The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
Vote on the solutions to the loudness war.... Dynamics Plugins
View Poll Results: Vote on Loudness Normalizatoin
No LN, over my dead body.
143 Votes - 41.21%
I want LN, with a consumer option to defeat.
137 Votes - 39.48%
I want LN required and undefeatable in all consumer gear.
28 Votes - 8.07%
No opinion, whatever will be will be.
39 Votes - 11.24%
Voters: 347. You may not vote on this poll

Old 27th January 2010
  #331
Lives for gear
 
Taurean's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suade View Post
Does anybody here know anything about WHY louder sounds better to people generally? Is there any psychoacoustic theory about that?

My experience is that unless I subjectively level match two versions of a track when I do A/B comparisons I'm unable to judge them fairly - switching to the louder one almost always sounds pleasing and switching to the quieter one seems disappointing. It's only once I've level matched the two versions that I feel that I can correctly perceive the difference. Discovering this has been exceedingly helpful to me as previously I had been fooled by loudness increases into thinking the processing I was doing was beneficial when it wasn't - it was worse but also just a bit louder.

It seems that this apparently innate feature of human perception is at the heart of this Loudness Wars topic so I'd love to hear if there are any insights into why this happens in our ears and minds....


....regarding the Poll - I'm in support of a LN function which is on by default in iTunes, iPods etc. as it'll be helpful to the casual listener and dis-incentivize the production of squashed masters without altering the actual sound of any tracks (a point many posters seem to have missed). Serious listeners can switch it off anytime they like so what harm could it do?
Fletcher-Munson pretty much covers that. Because we do not hear frequencies in a linear fashion, maximizing a signal or mix (processing for loudness) "levels" the frequency playing field so that for example, low and low-mid frequencies that would be faint at a certain listening level would be audible. But this is to a certain point! Pushing past that for sheer loudness is diminishing returns. The "why does it sound better" in this case of extreme loudness is more psychological then psychoacoustical. And this is in shorter bursts of time and comparascent. In other words, at this point, it's not that it actually sounds better, it's just more of a brute force. In my opinion, it's all about a different type of impression at this point. This, has been homogenized into what the listener is evaluating and perhaps remissively focusing on this different element when they say "this one is better".
Old 27th January 2010
  #332
Deleted User
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suade View Post
....regarding the Poll - I'm in support of a LN function which is on by default in iTunes, iPods etc. as it'll be helpful to the casual listener and dis-incentivize the production of squashed masters without altering the actual sound of any tracks (a point many posters seem to have missed). Serious listeners can switch it off anytime they like so what harm could it do?
heh

Also, I can often judge which is the better of the two when presented with an unmatched A/B (usually the quieter one). But I have to listen for at least ~20 seconds to each so I can fully consider what I'm hearing; as non matched A/Bs effectively take away the "gut instinct" factor... I would go as far as saying equal loudness curves are only 60%, the other 40% is just confusion.
Old 28th January 2010
  #333
Here for the gear
 

In my opinion, the public is going to decide this issue. When enough people stop purchasing overcompressed music, then the record companies/artists will get the message, because it will affect their bottom line.
Old 28th January 2010
  #334
Deleted User
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ear Candy View Post
In my opinion, the public is going to decide this issue. When enough people stop purchasing overcompressed music, then the record companies/artists will get the message, because it will affect their bottom line.
Interesting, but what do you think to the major drop in sales (that is currently attributed to "illegal downloading"); do you think that some of these consumers have already stopped buying CDs because they sound squished?

As far as I am aware the decline of record sales has been subject to a lot of propaganda. I've read some really interesting studies in addition to my own primary research, which suggest that only a reasonably low percentage of record sales have been lost to filesharing.... in a nutshell, there are a vast amount of people downloading music without paying but statistically, most in that category would have never bought any/much music before file-sharing anyway.

I estimate (for what it's worth) only about 25% of these "lost sales" are actually lost sales. Maybe the real "lost sales" consumers have actually stopped buying because of quality issues. heh

In which case, most record labels would be ignorant in their arrogance, but we knew that anyhow.

