Are the loudness wars over?*

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Diorama, Sep 5, 2017.

  1. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Plenty of dynamically mastered releases are still coming out, but you have to hunt for them. Sometimes dynamically mastered releases can show up in odd places as well. Desolate Shrine's (death metal band) release from 2017 was a DR10. By contrast two recent comeback albums from 90s artists I really like (Ride and Slowdive) were both very compressed, and not nearly as dynamic as their old stuff.
     
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  2. Further

    Further Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    I've held the opinion for a long time that that is exactly what will happen in the future. Everything that sounds like crap now will be remastered to sound better, thereby making them money all over again. I would feel bad for any band that had that sound "baked" into the tapes. Can you imagine laying down a great album and never being able to undo the crappy sound of it?

    Anyway, in some cases, I really hope it does happen and they go back and master what they are able to properly. There is a ton of great music that's been made in the last bunch of years that's being held prisoner by the loudness wars mastering they have. Very unfortunate.
     
  3. JulesRules

    JulesRules Forum Resident

    Location:
    Germany
    Disagree. Only in the last couple of years have I heard lots of pop songs on the radio that sounded like pure distortion. Compression levels may have been high before, but 10 years ago rock instruments still tended to sound relatively natural IMO.
     
  4. It's very strange to find out now that I wasn't listening to the late 80s CD version of "Back in Black" loud enough. I was playing it loud, and I liked it.
     
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  5. digilog

    digilog New Member

    Location:
    Los Angeles
    I think for modern recordings/artists, that loudness'd sound is a deliberate and stylistic decision. Like applying autotune or vocalizing with a "fry" voice.
    It's a very different scenario than classic albums being "pumped up" just for the REMASTER badge (and all its repeat-customer revenue).
     
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  6. Veni Vidi Vici

    Veni Vidi Vici Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    I don’t think helping listeners in noisy environments was the goal - the music was compressed to help raise the signal/noise ratio of the lousy carrier wave.
     
  7. ToneLa

    ToneLa Forum Resident

    Location:
    Liverpool
    I wonder if this stupid war will ever go full circle, and music, even in just niche releases, will be "de-mastered" for lack of a better term, to remove the compression, gain, limiting etc... Advertised as "full dynamic range" releases maybe

    I don't think it's coincidence that many of my favourite acts have dynamic range as a big part of their style. I hate Wall of Sound style production. I want to hear everything doing its native thing, and unless the effect is WOWZA I love authenticity. My perfect records feel like the artist is there, there's space around the instruments, and they all have power (rather than a continuous level which I find distracting and musically poorer)
     
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  8. Classicrock

    Classicrock Forum Resident

    Location:
    South West, UK.
    I would have booted him and hired a better engineer!
     
  9. Vaughan

    Vaughan Forum Resident

    I really really want to agree with you, and I do think some people go overboard with accusations about masterings which likely were artistic decisions.

    That said, there's a serious flaw in this idea. I accept Vinyl and CD mastering are different processes, with slightly different requirements, but why are they sometimes radically better on Vinyl (I don't accept the blanket idea that Vinyl is simply "better" than CD)?

    My go-to examples of the moment are the latest albums from Steve Earle and Robert Plant - absolutely **cked on CD.
     
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  10. Classicrock

    Classicrock Forum Resident

    Location:
    South West, UK.
    I think most of that music will be forgotten pretty quickly. Radio that doesn't focus so much on current chart output is filled with classic rock, 80s pop and disco that was better recorded and involves good composition and arrangements of real instruments. I can see that being popular for some time yet while 00's pop and bland rock output will have little lasting interest. When music by Steps and S club 7 is being revived as a nostalgic period pop something is seriously wrong.
     
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  11. perplexed

    perplexed Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Northeast NJ, USA
    He is a very good engineer. And he mastered it to the level that I requested, which is somewhere between the old original CDs and the new brickwalled stuff.
    What I am saying is that outside of audiophile forums like this the majority of people, including artists want their music LOUD. Especially when it comes to digital releases.
     
  12. perplexed

    perplexed Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Northeast NJ, USA
    Come to think of it, outside of this forum the only people I ever hear complaining about brickwalled CDs or downloads are my friends who work in radio.
     
