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The Loudness War - a different opinion Effects Pedals, Units & Accessories
Old 28th August 2008
  #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kjg View Post
I think this is the main reason the hip hop "artists" all want it that loud.
Quite some of the metal crowd too I'd say. Nihilists. Whatever - Just crank up the limiter if you can't reason with them.
Nobody with at least half a brain (or set of ears...) listens to that BS anyway.

A lot of great hip hop music has been made - just not the past ten years. Hip hop is pretty much dead now, except for the product that's often called "urban" these days, that comes with the attitude and the "lifestyle"...
Empty shells, making empty "music" (in the sense of organized sound), for uneducated, nihilistic, lost soul consumerists.

I think anybody who is into music and art, and cares for the work itself (not how it "compares" to other albums loudness wise, let alone "look at my designer sneakers" wise or "I haven't had any meaningful relation with a woman for over 10 years now - biatch!" wise), can be educated. But whoever is into making a product... which has to have the right image... to compete with the other products...
Just slam it and be done with it - if you need their money that is. There is no character, soul or authenticity there anyway, so your limiter can't hurt it either.
ah yes, the obligatory ___ music sucks. although i thought this thread was about the loudness wars and the eventual backlash or dismissal. guess i was wrong.

as someone who is in the 'uneducated' and 'less than half a brain' club and who regularly engineers for the same, i really don't experience much problems with having to use or crank the limiter and such to make the clients happy. i make sure nothings peaking, and because sometimes it's just for promo, a mixtape or for the net i will pre master but the dynamics are still there, and so far no complaints to have it louder. if they come back to get the song(s) to get mastered at an ME, they already know that anything on the master bus will be taken off, and if they're going to get it mixed somewhere else, they expect the tracks raw with no peaks. they're not clueless (oh my bad, they are due to them being hip hop heads).

they talk about the issue and their desire to get the music as 'loud' as possible without sacrificing dynamics and quality, but also know that your average listener, in any genre, tend to equate loud with professional, which is the dilemma of most non commercial/signed artist

that being said, there's bound to be a backlash against the loudness wars when some take it to damn near cult/zealot status, where even a mention of compression or limiting is met with admonishment.
Old 28th August 2008
  #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 24-96 Mastering View Post
Ouch.



Just do this:

- Prepare your album to hit -6.5 RMS.

- Put it on a somewhat decent Hifi or on decent headphones.

- Turn it up ... it's rock n' roll.

- Now listen to the whole album with no breaks and do nothing except listen to the music, as your biggest fans, those who you make music for, would do.

- See how long it takes before you get a headache...

- Accept that those 3.5 dB of loudness will cause your listeners headaches too. And now try rationalising again why those 3.5 dB are necessary - when every playback device has a volume control anyway that they set right when they press play. It gets hard...
Don't get me wrong I DO agree with you, but people who works behind the machines (I put myself in the category too) sometimes tend to make decisions that are not always the best for the audience/makerket.

I was sure that all my listeners would turn the volume up when they go from a Korn song to one of mine without bitching, I would do that, I would go for the -10 MRS w/ no ditortion.

But is not like that, people (lets say the vast majority) go "meh, they suck compared to [ insert name of the band louder than you ]", average listener do that..
And for the headache, people stay in front of the p.a. all the time, they blow away their ears with car stereo, top of the volume, all the time.. My audience doesn't listen jazz or opera, and they are not exactly "educated" listeners.

You *have* to know that when you do a certain kind of music

Otherwise you run the risk of making and album that SE and ME love, but the rest of your audience doesn't.
Old 28th August 2008
  #33
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From my perspective, a few points seem very clear:

- consumers don't care about level other than that they want it to be standardised. Only musicians / engineers / A&Rs want loudness as such. If something is unexpectedly loud, most people are annoyed and turn it down or switch song. Very loud (in a playlist on an ipod for example) is worse or at least just as bad as too quiet. Having your song 2 dB quieter than a comparable track, from the consumers' view, is better than having it 4 dB louder.

