The Loudness War

this is how the so called loudness war is damaging the sound quality of modern CDs first I'll play an example of a track from 1989 notice the clarity and punch of the drums since the two drum hits are already maximum volume if we want the track louder on the recording we have to take the quieter bits and turn them up if this track had been released in 2006 someone would probably have insisted that it be this loud now it sounds much louder and in the short term louder can seem better but you own the volume knob not the record producer so you adjust your volume to find your preferred level here we have the same volume as the original unfortunately the loudness treatment permanently changes the sound do you notice what's missing the red sections mark where the punch and clarity would have been let's hear what that maximize track sounds like at regular listening Bobby wimpy loud sound all the punch of the drums is gone along with much of the feel of the music that comes from some parts being louder than others when there's no quiet there can be no loud the original makes you turn up your volume and when you do it sounds great

21 thoughts on “The Loudness War

  • Whatever mastering process you used on this sounds FAT!! took the track from thin to thick in an instant! did miss those transients though!!

  • There is no reson for using any amount of compression in mastering (except for special effects) when modern recording equipment can achieve a minimum 80 dB of signal to noise ratio. Put compressors on car radios and home stereo gear so the end user can screw up their music.

  • What about edh techno genres. Where the kicks fullness is part of the genre, yes real drum sets, but synth drums and bass is different.. also. Earbuds dont do high dynamic range well

  • "When there's no quiet, there can be no loud." Sums this video up fantastically. Let the listener turn the volume up, don't destroy the quality of music doing it for them. Death Magnetic by Metallica and Vapor Trails by Rush are exhausting to listen to.

  • The problem I have with this is, producers (Leftfield – Leftism) for electronic music back in the early 90's release remastered versions of an album. I have no way of knowing if the reissue is better unless I could get the original copy (usually a vinyl) and compare with the digital or cd version. It's bad enough some of them only sell on google play or amazon where the highest format you can get that I know of is MP3.

  • Compressed one feels dry and unnatural. Yea I do play this Youtube video via an AV8802A -> Krell Evo 302 -> Sonus Faber Olympica II which costs as much as a new compact car. But hey, you can still tell from the headphone jack output of your iPhone.

  • If you have dynamic compression on your audio driver set on both tracks will sound exactly the same.

  • There is one genre of music whose recordings generally do not suffer from dynamic range compression, namely classical music. Maybe the record companies think that classical music fans are the only ones who care about recording quality. There is a kernel of truth in that but only a kernel. I don't why anyone would not want the best possible recording quality regardless of what genres their musical taste runs towards.

    If you are interested in music from the last 20 or 30 years, then you are pretty much out of luck as far as quality recordings go. If you are interested in popular music from earlier eras, one possibility is the collections produced by time-life. I bought their "AM Gold" collection (no longer available) which contains a nice collection of songs from the 60s and 70s. The recordings were digitally remastered from the original recording tapes. I have no idea who did the remastering but they did a first rate job. The quality of the recordings is superior to the original release versions and is near studio perfect. I cannot attest to the recording quality or lack thereof of other time-life collections. But if you are interested in popular music from earlier eras, it is worth checking out.

  • Loud is not enough, but tell this to AC-broadcasters who even squeeze tender jazz tracks or classical music into literally zero dB dynamics and MPX power of continous +3dBr…

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