SH Spotlight Why the new "LOUDNESS CRAZE" in digital mastering really robs music of life..

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Steve Hoffman, Dec 28, 2006.

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  1. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    I want to make sure that all of you watch this short video clip on what digital compression is doing to remastered music.

    Please, I want EVERYONE here to check this out so we can all have the same frame of reference on this topic. Be sure to turn your sound up to a reasonable volume...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Gmex_4hreQ

    Any questions? We need to understand this process thoroughly. This issue is literally killing the sound of music for all of us.

    I will put this thread here in the FAQ archive when finished:

    http://www.stevehoffman.tv/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=3
     
  2. DjBryan

    DjBryan New Member

    Location:
    USA
    Re: Why the new "loudness" craze in digital mastering really robs music of life..

    Good post Steve
    weak audio 101, I havent heard that song in a while
     
  3. Sput

    Sput Boilerphile In Memoriam

    Location:
    Not in Michigan
    Re: Why the new "loudness" craze in digital mastering really robs music of life..

    WEEEEELLLLLLL Doggie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'll be damned.


    Man enough to admit...........


    (The next sentence must be read like Johnny Carson)

    "I did not know that."


    That was very helpful. Got any more stuff like that?
     
  4. Gary

    Gary Nauga Gort! Staff

    Location:
    Toronto
    Re: Why the new "LOUDNESS" craze in digital mastering really robs music of life..

    Ok, now I'm "confused".

    I thought that over-compression made things sound good on crappy computer speakers - like the laptop I am using right now. But the uncompressed music has more life. It simply sounds better.

    So why over-compression?!?!? It does not make sense - unless it's an "impulse" buying tool or something like that....

    Thanks for posting that, Steve.
     
  5. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    Re: Why the new "LOUDNESS" craze in digital mastering really robs music of life..

    Why? Why indeed.

    Once it's done, it can't be undone. There is NO good reason to ruin music like this. Especially when we have to pay good money for it. Very bad for music lovers everywhere; in many cases this is the only way you can buy your favorite music now.
     
  6. pool_of_tears

    pool_of_tears Searching For Simplicity

    Location:
    Midwest
    Re: Why the new "LOUDNESS" craze in digital mastering really robs music of life..

    Flipping brilliant post and example Steve! :righton:

    That song is kinda catchy too. That's a perfect summary of how music is being ruined by record companies who wouldn't know a good mastering if it bit them in the...well, you know! :D
     
  7. Chris Malone

    Chris Malone Forum Resident

    Location:
    Australia
    Re: Why the new "LOUDNESS" craze in digital mastering really robs music of life..

    Steve, this is an excellent introduction on why compression/limiting applied during mastering is completely unnecessary.

    As an aside, I used to do a significant amount of work from home on my laptop. CDs and headphones provided entertainment. After a period of time I analysed the CDs that were regulars in my rotation to discover some of the reasons why they had achieved that status. It was discovered that all were mastered by 3 different engineers and all avoided (typical) compression/limiting. The music was mostly film scores but also popular music.

    The more people that can be educated the better!
     
  8. Re: Why the new "LOUDNESS" craze in digital mastering really robs music of life..

    Matt Mayfield deserves a medal for making this abomination so clear to understand.
     
  9. ACK!

    ACK! Senior Member

    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Re: Why the new "LOUDNESS" craze in digital mastering really robs music of life..

    Steve,

    I am no audiophile. Just a guy who listens to music for enjoyment. However, I did an a-b comparison of the latest remaster of Deep Purple's Who Do We Think We Are with your gold disc version and I have to admit, yours was smoother sounding and a more pleasing aural experience overall.

    Unfortunately, you can't remaster everything.

    And even more unfortunately, the major record companies do not care about sucking the life out of modern CD sound.

    What is one to do these days???:help: :help:
     
  10. Metoo

    Metoo Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Spain (EU)
    Re: Why the new "LOUDNESS" craze in digital mastering really robs music of life..

    I second this and would also like to congratulate and thank Steve for having started this thread and put it in the "Sticky" section of this Web site. :righton: :)
     
  11. Tullman

    Tullman Senior Member

    Location:
    Boston MA
    Re: Why the new "LOUDNESS" craze in digital mastering really robs music of life..

    I agree, but I believe that ipod's and such are responsible. Most young people probably listen to music over cheap head phones. I guess record companies feel that music sounds better compressed over a cheap headphone.

    Let's face it, record companies do not pander to audiophiles.

    Don't audio engineers know what they are doing. Do they believe that compressed music sounds better?

    Steve, you talk to people in the industry what are they thinking?
     
  12. xman

    xman Active Member

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Re: Why the new "LOUDNESS" craze in digital mastering really robs music of life..

    Great post. It is unfortunate some music producers subscribe to the thought that loudness equals great sounding cd's. I have notice on so called upgraded cd's the main deference is the gain (loudness) which to me causes listener fatigue. :winkgrin:
     

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  13. tps

    tps Forum Resident

    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    Re: Why the new "LOUDNESS" craze in digital mastering really robs music of life..

    Why? It's an auditory illusion that happens in an A/B test. In general, louder WILL sound better. That's why it's so important to precisely match the levels when attempting A/B tests.

    But Joe radio station program director or record producer doesn't understand or believe this, or even if he does, he thinks he can dupe the public. (Unfortunately, he can, most of the time.) Especially radio program directors, who sit in their cars punching back and forth between their station and the competition. I can't think of a worse way to do an A/B test, but that's what they do. THIS kind of stupid reasoning is what produces the loudness war.