- Yes, when comparing different masters, the louder usually sounds better. But noone except those that create music do comparative listening. The consumer does not compare versions, doesn't even compare different songs, and thus does not care.

- I have heard consumers complain about a CD sounding "bad" or "distorted". I've never ever ever ever ever ever heard anyone complain that a CD is too quiet.

- There has never been any study proving (or even just suggesting) that high level translates to higher sales or higher publicity.


The cause of the "level wars" is, I believe, that musicians, engineers and A&Rs often equate loud with proper because they at some point had some low budget, possibly non-mastered product that was quieter. That's an obvious difference which, from then on, would be added to the "if the project had a budget we would do things differently"-equation. And from then on, things needed to be loud for them to be proper. I'm guessing the thinking goes like this:
"My cheap product isn't proper. It sounds inferior and also, when comparing it to other products, it is quieter. Therefore, if I want my product to be proper, it must sound good. AND it must be loud."

I really believe that this very simple and tempting error in logic, mistaking a simple, auxilliary observation for a causal necessity in the equation, to be responsible for most clients' desire four loud masters. The desire to have a loud master is born out of insecurity, the fear of being inferior. And while those concerns clearly exist and are certainly not to be judged, it doesn't make the underlying assumptions correct.

If your girlfriend or wife doesn't want you to go to a nude beach for the fear that you'll look at (and subsequently prefer) other naked girls, you might respect that wish. But that doesn't mean that, if you went, you would actually look at (and actually prefer) other girls.

In the same way, I'll acknoledge a client's loudness concerns and will cater their needs to a point, but I will tell them that there is no actual advantage to having their masters loud. It's just for themselves. It's a security/safety blanket (however you call that in english). That, as far as I can see from my experience in mastering, is all that loudness is good for.
Old 28th August 2008
  #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Retinal View Post
And for the headache, people stay in front of the p.a. all the time, they blow away their ears with car stereo, top of the volume, all the time.. My audience doesn't listen jazz or opera, and they are not exactly "educated" listeners.
This is not about level. It's about distortion / compression.

I master quite a bit of metal, be it thrash, death, industrial, viking, black, heroic, progressive, etc. I know where you're coming from.


But neither style, nor listening volume has anything to do with it. Quite the opposite. It's only about distortion / hypercompression.

That's why I suggested to do that experiment, because I think that most musicians listen to their own music very differently than they do when they are in the role of the consumer. As a consumer, I personally like to listen to music pretty loud. But I can't with overly loud masters, because it hurts (in the short term, when the distorted high mids make you clinch and in the long term, when you get a headache) long before it gets to a sound level where I can feel the bass or the transients - i.e. the joys of loud listening.

I want to encourage you to stop comparing and start just listening - like your audience does.

Please don't understand this to be holier-than-thou. I understand that you are not arguing against what I'm proposing. It's just that I really think that, when people detach themselves from the process of producing the music and just listen to it, there is something interesting to be found.

Quote:
But is not like that, people (lets say the vast majority) go "meh, they suck compared to [ insert name of the band louder than you ]", average listener do that..
I'm not at all sure about that. From my own observations, people just use the volume knob on their playback device. I know that it's commonly assumed that consumers are more likely to skip quiet songs, and there may be some truth to that, but I've seen the same to be true for loud songs. As far as I can see, consumers care about 1. good sound and 2. standardization with regards to level. And at 6dB crest factor, it's just not possible to cater for both of those wishes.

You may feel that you need to do a 6dB crest master to be within the standard. But I am pretty sure that you yourself know (or can suspect) that with this thinking, you're cheating yourself to some extent. I believe there is a fair bit of insecurity in this, tempting you to go towards, or even exceed, the upper end of the spectre, to "beat" your competitor. (Please don't take insult from this assumption. I believe everyone is susceptible to this phenomenon, myself not excluded) If your concern is to be only within the standard range, why not go for the medium or the lower end of the scale?