Just what I think anyway.
Old 29th January 2010
  #335
Lives for gear
 
Bob Yordan's Avatar
There is only one solution for loudness war and that is

















loudness peace.


Old 31st January 2010
  #336
Lives for gear
 
AfterViewer's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Loudness is just a way to "Bogart" your way past the competition. Same as jumping the gun before the gates open. Noise Pollution for those not on your wavelength. Voted accordingly.
Old 16th April 2010
  #337
Gear Maniac
 
Starshine's Avatar
 

I just read this thread (I skipped a few pages tho) and I voted NO.
No I don't want to be told how to listen to music. Is it so hard to reach for the volume knob?
Old 28th April 2010
  #338
Gear Addict
 
jaddie's Avatar
 

loudness war and peace

Wow, is this ever a THREAD!

First, the loudness war is more than a bit dumb. It’s a war without a victor, one where there is only damage and destruction.

In radio, when two stations have a loudness war (been going on for nearly half a century), it’s because they are both broadcasting the same, or very similar content. The music is identical, the presentation similar enough to be identical. The war is driven by station executives suffering an ego blow when they punch their station’s button on their car radio, and it’s not as loud as the competition. In broadcasting, there is a real, genuine fight for listeners/ratings/dollars. But the assumption is, a listener will stick on the louder station. It’s a fallacy, because the next thing a listener touches after the station selection is the volume control, which he sets to preference. Beyond sustaining modulation levels over the noise floor, loudness processing in radio has no point. But a radio station has an enemy to fight (the other station) and territory to win: listeners. So the war, be it ever so misguided, rages on.

In the recorded music loudness war, there are no enemies, no such territory to fight over. There’s no competition, because if you like an artists music, you’ll buy the CD or the download. There’s no identical but competing CD or download that’s so similar as drive the choice by some means other than content. The very second a listener hears the music, it gets adjusted to whatever volume he needs and wants. Louder is only a bit more annoying than softer. Those that master loud are not making friends of any listeners.. There is great wisdom in establishing a loudness standard, but it should be based on a highly reliable and repeatable measure of loudness, for which Bob’s K-system is a start in the right direction.

In any loudness war, there are really only losers. The listeners lose because they don’t get clean, undistorted music, what they get is over-processed and distorted. The record companies/producers/artist lose because they are mangling, permanently, what will become a indelible record of their art for all time. Record companies don’t sell more music because it’s mastered loud, they sell music because of what it is. By the time it’s heard in all it’s loudly mastered glory, the music has already been purchased, and the listener has turned his volume control down. See what I mean? No territory to fight over, and no competition to fight with. How can you have a war under those conditions?

The one thing that would put an immediate end to the war is if listeners who purchased over-processed music returned it and demanded their money back. Money talks, and returns speak very, very loudly (sorry!). iTunes will grant a refund for a poor quality purchase. So will Amazon, and any physical store. All a buyer has to do is complain, very firmly, and specifically about the quality. But it’s not likely to happen, because, as I said before, the entire market is content driven. If consumers like the specific music, and want to own it, they will for the most part put up with a large palette of audio degradation. You can’t go and buy the clean version of the same song done by the other (fill in group name). There isn’t one.


LN, as described here, is probably not the solution, but rather a band-aide, and not a great one at that. On iTunes Soundcheck: no, it’s not a good solution. But there are others that are. Audyssey Dynamic Volume, for example, takes action based on research where real listeners were given a volume control knob to adjust when exposed to different material at different levels. Their actions were recorded, and human loudness response was characterized. The result is first, a loudness adjustment that mimics what you would do anyway, second, the system can look ahead to anticipate, third, and this is a biggie, it is based on hearing perception at a specific SPL in the listeners environment. Audyssey Dynamic Volume is not a compressor, but it works, works well, is without artifact, and blows the doors off “night mode”. If ADV could become available in enough devices, even if the loudness war ended tomorrow, legacy material would be handled well. It is propagating, but hasn’t found its way to iTunes yet. It is available in many AV receivers.

Last comment directed at those who master loud: If your material is destined to ever be played on radio, please realize what radio stations do to your stuff… more compression (multi-band, no less), peak limiting, and even deliberate clipping. Their distortion ADDS to what you did in mastering, and in some cases multiplies it. And nothing is ever any louder on the air because of it, only more distorted, crushed, and disfigured.

