchaikovsky - Piano Concerto No 1 (1958), XRCD, JVC 2003, Japan

Trustysound: Products: Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No 1 Cliburn XRCD



DR Peak RMS Duration Track
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DR13 0.00 dB -18.55 dB 20:51 01-Allegro non troppo e molto maetoso
DR15 -1.19 dB -25.61 dB 7:04 02-Andantino simplice
DR13 -0.56 dB -17.66 dB 6:55 03-Allegro con fuoco
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Number of tracks: 3
Official DR value: DR14


Before listening to this vinyl, the one that best sounded to me was the XRCD. Despite its minor dynamics, the vinyl (half-speed) is several steps above!
 

MRC01

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I have that same 1st record: an original limited edition 1/2 speed master pressing of the Cliburn Tchiakovsky PC #1. It measures exactly the same: 10, 14, 10, and 11 overall.
Scan Dir: /media/mclement/MUSIC/music/all/Tchaikovsky-Piano Concerto 1-Cliburn-Kondrashin
01-Track 1.flac: DR 10
02-Track 2.flac: DR 14
03-Track 3.flac: DR 10
DR = 11
+1 for consistency!

I have many other classic RCA Victors. They all have a similar dynamic compression profile: the quietest parts are boosted a bit, probably due to the limited dynamic range of recordings in the 50s and 60s. It's tastefully done, not excessive, though I prefer other recordings that have no dynamic compression as the wider dynamics sound more natural.
 

MRC01

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AudioQuest Jazz & Blues recordings from the 1990s have excellent dynamic range. They were analog recordings released on vinyl, and later on CD. For example, these are from high quality digital recordings I made from the LPs:

Scan Dir: /media/mclement/MUSIC/music/all/Earl-Beard-1996-Blues Union
01-Lay for Me Sometimes.flac: DR 17
02-Just to Be With You.flac: DR 17
03-I Count the Days You're Gone.flac: DR 16
04-Sinners Prayer.flac: DR 17
05-Sally Mae.flac: DR 12
06-Feets Out in the Hall.flac: DR 17
07-Think.flac: DR 16
08-Telling it Like it Is.flac: DR 18
09-Late in the Evening.flac: DR 14
DR = 16

Scan Dir: /media/mclement/MUSIC/music/all/Earl-Katz-1993-Still River
01-Blues for the West Side.flac: DR 15
02-Time to Remember.flac: DR 15
03-Kansas City Monarch.flac: DR 21
04-Soul Serenade.flac: DR 15
05-Equinox.flac: DR 17
06-Chili be Hugh.flac: DR 14
07-Rego Park Blues.flac: DR 16
08-Derek's Peace.flac: DR 15
DR = 16

Scan Dir: /media/mclement/MUSIC/music/all/Katz Band-1992-Crescent Crawl
01-Crecent Crawl.flac: DR 16
02-Just An Expression.flac: DR 17
03-Contrition.flac: DR 18
04-BK's Broiler.flac: DR 16
05-Buzz Cut.flac: DR 15
06-One Way Ticket.flac: DR 16
07-Boomer's Thing.flac: DR 18
08-Beast.flac: DR 16
09-Will It Go 'Round In Circles.flac: DR 16
10-Just A Closer Walk With Thee.flac: DR 14
DR = 16
 
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maty

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Frank Zappa - Over-Nite Sensation (1973), Vinyl, Pallas 180 gr 2013, Germany

The Mothers - Over-Nite Sensation (Vinyl, LP, Album) | Discogs



DR Peak RMS Duration Track
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DR13 -1.78 dB -17.41 dB 3:58 01-Camarillo Brillo
DR12 -0.62 dB -16.59 dB 3:34 02-I'm The Slime
DR13 0.00 dB -15.41 dB 2:57 03-Dirty Love
DR12 0.00 dB -13.70 dB 6:09 04-Fifty-Fifty
DR12 0.00 dB -14.29 dB 5:09 05-Zomby Woof
DR12 -1.68 dB -16.09 dB 6:02 06-Dinah-Moe Humm
DR14 -2.06 dB -18.57 dB 6:33 07-Montana
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Number of tracks: 7
Official DR value: DR13


CD, 2012 DR 10

Over-Nite Sensation by Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention on Amazon Music - Amazon.com

dr.loudness-war.info Frank Zappa - Over-Nite Sensation
 

maty

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MRC01

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Looks like the recording engineers squashed the life out of that music, consistent with modern standards.
Great to see these warnings, which say "Do not buy"!
 

RayDunzl

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Track 1 of Random Access memories from CD

Foobar DR Meter says "9"

1559972321467.png


CD played back and recorded in-room

Foobar DR Meter says "13"

1559972434198.png
 

Sal1950

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When you think you have seen it all in audio...

Santana - Africa Speaks (2019) DR4
WOW, really. I'm just finding that hard to believe
Incredible waste of a technology we would have killed for in 1965.
I gave it a quick listen on Spotify and wouldn't pay $0.10 ten cents for it either
technically or musically.
A sad day for Santana fans.
 

g29

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View attachment 13014

Another interesting graphic...

As much as I would like to believe the loudness war is over or subsiding, my recent purchases of modern music in the rock, R&B and alt categories show otherwise. I just took a quick snap of a few tunes from 2017-18 and unfortunately still unacceptable DR:

View attachment 13015

What are you gonna do eh?

