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The Loudness War - a different opinion Effects Pedals, Units & Accessories
Old 2nd September 2008
  #91
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kjg View Post
+1

64k/24b would be great and pretty much enough for end-user delivery formats. Even 48k allows for less steep aa/reconstruction filtering and results in more open/natural top end. There is no reason what so ever to deliver 30k audio - I guess the non-audiophools agree on that - and the benefits of 24 bit are common wisdom by now.
Dan Lavry's article on higher sample rates also suggest 60k-ish as an optimum, and since 32k is a somewhat standard lo-fi samplerate any way... How hard can it be to have converters and audio apps run at double that rate?

Using a lossless, open source encoder such as flac would result in substantial data reduction which makes it even more viable.

I'm all for flac encoded 64/24 as the new hi-fi standard, with 48/16 as the compromise for situations where storage/bandwidth is at a premium. For lo-fi applications the 48/16 bit data could still be ogg/mp3 encoded.
While I agree with your first premise, I also can't see the need for a 24 bit delivery system. What are we talking about? Footroom? In a well-mastered production, the noise floor should also be largely moot. 64/16 would be about right, methinks.
Old 2nd September 2008
  #92
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hackenslash View Post
While I agree with your first premise, I also can't see the need for a 24 bit delivery system. What are we talking about? Footroom? In a well-mastered production, the noise floor should also be largely moot. 64/16 would be about right, methinks.
If you want to cover all variables, 20 bits would do it for a delivery channel. That covers threshold of hearing to threshold of pain. You need a hell of a system to reproduce it, of course, but that way nobody can say you don't have your bases covered!

By the way, this has become a different subject if I'm not mistaken.
Old 4th September 2008
  #93
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Double post, please delete.

Last edited by Susceptor; 4th September 2008 at 01:18 AM.. Reason: Double post, wasn't paying attention.
Old 4th September 2008
  #94
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Froom my point of view there are 3 main factors that produced this "loudness war":

First of all, as we all know it was that hype around the fact that loud sells better. It is true to some extent; e.g. you'll most likely like a version which is 0.5 - 1.5 dB louder due to the fact that it sounds more exciting and that the difference in sound volume isn't that much for your average Joe. This used to work to some degree, but when you can't get more "loud" on the record, the whole "loudness sells" is just bollocks.

Second of all, there was no standard to what RMS levels should be. If this existed, there would be no problem, but since there's a jungle out there, anyone can try what ever they want to, even if it's just dumb and sounds crappy.

Third of all, some artist like it that way. For example, in the american metal scene (e.g. metalcore, deathcore, whatevercore they come up with next) the whole overcompressed/overlimited sound is a characteristic of the genre. They WANT the kick drums to sund like pillows being hit instead of drums. The limiter is seen more like an effect (in the sens of chorus) to shape the sound. This is also true for the IDM/breakcore genres (due to the fact that they mix and "pre master" themselves). Sadly, this was taken as a general purpose effect, but you can't use all of the effects on all genres. Just try to imagine having all tracks on a symphonic song with a distorted flanged echoed reverbed trancegated sound (someone might invent a new genre this way, but in my opinion it's just sheen stupidity).

The bad part in all of this is that it seems that nowadays the standard of RMS level seems to be "as loud as you can, brick wave preferably". Some music genres have an excellent dynamic range (I recently listened to some japanese taiko drummers CD) but some genres are defined by no dynamic whatsoever (I think that they're trying to make their music resemble their faces, rugged and expresionless ). What really bugs me is the fact that genres that used to have dynamics try to have this "fresh, modern sound" and focus less and less on creativity.

To make things even worse, the consumers simply forgot how to use the volume knob. They expect extremely loud music and if it doesn't sound as loud as the other things they listen to they will either find it a) unprofessional ("everybody's making it loud, why hasn't it changed in the last 20 years?") b) too soft (as if it were to hard to turn the volume up) or a comination of both.

The only viable solution I see (which existed for quite some time) is ReplayGain. Since the majority of listeners use mp3, they could easily use the RG gain tag and most of the level problems would be solved. It's not that hard for the most popular players to use RG (some of them have), to support it and to automatically calculate RG before playing the damn thing (unless a tag is present). Also, it's easy to implement it in modern players via firmware (at least into some players) so people won't have to buy new stuff.

