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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 3rd May 2010
  #361
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jaddie's Avatar
 

Answer, and apology

Quote:
Originally Posted by echoRausch View Post
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 .
echoRausch,

As I read all your posts, each time I wondered why our opinions so differed. I asked myself, "What's this guy listening to? Doesn't he hear how over processed radio is"? Then finally, I checked your location. And, there it is! You're in Germany!

German radio, and European radio in general, has far higher aesthetic values. I've heard German radio productions, they are of first quality in every way. It wouldn't be a surprise that German on-air processing was superlative also, and be gentle, slow, and perfectly suited for high quality precision broadcast signals.

I would like to apologize for my arrogance and presumptuousness. I should never has assumed you, or any other readers and posters are located in the United States. You see here in the US, radio processing has been as I've described it in other posts - highly agressive in most cases, and a significant contributor to distortion in broadcast music. Rather than use German aesthetics, broadcasters in the US often try to be the "loudest station on the dial", at all costs, and at the expense of quality.

echoRausch, please accept my apology, and be very glad you don't have US radio to listen to! I mean no disrespect. In fact, I'm envious.

Jim

PS, it's for this reason that your last remark about peak meters doesn't apply either. The FCC type modulation monitor meter is a "semi-peak" meter, not true peak, or PPM. It has a very fast fall-back time, and the pointer would actually shudder if you modulate with a pure 20Hz tone. It is, however, a meaningful measure of processed density.
Old 3rd May 2010
  #362
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hi jim!

no reason to apologize! i didn't know that there are such big differences in broadcasting between the u.s. and germany. i was a little bit pissed because i didn't know what you really meant, but no problem at all.

the fallback time was a bit cynical, i hope you will forgive me that...

cheers!
Old 3rd May 2010
  #363
Gear Head
 

an alliance

bob,
im in favor of no dynamics processors or normalization as a consumer or mastering tool. i think it's high time we engineers formed an alliance against intrinsic loudness. to revolution!
Old 3rd May 2010
  #364
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24-96 Mastering's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaddie View Post
It wouldn't be a surprise that German on-air processing was superlative also, and be gentle, slow, and perfectly suited for high quality precision broadcast signals.

I would like to apologize for my arrogance and presumptuousness. I should never has assumed you, or any other readers and posters are located in the United States. You see here in the US, radio processing has been as I've described it in other posts - highly agressive in most cases, and a significant contributor to distortion in broadcast music. Rather than use German aesthetics, broadcasters in the US often try to be the "loudest station on the dial", at all costs, and at the expense of quality.
I don't know if German radio is a tad milder in processing than US stations, but it is by no means a nice experience. Stations here use the same units for processing and they're set to be competitive as well. There's not only long release compression as suggested, there's multiband compression, clipping, widening, heavy EQ, and all the rest.

Here's a short snippet of radio recorded from one of the bigger German stations to give you an idea: http://www.24-96.net/xchange/radio_swr3.wav
Old 3rd May 2010
  #365
Gear Guru
 
UnderTow's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by echoRausch View Post
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.
Look up the specs for Orban Optimods or Aphex 2020 MKIII's. These machines are brutal! They have both slow and fast dynamics processing. Dual AGCC's for slow response and multiband compressors + multiband limiters for fast and even faster response. (Plus the multiband clippers for sheer volume).

Quote:
but i think the amount of distortion added is not so excessive as people describe it here.
You like the Death Magnetic master. That in itself is cool but it does mean that your taste as far as digital distortion is concerned is in a different universe as to what most people (certainly ME's) would consider good sound or even just acceptable sound.

I'm in DE this week-end, I'll try to remember to turn the radio on. I'm quite sure you are entirely wrong about both the type of processing and the amount of distortion on German radio. If you are not then great!

Oh and many people lament about TV. Maybe just not the people you hang out with... Many people lament lack of dynamics in films these days too. And those are played in a controlled and calibrated environment!

The loudness war is everywhere.

Alistair
Old 3rd May 2010
  #366
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Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by 24-96 Mastering View Post
Here's a short snippet of radio recorded from one of the bigger German stations: http://www.24-96.net/xchange/radio_swr3.wav
Crush crush clip clip!

Alistair
Old 3rd May 2010
  #367
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echoRausch's Avatar
 

maybe your antenna isn't adjusted right? heh
Old 3rd May 2010
  #368
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24-96 Mastering's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by echoRausch View Post
maybe your antenna isn't adjusted right? heh
Haha, no. You're listening to the glory that is Optimod broadcast processing via direct stream.