I have mastered metal albums hitting a maximum of -10 dBfs RMS (which you consider to be the low end of the spectrum for this genre) and they have been received well wth their audience as well as with critics. Noone ever commented on "low" level, only on good music and good sound.
Old 28th August 2008
  #35
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Luckily for me, every single band involved in the loudness war plays vomit that I wouldn't walk across the street to hear for free. Every...single...one.
Old 28th August 2008
  #36
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In the book mastering audio I think limiting is mentioned transparent to the ear in the 1db - 2db range. Since everything can be by ear for decision making is that used on most projects? I've used up to 3db on somethings...
Old 28th August 2008
  #37
kjg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 7thangelz View Post
ah yes, the obligatory ___ music sucks. although i thought this thread was about the loudness wars and the eventual backlash or dismissal. guess i was wrong.
I was primarily speaking of the bling bling hip hop "artists", and other people who have nothing to say (although they do talk/rap a lot...). If you consider yourself or the people you work with that, fine with me. If not, better for you. I wasn't referring generally to any style of music. I was referring to a certain clientèle, who are in a specific music (or should I say subculture) for the attitude/lifestyle or because they are trying to market a product with a certain image.

Why waste your time on that? Slam it if they want to pay you for that.

I'm sure if you'd want to, you could actually understand what I wrote the way I meant it. If you'd like to feel offended, that is fine with me too.

My point was:
Don't waist your energy that's coming from great passion for music and good sound, on people that don't care about music and sound, but care for money and image. Save it for people that care for music and sound like you do.

My point was not:
Metal/hiphop/viking opera/indian_tabla_grindcore is bad.

I LOVE TABLA GRINDCORE
Old 28th August 2008
  #38
kjg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OldSkool View Post
Luckily for me, every single band involved in the loudness war plays vomit that I wouldn't walk across the street to hear for free. Every...single...one.
he he he, good point. Who the **** are "fall out boy" anyway?
Old 28th August 2008
  #39
kjg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 7thangelz View Post

they talk about the issue and their desire to get the music as 'loud' as possible without sacrificing dynamics and quality, but also know that your average listener, in any genre, tend to equate loud with professional, which is the dilemma of most non commercial/signed artist
So you have clients you can reason with and that care about sound. Good for you. Keep educating them further and send them to a skilled and communicative, responsible ME, who will most certainly not let them leave until they love the sound and the loudness of their work.

Did you read this anecdote by Thomas W. Bethel? It illustrates what type of clients I was referring to. I am just very glad for you that you don't have to deal with that kind of MORONS, but have sensible, educated clients.

"I had a hip hop client in and he was watching my DORROUGH Meters and noticed that all of the LED lights were not on all of the time. He turns to me and says "Hey I is paying you for making this sound good and LOUD and I wants all the lights on all the time" I tried to explain to him what was going on but in the end I did what he requested and kept all the lights on all the time."

Quote:
Originally Posted by 7thangelz View Post
that being said, there's bound to be a backlash against the loudness wars when some take it to damn near cult/zealot status, where even a mention of compression or limiting is met with admonishment.
I certainly am hoping for a backlash against the loudness wars. I mean, against the IDIOT "artists" and MARKETING PEOPLE who keep this BS going.

I love the sound of skillfully applied, suitable compression, and limiters are very useful tools.
As long as they are applied because the artist/musician/mixer/producer wants to achieve a certain sound - and NOT because we NEED to achieve a certain loudness, destroying the sound in the process - it's all good. I wouldn't want to master anything "rock" at -14 or lower at the louder parts. I love finding the right compressed sound for that. But what the loudness is? We'll see when we're done, right? Maybe -11 maybe -7. It depends. On what sounds right.

Maybe you can understand a bit better what we are discussing here? And why I can't help but laugh at some of the "artists" some of us have to deal with from time to time?

All the best,
Klaas-Jan Govaart

PS: Not sure what your Trench Town 4 Life signature is referring to, but did you hear the remastering work done on some classic Bob Marley records? Lows boosted, highs boosted, and at least 4 dBs of life squeezed out of it. Why? Because the marketing guy said so, that's why. To be competitive, that's why... What for ****s sake does a classic Bob Marley recording have to compete with????? I guess that would be fall out boy?
Old 28th August 2008
  #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kjg View Post
I LOVE TABLA GRINDCORE
OMG DUDE SO DO I!!!!!!!!!

