Why, oh why, do people ruin music with compression???

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Strat-Mangler, Dec 11, 2019.

  1. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Personal Survival Daily Record-Breaker Thread Starter

    Was excited to learn of a new Marcus King album (sans his band). I listen to the samples on Amazon and they're utterly revolting to a ridiculous degree. Just killed any enthusiasm I had.

    Extreme compression, distortion in the vocals, that in-your-face dry sound that (to me) sounds lo-fi in a real bad way, zero dynamics found anywhere, basically everything I truly despise about modern production is represented in those samples.

    Some material sounds interesting but I can't see myself grinding my teeth and white-knuckling it through a single song with that moronic production/mastering style. Why would anybody readily ruin what could be nice music??? It won't even play on the radio so what's the point of pulling this crap?

    I mean, listen to this,...


    Only 3 samples available. Tracks 2 & 8 are utter garbage. Track 3 could be so beautiful if it were mastered differently. Thankfully not as bad as the 2 others but...

    Sorry for the rant but I'm *so* sick of this crap. There is some good modern music out there but I can't listen to it when it sounds like total @#*%.
  2. Vignus

    Vignus Digital Vinylist

    I share the same feelings as you. I guess the market is providing according to customers' demand. Very few care or know or even want to know about DR. Most of the people just want music that plays loud on their phone and don't care much about quality.
    I never go below (at least) 10 DR, but that comes with a price, in terms of music being available to you.
    Also, buying music can be a shot in the dark, as you not always know what quality you are buying.
    efegarcia, GerryO, Comet01 and 2 others like this.
  3. c-eling

    c-eling I never dreamed another way.

    Exactly how I felt with BNQT's 2017 debut.
    Excellent musicianship, bastardized mastering. Shame
  4. jeddy

    jeddy Forum Resident

    Morrissey's duet album is JACKED!!!
    mozz likes this.
  5. MikeManaic61

    MikeManaic61 Forum Resident

    Believe me man its killing me. I bother why do I even buy modern CDs anymore. Especially when it's all distorted as hell.
  6. Uncle Miles

    Uncle Miles Wafting in and out of Forum

    Phoenix, AZ USA
    There must be some numeric value like 0xffffffffffff that represents the loudest digital sound and the instinct of artists and producers is to use it as much as possible
  7. Chrome_Head

    Chrome_Head Forum Resident

    Los Angeles, CA.
    I don't know this guy's music, but it is definitely in your face loud. I see The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach produced, and he made it sound a lot like a Black Keys record (I do like their stuff).
    Vinyl_Blues likes this.
  8. finslaw

    finslaw muzak to my ears

    Most annoying part of the loudness wars is the current trend of getting the drums to sound louder by turning the rest of the instrumentation down when the beat hits, creating a strobe effect.
  9. The Gomper

    The Gomper In Another Land

    I doubt the vinyl will be that bad.
  10. crookedbill

    crookedbill Forum Resident

    Marcus King fan here, too. His last album was produced by Dave Cobb who has a very measured naturalistic approach in the studio, while the new one is produced by Dan Auerbach who brickwalls all his rock productions.

    The new album sounds like it’s gonna have a lot of Black Keys influence, particularly their blues rock meets stomping glam rock thing, so there you go.

    That’s not to say all of Dan Aurbach’s productions are terrible. I thought his Dr. John album years back was good, and this year Yola and Kendell Marvel’s albums sounded great.
  11. schnitzerphilip

    schnitzerphilip "Modern Dad" Unlocked Award

    NJ USA
    It sounds fine on Apple Music on a solid internet connection. Perhaps Amazon webpage samples aren’t indicative of the sound quality.
  12. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Personal Survival Daily Record-Breaker Thread Starter

    You'd be surprised. One of his band's brickwalled albums sounded great on vinyl while another one sounded like crap.
    Fastnbulbous and The Gomper like this.
  13. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Personal Survival Daily Record-Breaker Thread Starter

    They are. They're samples of what you're getting when streaming the same song

    Listened to the new Hendrix Fillmore samples and they sound fantastic.
    BeatleJWOL likes this.
  14. sunking101

    sunking101 Forum Resident

    Yorkshire, England
    I've been fed up with the way music is mastered since the mid 90s and it got absolutely ridiculous in the noughties. Not only do you have to gamble on whether you'll enjoy the music or not you also have to gamble on whether you'll actually be able to physically listen to it, and in most cases you won't be able to.