Thanks for letting me vent...sorry, I can't vote in the poll, I don't see a clear, right choice.

Jim
Old 1st May 2010
  #339
Lives for gear
 
echoRausch's Avatar
 

some uncommon thoughts to this:

1.

i like loud masters. shoot me, but i like it. depeche mode "sounds of the universe" - brrr, what a bull**** . the "ultra"-sound was cool... yeah.

it is not the same to reach for the volume knob or hear compressed music. there is a difference in sound, not only in volume - like it or not.

besides that recordings with lower dynamics have one advantage: when you listen to them at home, mostly you don't listen loud. because you have neighbors. then there is a soft part in the music - ok, on very dynamic records you will hear almost nothing anymore. not to speak of details.

and this is the advantage of loud records. soft parts are louder so you can hear them better on generally low volume levels. with more detail. without reaching for the volume knob 10 times per listening hour.

only a few audiophile people profit from very dynamic records. and even 50% of those people don't know, what dynamic records are. ask them for dynamic records, talk to them. they will always say: "yes, dynamic in music is very important. i love dynamic records blablaba". and when you ask them for their best sounding, most dynamic records they will always name you the loudest and less dynamic they have. try it out.

2.

radio: i always read about damages radio does. i don't think most of you know what you're talking about. radio uses VERY long release times. it doesn't add much distortion. limiters are commonly used to balance the differences in loudness and frequency response of the different records in an easy way.

hear to the radio. there comes an intro, loud. then the drums start to play and you can hear it pumping down. until the drums will end. then it pumps up again.

but be fair: what else should they do? play 0.0 db masters and k-14 one after another? yeah, cool idea! there were no fat people anymore in this world. because all people running to their radio volume knobs all the time...
Old 1st May 2010
  #340
Gear Guru
 
lucey's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by echoRausch View Post
some uncommon thoughts to this:
I'm basically with you. A practical post.

Loud done well is very cool in many cases. Engineering is about music, not science, and some music sounds good slammed ... if done well. Three caveats:

1. Insecure artists pushing past the point of musical results.
2. Some MEs are not good at making loud records, or they have a personal bias that gets in the way of the slammed vision that the artist has.
3. Some mixers overcompress, thinking it will make for a loud record, and this is untrue, and undoable.



I would like to see nothing printed above -0.2, from anyone in our field. And if we all did that, and made it sound good, we'd have much less to talk about! It's the 'bad loud' that gets all the press.

I have the Slate FGX beta and it's going to help the underskilled get it up to where some of us go everyday, in a fairly musical way. It's not as good as a sweet-toned analog desk and smart clipping/limiting, but it's better than an ITB limiter. Maybe 'bad loud' will be a moot discussion in a few years and we can just argue too-loud-or-not-too-loud, musical vision, with artists
Old 1st May 2010
  #341
Lives for gear
 
echoRausch's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lucey View Post
I have the Slate FGX demo
really? it's not available on their website anymore (or never was). where can i get it?
Old 1st May 2010
  #342
Gear Guru
 
lucey's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by echoRausch View Post
really? it's not available on their website anymore (or never was). where can i get it?
Should have said "beta". Running the Beta version ... it's not out yet ... sorry. It's buggy, give it time. And even then, reasonable expectations please.
Old 1st May 2010
  #343
Lives for gear
 
echoRausch's Avatar
 

ehhhh... seeing you have sonic allegra in your studio! (makassar right?)

i thought of buying allegria's for mine... how is your opinion about the allegra's for mastering? i've never seen them in any other studio...

there is an ebay-shop selling new allegra's and allegria's for a VERY good price (allegria ~2.000 eur, allegra cheaper).
Old 1st May 2010
  #344
Old 1st May 2010
  #345
Lives for gear
 
24-96 Mastering's Avatar
1.
Regarding the notion of "I like the sound of many loud discs and so do many others, so those bitching about high level standards are ignorant of people's sound preferences":

It's such a non sequitur. Yes, a high level on digital medium necessitates some trade off (which may result in 'a certain sound'), and anyone may like that, but 'that sound' doesn't necessitate a high level. You can sound like Death Magnetic, if that floats your boat, without being the loudest CD around.

