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George 47

Loudness Wars

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An interesting article on the loudness wars with some useful data:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/07/opinion/what-these-grammy-songs-tell-us-about-the-loudness-wars.html

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Hi,

I wrote to a group (music) and had a reply from one of the band members. He said that they do not compress their music as per the loudness wars, and as per the dr-loudness website the figures were not correct.

So, essentially the loudness or compression as indicated on the website has to be viewed with some scepticism, and maybe use your ears to determine if there is too much compression.

Regards,

Shadders.

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On 11/02/2019 at 19:22, Shadders said:

Hi,

I wrote to a group (music) and had a reply from one of the band members. He said that they do not compress their music as per the loudness wars, and as per the dr-loudness website the figures were not correct.

So, essentially the loudness or compression as indicated on the website has to be viewed with some scepticism, and maybe use your ears to determine if there is too much compression.

Regards,

Shadders.

So one band member says they don't compress their music, not a lot to go on. I know someone who has his own studio, he says many bands do ask for their music to be loud, he says most have not got a clue, usually ask for it to sound like some other group. Most modern music is over compressed to my ears.  It started in the mid to late 90s, probably to get noticed on the radio, just like adverts were always louder. Most modern music is not mastered for hifi.

Edited by BeeRay
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For decades it's been relatively normal for popular music to be mastered to suit the replay equipment of most of its consumers. Most 60s pop records were mastered to sound great on AM radios and mono Dansettes: the equipment teenagers owned at the time. Listen to some early Stones for example on Decca and compare the sonic signature of those songs and albums to the SQ of the classical music the same label was producing at the time. They're worlds apart, purposefully, because they were aimed at different generations of audiences listening on different kit.

All we've really seen for 50 years is that trend continue and evolve in line with whatever replay device was the most popular at the time. Maybe early 70s to mid 80s was the sweet spot - the time when costumer-grade hifi took off, peaked, then declined - and it's been continuing downhill since then, to the point where it's now all about making your track jump out among the crowd on a pair of Apple AirPods

Edited by BillShatnersToupee

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True and some bands use compression as part of the musical process.

But digital gave bands the capability to make the music equally loud and recorded up to 0db or even greater. Can't quite do that with analogue for a whole album.

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Does the artist even have any contact with the mastering engineer?

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I started noticing this loudness in CDs from the mid 90s onwards....

I believe Oasis were partly to blame  with (What's the Story) Morning Glory?.

The situation seemed to peak around 2005 - with every other CD sounding dreadful.

Things have improved slightly in recent years. The latest Kate Bush remasters were fine (the woman obviously has ears).

But I still consult the DR Database before every purchase....

Usually the best sounding version is an 80s CD with no barcode.

Not possible with new groups obviously - thankfully most of favourites are from the 60s, 70s and 80s.

Edited by theadmans

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1 hour ago, Warszawa said:

Does the artist even have any contact with the mastering engineer?

It really depends. 'Self-contained' bands and artists who produce or co-produce their own material certainly will, and will have a lot of input into the final sound of their material. But the kind of bands and artists who rock up in a studio just to record their songs or some other writer's songs and rarely venture into the control room...probably not. In the latter category think of the likes of X-Factor winners, and even historic famous singers like Donna Summer, Diana Ross, Tony Bennett, Elvis Presley, Gladys Knight...well-loved voices behind five hundred hits but I wouldn't trust any of them to know where to even shove an XLR plug. 

Edited by BillShatnersToupee

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Loudness-Wars keep vinyl absolutely relevant - for fans of all popular music genres. Sad situation, for sure, as they deprive us of the full potential of digital audio. 

Classics much less affected, though - thankfully.

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