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Loudness wars almost over? NYT weighs in

jhaider

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#1
On the theory that by the time a cultural phenomenon hits the Times it's already on its way out, perhaps the Loudness Wars are about to end. One can only hope!

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/07/...my-songs-tell-us-about-the-loudness-wars.html

"Loudness has its place, but most of us like our music to have breathing room, so that our eardrums are constantly tickled by little sonic explosions. In a tight, compressed space, music can get asphyxiated."

Bob Ludwig is quoted, decrying that normalization hasn't done the job of killing over-compression.

I like the graphs they use better than reductive "DR" scores, too.
 

JJB70

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#5
I'm really not sure that normalising software will end over compressed recordings as now it seems to be as much about mastering materials to play on small BT speakers and have room filling sound from an unfeasibly small speaker without distortion.
 

Soniclife

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#6
I'm really not sure that normalising software will end over compressed recordings as now it seems to be as much about mastering materials to play on small BT speakers and have room filling sound from an unfeasibly small speaker without distortion.
I would expect that many of these speakers have some sort of compression DSP as part of their approach to getting big sound out of tiny enclosures, so it might be false logic to pre compress for them. I do hope so.
 

Krunok

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#7
I would expect that many of these speakers have some sort of compression DSP as part of their approach to getting big sound out of tiny enclosures, so it might be false logic to pre compress for them. I do hope so.
AFAIK they don't. They do have digital crossovers to avoid being overdriven by bass and to get linear response and that's about it.
 

pozz

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#9
Why in the world would a label like Blue Note play that little game?
The Big Beat, 2005, DR 9:
http://dr.loudness-war.info/album/view/170715
The Big Beat, 1987, DR 13:
http://dr.loudness-war.info/album/view/170704
Makes you wonder if the mastering techniques are getting stupid?
From an engineer I know: "My job is to make records that sound their best on as many systems as possible and to make sure they are competitive."

Since few understand what level-matching is and why its necessary for comparison, especially those who are eventually judging if the record is fit for production or not, this situation is likely to continue for a while. Seems like, if the Loudness Wars end, so will a large chunk of audiophile gear passions.

In his excellent book, Bob McCarthy wrote something like, "Sane use of the limiter is about as likely as world peace."
 

Soundstage

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#10
Do
From an engineer I know: "My job is to make records that sound their best on as many systems as possible and to make sure they are competitive."

Since few understand what level-matching is and why its necessary for comparison, especially those who are eventually judging if the record is fit for production or not, this situation is likely to continue for a while. Seems like, if the Loudness Wars end, so will a large chunk of audiophile gear passions.

In his excellent book, Bob McCarthy wrote something like, "Sane use of the limiter is about as likely as world peace."
So basically, if the remastering engineers turns up the volume compared to the original master everyone is happy?
 

pma

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#11
Newer issues of consumer music like pop and rock are almost all unlistenable, for the reason of dynamic compression. As the generation like mine and a bit younger, that has had daily experience with not so much compressed music, would pass away, the generations that were surrounded by overcompressed music since their childhood would not see it as a problem. They can listen to it in a car, underground, and do not care that this high degree of dynamic compression changes the sound of instruments and makes the music boring. And they can play it at lowest volume as a lunch background music ;).
I was terribly disappointed even with Diana Krall's Wallflower album, even if she had sonically very good recordings 20 years ago.
 

pozz

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#12
Do

So basically, if the remastering engineers turns up the volume compared to the original master everyone is happy?
The compressor and limiter, but basically yes.

This doesn't aflict everyone, given how much music is being produced that doesn't touch the mainstream—there is a chance, though, since that kind of music is also accessible, that it will be affected too. I'm talking mostly about electronic music (avant-garde or popular), which I know very well. The piece of it which is dance music has long been squashed to death, with clipping even being considered a kind of "sound" that artists go for. But even there a strong contingent will work to preserve dynamic range.

A big issue with amateur producers is that they don't understand digital gain staging, or think of gain in analog terms.
 

MRC01

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#15
Classical has been largely free of the loudness war madness, but I recently encountered a recording that was compressed to the point of clipping: the Zefiro Ensemble's new recording of the Brandenburg Concertos. I loved the performance, and it is such a shame the engineers ruined it. The musicians and listeners deserved better.
 
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