Amazon.com: Bhangra Bloody Bhangra: A Tribute to Black Sabbath: Opium Jukebox: Music
Old 28th August 2008
  #41
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kjg - I understand what you're saying - my previous post was lamenting the reality of product-before-music marketing, rather than the belief that good music will sell regardless. However, I don't think that slamming artists is called for, or wise. Educate, sure. But don't call them "idiots" - especially when you are responsible for the mastering.

We all love music first and foremost - no one became a mastering or recording engineer because they wanted to be rich and famous. Don't overlook that when you're considering why an artist wants a loud record.

For example - I'm producing / mixing a band right now who are extremely talented and have great ears and taste for good music production - but they are still concerned that their record needs to be loud enough to compete. When I burn them references, they are always scared when they compare it to a store-bought CD. I started burning two copies - one that was extremely limited - and then mix decisions started hinging on the limited version, rather than the unlimited. When I asked them to listed to the unlimited version with the volume up and decide if they would make the same changes, they said no - that the unlimited version sounded great. Now, you tell me the logic behind that. As a mix engineer, I don't want to make preemptive decisions to correct for over-limiting in mastering. I want great sounding music. And believe me, I've gone through this again and again with them, but it always comes back to being "competitive."

So, I finally decided to give them the limited and unlimited versions at the same RMS - I'll see what they say when comparing. This might be the road to that final lightbulb "clicking" with other artists, as well - if they can hear their music before and after limiting at the same average level, then they might clue in to what exactly they are sacrificing. Just my 2 cents - I'll let you know what they say.
Old 28th August 2008
  #42
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I believe this part of the article is true:

"Records today are mastered loud because most bands request it that way. Most of the time, the ARTISTS want to hear their creations loud and compressed so they won’t feel like they’re falling back in time!"

One way to tell a wana-be from a mastering engineer is the continual never-ending false statement repeated over and over in forums that the A&R guy or high level record guy is the culprit demanding loudness.

In reality, from what I have experienced and consulting with others, it is the ARTIST who demands the volume.

Any ME's care to disagree or give examples of A&R guys who ruined the ARTISTS record?
Old 29th August 2008
  #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greggybud View Post
I believe this part of the article is true:

"Records today are mastered loud because most bands request it that way. Most of the time, the ARTISTS want to hear their creations loud and compressed so they won’t feel like they’re falling back in time!"

One way to tell a wana-be from a mastering engineer is the continual never-ending false statement repeated over and over in forums that the A&R guy or high level record guy is the culprit demanding loudness.

In reality, from what I have experienced and consulting with others, it is the ARTIST who demands the volume.

Any ME's care to disagree or give examples of A&R guys who ruined the ARTISTS record?
I am not a pro ME, but I frequently master projects that I have mixed. I sent the most recent full length I did to the label for pressing. The label guy says to the band: "Are you ok with the CD being this quiet?"

The CD is not ****ing quiet. The CD is loud as balls while still remaining dynamic. It's louder than big name metal releases from 2000-2003.

But still, the label guy compared it to some garbage with an RMS of like -1. The band asked me what was going on and I told them the truth. They told the label guy that is was fine, and he went with it. So he didn't force me to change the record or even pressure the band.... but the fact that his statement threw the band into almost a panic really set me off.

So yes, it does happen. And this is an indy metal label. Fortunately nothing is ruined because I tried to handle it diplomatically and rationally.
Old 29th August 2008
  #44
kjg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jordanstoner View Post
kjg - I understand what you're saying - my previous post was lamenting the reality of product-before-music marketing, rather than the belief that good music will sell regardless. However, I don't think that slamming artists is called for, or wise. Educate, sure. But don't call them "idiots" - especially when you are responsible for the mastering.

