• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

The Loudness Wars has invaded the streaming services.

ThatM1key

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 27, 2020
Messages
420
Likes
272
Location
USA
While I was listening to music on tidal I noticed this one track sounded louder than usually. The track was "every rose has its thorn" by poison. I directly downloaded the songs from Qobuz and Tidal to compare. I will be using the DR Tool with Foobar2000. Yes I do own this specific song.

DRM Plugin Foobar2000:

Original 1988 CD Release:
1988.JPG


Hard + Heavy CD Set Release:
HH.JPG


Tidal MQA (No decode):
Tidal.JPG


Qobuz 96khz 24bit:
Tidal.JPG


Spectrum:

1988 CD Release:
spek1.JPG


Qobuz 96khz 24bit:
qobuz.JPG


Not all is bad. Luckily Kenny G's "Breathless" doesn't suffer. I'll use "Forever In Love" as an example.

DRM Plugin Foobar2000:

Physical Copy:
My.JPG


Tidal:
Tidal1.JPG


Deezer:
Deezer1.JPG


YouTube Direct OPUS:
opus.JPG


Spectrum:

Physical Copy:
02. Kenny G - Forever in Love.jpg


Tidal:
02 - Kenny G - Forever in Love.flactidal.jpg


Deezer:
02. Kenny G - Forever in Love.flacdeezer.jpg


YouTube Direct OPUS:
Forever in Love - YouTube_2.jpg
 
Last edited:

tw99

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2019
Messages
366
Likes
777
Location
West Berkshire, UK
Presumably they're streaming a remastered (aka loudness war casualty) version of the album ? That's just one of the reasons why your own local content can be preferable to streaming where you have little/no control over which version you get to listen to.
 

tmtomh

Major Contributor
Joined
Aug 14, 2018
Messages
1,319
Likes
3,855
I certainly agree with the OP - but I’m a little puzzled as to why they are surprised at this. “Audiophile” streaming services are audiophile only in that they offer high-res, lossless streaming formats/tiers. They take whatever files the record labels give them, which are almost always remasters - which in turn are often Loudness War masterings.

In particular, you’re pretty much never going to get a 1980s/early ’90s CD mastering on such a service - not only because it’s old, but also because as far as I know the digital master tapes/files for most albums up until maybe the mid-90s were only 16/44.1 sources. So the labels are going to supply the “audiophile” streaming services with high-res content, which usually means masterings made from digital transfers done within the last 20-25 years, often much more recently than that.

This is one of the main reasons I’d never pay for a premium, high-res streaming subscription: no control over which masterings I can play, and often very little way to even know which exact mastering it is.
 
OP
ThatM1key

ThatM1key

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 27, 2020
Messages
420
Likes
272
Location
USA

firedog

Active Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2016
Messages
294
Likes
488
I certainly agree with the OP - but I’m a little puzzled as to why they are surprised at this. “Audiophile” streaming services are audiophile only in that they offer high-res, lossless streaming formats/tiers. They take whatever files the record labels give them, which are almost always remasters - which in turn are often Loudness War masterings.

In particular, you’re pretty much never going to get a 1980s/early ’90s CD mastering on such a service - not only because it’s old, but also because as far as I know the digital master tapes/files for most albums up until maybe the mid-90s were only 16/44.1 sources. So the labels are going to supply the “audiophile” streaming services with high-res content, which usually means masterings made from digital transfers done within the last 20-25 years, often much more recently than that.

This is one of the main reasons I’d never pay for a premium, high-res streaming subscription: no control over which masterings I can play, and often very little way to even know which exact mastering it is.
What you said is correct, but Qobuz often has a newer version and an older - even Redbook- version in it's catalog. Of course, if all of them have undergone "upgrading" via volume compression - you're out of luck.
Just another reason to actually buy music you really like.
 
OP
ThatM1key

ThatM1key

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 27, 2020
Messages
420
Likes
272
Location
USA
What you said is correct, but Qobuz often has a newer version and an older - even Redbook- version in it's catalog. Of course, if all of them have undergone "upgrading" via volume compression - you're out of luck.
Just another reason to actually buy music you really like.

There is 3 other versions of the album on Qobuz, I'll test those
 
  • Like
Reactions: ENG

Mnyb

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Aug 14, 2019
Messages
1,038
Likes
1,330
Location
Sweden, Västerås
I say this again (for the n'th time on all forums) a true audiophile streaming service would curate the good masters for us to enjoy .
But that entails manual work and research which costs money .
Do any streaming actually covering their costs these days ? at all ?
 