    I had to get back into vinyl and all the additional cost that brings purely because CDs are mastered so badly in the majority of cases. I loathe seeing the word 'remastered', it reminds me of the 'new and improved' stickers on food where you just know that they've found a way to manufacture it more cheaply.
    Beefalo, stef1205, poe_man and 9 others like this.
  15. The truly hilarious thing is that the tin-earbud crowd would enjoy the same music without all of the excessive limiting and compression.
  16. Bobby Morrow

    Bobby Morrow Forum Resident

    Even in the early days of the format, there were always people who preferred the sound of vinyl to CD. That said, nothing has ruined the CD’s reputation more than the mastering choices of the last 25 years or so. There’s no wonder they’re seen as being so disposable now.
    Bern, adadad, stef1205 and 25 others like this.
  17. redfloatboat

    redfloatboat Forum Resident

    Can someone give me an example of a song that is compressed and one that is obviously not?
  18. joannenugent

    joannenugent Forum Resident

    East Coast USA
    For a song with a bit too much compression, try Scar Tissue by the Chili Peppers:

    Put on a pair of headphones and listen for all the distortion, pops, crackles and buzzes in the music...at times it sounds like your headphones are broken and something in there is loose/buzzing....and then you realize it is the recording....I love the Chili Peppers....and I can get past most the clipping, but the distortion really bugs me.

    Some compression can add a bit of punch, energy, or focus to a song, but apply too much and you just get clipping and distortion.

    As for a song without compression - anything that sounds natural or like real music....hahaha I am sure someone more knowledgeable than me can point you to a specific song that has had a release with and without a lot of compression to compare easily, but Scar Tissue should give you an idea of why people complain about compression so much.
    Vinyl_Blues and Eric_Generic like this.
  19. Vignus

    Vignus Digital Vinylist

    As much as I love RHCP, most of their albums are ear killers
  20. Vignus

    Vignus Digital Vinylist

    And most of Dire Straits albums sound really good to my ears
  21. qwerty

    qwerty A resident of the SH_Forums.

    I don't buy the "market demand" justification that the industry proposes. I agree that very few people are knowledgeable about mastering quality. So how can the market request this, when they don't know about it? How is a preference shown for compressed music when there is usually only one version made available to consumers - they will buy the only version they can at a particular time. It's not as if the industry is giving or has given consumers the choice of what to buy - no - they decide what we get. So it's not "market demand".

    It's more likely to be driven by pressure from marketing people, who want the mastering to sound loudest on the radio, and/or to have the best immediate 30-sec impression. I would prefer them to be honest about it, but have you met an honest music marketing person?
  22. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Personal Survival Daily Record-Breaker Thread Starter

    Just watch this with GOOD headphones or through a GOOD system. It's less than 2 min long. Listen to the whole thing.

  23. mr.datsun

    mr.datsun Incompletist

    You have to remember that some people like(d) the sound of compression. It was a technique to make music sound more punchy on cheap hifi or the radio. Today it is used for the same reason to deliver to mobile devices and earpods. I rememer 20 years ago 2 musicians i worked with often saying how they wanted compression on their music.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2019
    perplexed, DTK and ispace like this.
  24. ganma

    ganma Forum Resident

    It's driven by the demands of the client, whoever that may be. Often, it's the musicians themselves who want their music to sound 'modern' or 'louder' than other bands. Remasters may also be affected by musicians wanting to 'update' the sound of their recordings.
    Big label releases will inevitably be treated this way these days. However, private/self produced releases by musicians who don't favor this production style can sound really good. You can find plenty on bandcamp ...
    joshm2286, Solace, paulisdead and 2 others like this.
  25. yesstiles

    yesstiles Senior Member

    I was most upset when Joe Walsh's excellent comeback album after 20 years was compressed to the ends of the earth and back.

Share This Page