In the meantime, AES/EBU could try to "force" and set the standard RMS levels to -14 dbFS (chosen by the fact that this is the VU meter setting), with exceptions to other levels given by the dynamic requirment of the song, but to have a maximum RMS peak at -14 dbFS(or let's say -12). Most VST should use the K system (or have an option for it) when it comes to levels. In the end we would have the same result, some extreme genres would still have a brick song, but only x db softer, but artists would have the option to be dynamic without worrying about the volume. We still would have some ****tards (as I read in a post in this thread) who pay to see "all those lights on", but their quantity would be negligibe.

PS: it's actually amusing that there is so much hype about the "analog" warmth, but people still try to get everything as loud as possible, destroying that warmth to some degree.
Old 4th September 2008
  #95
Gear Maniac
 

This whole volume war thing is incredibly ********.

The only reason there has ever been a push to loudness, is to overcome noise introduced by lower quality amplifiers, when boosting volume.

The louder your source, the less the amp has to work. Period.

Lets just end this whole discussion right here, as most modern amps, have ample gain to make even softer tracks sound great.



-Freq
Old 4th September 2008
  #96
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If we have better amps why are songs mastered the way they are?
Old 4th September 2008
  #97
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freq18Hz View Post
This whole volume war thing is incredibly ********.

The only reason there has ever been a push to loudness, is to overcome noise introduced by lower quality amplifiers, when boosting volume.

The louder your source, the less the amp has to work. Period.

Lets just end this whole discussion right here, as most modern amps, have ample gain to make even softer tracks sound great.



-Freq
I appreciate where you're coming from but signal to noise ratios are not even close to why artists and record labels have wanted their records louder than their "competitors" since the dawn of time. Good amps won't end the discussion and it's not the discussion that needs ending [although that would be nice too].
Old 4th September 2008
  #98
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There is only one reason people make things as loud as possible.

It is paranoia that somebody who is trying to decide which of two artists they are going to book or play on the radio might be listening to something louder from the other artist.
Old 4th September 2008
  #99
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If this was the only problem wouldn't be the radio's job to do the compression?

Btw: I've noticed that excessive compression is applied not only in the studio, but on the net. For example, youtube applies this kind of compression and there is no option given to the uploader to disable it.
Old 4th September 2008
  #100
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Susceptor View Post
If this was the only problem wouldn't be the radio's job to do the compression?

Btw: I've noticed that excessive compression is applied not only in the studio, but on the net. For example, youtube applies this kind of compression and there is no option given to the uploader to disable it.
A&R and bands don't listen to their stuff on the radio when deciding if the mastering is "up to par", they listen to it in the office and their homes and quite probably on their ipods. I'm aware of several instances where a master was approved or rejected simply because it was louder or wasn't as loud as the last thing they listened to.
Turning your volume knob up is an inconvenience for the average consumerapparently.
Old 9th September 2008
  #101
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Susceptor View Post
If this was the only problem wouldn't be the radio's job to do the compression?

Btw: I've noticed that excessive compression is applied not only in the studio, but on the net. For example, youtube applies this kind of compression and there is no option given to the uploader to disable it.
Yes! Radio stations do multiband compression to level all music out
Old 9th September 2008
  #102
Quote:
Originally Posted by PoorGlory View Post
If they want it louder I tell them to have it mastered somewhere else because I refuse to destroy the mix I worked hard to get right. And I've never had anyone go anywhere else after they heard a rational explanation, with audio examples. (I always have examples ready to go in the studio for this argument. It's very effective.)
Sanity prevails.
Old 11th September 2008
  #103
Quote:
Originally Posted by Susceptor View Post
...In the meantime, AES/EBU could try to "force" and set the standard RMS levels to -14 dbFS (chosen by the fact that this is the VU meter setting), with exceptions to other levels given by the dynamic requirment of the song, but to have a maximum RMS peak at -14 dbFS(or let's say -12)...
-14 really? I know it depends on the kind of music, but -12 sounds pretty good to me on many acoustic heavy projects and up to -10 during the loudest parts on electronic or modern pop. Truthfully though, even at -10 I find many many dance songs are still louder than mine. -14 might actually sound great but would have low enough passages that listeners would miss them in a car or other noisy environment.

