More on loudness wars!!

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by Dozer, Dec 2, 2008.

  1. Dozer

    Dozer Active Member

    Interesting site I found. Not sure if its been mentioned here.

    I guess everyone is worried that after consumers have a LOUD CD in the deck, and switching to a Dyanamic CD(not so loud),
    that the consumer will wonder,
    "Why the hell is this one so low."
    And they will link that to quality issues, or something of the such.

    Im talking about regular consumers, that have no Idea about music production and mastering. They just listen to music.

    Though there are other factors.
    Just rambling on here.
  2. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    The loudness wars are ruining my enjoyment of music. All of my mastering clients want their stuff super loud to compete with everyone else's music. They think that if their stuff is not as loud as some other artist's music that some how their music is less salable or marketable.

    I am beginning to think that really loud music is being supported by audiologist and hearing aid manufactures to ensure they have plenty of work in the years ahead. My 15 year old niece listens to her IPOD at levels that would cause my ears to shut down and start bleeding. I have gone to concerts and seen people sitting inside the speaker stacks. When I go to NY for the AES I have to take hearing protectors to protect my ears from the subway train noise and then I get to the AES and go into a booth and see someone listening to headphones and I can hear what they are hearing just fine since they have the volume control at 11. I am not sure what it is about loud music but a lot of people seem to listen at high levels to over compressed and limited music and seem to find enjoyment in the process.

    There is nothing wrong with dynamics and if you go to a classical concert you will find that there are all levels from fff to ppp and everything in between. It is normal for music to be dynamic and the ear needs time to relax in between ppp passages which is why my ears always feel good after going to a concert and getting themselves gently exercised. If I have a punk or hip hop client in for mastering my ears always feel like they have gone ten rounds with a prize fighter.

    Until people start to want dynamics back into their music and until artist start demanding good well mastered tracks the loudness wars will continue unabated.

    FWIW and MTCW
  3. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    While we all muse over the loudness wars & perceptual loudness value, there is that air of excitement of getting a 20 pound, bag of crap into a 10 pound bag. It is, after all, your last chance up at-bat to knock the signal right out of the ballpark. Sure, I like a full dynamic range. But in all actuality, it really depends upon the source material. The art of recording is still a highly unnatural act. Nothing actually sounds real. But we try to invoke the feeling of reality, sincerity, intimacy with our electronic interpretations. There is no natural or unnatural. No correct or incorrect. There is only the sense of good feeling or bad feeling.

    Give me the goods! Where's the beef?
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  4. BrianaW

    BrianaW Active Member

    I admit, I'm guilty of this at times... but only sometimes. I am however tracking an album now that I plan to register with that website and the CD will have the sticker on the packaging. The loudness wars are going away... more people are turning to vinyl as well (probably for a lot of the same reasons). Vinyl sales went up by 40% since 2007.

    The new way is music mixed for junky systems. Before the 90's, it was all about the good sounding home sound system. Now the attention is focused more on home theater sound, and musicality has gone out the window. Crappy mixes for crappy car stereo systems and crappy ipod's and crappy computer speakers or mini bookshelf systems. How many people have a really good sounding music system these days?

    These things I'm writing are basically just me complaining, but I do think the loudness wars are coming to an end and I think that true hi-fi is being reintroduced to a new generation.

    Another possibility... the damage to the nerves in the ear causes a rush of endorphins that the listeners become subconsciously addicted to? I know that's how it is with a lot of people that are chronically late... we are addicted to the adrenalin rush. :)
  5. Dozer

    Dozer Active Member

    It is a skill however to get a track loud and still maintain dynamics. Actually, is seems that is where the money is.
    Though as we all know, some tracks will never have
    the ability to be as "super-loud" as they want, due to the way the song was mixed.

    "Now Im going to ramble a-bit, stuff we've probably
    heard before."

    I want my track loud, can you make it that way for me?
    If they get back something that just doesn't seem loud, they will go elsewhere, or complain about that.

    For instance, if a listener visits someones myspace page, and was listening to their music. "Just listening to the jams man"

    Then they click on another aritists profile, and their music is louder, they will, more than likely, link this to higher quality.
    There seems to be nothing that could ever be done about it.
    Its like "Natural Selection". :lol:
  6. Greener

    Greener Guest

    I don't understand how people fail to see this really simple thing about audio.
    If you want it louder, get a bigger funking amp and speakers!
  7. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    Actually if people would use their volume controls they could have the music at the level they want it. I never understood the idea of having everything sound the same level wise. That is what the engineering team put the volume control on your car radio/IPOD/Stereo system/boombox for. Have we gotten so lazy that we cannot move the volume control to make things louder or softer? Even surround sound amplifiers for DVD playback come with a remote with a volume control to control the 5.1 sound so you don't even have to get out of your chair. No wonder 1/3 of the US population is obese. Maybe we ought to start a campaign to do finger exercises so people can again use their volume controls.
  8. BushmasterM4

    BushmasterM4 Active Member

    Compare Metallicas' Black album to the new one. Its sad the loss of fidelity over the last 10 years. Its a shame, there are some descent songs on the new Metallica cd. I bought the vinyl thinking it may have been mixed and mastered better but it wasnt. My 30 year old turntable cringed when I played the album :)
  9. Greener

    Greener Guest

    Dude :(

    I listened to the new one and thought it was some of the cleanest digital editing I've ever heard. Every second of music is cleaned, scrubbed and had every spark of goodness removed from it. I thought the vinyl was going to be something worth owning. :(
  10. BushmasterM4

    BushmasterM4 Active Member

    They say the Rock Band (or is it Guitar Hero) is the one to get. Not as harsh. I have yet to hear it, let alone find it. I fired up my PS3 thinking it would be available there at the Playstation store. I couldnt find it.
  11. Greener

    Greener Guest

    Nice threadjack :p
  12. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    As usual, MIX magazine has some decent articles in it about the loudness wars. THis month's issue is a "Mastering" Issue, so there's some things in there worth checking out about the loudness wars, including an interview with Bob Ludwig.