PS: I'll admit I deliberately chose a sample of a song with open hihat cymbals playing so that we can hear all the glorious hi frequency distortion
Here's a song that holds up a lot better on the same station: http://www.24-96.net/xchange/radio_swr3_2.wav
Old 3rd May 2010
  #369
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by echoRausch View Post
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.
Would have been much better if the drum hits weren't all shaved off:
The past 3 Muse Albums

Severely hurt:
The past 2 Green Day albums

Bad:
Pearl Jam- Rearview Mirror

Totally unlistenable:
Phish- Undermind
Aerosmith- Honkin' on Bobo
Flogging Molly- Float

Some sort of hilarious joke:
MGMT- Kids




That's for starters



I do like the loud mastering on Andrew W.K. songs... but only because every single atom of those productions are over-the-top tasteless (and I love 'em for it ). So loud works for Andrew W.K. the same way impossibly cliche lyrics work for Spinal Tap.

Quote:
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.
I can't stand it when macro dynamics work their way into this topic. Loud/Soft is a song writing, recording, and mixing issue. If you try to even out the volume of loud/soft in mastering...I can't imagine that turning out well. Although I'm sure people try it...

What bugs me the most is the squashing of songs that were constant high-energy throughout to begin with. A straight rocker. The squash doesn't remove any quiet passages. The squash doesn't make it easier to hear in a home environment. It was already full tilt. All the squash did was make the drums sound small and confined while muddling everything else. Like I said above, see the last 2 Green Day albums. They sound very weak next to Dookie when played at a similar apparent volume. Loud masters are just claustrophobic, small, and damaged.
Old 3rd May 2010
  #370
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lucey View Post
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.
What music do you (or anybody else) consider to be better because of the slam?
Old 3rd May 2010
  #371
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheebs Goat View Post
Like I said above, see the last 2 Green Day albums. They sound very weak next to Dookie when played at a similar apparent volume. Loud masters are just claustrophobic, small, and damaged.
i will try to check some of the named albums. thank you for your information, it will help a lot.

but i just do not agree with your last sentence.

compare depeche mode "ultra" against "sounds of the universe".

ultra is not claustrophobic and small. damaged? not for me. but i don't like the sound of "sounds of the universe" at all. it's boring, somehow strange balanced.

i heard "claustrophobic and small" records too, especially metal records. but i'm not sure if they sound like that because of the mastering or because the band / producer wanted to sound exactly like that.

my experience is that most of the rock/metal/punkbands do want such a sound. most of my time i spend with electronic music, sometimes i do records for rock bands. i tend to give them a fat sound, big, heavy drums, big bass. but mostly they don't want it that way. they want small, tiny drums. tiny bass. so may be it's not an issue of compression but of taste.

another thing: craig armstrong. please try to listen to this - it is really beautiful anyway. listen at lower levels and i think you will understand what i mean. of course you would change macro dynamics when you would make it louder, but you don't have to change the sound to claustrophobic and small. then it's definitely bad loud, i agree. i'm sure you could enjoy the music much more at home levels if it has been louder.

maybe we have to demo this? but it would be against copyrights .
Old 3rd May 2010
  #372
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echoRausch's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheebs Goat View Post
What music do you (or anybody else) consider to be better because of the slam?
i think this question can not to be answered fairly, as we not know the music before mastering.

i think "slammed" masters are better to listen to at low levels. otherwise they might be sounding a bit worse on really high levels but i think it depends a lot on the amp and the speakers you're using therefore.

often "slammed" is even better while listening loud. mostly concerts or clubs. most of the pa's are driven on the edge. and it is definitely better to "slam" into an l2 than into the dbx 160's of the foh.
Old 3rd May 2010
  #373
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lucey's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheebs Goat View Post
What music do you (or anybody else) consider to be better because of the slam?
To be clear, the "slam" refers only to the RMS max. Overcompression is always bad.

A debut metal record I just did for Goatmill is around -9 all day, -8 many times. Sounds great. They want to be loud, and never harsh, and it is. A dynamic rock record like The Black Keys 'Brothers' hits -9 or higher at brief moments of low end bloom. Yet it still feels good and it is still dynamic, seems dynamic, suffers not an inch. And it was mixed with 4 limiters! Riddle me that one. So it's "slammed" and rightly so, but NOT over-compressed.

Over compression is the issue. Any well done and dynamic mix can be made loud with no audible/technical "problems", so it's a matter of choice and taste, nothing else needs to be said.

Green Day, that was mentioned, sounds very good and set them apart at the time. Should all Green Day records sounds the same? No. How boring!

As to loud done badly, it's a long list of famous offenders. Audioslave 1st in every chorus shreads. Californication and DBowie Reality are ****e. I personally hate the new Back In Black, but remastered records are a whole other topic!

Anyway, it's not your record, it's theirs, make your own dynamic records! If you have the talent to be on a record label, and you go dynamic, I'll bet $ it's the cool thing to do, for you. For someone else, the cool thing is to slam it.

This is a fashion and image world ... dynamic or loud, we're just trying to one up and be cooler than the other guy with the music and it's presentation, admit it!

Let's forgive and create
Old 3rd May 2010
  #374
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echoRausch's Avatar
 

these are really wise words. really.
Old 6th March 2017
  #375
Here for the gear
It should be ON by default.
Old 6th April 2017
  #376
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Verified Member
Bonus points for a 7 year old thread revival !