About the noise level from amps thing, I never thought of that before but it's interesting because it does have something to do with signal to noise. The signal to noise of the outside world I'm definitely not defending the loudness war, I just think people should do what sounds best for that particular song and not have to do something different to keep up with the jones'es.

The problem is simple. When Joe shmo puts on a song and it starts out a mid to loud volume his first impression is that it sounds good. People just don't know how to work the volume knob and eq in there cars for some reason. So everybody compresses the cr-p out of everything so it can all sound the same.... sh-tty but the same. Most listeners impression of the same=good, different=bad we all know they don't think about sound anywhere near as deeply as we do.
Old 11th September 2008
  #104
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkRB View Post
Turning your volume knob up is an inconvenience for the average consumerapparently.
Personally i absolutely HATE having to turn DOWN a track because it is way louder than the previous one... Maybe its just me.
Old 11th September 2008
  #105
Gear Head
 

the problem is

saying mp3 rolls off the toungue nicely.
Thats all you need to get something happening these days in this incredibly fast paced world. Especially youngsters.

We cant go around saying 16,44 to make that cool can we.

If we want to promote 96.24.

we should name it a 'scooby doo' file or something like that.

"yep just the other night i downloaded a scooby doo of the bEACH bOYS"
Old 11th September 2008
  #106
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Tubb View Post
Back from my trip to Nashville, thanks for the tip Jerry.

Visited Ernest Tubb (as well as several bars around Broadway, Tootsies being a fav). A friend that I was with is a big Cash and Jerry Lee fan and he was a bit overwhelmed by the selection at Tubb's. There's even a selection of DVD's for Hee Haw! You won't find that here in Philly.

I was truly impressed. Likely more talent per square inch than any other town I've had the opportunity to visit.
Old 11th September 2008
  #107
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Quote:
Originally Posted by masteringhouse View Post
Back from my trip to Nashville, thanks for the tip Jerry.

Visited Ernest Tubb (as well as several bars around Broadway, Tootsies being a fav). A friend that I was with is a big Cash and Jerry Lee fan and he was a bit overwhelmed by the selection at Tubb's. There's even a selection of DVD's for Hee Haw! You won't find that here in Philly.

I was truly impressed. Likely more talent per square inch than any other town I've had the opportunity to visit.
Glad to hear you had a good time Tom!

Both the record stores I mentioned continue to have live in-store performances, usually with a new release.

E.T. Records is truly a wonder, some would say a relic from the past, I would say living and vibrant as ever.

I get thru there every few years, always try to stop at E.T.'s, Gruhn Guitars, and tip my hat to the Ryman. I think the old RCA Studio B is gone now(?), lots of real estate rearranged with the "NashVegas" mindset moving in.

Now, I know you're a completist, where you gonna put all those Hee Haw DVDs?

Cheers - JT
Old 11th September 2008
  #108
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Tubb View Post
Now, I know you're a completist, where you gonna put all those Hee Haw DVDs?
Transfer them all to a video Ipod of course!
Old 11th September 2008
  #109
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I know that this thread has become a mash-up of a couple of different topics, many that are actually quite interesting (at least to me). Possibly because it's been camouflaged by the old "loudness war" debate as the topic, some people are less interested and no flames have started. Maybe this is the way to post in the future and still have this forum be reasonably flame-******ant. I think that my next post the title will be something about baking chocolate chip cookies. Anyway I digress.

Anyone see this article?
T-Bone Burnett 'Democratizes' High Fidelity Audio? | Listening Post from Wired.com
Old 12th September 2008
  #110
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I think likable is always better as loud.
Some Albums are limited till we hear digital clipping and some ME think this is OK.

If a song is likable the consumer will turn up the volume knob by itself...as long as we speak about POP and Techno they can crush it...I do not listen to the stupid same 3 chord cadences.

It is time that ME overthnik the usage of brachial limiting.

Even if artists ask foe louder files.
They ask for this because in the radio they hear to death limited music .... it became a hearing habit.... it is the ME business to senstize the customers for this problem.

