Another question related to distortion in recorded music.

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by jm2, Feb 14, 2009.

  1. jm2

    jm2 Active Member

    Oct 13, 2008
    On many of the recordings where I note distortion, the distortion becomes less objectionable as the listening level increases. When the volume is low, the distortion seems worse or more displeasing.

    Has anyone else experienced this exact phenomenon?
  2. Greener

    Greener Guest

    What are you on about?
    Some examples or at least some sort of background please.

    If I were to pull an explanation out of my arse, I would guess that as your system gets louder room mud and inherent inaccuracies that get worse as your monitors work harder mask whatever you're talking about.
  3. jm2

    jm2 Active Member

    Oct 13, 2008
    Gosh, I cannot imagine how much more background I can add. I am relatively new to recording and critical listening, and merely articulating what I am hearing.

    When I hear distortion in music, it does not bother me as much when the volume is louder, not ear shattering, just louder. When the volume is lower, any distortion seems more apparent and objectionable. I know this is in contradiction to the idea that equipment (particularly speakers) distorts to a greater degree as power increases, but the level changes I am referring to are not great, and even at higher volume I know there is still a ton of headroom in the gear, so this aspect is not a factor here.

    I merely wondered whether anyone else has noticed the same thing when listening to music with subtle distortion, perhaps recorded with levels over.

    There is not much more to it. I might be plain wrong in my observation, or more sensitive to distortion at lower levels for some reason. I just wanted to know if anyone else has noted something similar.
  4. soapfloats

    soapfloats Well-Known Member

    Aug 28, 2008
    Cincinnati, OH
    Home Page:
    Sorry, I don't listen to music that over-level distorts.

    One guess I can offer is:

    Since most of the music being over-mastered is meant to be sold on the radio and to people who don't really care what it sounds like -
    they're making the assumption that radio compression/playing it loud/you not noticing will disguise the distortion.

    It's like political spin, for the loudness wars!
  5. music293

    music293 Active Member

    Dec 24, 2008
    You could find a few "gem" tracks to rep this distortion claim and post them so we can all listen to them through our systems and see what we come up with...

    From there it'll go one of two ways, we'll see that there really is some distortion on the tracks and it's nothing to be worried about, so go back to bed, or we'll say you're crazy.

    From there you can start sampling out those same tracks in many different listening environments and see what happens.

    Let us know!

  6. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    I surmise you may be experiencing more distortion at lower listening levels because you are literally lowering the digital audio data audio level? Taking it down further would mean less bits are being utilized and so you should hear additional distortion if you are lowering the actual level, digitally. This is just a thought. This may not be your problem that you described but, because lowered level means less bits, then yeah.

    Confusing distortion mystery
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  7. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    Mar 31, 2007
    North Vancouver
    This problem is well known

    Also think…the Fletcher-Munson curves. While this talks about our ability to hear different frequencies, maybe the distortion you are hearing is occurring at specific frequencies that are rolled off at higher SPL’s.

    Like the 3kHz range.....
  8. jm2

    jm2 Active Member

    Oct 13, 2008
    Interesting coincidence that I read my first paper by Geddes not two days ago, when researching subwoofer placement. I am glad to learn that it may not be auditory hallucinations.

    I would like to post portions of songs that seem unduly distorted, but to be candid, I am not so good at posting pictures in forums, and I trust I might be as technically challenged with audio. However, I will consider trying. Thanks for the links and interesting replies related to this question of changes in distortion perception with level changes.
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