    Speaking of loundess, I can't stand listening to music on commerical FM radio anymore; it's just unreal what they've done to crush the signal (already squashed and ruined in most cases before it ever hits their processing). Ditto for so many commerical releases from artists who really SHOULD know better.

    I have found dynamic range is still out there on some CDs, even in rock and pop. John Hyatt's new release is enjoyable, so is Lindsey Buckingham's "Gift of Screws". Sure, there's plenty of hot levels on much of it, but there's a song on there that actually has loud and soft passages (traces of real emotion, too!) and you can hear it for yourself on a track called: "Love Runs Deeper." I haven't looked at the waveform on a screen, but the intro and verses are noticably tamer than the choruses, and when the choruses do come in, they SLAM in. Amazing what that sounds like, in the right hands, on a CD (it even translates to my MP3 player, with tracks I've ripped myself.) It might be just good mastering, or it might have been planned ahead of time. Either way, it's a goddamn bresh of fresh air in a sea of garbage.

    I've said it before, and I'll say it again: There WILL come a time, perhaps in our professional lifetime, when there will be "re-releases" of material that has been remixed/remastered WITHOUT the insane loudness crushing going on now. It will be sold as something "NEW" and just maybe the masses will flock to it. (Anyone remember the old 'Full Dynamic Range" stickers on old vinyl records from the 50's and 60's? :twisted: )

    Similar to the vinyl to CD reissues of the 80's & 90's, this is going to be what the record labels will do to make $$$ from old product. (Save your raw tracks and non-Finalized pre-mastered mixes, folks. It WILL be a revenue source for you someday. ;-) )

    I can see the ads now: "Hear it the way it was recorded in the first place, before they crushed the life out of it!"

    RUSH or Sting's last three or four CDs would be good places to start.
  13. pr0gr4m

    pr0gr4m Well-Known Member

    RUSH. Please let it be Rush! BTW...anyone seen my copy of Signals?
  14. AllAboutTone

    AllAboutTone Active Member

    Very true, louder CDs come from great preamps such as API and others, its all about putting the harmonics distortion in the mix, makes it huge and full.
    I can remember when i did not have have good pres and I could mix CDs to +3 on CDs, now since i use great preamps I can mix less than 0 and still get a louder mix than the non pre not to mention the fullness.
  15. AllAboutTone

    AllAboutTone Active Member

  16. Greener

    Greener Guest

    I understand the "want" to have one CD sound louder than another on a particular system. But, I've never enjoyed listening on small systems and have always built systems that have enough power to spontaneously combust. So no matter how quite the recording, I can usually amp it enough to drive the speakers to the brink of destruction. What I want is dynamics! Move the air!

    Meh, the loudness wars seem to have been fought for in-ear bud headphones. Ipoods, like hats with inbuilt radios, are toys.
  17. jammster

    jammster Active Member

    Greener, I agree!
    Too much of the music today is made to compete for loudness, and it is a shame. At least its a shame to us that have a bit more class and know a good song when we hear it. Thanks for fighting the good fight. This over hyped attitude has to go to the dump along with all that garbage for a song music! I hope things will turn around soon, there is just way to much rudeness in the world! Last thing i want is a rude song to listen to!
  18. BrianaW

    BrianaW Active Member

    Man, I love this place. :)
  19. Dozer

    Dozer Active Member

    I just had an experience the other day.
    True story I swear.

    I was at my wifes brothers how drankn some brewskie and listening to some jams.
    My wife had brought an older CD.

    Well my wifes brother tells his wife to change the CD.
    That CD was up next.

    Now the CD before that was a newer release. Very loud.
    She popped in the studio and went to the other room for something.
    The CD started playing.

    Of course the older CD, it was more dynamic and lower in volume. Not your typical "Loudness War Conformist" types songs.

    So he instantly yells from the kitchen table where we are, thinking his wife is in the living room by the radio.
    Hey, Turn that sh*t up. We can't even hear that sh*t.

    She didn't answer(she was in another room in the house).
    So he yelled again and I said she was in the other room.

    He said.
    What the hell is wrong with that disc? Where did you guys get it?

    I instantly jumped at the situation and started asking the questions.
    Questions that were freaking him out.

    So whats wrong with the CD?
    Whats wrong with it??
    Its to damn low??
    Is this a burnt disc?

    No, but what do you think about the disc. What about the quality.
    What the hell are you talking bout fool?? hahaha

    Answer the question mayne..
    Its cheap as hell!!! You got ripped.
    It probably was messed up at the factory.

    No it wasn't.
    So what is wrong with just turning it up??
    I dont feel like f*cking gettin up to turn up the damn CD.
    Why didn't they make it loud.....

    I explained the deal to him. But he was trippn because of the weird questions.

    Again, this really happened. I know it sounds hard to believe.
    But It was a perfect opportunity.
  20. Greener

    Greener Guest

    I'm more worried about how he talks to his wife than his ignorance toward music.

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