Are the loudness wars over?*

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

  1. drbryant

    drbryant Forum Resident

    Buried among all of the instructional videos about how to make tracks louder is this one. If he's right about streaming and volume equalization, then there is hope!

    artfromtex likes this.
  2. Hubert jan

    Hubert jan Forum Resident

    Congratulations, I became aware since 1994. Big scam, perfect sound forever they said.
    ToneLa, nosliw and abzach like this.
  3. abzach

    abzach Forum Resident

    I wish I became aware earlier, so that I have saved money and time.
    nosliw and iloveguitars like this.
  4. Classicrock

    Classicrock Forum Resident

    South West, UK.
    That's how they get away with it. People of a certain age usually have never heard proper music reproduction unless they have older 'audiophile' relatives. More people are latching onto the problem which accounts for the popularity of vinyl even using low end playback. I can't remember any public demand for brickwalling and limiting. It just crept in from the mid 90's but really become noticeable around 2000. Fortunately being a vinyl record person the worst effects passed me buy apart from affirming the superiority of analogue playback.
    nosliw and bherbert like this.
  5. norliss

    norliss Forum Resident

    Cardiff, Wales
  6. enfield

    enfield Forum Resident

    Essex UK
    I think this shows how bad things have got.When recordings with very average DB levels of 8-11 are now deemed as being better than most other stuff out there..Probably the reason i haven't purchased any new CD since 2003 (Hourglass by James Taylor..Great audiophile recording .But even that is only 10db because of high Replaygain levels) ..There are more than enough great older CD's out their with db's of 13-15 ,to not have to worry about any modern brickwalled stuff
    jsayers and Dynamic Ranger like this.
  7. Audiophilehi

    Audiophilehi Forum Resident

    Unfortunately not!

    I have gone back for the most part to listing to my original CD's from the 1980's. Those Target CD's really have held there own. seems the CD's that came from W. Germany really sound terrific IMHO.
    nosliw and Dynamic Ranger like this.
  8. HotelYorba101

    HotelYorba101 Forum Resident

    Although if you only stick with the old stuff how do you know it sounds better and that the content is better?
    MrBungle82 and ParanoidAndroid like this.
  9. MichaelXX2

    MichaelXX2 Forum Resident

    United States
    If I see a modern album I'm interested in, I always spring for the vinyl release, as it usually sounds loads better. There's no horrible clipping distortion, the drums and transients are all airy and intact, and the dynamic range is much bigger. I make a needledrop of it and play it when necessary. All three Fleet Foxes records and Jon Bellion's The Human Condition sound miles better on vinyl. I wish it wasn't this way. I just want to buy digital versions of digital recordings.
    MrBungle82 and JulesRules like this.
  10. Carraway

    Carraway Well-Known Member

    NE Ohio
    At least some aspects of it are older than that. When I was learning audio engineering in the late 80s/early 90s I was told, "If a song you mastered airs on the radio but is noticeably quieter than the toothpaste commercial that follows it, you'll be out of a job." Although there was still at least some appreciation for dynamic range.
  11. Hamhead

    Hamhead Sinatra promo specialist

    Are you kidding???? NO.

    The 2015 Nirvana blu ray disc:

    Analyzed: Nirvana / Nirvana (2015 Hi-Res)
    DR Peak RMS Duration Track
    DR6 0.00 dB -8.02 dB 3:38 01-You Know You're Right
    DR8 0.00 dB -8.88 dB 2:47 02-About A Girl
    DR6 0.00 dB -7.38 dB 2:21 03-Been A Son
    DR5 0.00 dB -6.50 dB 2:12 04-Sliver
    DR5 0.00 dB -6.97 dB 5:01 05-Smells Like Teen Spirit
    DR7 0.00 dB -8.09 dB 3:41 06-Come As You Are
    DR6 0.00 dB -7.69 dB 4:17 07-Lithium
    DR7 -0.02 dB -8.41 dB 4:14 08-In Bloom
    DR6 0.00 dB -8.09 dB 4:40 09-Heart-Shaped Box
    DR6 0.00 dB -8.27 dB 3:37 10-Pennyroyal Tea
    DR6 0.00 dB -8.53 dB 2:49 11-Rape Me
    DR7 0.00 dB -8.93 dB 2:32 12-Dumb
  12. Veni Vidi Vici