    Disclaimer: I used to be a radio broadcast engineer and eventually quit the industry after being asked one too many times to make my station the loudest in town. (Believe me, it didn't take very many times!)

    At the top of this post, I used the word illusion, which is often quite misunderstood. A sensory illusion occurs when your physical senses do not accurately sense reality. Sometime, try closing your eyes while riding a roller coster with upside-down loops. With eyes closed, you will never feel upside-down. A similar auditory illusion occurs when comparing two sources of unequal level; the result is heavily biased in favor of the louder source.

    But as this video correctly points out, the listener adjusts his own volume control. Unless there is an A/B test, the listener just turns down what was turned up, and all the peaks are lost.

    Contrast this with the movie industry, where the listener does not control the volume in the theater. Movie sound mixers generally use level-calibrated monitors when they mix. Some, like Bob Katz, have said that all recording and broadcast facilities should use a similar scheme.

    Unfortunately, there is so much misinformation and exploitation in recording and broadcast industries, I don't see the loudness war going away anytime soon.
     
  14. gener8tr

    gener8tr Forum Resident

    Location:
    Vancouver, WA USA
    Re: Why the new "LOUDNESS" craze in digital mastering really robs music of life..

    Best example I've heard yet! If only everyone could simply watch that 2 minute clip.
     
  15. bdiament

    bdiament Producer, Engineer, Soundkeeper

    Location:
    New York
    Re: Why the new "LOUDNESS" craze in digital mastering really robs music of life..

    Hi Gary,

    Attempting to adjust the sound of a recording for a given set of speakers, even if it could improve the sound there (and I've never heard any evidence to support this but I have heard plenty that doesn't support it) would necessarily make the sound worse on all other speakers, since all speakers are different.

    On the contrary, a good recording can be identified as such on any system, no matter how bad. And to my ears, a good recording gets the best out of any system it is played on.

    Best regards,
    Barry
    www.soundkeeperrecordings.com
    www.barrydiamentaudio.com

    "Declaring an end to the loudness wars" at:
    http://www.barrydiamentaudio.com/loudness.htm
     
  16. StyxCollector

    StyxCollector Man of Miracles

    Re: Why the new "LOUDNESS" craze in digital mastering really robs music of life..

    The trend started way before iPods hit the scene.
     
  17. Another Side

    Another Side Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco
    Re: Why the new "LOUDNESS" craze in digital mastering really robs music of life..

    That's the best explanation I've seen. The best part for me is when the sound is turned down to a regular listening level, and then you can see the difference between the original track and the maximized version. I had never thought of explaining it quite like that. :thumbsup:
     
  18. bluesbro

    bluesbro Forum Hall of Shame

    Location:
    DC
    Re: Why the new "LOUDNESS" craze in digital mastering really robs music of life..

    Best youtube I've seen in weeks.
     
  19. Mike Dow

    Mike Dow I kind of like the music

    Location:
    Bangor, Maine
    Re: Why the new "LOUDNESS" craze in digital mastering really robs music of life..

    That clip is a very clear and succinct way to explain today's over- compression problem. Thanks for posting the link, Steve! Once school starts up again, I plan on using this in my class.
     
  20. mtodde

    mtodde New Member

    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Re: Why the new "loudness" craze in digital mastering really robs music of life..

    I agree completely. Perhaps this is one reason I'm not buying "new" music.

    The video is very convincing. It should be required viewing for all musicians and the employees of the record companies. In the end they're hurting themselves as less people will buy the music.
     
  21. Gary

    Gary Nauga Gort! Staff

    Location:
    Toronto
    Re: Why the new "LOUDNESS" craze in digital mastering really robs music of life..

    Hi, Barry.

    Yes, you're right (of course!) but I guess I just did not fully realize it before. That clip put it all into focus for me.

    Thank goodness we have some artists that also appreciate proper recording and mastering techniques - such as the upcoming Tom Petty vinyl album and the RHCP's Stadium Arcadium vinyl!
     
  22. OE3

    OE3 Senior Member

    Re: Why the new "LOUDNESS" craze in digital mastering really robs music of life..

    :agree: Messrs. Strunk & White would be proud!
     
  23. Batears52

    Batears52 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Near Baltimore, MD
    Re: Why the new "LOUDNESS" craze in digital mastering really robs music of life..

    Steve,

    Thank you very much for posting this! Quite often I get lost when reading some of the "audio-jargon" in some of the forum threads, but this makes it easy to understand! I really appreciate your explanations & your efforts to "keep it simple" for us "less techy" folks!

    From what I have read here, a number of mastering engineers have to do this kind of work if they want to get paid & make a living. I wish that there were a way to take our case to a wider forum. Not an audio forum - because that's not where the problem lies - but a forum that is read by artists & producers as well. I guess I'm thinking Billboard and/or Radio & Records. There are some prety good writers on this forum - anyone want to take on a blistering "Letter To The Editor"?

    Dexter
     
  24. Metralla

    Metralla Joined Jan 13, 2002

    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    Re: Why the new "LOUDNESS" craze in digital mastering really robs music of life..

    Very good demo. Interestingly, this was uploaded to YouTube on October 07, 2006. 7,042 views since then. Make that 7,043 ;)
     
  25. Jvalvano

    Jvalvano Forum Resident

    Location:
    NH
    Re: Why the new "LOUDNESS" craze in digital mastering really robs music of life..

    Thanks Steve. I've been trying to explain this to several friends for a while. This is way better. Now I am enlightened. I have sent them the link. Spread the word.:agree:
     
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