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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 19th November 2009
  #91
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Stereophonic's Avatar
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Waltz Mastering View Post
Restrictor plate audio.
I think LN is more like cruise control.
Old 19th November 2009
  #92
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Quote:
Did digital reverbs ENCOURAGE too much reverb in the 80’s. Were punk records too distorted? Should we have done something to control it? Where does it end?
People could still make crushed, distorted records, but the purpose for it would be for the SOUND of crushed rather than "my record is louder than yours" with distortion being an inconvenient side effect. Without the sheer level being a consideration, the real truth about limiting & clipping would show itself.

All BK is proposing here is a version of something virtually every Discman ever made had but without the nasty side effects. Even my TV has this function on it. Hey, now you can listen to music for hours and not have to stop what you're doing to turn the volume knob every 3 minutes. How is this harmful to the "artistic vision"?

The purpose hear is to reduce the "hey, I can't hear it, make it louder!" (new song) "Now I'm deaf because it's too loud!" But I'm sure every artist out there wants to annoy their audience as a part of their grand vision.
Old 19th November 2009
  #93
kjg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob katz View Post
The problem is that by doing nothing, by choosing NO OPTION, or no LM it is YOU who are FORCING something on us!
If you are not with us, you are against us?

I buy dynamic music and make dynamic music. When working for clients I try to consult, and figure out what they want or need for their production/goal/application. I am not forcing anything on anyone.

I support what I like, I make what I like, and I respect that others might like other things or have other priorities than me.

Quote:
The current recording system is designed to ENCOURAGE hypercompressed music, so it's causing an epidemic of hypercompressed music to be put before the consumer, reducing our freedom of choice.
Which recording system is designed to encourage hypercompressed music? Which mic? Which DAW? Which converter?
You should regulate the compressor manufacturers btw, I heard the new CraneLey comp can do 20dB of gain reduction. Now, we are all reasonable people and agree that NO record would need that much GR, right?

You could argue that since healthy food is often more expensive than fast food the market should be regulated, so people get access to a better, richer selection of cheaper, healthier food. Sounds good to me. Bit socialistic, but nice. Let's tax hamburgers. Let's subsidies zucchini.
O, and people who are already overweight will not be allowed more than one burger a week. For their own good, and for their families. This will also reduce stress on the medical system, people will be more productive generally, it will benefit all!

Quote:
Originally Posted by +6/185 View Post
Doing nothing? I don’t buy music that sounds bad to my ear.

Did digital reverbs ENCOURAGE too much reverb in the 80’s. Were punk records too distorted? Should we have done something to control it? Where does it end?
Exactly.
Old 19th November 2009
  #94
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob katz View Post
The problem is that by doing nothing, by choosing NO OPTION, or no LM it is YOU who are FORCING something on us!
No one is forcing anything on you. Don't like it? Don't buy it. Send an email to the artists to explain why you didn't buy their CD. End of story.

Quote:
The current recording system is designed to ENCOURAGE hypercompressed music, so it's causing an epidemic of hypercompressed music to be put before the consumer, reducing our freedom of choice.
Designed to ENCOURAGE hyper-compressed music? I can just imagine those Dutch and Japanese engineers plotting world domination by hyper-compression when they invented the CD...

It is not the medium that encourages some artists to over-compress their music. It is fear. Fear should never be the driving factor for anything. Legislating or controlling things to deal with the fear of people never brings any good.

Send those artists to shrinks instead. Much more effective.

Quote:
Everybody complains about hypercompression and overloud CDs but when offered a solution to the problem starts to complain about regulation without thinking this through deeply enough.
Wow. The arrogance. Not only are you not offering a solution but you are obviously not thinking this through yet you are insulting everyone that doesn't agree with you.

Brian Lucey is right about your passive aggressive discussion style.


Quote:
There is a very simple reason why the digital recording system encourages hypercompression: It's called "Peak Normalization". The ability to peak normalize has placed us in this quandary. It's entirely unnatural from a psychoacoustic viewpoint and is the major problem with the digital recording system.
Now you are talking complete and utter non-sense. Peak normalisation does not in any way cause or produce hyper-compression or any compression at all for that matter. Nor is peak normalisation in any sense a problem.

Your proposal is even more unnatural by the way. A softly played acoustic guitar would be just as loud as a full rock band if you had it your way.

You've truly lost the plot Bob.

Alistair
Old 19th November 2009
  #95
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kjg View Post
If you are not with us, you are against us?

I buy dynamic music and make dynamic music. When working for clients I try to consult, and figure out what they want or need for their production/goal/application. I am not forcing anything on anyone.

I support what I like, I make what I like, and I respect that others might like other things or have other priorities than me.

Which recording system is designed to encourage hypercompressed music? Which mic? Which DAW? Which converter?
You should regulate the compressor manufacturers btw, I heard the new CraneLey comp can do 20dB of gain reduction. Now, we are all reasonable people and agree that NO record would need that much GR, right?