Till today I have not found a ME who is treating limiting like rear eggs....
I really think most ME have a problem brickwall-limiting became a tool which is in the most cases used to airy.

my 2 cents
Old 12th September 2008
  #111
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Thank you

Quote:
Originally Posted by LudicrouSpeed View Post
Personally i absolutely HATE having to turn DOWN a track because it is way louder than the previous one... Maybe its just me.
I had my album mastered by Peter Humphreys at Masterworks. Dude is on point. We took the song that came out with the lowest rms and matched all the louder ones to that. Some songs, the more aggressive ones, sounded better with a bit more limiting, so the rms end up at -10 for a couple tracks. The majority of the album sounded best with a little less limiting and we ended up somewhere around -12. So we brought the LOUDER ONES DOWN FOR THE SAKE OF CONTINUITY.

The problem with the volume knob. Ok - this is a stretch, but... when one is listening to an album as a whole, they may want to set a volume, and then not have to interrupt their listening experience to correct that setting later on. This becomes problematic when dealing with mixes taken from different albums.

I actually thought the second Disturbed album didn't sound horribly flat. I thought the drums could have used more body and punch in relation to the mix, especially those double bass drum runs, but all in all I thought it sounded pretty good.
Old 12th September 2008
  #112
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I think the loudness wars have reached a sort of breaking point recently. I don't mind a "loud" album, I don't mind a lot of compression. But a few albums that have come out in the past year or 2 have been literally uncomfortable to listen to, even at low volumes. Its this painful barrage of everything at the same volume with no depth whatsoever.

I find albums that weren't mastered to be loud I like to turn up and the sound will cushion around the extra volume, and I will "sink in" to the music better. Songs mastered to be loud I turn down and they are so topical in their sound, and I end up rarely listening to these albums, even though I may enjoy the songs themselves. It really pisses me off actually.
Old 13th September 2008
  #113
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n8tron View Post
Its this painful barrage of everything at the same volume with no depth whatsoever.
Like sitting on the front row at the movies?

JT
Old 13th September 2008
  #114
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But my eyes still see.

Silence is golden.
Old 13th September 2008
  #115
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Storyville View Post
So we brought the LOUDER ONES DOWN FOR THE SAKE OF CONTINUITY.
I had it recently that the artist preferred the sound of a soft clipped version for all tracks, only parts in one song he preferred to be cleaner.

I was getting ready to explain to him, that if he wants the level of the clipped version, that one section will have to be compromised in sound - when the "unthinkable" happened. He was absolutely fine with me dropping the album down 1 dB to save the clarity of that one section. I didn't expect that. What a breath of fresh air. So now the album sits at -1,3 dBfs. And everyone is extremely happy with that.
Old 16th September 2008
  #116
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 24-96 Mastering View Post
I had it recently that the artist preferred the sound of a soft clipped version for all tracks, only parts in one song he preferred to be cleaner.

I was getting ready to explain to him, that if he wants the level of the clipped version, that one section will have to be compromised in sound - when the "unthinkable" happened. He was absolutely fine with me dropping the album down 1 dB to save the clarity of that one section. I didn't expect that. What a breath of fresh air. So now the album sits at -1,3 dBfs. And everyone is extremely happy with that.
Very interesting!

I still believe people would enjoy a second article about it I've been thinking..
Subscribe in the mean time (if you want to be notified of updates).
Old 16th September 2008
  #117
Gear Nut
 

It would be nice if a big act actually had two versions of one of the songs on the CD, one shizzled, and one at a more realistic better sounding level, and in the booklet there could be a one page explanation of whats going on. A label with "turn me up" or whatever on it may convey a message but it wont educate.
Old 17th September 2008
  #118
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Quote:
Originally Posted by void View Post
It would be nice if a big act actually had two versions of one of the songs on the CD, one shizzled, and one at a more realistic better sounding level, and in the booklet there could be a one page explanation of whats going on. A label with "turn me up" or whatever on it may convey a message but it wont educate.
Great idea!... Very smart
Old 17th September 2008
  #119
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Quote:
Originally Posted by void View Post
It would be nice if a big act actually had two versions of one of the songs on the CD, one shizzled, and one at a more realistic better sounding level, and in the booklet there could be a one page explanation of whats going on. A label with "turn me up" or whatever on it may convey a message but it wont educate.
This would probably make more sense if done through digital distribution. I can't see labels going through additional costs for two versions of the same CD for this purpose without raising the price to the consumer.
Old 17th September 2008
  #120
kjg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by masteringhouse View Post
I can't see labels going through additional costs for two versions of the same CD for this purpose without raising the price to the consumer.
I think he meant two versions of one of the songs, still on one CD. Not two versions of the same cd.
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