We all love music first and foremost - no one became a mastering or recording engineer because they wanted to be rich and famous. Don't overlook that when you're considering why an artist wants a loud record.

For example - I'm producing / mixing a band right now who are extremely talented and have great ears and taste for good music production - but they are still concerned that their record needs to be loud enough to compete.
Yes, I know. They are just plain scared sometimes. It has to be L*O*U*D for their career to stand any chance. Huh? They really believe that, so their fear (and wish) is genuine. They must compete..?
Do you believe that? I'm not saying it's not true but I don't understand, and would like to know what reality there is in this need. Or if there is none, why do they think they have to?
Compete with what? Why does it need to compete in loudness?

You hear of this great band/artist/music/whatever. You saw a show, got sent a link, heard it at a friends, or on the radio, read an article, whatever. You are interested in buying some of their music. You hit a store, online or even an old school record store. You preview some of their music. Hit play. It's not that loud. Therefore you turn up the volume. You like the music. You buy the music.

Did you ever think when you heard a piece/song/work/track/tune:"Hmm, I love the music, but I just had to turn the volume up a bit - I'm not buying it."

So who does? Who does not buy a piece of music that he otherwise likes, just because he had to turn it up 3, or even 6dBs? A fan of the band? Someone who got interested somehow and was in the mood for buying some good sounding music? They did not buy it, because it was 3 dB quieter than fall out boy?

So who is telling these artists that obviously care (about the success) of their music, that it needs to compete in loudness/flatness?
I don't know. People who have a say in (the financing of) their release? Or its exposure/promotion/broadcast? Their friends or family? Who?

Record buying people just want good sounding, good music. If good sounding is defined as very dynamic (eg Mahler or Beethoven), or as very loud, middy, tinny (Punk rock of sorts or whatever), or as pumping and bass heavy (electronic styles), or as warm, authentic and intimate (Norah Jones..), depends on the stylistic context and the "sound" that is fashionable at the moment.
These people, who like good a good piece of music and want to pay for a decent registration of some sorts of it, do not not buy it, because it is a bit quieter (or louder for that matter) than something else. They might not buy it because:

a. They don't like the music. They don't like its vibe, how it (not) touches them or how it (not) stimulates them in a way they were (not) expecting. Or not...
Anyway, they didn't like the music. (97%)

b. They liked the music but hated how it sounded. For whatever reason. It was too bright, dull, dynamic, flat, noisy, brittle, dark, distorted, clean, quiet, loud etc. (1%)

c. Both a and c. (1%)

d. Some thing else. They got distracted, remember they didn't have any money, fell a sleep, got hit by a meteorite, etc. (1%)

My point is: They'll buy it if they like the music.

My question remains. Who or what do they have compete with in which way, besides making good sounding, good music. Why does it have to be 3 dB louder when it sounds great and is appropriately loud/flat/dynamic/punchy/pumping/grunting/whatever for the music. Why hurt the good sounding, good music by trying to get the rms and/or perceived loudness up a few dBs?
Who tells them they need to compete loudness wise?

Not me, not you, no mastering engineer on this forum probably. The producer? The label? The executive producer? The radio people? The people who might decide to hire them for a concert gig?

I'm sorry for getting a bit worked up over this, but I just don't get it. I find it so silly and such a waste of time and energy in trying to make good music sound worse. No music buying individual is asking for this loudness. They like it, they buy it, and they turn it up or down depending on how loud they want it to be at that moment. Or they don't buy it. Because they don't like it.

Do they not buy it because it is not loud enough on tv or radio? So it didn't stick out?

I'm not saying everything should be superdynamic, or clean, or puristic. I'm saying what we've all heard a thousand times before. We should just be making it the best it can musically be and the sonics are a tool in that. If that means -6dB RMS, that is fine. If that's what the music calls for, sure.
Anything goes. Insert your Boss overdrive pedal right here between my hyper-neutral eq and this super linear opto smackulator using that great Behringer DI. Whatever the project needs. Bit crusher as a insert for the last chorus? Okidoki! Don't forget the master flanger!
But why damage it further then, just for more loudness? Not for the way it sounds, but for loudness itself? Who is actually pushing for this loudness then? A lot of people believe it should be loud. But why? Who wants it that loud? Who has an interest in that?

