Subjective: (WHY)Does radio sound fatiguing?

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by Bertrand Batz, Aug 25, 2011.

  1. Bertrand Batz

    Bertrand Batz Active Member

    May 20, 2010
    One thing I often notice when driving with people listening to the radio, and also occurs to me, is that lotta guys just can't stand listening to the commercials to the end. They just weave to other station wich is playing music, and so on. Same with TV. The ad breaks come with extremely high volume. I know, maybe they want to draw your attention and keep some interest on, but whaf if the ad breaks are getting longer and longer? Is it a true statement, to tell one that in a sequence of commercials, the last of them will get paid less atention than the first?

    What is the broadcasting process? Is it some kind of compressor/limiter they throw all of their broadcastd material on?

    It reminds me about dad when we were in vacations, some 3 hours long trip and he just got irritated with an Iron Maiden CD I threw often into the player LMAO. Older people are used to a more dynamic, less compressed to death, not so loud sound than we were used, than our children will get used, etc... Maybe that explains a little about why does old people don't buy in the new stuff. For them, something just doesn't sound right.

    Just my imagination or TVChannels like Cartoon Network are compressed to hell more than others too? It's all screams, explosions, mad laughs, I just can't watch it so much, I start getting irritated...I feel like ageing...Not about the grade but I think 'it means our children are getting used to extremely loud stuff right when they are developing their little brains'...

    It pisses me off how kids in general speak so loud. I'm no phonoaudiologist, but I tend to think there's a relation with that overhyped stimulation they receive.
  2. Mo Facta

    Mo Facta Active Member

    May 22, 2011
    JHB, RSA
    Home Page:
    Radio broadcasting employs any combination or all of the following processes (in no particular order):

    1. Phase Rotation
    2. Automatic Gain Compensation
    3. Stereo Enhancement
    4. Equalization
    5. Multiband Compression and Limiting
    6. Pre-Emphasis and Hi-Frequency Limiting
    7. Clipping (yes, clipping)

    Granted, radio processors are very complex with dozens of controls for even the multi-band dynamics section but as you can see, after the loudness war (and subsequent heavy processing that goes with it) that has been happening over the last decade, it's surprising that music gets out the other end with any intelligibility at all.

    I would be willing to bet that the reason why commercials sound louder is because they most likely are not as squashed as the music material and therefore do not hit the radio processing as hard and therefore respond better to it. Also, it's a lot easier to get voice and transitional effects to be perceived louder on the radio than the steady-state, dynamics starved and often clipped music material available these days. It could also be a marketing ploy to make them louder and I wouldn't be surprised at that either but the paradox with radio is that the louder you make the master, the more distorted and softer it comes out on the other end. There are always exceptions, of course, depending on the way the material was mastered.

    Cheers :)
  3. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Mar 20, 2008
    currently Billings
    Despite several lawsuits over the last decade or two to ban the practice, tv and radio stations DO in fact broadcast the commercials louder than the regular programming. This is in addition to what Mo is speaking of.
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