  13. Classicrock

    Classicrock Forum Resident

    Location:
    South West, UK.
    Then it is your fault and you should be pressing for mastering that enables full dynamic range. It appears musicians need educating. Some do appreciate this as not all CDs are really loud. Tell me why you want it loud. Give people a choice. If they want it loud there is something called a volume knob.
     
  14. perplexed

    perplexed Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Northeast NJ, USA
    I am not brickwalling the music but I am trying to strike a ballance between something really dymanic and something brickwalled.

    An example of something really dynamic would be my original Neil Young Harvest CD. That CD sounds great on my home Hifi. However that CD was useless in my old car stereo. It was mastered so low that while driving on the road with noise I needed to push the volume to the point where my car stereo had serious signal to noise issues.

    I personally dig dynamic music, especially on vinyl. But I need something that will not only sound good on hifi equipment but on phones/earbuds and on laptops. Without having to push the volume so high. Like I said, seeking a balance.

    However, we aren't professionals releaseing stuff on a major lable. Just recording locally and releasing independently on a really small scale.

    I know my listening audience is not using hifi equipment. Aside from a few of my bandmates, not one of my friends even owns a home stereo. My band will not be producing vinyl. Just CDs and mp3 downloads. I am pretty confident that most people who end up geting these tracks will be listening on phones, computers, through bluetooth speakers, in the car, etc. Most of their music is brickwalled as hell. Like I said, I need a ballance - something that sounds good on iphones and computers too.


    You can stream tracks here
    Songs From The Cool Room, by Framing Dakota

    These are the tracks we recorded and mastred 4 years ago. The engineer wanted to master louder this time but I told him to essentially match this level.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2018
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  15. Classicrock

    Classicrock Forum Resident

    Location:
    South West, UK.
    Ok thanks for the explanation. CD in car I find inconvenient and most new cars don't even have CD players. I appreciate the need to make the mp3 market loud but I think CDs are mostly used by people who have home stereos now, not for portables. So I see no reason for loud mastering on the CD format. Opportunity for a less compressed digital format other than hi-res. Nobody ever complained about cassette/8 track in cars not being loud enough. Never had an issue.
     
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  16. Veni Vidi Vici

    Veni Vidi Vici Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Did he say he asked for the tracks to be mastered with compression, or mastered loud? Two different things. And while it’s true there’s little point mastering loud if you can just turn up the volume, there’s also just as little point mastering quiet if you can turn down the volume.
     
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  17. Funi

    Funi Active Member

    Good point. What is the CDs' target today?
     
  18. NorthNY Mark

    NorthNY Mark Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canton, NY, USA
    I could be wrong, but I believe the point is that it is not possible to achieve current "competitive" volume levels without a ton of compression and/or limiting. Therefore, "mastering loud" is, in practice, simply shorthand for "mastering with inadequate dynamic range." You can't have one without the other. It would theoretically be possible to master a dynamically squashed album at a low volume level, but I've never heard of anyone doing that. So basically, in practice, "quiet" means "dynamic" and "loud" means "not dynamic."
     
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  19. The_Windmill

    The_Windmill Forum Resident

    Location:
    Italy
    The remaster of Klaus Schulze's "X" was exactly that. DR4 or something, insane amount of headroom. Never understood why, probably a mistake. It was redone with decent dynamics later on.
     
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  20. bherbert

    bherbert Forum Resident

    Location:
    South Africa
    The Beatles In Mono cd remasters defeated loudness in 2009
     
  21. dkmonroe

    dkmonroe A completely self-taught idiot

    Location:
    Atlanta
    [​IMG]
     
  22. bherbert

    bherbert Forum Resident

    Location:
    South Africa
    Unfortunately, loudness has won the overall war. Small battles were won by the likes of the Beatles 2009 Mono remasters. IMO people don’t care. As long as the music is loud and catchy they’re happy.
     
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  23. Guy E

    Guy E Forum Resident

    Location:
    Antalya, Turkey
    Judging from this post, hard rock and heavy metal are still competing to be LOUD.

    I started a similar thread at some point because I've found less and less brick wall mastering in my own purchases. But my tastes don't embrace much hard rock. I think it varies from genre to genre.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2018
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  24. Funi

    Funi Active Member

    Yeah, some small "sign", at least in my experience, primarily among the remasters.
     
  25. Funi

    Funi Active Member

    :laugh:...:shake:
     
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