Quote:
So, I finally decided to give them the limited and unlimited versions at the same RMS - I'll see what they say when comparing. This might be the road to that final lightbulb "clicking" with other artists, as well - if they can hear their music before and after limiting at the same average level, then they might clue in to what exactly they are sacrificing. Just my 2 cents - I'll let you know what they say.
Good idea. Great effort to make them aware, to experience and compare what this "loudness" is actually doing to their music.
I'd like to hear what they say.
Old 29th August 2008
  #45
kjg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MAzevedo View Post
That is pretty hilarious! thumbsup
It needs realplayer to preview.. But I'm considering buying it blind, for my collection..

Must.. More.. Tabla.. Grindcore..
Old 29th August 2008
  #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greggybud View Post
One way to tell a wana-be from a mastering engineer is the continual never-ending false statement repeated over and over in forums that the A&R guy or high level record guy is the culprit demanding loudness.

In reality, from what I have experienced and consulting with others, it is the ARTIST who demands the volume.

Any ME's care to disagree or give examples of A&R guys who ruined the ARTISTS record?
Well, it may happen occasionally, perhaps slightly less often than the lead singer's girlfriend ruins the record...

Of course, we're talking level here. If you're talking music, then sure, plenty of A&R guys have ruined records!
Old 29th August 2008
  #47
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We don't do a lot of big label mastering. Most of the artist we work with are local or regional. We have done a couple of bigger name signed artist and when we did them they were the only ones here. There was no A&R guy and no one from the label even showed up. When I interned in Nashville I was able to attend some mastering sessions for some really big names. Again they were the only ones present (except for their manager on one occasion and their wife on another) so from my prospective it was the artist calling the shots at all times while the mastering was being done.

As to the general "got to have it loud". I think this is an urban myth that everyone wants everything loud. People want to listen to good music. If you listen on the radio the radio station has a rack filled with limiters, compressors, clippers and equalizers. They are all in the broadcast chain for two reasons and that is to make the station stand out on the dial and to give the station the widest possible coverage area. If you play a really LOUD over the top CD into this system it will actually come out sounding weaker than a normal CD produced at normal volume.

If you listen at home on your IPOD or your $50,000 home theater setup you cannot hear what the music sounded like before and after mastering so you have no way of knowing how loud the artist really wanted it. You also, on both systems, have a knob or slider that is used to set the volume level which YOU can change to suit your mood and what you want to have the music do for you. You can set it low for background or really blow the lid off your house with the control set to MAX. It is NOT what the level is coming off the CD player it is what level YOU want to listen to it at.

Are we as a society getting so lazy that we cannot change the volume control on our listening devices and that is why we want everything at the same level? I read somewhere that the average home has over 10 remotes for various appliances and AV equipment and that even in the most spartan of homes there are at least three remote controls so we never have to get off our collective butts to do anything when it comes to changing the channels or adjusting the sound coming from the speakers. Yet we seem to want all our music at the same level so we don't even have to use the remote control to adjust the volume and I see televisions advertised with "auto gain" so even the TV set will keep the level the same between the content we want to see and the commercials we don't really care about but are usually louder.

The loudness wars will eventually end as do most things in the entertainment arena after the public has had its fill and wants to go in another direction. It cannot happen to quickly for me so I can get back to mastering music to make it sound GREAT instead of just LOUD!