So where are we now? The chaos of streaming services all having a unique RMS ceiling. And the quality they deliver is still poor.

Ah commerce ... can't live with it, can't live without it.
Old 7th April 2017
  #377
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karibu's Avatar
 

Tnx Brian, I missed the thread and it's interesting taking a look on the actual.

As far as I can see from my clients (so it's obviously a point of view on my side, maybe this is different for other colleagues) loudness normalization haven't changed anything in the loudness ask.
I mainly deal on pop/rock/metal and artists/producers are still asking to push level as much as I can, regardless of the LN and even if the main (or only) release is on streaming.

I take part in many shootouts and the reason I win or not us pretty always loudness related "We have chosen yours because was louder" or "Unfortunately we have to tell you that we preferred another one because it was louder"...

So, as mastering is my job and I feed my family with...
Old 7th April 2017
  #378
Here for the gear
 

People want to make it louder because famous artists made loud stuff.
So, famous guys or major labels should stop making loudness war first.
But it's difficult to change their stance because they can't deny their past loud stuff which made them famous.

I'm waiting pop star who could win major success with dynamic music.
Old 7th April 2017
  #379
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I am in the lucky position, that many (if not most) of the tracks I get to master are for vinyl only releases and therefore loudness is not so much (at least not as much as in genres where digital distribution is the main thing) asked for. still many of these tracks will be played by selected djs digitally. as a result in that scene the average loudness level of the tracks being played by the leading djs is much lower than in other scenes. with the growth of micro scenes and genres and djs that specialize in a unique form of music the loudness problem nearly disappeard for me. now and then I get also requests to make something loud but never beyond -7 or - 8 dbfs which I can easily get to with well produced tracks. so I´m not speaking for the mainstream for sure but apart from the mainstream there´s also a growing scene (or better many scenes) and it had been a positive step for me to concentrate on the genres that go for quality of sound rather than for loudness instead of arguing with customers that it´s not good for their tracks to be smashed to the max. ocasionally I get to "master" cd compilations of mainstream house and edm where most tracks are already "mastered" (or shall I say destroyed, this stuff sounds very bad most of the time even if it doesn´t sound distorted, it just lacks live and feeling) to really high rms levels (-5 or 4!!). in the end I lower all these smashed tracks by a few db to match their levels to the more healthy mastered productions, which are luckily on the rise also. so after all the really really loud tracks - even the ones that have been mastered "well" (without hearable distortion) - sound a bit weak to the others if percieved loudness is the same and I am really trying to be fair also to the loud tracks (hence never make them lower in percieved loudness - most of the time they are still a bit louder). I think it´s a bit the same as in streaming although loudness correction is done still manually here as I trust my ears more than some algos - otherwise the loud stuff would sound very often much too weak, which I tested with some tools available for loudness correction.
so altogether I come to the conclusion that the loudness war is def. not over but the overall direction has at least changed a bit. so the future is looking bright for good sounding music even commercially!

Last edited by mastermat; 7th April 2017 at 11:00 PM..
Old 7th April 2017
  #380
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karibu View Post

I take part in many shootouts and the reason I win or not us pretty always loudness related "We have chosen yours because was louder" or "Unfortunately we have to tell you that we preferred another one because it was louder"...

So, as mastering is my job and I feed my family with...
All my cleints are mp3 people. so Yes LOUD is good

You got to be real GOOD to make it louder and win. Many people say it can't be louder but it can if you know it can or how.

I don't say yo but Anyone postin tech forums makin a livin on mastering alone is crazy man. I got 2 jobs beside mastering, meh.

But I'm lookin for a forum where 60% or more postin are music crowds not 90% "mastering engineers".
Old 8th April 2017
  #381
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Giuseppe Zaccaria's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by karibu View Post

As far as I can see from my clients (so it's obviously a point of view on my side, maybe this is different for other colleagues) loudness normalization haven't changed anything in the loudness ask.
I mainly deal on pop/rock/metal and artists/producers are still asking to push level as much as I can, regardless of the LN and even if the main (or only) release is on streaming.

So true! Time seems not changing anything, in fact, they want louder than ever.
Old 8th April 2017
  #382
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What?
Old 8th April 2017
  #383
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Not the best alternatives in this query.
My vote goes to "people should get more information about the risks of loud sounds, including the live music, the club owners and road managers should be legally responsible of the hearing damages; loud drums is no excuse to trim other instruments accordingly".
Old 9th April 2017
  #384
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mastermat View Post
now and then I get also requests to make something loud but never beyond -7 or - 8 dbfs which I can easily get to with well produced tracks.
typo alert!
Old 10th April 2017
  #385
Gear Nut
1., because I think it is a good thing that listeners are regulary reminded that all music sounds different and has different volumes. Music should be a little less a entertainment device that just plays on and on in the background. A forced attention and maybe need to adjust is a good thing. Let's leave as many parameters open as possible!
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