A discussion about the 'loudness wars' in a professional community simply isn't about your or anyone else's specific sound preferences, but about what can and can't or what should or shouldn't be done to try and preserve the technical mechanism by which actual choice about the sound of a recording is enabled. I.e. sound quality.

And no, I'm not saying that I'm in favour of regulation, just that the statement above is missing the point of the discussion.



2.
As far as 'good loud' and 'bad loud' goes: Sure, some are better and some are worse at making stuff loud. But that doesn't add anything to this discussion: At the extreme end of the scale, there's only bad loud. 'Too loud' in that respect is automatically 'bad loud'...

I believe that 'good loud' and 'bad loud' (you may as well just say 'good' and 'bad') is a pointless division that is distracting from the actual issue, the actual cost of high loudness, which is reduced amount of choice. Imho.

Again, I'm not saying that anyone's preference or appreciation for tastefully loudened audio is invalid, or that technique doesn't matter, just saying that some arguments, imo, are not central to the issue being discussed.



3.
Finally, this thread is a perfect opportunity to express my frustration about a particular session I had the other day. I was asked to make an alternative master to an existing one (made by a fellow gearslut, incidentally). I asked for a short snippet of the other master, so that I knew what loudness to match. And boy, was it loud. Not just very loud... I'm talking crazy loud. So after banging my head against a brick wall from a few different angles for a bit, I printed a master at comparable level.

So here's what's bothering me: Why on earth would anyone _default_ to such absurd loudness? It won't guarantee them the job: a better master will still sound better - even at crazy levels. The only thing that a 'default to stun' guarantees is that, whichever master a client goes with, the recording will sound worse than it would have otherwise. Why get into mastering, when all you're going to do is to make sure the uneducated will end up with worse sounding masters? I mean, really?

end of rant.
Old 1st May 2010
  #346
Gear Guru
 
lucey's Avatar
 

Verified Member
There is absolutely such thing as loud music that both sounds good and suits the style. So why leave 3 db of headroom if 0.3 works well enough? In an iPod playlist the slammed sound should sound loud, the dynamic sound should sound quieter and more dynamic. Other records do matter, that's part of mastering. Competing, and flowing with the world is the gig, not just technically but artistically.

This whole discussion is ignorant, really. Pissing in a fan. MEs are not driving the train, they just make it travel well or badly ... and there will be no standards set ... ever. You said "too loud is bad loud" ? ... no way. 'Bad loud' is 'too loud'. Good loud is MUSIC!

If other MEs are defaulting to what you see as too loud, so what? My job is to please my people, and most of them want good and loud, but not so much that it's a negative to the musicality. If anything, good loud is a skill that needs to be learned, like any other. I'll make any record sound as loud as it can still sound good to me and to them, to avoid the annoying "love it, need it louder" Simple enough.

Seldom does anyone complain about the first pass, or call in 6 months with a complaint of too loud. We know what the client wants as we've asked them, right? I default on the med. loud side because of being told to turn it up, over and over by other clients. Seems to work well.

Why is it so hard to accept that clients often want "good loud" and some MEs can't do it, for whatever reason. Again, FXG will level this playing field soon enough to an extent, then we will be focusing on the art of the sound and the flow, not the level. I look forward to that era as well.


And here's the good news ... if a client asks for dynamics they get it!


The only thing I wish was a commonly practice is no overs. -0.3 please. -0.2 at most. The presence of flashing red lights is a bad sign for the profession, and demeans it more than a loud master that sounds good for the style, where the client was pushing for that. It's a service job we do and there is no musical reason to have +1s flashing ALL TUNE! Looks bad and sounds bad in objective terms.