FWIW and YMMV
Old 29th August 2008
  #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jayfrigo View Post
Well, it may happen occasionally, perhaps slightly less often than the lead singer's girlfriend ruins the record...
this remark is cool...heh
Old 29th August 2008
  #49
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Here in NYC, loudness for "urban" records is still the rule. At least, we don't clip the records when we master them that loud. One thing to note though is that if it isn't for that huge bottom end that we always have to re-shape, compress and boost in the end, the record wouldn't need to be so damn loud. That said, I always explain the hommies that we if crush all the dynamics, those speaker cones will not make excursions and their street venues will sound lame. They freak out and tell me: "Yeah man, do what you got to make that sh1t pump..."
Old 29th August 2008
  #50
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The consumer electronics industry is putting compressors in most new products. Maybe it'll work out like broadcasting where relatively unlimited songs will be louder. Comparing the huge sound of twenty year old music videos to the wimpy sound of contemporary music videos when heard on TV ought to be all that today's artists need to hear.
Old 29th August 2008
  #51
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kjg, i didn't respond to your comments and address them fully because it wasn't worth it, i just used some of your words, but i will say a few things.

you now narrow it down to bling bling, those who are idiots and don't care about the quality of the music. then why are they even in the position to get it mastered? i know artists(every genre) that really don't care about the music and when given free studio time don't show up, don't return calls, complain about bus fare, etc.

if a client doesn't know but makes a mistake in comparing things, you can either try and hope they overstand, concede to their wishes, or refer to them as idiots. of couurse,some can read the vibe and disdain of certain engineers and will act accordingly to that vibe in the futture.

you take an example then paint all those in the subculture with the same brush, as if no one in different genres or levels of years and experience haven't made similar or other detrimental demands.

i'm not telling you to change your bias and opinion, doesn't affect me in the least bit, i just found it funny that your whole post was denigrating the music and the people who make/listen to it ('in the last 10 years') instead of the article and/or the 'loudness wars' (and now i'm doing the same thing as far as not commenting on the thread). it seemed kinda troll-like, not that there's anything wrong with that
Old 29th August 2008
  #52
Gear Head
 
LudicrouSpeed's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PoorGlory View Post
I do a lot of metal/rock, so my examples are mostly that genre.

For absurdly loud, bad masters: In Flames "Come Clarity" (zero dynamics, drums disappear), Arch Enemy "Rise of the Tyrant" (pumping, distortion), Disturbed "10,000 Fists" (overall bad), Slayer "God Hates Us All" (excellent example of what happens when you mix the kick WAY too loud, cut way too much low end, and misuse the **** out of a brickwall limiter)

For appropriately loud, great masters: In Flames "Clayman" (it's good to show the same band with a good master vs. a ****ty master), Tool "10,000 Days" (just a coincidence that there are two records with the number 10K in the name), AC/DC "Back in Black" (Ted Jensen re-master) and AC/DC "Ballbreaker".

I always break out Nirvana's "Nevermind" also, since it's really "quiet" compared to what people have come to expect. People know what "Nevermind" should sound like, so it's a good example of how you can listen to a very abbrasive sounding record all the way through WITHOUT fatiguing your ears. Plus it gets the point across that loud doesn't equal record sales.
Interesting, thanks man - i always thought disturbed's second album "believe" sounded flat and lifeless, this was actually before i knew anything about mastering so i never tested the levels, what do you think of the mastering quality of that record compared to their latest effort?

BTW, sorry to go off topic from the OP, but its still kinda relevant... kinda...

- Ry
Old 29th August 2008
  #53
kjg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 7thangelz View Post
you now narrow it down to bling bling, those who are idiots and don't care about the quality of the music. then why are they even in the position to get it mastered?
I don't know. Because people buy their product? Why? Beats me. Why do people eat the junk from McDonalds? Why is Britney Spears in the position she is? I sure don't enjoy or buy whatever BS she (and her team) is outputting.
I do know it is not really about her music. Like with any bubble gum pop act. Or other music that is conceived as a product and not from an artistic vision/drive. Nothing wrong with that. It doesn't hurt anybody. I am just not the least bit interested in working on that type of material or collaborating with the people who produce it.

Believe me, there are so many authentic, original, true artists out here (artists, as opposed to people trying to make it in the entertainment biz) to collaborate with and work for - I really don't mind at all if the people next door cranking out their loopz and beatz in ableton and fruityloops take their stuff elsewhere.

There's not enough time to work on all of it. I'd rather work on what I like with people who inspire me. Want to call that trolling? Fine with me.