PS @DonH56 - thanks for the kind words. I did not make the video, credit goes to Matt Mayfield, in which he did a fantastic job in not only showing the difference, but one can easily hear the difference, even over Youtube, with its own compression and listening on laptop speakers.
Here is a flash from the past with a wee bit of DR.

Flim and the BBs Tricycle.jpg


Here is track #1, [ 43dB to 105.8dB ] in room response.

Dynamic Range Flim and the BBs Tricycle.jpg
 
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maty

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Just now, SACD vs XRCD vs Vinyl.

https://www.diyaudio.com/forums/music/6958-playing-listening-post5818899.html

The Japanese 1975 vinyl mono reissue has lower DR but it has the better sound without any doubt!


Sonny Rollins – Saxophone Colossus (1956), Vinyl, mono, Prestige 1975, Japan

Sonny Rollins - Saxophone Colossus (Vinyl, LP, Album, Reissue, Mono) | Discogs



DR Peak RMS Duration Track
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DR12 -0.61 dB -16.38 dB 6:49 A1 St Thomas
DR12 -2.19 dB -16.92 dB 6:33 A2 You Don't Know What Love Is
DR12 -1.66 dB -15.94 dB 5:15 A3 Strode Rode
DR13 -2.73 dB -19.08 dB 9:59 B1 Moritat
DR14 -3.15 dB -22.00 dB 11:11 B2 Blue Seven
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Number of tracks: 5
Official DR value: DR13
 

maty

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Bruce Springsteen - Western Stars (2019) (HDtracks) {24-96} [FLAC]

Western Stars | HDtracks - The World's Greatest-Sounding Music Downloads



DR Peak RMS Duration Track
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DR9 -0.09 dB -11.56 dB 3:37 01-Hitch Hikin'
DR7 -0.09 dB -10.22 dB 4:18 02-The Wayfarer
DR6 -0.10 dB -8.06 dB 3:31 03-Tucson Train
DR6 -0.09 dB -10.32 dB 4:41 04-Western Stars
DR7 -0.08 dB -8.26 dB 3:14 05-Sleepy Joe's Café
DR7 -0.09 dB -10.46 dB 4:17 06-Drive Fast (The Stuntman)
DR7 -0.09 dB -10.53 dB 5:03 07-Chasin' Wild Horses
DR7 -0.10 dB -8.76 dB 3:18 08-Sundown
DR8 -0.10 dB -12.01 dB 1:53 09-Somewhere North Of Nashville
DR7 -0.08 dB -9.16 dB 4:45 10-Stones
DR6 -0.09 dB -7.69 dB 4:05 11-There Goes My Miracle
DR6 -0.10 dB -8.35 dB 3:56 12-Hello Sunshine
DR9 -0.10 dB -11.45 dB 4:16 13-Moonlight Motel
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Number of tracks: 13
Official DR value: DR7


CD, 2019

Bruce Springsteen - WESTERN STARS - Amazon.com Music
 

bennetng

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maty

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Donald Fagen - The Nightfly (1982), Vinyl, MoFi Ultradisc One Step Remastered 2017, 45 RPM, US

Donald Fagen - The Nightfly (Vinyl, 12", 45 RPM, Album, Limited Edition, Numbered, Reissue, Remastered) | Discogs



DR Peak RMS Duration Track
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DR15 -0.32 dB -17.64 dB 6:04 A1 IGY (International Geophysical Year)
DR16 0.00 dB -19.12 dB 3:42 A2 Green Flower Street
DR16 -0.53 dB -20.09 dB 5:39 B1 Ruby Baby
DR16 -1.40 dB -20.25 dB 3:50 B2 Maxine
DR16 -0.61 dB -19.49 dB 6:22 C1 New Frontier
DR17 0.00 dB -19.67 dB 5:47 C2 The Nightfly
DR16 0.00 dB -17.90 dB 4:50 D1 The Goodbye Look
DR16 0.00 dB -18.22 dB 2:39 D2 Walk Between Raindrops
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Number of tracks: 8
Official DR value: DR16


Donald Fagen - The Nightfly 180g 45RPM 2LP Box Set

Donald Fagen's "The Nightfly" — Mobile Fidelity Does the Digital One-Step | Analog Planet

https://www.amazon.com/Nightfly-DONALD-FAGEN/dp/B071FL9MDN


dr.loudness-war.info Donald Fagen - The Nightfly

(mini LP) [SHM-CD], 2017 DR13, three dB less
 
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maty

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Today, in the last Archimago's post:

LISTENING: Fully battery-powered wireless streamer & amplifier system (Yeeco - TI TPA3116D2, TalentCell 12V battery)

http://archimago.blogspot.com/2019/06/listening-fully-battery-powered.html

It's rather sad and maddening that in 2019, the record companies don't seem to understand that the poor sound quality of these recordings are likely hurting sales and driving music fans away from artists and their music in general. Despite hi-fi technology improving over the years, the technical qualities of mainstream music have as a whole diminished...
 

Wombat

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Most releases are for the profitable mass market that apparently likes it that way
The rest of us(small market) need to just get over it, after these many years, and support the many acceptable releases that are available(old and new) in various formats and maybe be less 'picky'.
 
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Wombat

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