Let's admit it ... the worst offenders in loudness are hyper distorted. overcompressed mixes, and the ignorant clients who "like" them. Thankfully I get very, very few of either.
Old 1st May 2010
  #347
Lives for gear
 
Apostolos Siopis's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
i like loud masters. shoot me, but i like it.
(unless you are talking about hip hop and some dance/electronic music)
I cannot agree with the above.
I do not think you take into account the music.
I have been (actually I work as a FOH engineer) in many concerts in my life. I have heard music played in large venues, theatres,open air spaces, garages, living rooms you name it. Real music played by real people.
The music is always dynamic, you always have quiet, loud and louder sounds (and all in between...).
Most of the music I work on (at the studio) was played by real people (as in not sequencers) and my opinion is obviously dictated by that, but isn't recorded music supposed to be heard, like you have the band in front of you?I do not mean, that I like only live records, but what I do like, is to close my eyes and feel like there is a performance in front of me. Lack of dynamics is one of the things that take this way from the music.(end of my rant)

Anyway, i am seeing more and more artists and mixing engineers being aware of the potential problems of super loud masters and lately less clients ask for silly levels.
Old 1st May 2010
  #348
Shy
Lives for gear
 

And what about music that's not acoustically recorded? It's not a part of the equation?

In short, give me a break, there is no "solution" to the "loudness war" because nothing can fix a squashed, disgusting sounding piece of audio. Changing the avarage loudness is not gonna solve anything except making sure the avarage loudness doesn't exceed a certain level. That does have some very. very good uses, but it's not gonna "solve the loudness war" and not gonna abolish fatigue by repulsive chunks of audio.

Let me make this clear again: Controlling avarage loudness != solving the problem of crap quality audio.
And no one is gonna be able to force anyone to mix according to any specific idiotic "mixing standards", that's an insane notion suitable for egomaniacal tyrants.

Contol avarage loudness, no problem, implement ReplayGain in anything (and give people a choice, you crazy ****), but a war can't be solved when less than all sides' interests are filled, and they -never- will be.
Old 1st May 2010
  #349
Lives for gear
 
24-96 Mastering's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by lucey View Post
In an iPod playlist the slammed sound should sound loud, the dynamic sound should sound quieter and more dynamic. Other records do matter, that's part of mastering. Competing, and flowing with the world is the gig, not just technically but artistically.
The topic at hand is about lack of headroom and yet people keep talking about how that is supposedly artistic expression, part of the creative process, and how some are more awesome than others at dealing with that limitation. It's all apologetic and it's missing the point of the discussion, which is whether that limitation is a technically necessary one / if that limitation should/could be removed.

And yes, masters will always be seen in context and of course that is part of the gig. But that has nothing to do with low headroom, only with relative levels. And the two need not necessarily be connected. That is what this discussion is, or rather should be, about.

Quote:
If other MEs are defaulting to what you see as too loud, so what? My job is to please my people, and most of them want good and loud, but not so much that it's a negative to the musicality. If anything, good loud is a skill that needs to be learned, like any other. I'll make any record sound as loud as it can still sound good to me and to them, to avoid the annoying "love it, need it louder" Simple enough.
This is the same for all of us, but it adds nothing to the discussion at hand. Everyone, I'm sure you too, has a session every now and then where the client wants a hotter master than you proposed or where a reference or competing master is hotter and the music really suffers. Are you not wishing you had more headroom then? Are you not wishing the reference master had been cut a dB lower?


Quote:
Why is it so hard to accept that clients often want "good loud" and some MEs can't do it, for whatever reason.
How is that statement not just self serving and unrelated to the issue? Some are better MEs than others. Full stop. A good ME will make it sound its best at any given level. It just happens that quality of MEs is not what this topic is about.


Quote:
The only thing I wish was a commonly practice is no overs. -0.3 please. -0.2 at most.
If we're talking about stupid loud, then why? If it sounds like ass, why the need to then suddenly pretend to care? If a master is stupid loud (i.e. bad loud), then a 0.3 dB drop to avoid ISPs is a bit of a joke imo. And I'd say that in each given case, it's a valid question whether 0.3 dB more limiting/clipping will sound worse than the chance of ISP clipping in playback.