With kind regards,
Klaas-Jan Govaart
Old 29th August 2008
  #54
My perspective is this: I like to make records. If people want their records to sound that way I'm going to learn how to do it and make it sound the best that it can with that type of production.

Hopefully things will get more sane in the future, but right now I want to make records.
Old 29th August 2008
  #55
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thermos's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by greggybud View Post
I

Any ME's care to disagree or give examples of A&R guys who ruined the ARTISTS record?

I have a friend who had his band's record mastered to -11 rms or so by a great ME. Too loud and harsh for my taste, but its indicative of the style. The A&R guys at the small label they are on thought it was broken it was so quiet in comparison to what they were used to.
Old 29th August 2008
  #56
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24-96 Mastering's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by greggybud View Post
Any ME's care to disagree or give examples of A&R guys who ruined the ARTISTS record?
I think usually it's a conglomerate of insecurity, who knows who mentioned the idea that "loud = proper" first on any given project. I guess it can be the artist, an A&R, or in some cases an ME, trying to impress the client with volume instead of quality.

But for your question: I have had cases where the band were purely concerned with sound quality and the A&R was the one pushing for a louder master, so that it would "sound good on the radio".
In my experience, that's the exception, not the rule, although I think it did happen more a couple of years ago. Today, I believe, the wish for a very loud master in most cases originates from the artist themselves, wanting to "match or exceed" their idols and "outclass" their competitors.
Old 29th August 2008
  #57
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narcoman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
The consumer electronics industry is putting compressors in most new products. Maybe it'll work out like broadcasting where relatively unlimited songs will be louder. Comparing the huge sound of twenty year old music videos to the wimpy sound of contemporary music videos when heard on TV ought to be all that today's artists need to hear.
You must be watching different videos to me then.

Just been watching some rock show. Pixies, Bon Jovi then QOTSA. No contest. QOTSA had by far the most punchy cool sound. The other two just sounded weedy - yet I remember the Pixies sounding so big !!
Old 29th August 2008
  #58
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greggybud's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by 24-96 Mastering View Post
Today, I believe, the wish for a very loud master in most cases originates from the artist themselves, wanting to "match or exceed" their idols and "outclass" their competitors.
That's my experience too.

But when you read articles and forum threads, it is the mastering engineer, A&R, or record label that is vilified as the culprit. Sure as mentioned above there are exceptions, such as an occasional ME who for egotistical kicks n giggles pushes the envelope, but that's the exception.

Education has to be part of the solution.

When I'm working ITB, a very useful software tool is Wavelabs "smart bypass." With a single button click, smart bypass effectively eliminates any loudness change while keeping all other processing consistent. It has been helpful many times when demonstrating how loudness effects our bias.
Old 30th August 2008
  #59
I'm happy that my band is the Switzerland of the Loudness War and I think others should follow. After all, everyone likes the Swiss! It just sounds so much clearer and hi-fi. Great in a real stereo system...true, it may not pump the way we're used to hearing top 40 rock songs on the radio, but radio station compressors are pretty good at doing that.

Anywho, that's an opinion, I'd love to hear comments from the peers!

MySpace.com - Grace Over Diamonds ALBUM OUT! OCT 18 2008 - Ottawa, CA - Alternative / Rock / Pop - www.myspace.com/graceoverdiamonds

I sometimes wonder what our tunes would sound like if they did compete in the loudness game? Hmmm...
Old 30th August 2008
  #60
Gear Maniac
 
imdrecordings's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by greggybud View Post
I believe this part of the article is true:

"Records today are mastered loud because most bands request it that way. Most of the time, the ARTISTS want to hear their creations loud and compressed so they won’t feel like they’re falling back in time!"

One way to tell a wana-be from a mastering engineer is the continual never-ending false statement repeated over and over in forums that the A&R guy or high level record guy is the culprit demanding loudness.

In reality, from what I have experienced and consulting with others, it is the ARTIST who demands the volume.

Any ME's care to disagree or give examples of A&R guys who ruined the ARTISTS record?
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