    Veni Vidi Vici Forum Resident

    Chicago, IL
    Exactly. It has nothing to do with analogue versus digital, except tangentially. Compression has always been an important tool to overcome the difficulty in hearing quieter passages of music on, for example, AM radio - and also in noisy environments, such as when listening inside a motor vehicle. I would argue that a more important factor in encouraging recent trends to master with more compression is increased portability of playback devices, which means more music is being listened to in circumstances very far removed from an audiophile’s listening room.
  13. JulesRules

    JulesRules Forum Resident

    I think I'm not the only one who turns obnoxious commercials down. Do these people want us listeners to react to music the same way? If so, they have already succeeded since music has been degraded a lot since back then.
    Carraway and tin ears like this.
  14. ElevatorSkyMovie

    ElevatorSkyMovie Forum Resident

    The war is over. Loudness won.
    enfield and jsayers like this.
  15. 'S.

    'S. Member

    Britain & Ireland
    nosliw likes this.
  16. Terrapin Station

    Terrapin Station Forum Resident

    NYC Man
    It really frustrates/annoys me sometimes.

    I was checking out some of the King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard stuff from 2017 yesterday, and I was digging the music, but I was getting very annoyed at how completely crappy it sounds production/mastering-wise. Everything just had this smushy, midrange fuzz to it that sounds awful--it's like a fungus on the music. The music would have so much more impact with different production/mastering.

    It left me wondering just how much recent music might be kind of ruined, because I don't know just what state a lot of the original tracks are in. Do their multitrack sources sound like that? Is that what they laid down on "tape"? If not, then some of this stuff can be salvaged and remastered once people finally come around to thinking that the current trends sound awful. But I wouldn't be surprised if lots of stuff was printed with that smushy, midrangey, garbage sound, so that it just can't be made to sound any better, and that would be a damn shame.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2018
    JulesRules likes this.
  17. Terrapin Station

    Terrapin Station Forum Resident

    NYC Man
    I don't know why we didn't just build compression (that we can toggle on and off and perhaps control re degree) into those portable devices, though. Radio simply ran compressors on what they were broadcasting. So putting compression in portable devices would solve the problem of listening to dynamic music in noisy environments in the same way, without ruining the music for other environments.
  18. perplexed

    perplexed Forum Resident

    Northeast NJ, USA
    Not over by a long shot.

    I recently sat with an engineer who mastered 3 tracks my band recorded at a small local studio.

    Same engineer mastered 5 tracks for us 4 years ago. Which I brought in for comparison.

    His first pass at mastering was louder than the 5 tracks he did 4 years ago (Which was plenty loud).

    His response was that every artist wants their songs as loud as possible.

    I had him dial it back a bit
  19. I don't have a CD in my collection that isn't "loud enough".
    Dave and JulesRules like this.
  20. JulesRules

    JulesRules Forum Resident

    I guess it's a matter of some relativity. Most CDs I have to turn down when coming from radio listening. Few of them I have to turn up - early masterings (e.g. Saga's early albums are quite quiet) or the recent Yes live double CD.
  21. ToneLa

    ToneLa Forum Resident


    You'd think volume controls didn't exist.
    Terrapin Station likes this.
  22. HippieDrill

    HippieDrill Well-Known Member

    Sacramento, Ca
    They've been over for a decade now, at least. And the real losers in the war are people who value dynamics and sound quality. Once you got to the point where everything was "brickwalled" there was no louder place to go any longer which is why CDs have sounded essentially the same for about the last 15 years or so now.
    JimW, nosliw and jsayers like this.
  23. Pastafarian

    Pastafarian Forum Resident

    The loudness blight may be over if the can sell, for a higher price, the new super improved ULTRA DYNAMIC version
    JulesRules and HippieDrill like this.
  24. bherbert

    bherbert Forum Resident

    South Africa
    It sounds ridiculous to the average person when I tell them that I much prefer it when I need to turn up the volume when I listen to music as opposed to me having to turn the music softer immediately. Most people don’t get it.
    Dave, stef1205, nosliw and 3 others like this.
  25. HippieDrill

    HippieDrill Well-Known Member

    Sacramento, Ca
    In my experience the people who don't get it generally just don't own a proper sound system. They do most of their listening on their phones in which case louder is obviously better.
    Dave and nosliw like this.

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