Quote:
Let's admit it ... the worst offenders in loudness are hyper distorted. overcompressed mixes, and the ignorant clients who "like" them. Thankfully I get very, very few of either.
I personally rarely get inadequatly hot or overcompressed mixes. In most cases I'm very happy with both the mixes I get and the loudness requirements the gigs bring. But every so often there's the case when music gets needlessly raped, and it should be possible to talk about that critically in a forum of professionals. There are MEs that default to stun (stupid loud), without the client asking for it. Maybe the situation in Germany is more competitive than overseas, it's certainly more competitive than in the UK (where a lot of my work is from).

What I'm talking about isn't doing average or even upper average genre loudness so the client is satisfied. We all do that, otherwise we wouldn't be in business. What annoys me is significant, unnecessary damage. 'Stupid loud', without any need or anyone asking for it, because of superficial, short-sighted, juvenile, idiotic ideas of 'competing'. As if loudness alone was an achievement.
Old 2nd May 2010
  #350
Lives for gear
 
wado1942's Avatar
 

Quote:
As if loudness alone was an achievement.
DING DING DING DING DING! We have a winner!
The thing is there IS NO SUCH THING AS LOUDNESS untill it gets played back through a system with some kind of volume control. The end user will ALWAYS control the loudness, not the band, the producer or the engineers. So in the end, there is no "LOUD" for the "art" of it, it's just crushed, wimpy sound that gets played back at the same level on the end user's system as the 1985 rock master. The only difference is that 1985 master sounds a ton better.
Old 2nd May 2010
  #351
Gear Addict
There is no real solution to the loudness war aside from maybe a new format being introduced. By the early 90’s CDs starting sacrificing sound quality for loudness, so even if a CD is released today that is not nearly as loud as typical releases, it will probably still be too loud to take advantage of the (mediocre) capabilities of the CD medium.
It is up to the artist/producer/label on an individual basis, and hopefully there will be at least the occasional decent sounding, dynamic release. The mastering engineer’s job has now been redefined – to master as loud as possible with as little damage to the sound as possible. People are afraid to not master to a competitive volume, even though CD sales are lower than ever. Ironically, if you master your stuff for the sake of fidelity (significantly lower levels/compression than standard today), you may even have a better chance of selling CDs – and your music would actually stand out as sounding different/better than everything else (assuming recording/mix was decent). If a big name act released a CD mastered only for the sake of fidelity, I can’t imagine they would sell any less CDs than if it were mastered loud. This may even start a brief trend to master at lower levels, but levels would gradually start to go back up and we’d be back to where we are now.
Old 2nd May 2010
  #352
Lives for gear
 
echoRausch's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Odeon-Mastering View Post
(unless you are talking about hip hop and some dance/electronic music)
i'm talking about this in first line. rock/metal too.

i'm not in jazz, but if you can do the loud things you can do for sure the gentle.

as lucey said you have to learn to do "loud". and this knowledge you can also use to do better "dynamic".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Odeon-Mastering View Post
I have been (actually I work as a FOH engineer) in many concerts in my life. I have heard music played in large venues, theatres,open air spaces, garages, living rooms you name it. Real music played by real people.
The music is always dynamic, you always have quiet, loud and louder sounds (and all in between...).
i do sometimes concerts and club gigs. for years we used fully compressed ("loud mastered") output to the pa. and it works well. before we did that, we had hours of soundchecking not coming to respectable results.

then we changed. we used a behringer combinator mdx 8000 as live limiter and since that we had no problems. go wherever you're invited, plug in your equipment, make some small adjustments - and sound good! 10 minutes soundcheck is comfortable now, but we know we could do it even without any soundcheck.

with more powerfull notebooks we now use the waves l2 instead of the behringer which makes it more easy.
Old 2nd May 2010
  #353
Lives for gear
 
echoRausch's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by captainj View Post
There is no real solution to the loudness war aside from maybe a new format being introduced.
i not agree with that. the point is: why people shouldn't use the same technology for a new format? they can use the same limters as well as on cd now.

another thing is: why is nobody lamenting about tv? it's the same as radio but nobody cares...

and: everybody cries about bad overcompressed records. death magnetic may be an example - but to be true i liked the original squashed to death master much more than the boring guitar hero version. may be it would have been better to go a little bit lower. but it doesn't bother me that much.