Mnyb

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Aug 14, 2019
Messages
1,038
Likes
1,330
Location
Sweden, Västerås
.. and that's why i have not moved beyond Spotify premium , why should I ?

In cases where i could be reasonably sure that the online and CD version are the same (small artist small label live album no budget to crank out seven versions) I have done some informal limited tests .
Using the spotty plugin in LMS (based on libre spot) with volume eq turned of and a 320kbps stream it's basically the same i would have to resort to a true ABX style test to make sure , what i did was cuing up my CD copy and sportify version of some track multiple times in a playlist and scrambled them , not rigorous conditions but i could not tell.

Sometimes you can tell some odd track on sportify can sound bad , which is down to non existing QC and selection of tracks which is whatever gets uploaded from the labels so no surprise there .

But there is no reason to select streaming service based on codecs . there is no controls at all in place to streams decent versions of any track I'll take the good version on cassette any day . 320kB to 24/96 or MQA are basically the same compared to mastering and version differences , so it's all elaborate turd polishing :D
 

Phorize

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Apr 26, 2019
Messages
1,093
Likes
1,320
Location
U.K
But there is no reason to select streaming service based on codecs.

You are likely to be right in most many cases from an audible SQ point of view, but there’s abit more to codecs than SQ. Obnoxious codec licensing is a reason to avoid certain technologies.
 

Mnyb

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Aug 14, 2019
Messages
1,038
Likes
1,330
Location
Sweden, Västerås
You are likely to be right in most many cases from an audible SQ point of view, but there’s abit more to codecs than SQ. Obnoxious codec licensing is a reason to avoid certain technologies.

I agree on that, we need more formats as much as hole in the head :) the whole content delivery situation online is like records before riaa standardardisation wax cylinder vs 78 disc vhs vs beta etc. How many streaming services to watch TV ? Netflix HBO and Disney ?
The whole situation is like we would for some reason need different CD players for different record companies . You cant find full coverage in any music streaming service ?
It's getting better actually remember when iTunes where a monolithic blob with proprietary solutions hampering online music and Apples refusal to add flac codec to iTunes ?
I think much of computer audio immediately went wrong with proprietary formats from both apple and Microsoft who needed that ?
Well home computing has a messy history and computing in general we live with many compromises and odd decisions from the past.
 

mhardy6647

Major Contributor
Joined
Dec 12, 2019
Messages
4,336
Likes
8,264
You know... :rolleyes:

Skimming this thread ;) just reinforces my notion that the physical purchase and "ownership" (yeah, I know -- one owns the medium, not the content encoded thereuon!) of content on "hard" media (be those media fabricated of polycarbonate, polyvinyl chloride, or polyester) still has some advantage even in 2020 2021 AD (or CE, if one prefers).

DSC_0045 by Mark Hardy, on Flickr
DSC_2465 by Mark Hardy, on Flickr
Otari MX5050 010215 1 by Mark Hardy, on Flickr
1610546238508.png
 

abdo123

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Nov 15, 2020
Messages
4,809
Likes
4,375
Location
Brussels, Belgium
You know... :rolleyes:

Skimming this thread ;) just reinforces my notion that the physical purchase and "ownership" (yeah, I know -- one owns the medium, not the content encoded thereuon!) of content on "hard" media (be those media fabricated of polycarbonate, polyvinyl chloride, or polyester) still has some advantage even in 2020 2021 AD (or CE, if one prefers).

DSC_0045 by Mark Hardy, on Flickr
DSC_2465 by Mark Hardy, on Flickr
Otari MX5050 010215 1 by Mark Hardy, on Flickr
View attachment 105790

Except that physical media degrades, either spontaneously over time or due to typical use.

It’s a losing battle honestly.
 

firedog

Active Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2016
Messages
294
Likes
488
I say this again (for the n'th time on all forums) a true audiophile streaming service would curate the good masters for us to enjoy .
But that entails manual work and research which costs money .
Do any streaming actually covering their costs these days ? at all ?
The services are at the mercy of the labels. The contracts to stream a given album aren't forever, and the label can also provide the version it decides to. The streaming service can't just stream what it wants.

Of course, this is mostly for popular music. With acoustic based music it's not so much of an issue. Generally no heavy volume compression.
 
Top Bottom