please name the compressed to death cd's. i think commercial releases are made in a good way. may be there are some independent bands / artists with lower budgets who have "bad loud". but please name me some of them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wado1942 View Post
DING DING DING DING DING! We have a winner!
The thing is there IS NO SUCH THING AS LOUDNESS untill it gets played back through a system with some kind of volume control. The end user will ALWAYS control the loudness, not the band, the producer or the engineers. So in the end, there is no "LOUD" for the "art" of it, it's just crushed, wimpy sound that gets played back at the same level on the end user's system as the 1985 rock master. The only difference is that 1985 master sounds a ton better.
no. to be exactly: the ME doesn't control the loudness - so far i'm with you. but he controls the balance between loud as maximum and the bottom as the soft ground of the music.

i don't like it, when this difference is too big. but is a case of personal taste too.

try to listen AND enjoy craig armstrongs "the space between us". at home you will definitely become trouble with your neighbors. when you go down to levels you will not become trouble, you can't really enjoy the music. most of the time you will hear almost nothing. not to speak of the beautiful details.
Old 2nd May 2010
  #354
Lives for gear
 
Surbitone's Avatar
A new format with loudness meta-data would make sense, both for the whole program and individual songs / tracks.
Old 2nd May 2010
  #355
Lives for gear
 
Apostolos Siopis's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by echoRausch View Post
but to be true i liked the original squashed to death master much more than the boring guitar hero version.
That alone says a lot...
Old 2nd May 2010
  #356
Lives for gear
 
echoRausch's Avatar
 

and what does it say? obviously only that you prefer the guitar hero version. a question of taste.

what else?
Old 2nd May 2010
  #357
Gear Addict
 
jaddie's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by echoRausch View Post
some uncommon thoughts to this:

radio: i always read about damages radio does. i don't think most of you know what you're talking about. radio uses VERY long release times. it doesn't add much distortion. limiters are commonly used to balance the differences in loudness and frequency response of the different records in an easy way.
Sorry to wait so long to reply to this. If only the above were true.

I'm a former major market FM Chief Engineer, and am (sadly) all too familiar with what radio processing really does. First, no two stations are ever processed alike. Your experience may be valid for you and your radio market, but it's not true in major markets in general. There are lots of very fast release time in the chain. The disturbing thing is the small peak to average ratios I used to see only on the air 20 years ago, I'm now seeing on CDs too.

The typical chain is multi-band compresson, multiband limiting, fast peak and hf limiting, clipping, low pass filtering, more clipping, and so on. The compressor is pretty clean, but all that fast limiting, peak limiting and clipping absolutely does increase distortion, both odd-order harmonic (the nasty sounding harmonic distortion), and intermodulation distortion, usually heard as bass modulation highs. How much of any of this is used depends on the stations preferences, format and what the competition is doing. I've watched modulation monitors, a semi-peak meter, that hang nearly motionless just a hair below 100% during music.
Yes, broadcast processing can be highly destructive, though there's no law that says it must be, and in less competative markets it's often quite tollerable.

My point is, PID (Processing Induced Distortion) is additive, so it makes little sense to over process a master if it's likely to get airplay.

Jim
Old 2nd May 2010
  #358
Lives for gear
 
echoRausch's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaddie View Post
The typical chain is multi-band compresson, multiband limiting, fast peak and hf limiting, clipping, low pass filtering, more clipping, and so on. The compressor is pretty clean, but all that fast limiting, peak limiting and clipping absolutely does increase distortion, both odd-order harmonic (the nasty sounding harmonic distortion), and intermodulation distortion, usually heard as bass modulation highs. How much of any of this is used depends on the stations preferences, format and what the competition is doing. I've watched modulation monitors, a semi-peak meter, that hang nearly motionless just a hair below 100% during music.
Yes, broadcast processing can be highly destructive, though there's no law that says it must be, and in less competative markets it's often quite tollerable.
maybe you made this experience some years ago. but when you turn on the radio today you can hear the long release times.

maybe some stations are working with short release in addition... maybe. but i think the amount of distortion added is not so excessive as people describe it here. the long release times doesn't destruct the dynamics so much but destruct the music. pumping that way would be unacceptable for every cd-production. but most of the people never realized that pumping when listenning to the radio.

that leads to the conclusion that we obviously overrate the discussion about "loudness war". there has never been a war, just some ME's who wanted to do "loud" better than others. and sometimes they've been going a bit to far. everybody has a bad day sometimes.

p.s.: peakmeters can hang a hair below 100% even when playing very dynamic music. if the release time of the meters fall time is long enough .
Old 2nd May 2010
  #359
Gear Guru
 
lucey's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by 24-96 Mastering View Post
The topic at hand is about lack of headroom and yet people keep talking about how that is supposedly artistic expression, part of the creative process, and how some are more awesome than others at dealing with that limitation. It's all apologetic and it's missing the point of the discussion, which is whether that limitation is a technically necessary one / if that limitation should/could be removed.


1. I will never "apologize" for making loud, musical records that clients love and inspire them to send me more business.

2. The topic is not headroom, it's RMS. Headroom was my point.


Look dude, I like you, and I know you mean well ... but you're just pissing in the wind here. You might as well say "I'm a controlling person, I admit it" and just stop right there. That beats "I don't do loud musically" or "you MEs are bad for what you do" ... which is all implied in the critique of others artistic choices. There is good and bad art ... to me ... but it's not my vote that counts for YOU, as you're proving out in your argument! It's all subjective, even the line between loud enough and too loud.

You ask about "technically necessary"? That's a moot point 100%. Necessary to whom? Do what you want to do and make money from the faults of others, how about that approach? They will do the same. The end. In objective terms, there is no "technical" aspect that is not also "artistically" and "socially" and "emotionally" intertwined .... the technical side of music production is a means to an end, not an end in itself. Full stop. Technical elements in music are like Discipline in life, it's a means to an end. That end is joy, music, whatever makes you alive ... but technical proper-ness by your standards are not the goal, it's emotionally moving music, defined by the artist, enabled by the engineer.


If we live a "good" life of personal discipline and yet have little joy .. we have failed. If music is dynamic and follows all the rules we can imagine ...and still sounds ****ty ... failure. If it's slammed and that's appropriate and musical and ROCKS! ... we win. If it's slammed too far, and the artist is happy and the fans are happy, who am I but one voice in 5 Billion to differ?




This thread is about lots of armchair whining and ideas to control others and their art (mistakes and all), and maybe at worst, it's bitching about others bad work .... or even worse, it's a cover for feeling threatened by others skill in an arena we want to control. Yikes!

"Principle" discussions are often used to cover up personal and emotional insecurity or anger or other issues ... think about it.

Fear (or extreme RMS loudness when it's inappropriate musically and in poor taste to ME) is human nature, and bad taste is as common as the sunshine. There are no "solutions" to these things. If other engineers do loud badly, I win. If you need to do loud better to have it sound great to you and the client ... do it! But human nature manifests with loudness in some cases (fear) and that's not going to stop with forced standards.

Anyway ... why waste time on what others do, or try and stop them, change human weakness/nature to your will? I don't give a **** if you want to print loud or quiet, or can or can't print -8.5 RMS with a totally appropriate musical feel IN SOME CASES as it SUITS THE VISION of the artist. In the end, please your people, serve their vision as musically as possible, then go have dinner with your woman, and have a beer if you'd like!





Enjoy music, not numbers! Serve people and their vision, accept their insecurities as part of what makes them artists. Ideas of proper living? Crapola if they don't lead to musicality or joy.

Some music is better dynamic, some music is better slammed (in as pleasing a way as possible). The end. And the massive grey area in between is only ours to control in as far as we can make a good master that pleases this one client and sounds great to everyone involved this one time.



I'm out ... gotta get back to enjoying ...
Old 2nd May 2010
  #360
Lives for gear
 
24-96 Mastering's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by lucey View Post

Look dude, I like you, and I know you mean well ... but you're just pissing in the wind here.
I have no idea how to reply to that kind of writing without making implications that will be understood as condescending, so I'll leave it there and bow out of this non-discussion.
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread
Thread Starter / Forum
Replies
ianshepherd / Mastering forum
18
Quad / The Moan Zone
4
kenjkelly / Mastering forum
7

Forum Jump
Forum Jump