You could argue that since healthy food is often more expensive than fast food the market should be regulated, so people get access to a better, richer selection of cheaper, healthier food. Sounds good to me. Bit socialistic, but nice. Let's tax hamburgers. Let's subsidies zucchini.
O, and people who are already overweight will not be allowed more than one burger a week. For their own good, and for their families. This will also reduce stress on the medical system, people will be more productive generally, it will benefit all!



Exactly.
Sorry, I already copyrighted the tax idea. But I'll give you the cap and trade idea for music if you want it. You are only allowed to make 3 loud records a year. Anything over that and you have to buy a loud record credit from someone else.
Old 19th November 2009
  #96
Mastering
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by UnderTow View Post

Now you are talking complete and utter non-sense. Peak normalisation does not in any way cause or produce hyper-compression or any compression at all for that matter. Nor is peak normalisation in any sense a problem.

Your proposal is even more unnatural by the way. A softly played acoustic guitar would be just as loud as a full rock band if you had it your way.

You've truly lost the plot Bob.

Alistair
Don't shoot the messenger, Alistair. Regarding peak-normalization, many learned men have already studied this problem. And they have identified peak normalization as one of the major catalysts of the digital loudness race. Among the EBU/ITU recommendations for broadcasters include getting rid of the peak meter, using a simple peak overload indicator light and getting engineers to concentrate on the measured loudness level. I can point you to the references if you'd like.

As for the softly played acoustic guitar, I already did mention that it's a potential byproduct of the system. But it would be no different than what is being played on the air today, except it would be BETTER-sounding because there would be no compression. So yes, it's a natural byproduct of a system that plays everything at a loudness target. But it's a small price to pay, I think. What you get in return is not the deal with the devil that you seem to think it is. What you get in return is better sound quality. I recall mastering an album by a very well-known and accomplished acoustic blues guitarist that by the request of the record company had to be extraordinarily compressed in order to "compete". It was louder than sh*t. The artist regretted it, the mixing engineer apologized for the label request, it was a shambles. I believe LN is the only hope to discourage this practice. That's why I'm all for it.

And remember, casual listeners would likely leave LN on, listeners like you and I would probably turn it off. With it on, former loudness differences between sources of 8, 10, 12, 15 dB (imagine what that really means) would be reduced to 2-3-4 dB. That's what we're talking about here. I'm not talking about something that I invented, I'm talking about a system which learned men have developed in conjunction with many studies to fix a legacy which YES, to be truthful, Sony and Philips did throw in our laps with the invention of the digital recording system, which with its peak metering, opened Pandora's box. No, it was not purposeful, the problem was recognized only in hindsight, but it is true that peak-normalization, combined with the human tendency to put things louder and to put those peaks to full scale as well, caused the severe loudness race. I know, I read it in a book :-).
Old 19th November 2009
  #97
Gear Maniac
 

I produce techno and I like when tracks sound huge in a club, so -8db average rms is good for me. I don't listen to rock, folk etc any more, but probably old style of music should be treated more gently according to tradition. "Normalization" is useful, nothing else.

Final costumers drive music industry, they buy music. If they want it loud they deserve it, so just try to do it cleanly.

regards

faust
Old 19th November 2009
  #98
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Verified Member
I'll just point out that most recorded music these days is within a few db of each other. It's heavily limited but the difference in volume isn't large. So automatic volume control has more to do with reducing the amount of peak limiting than adjusting the volume.

I don't think it's a terrible idea. It sure beats the EQ presets on boom boxes. It would be fun to figure out how to get around it....
Old 19th November 2009
  #99
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wow the loudness wars huh ..?

things must be really different where you are Bob , i have spent my whole adult life , going into people homes looking at their stereo systems , watching where they set the controls, looking at what records they have and looking for patterns , call it market research if you like ... checking what people actually do when one track is louder then another , or when a track is quieter, looking at there faces to see if they even notice the hyper compressed mush being feed to them via the speakers on their laptop.

i watch people in the supermarket when tracks i have mastered come on , i look at them in the pub when i stuff i have done comes on or at somebodys house when stuff i have done comes on

for me the conclusion is the totally the same as it was when i started

people sing along to the tunes they like and talk over the ones they dont like so much..

the only people i ever see touching the volume control on a regular basis to enjoy their music are musicians, studio types and managers .

sometimes its worth stepping outside in the world quietly and watching what people do with the music we all make happen loudly..

mostly they sing along to it

public loudness wars ? really ...?

i thought it was just our occupational hazard - we all have choices

i vote for NO WAY
perhaps lets spend our useful time looking for the solution to ending the real wars on the planet.
Old 19th November 2009
  #100
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bob katz View Post
There is a sophisticated gating algorithm to prevent this from happening. But what will more likely happen that cannot be prevented is analogous to what happens with theatre trailers. Dolby's trailer limits require a certain maximum SPL not to be exceeded for a certain period of time. I don't recall the limits for the EBU's algorithm, but there will always be people who want to be on the outside of them. No different that today's situation where the Black Eyed Peas Edge out the Red Hot Chili Peppers by a dB on the "maximum fatigue" meter. So there will be room to be a dB, 2 or 3 hotter even with LN if you are on the outside of the envelope. And highly compressed material with a long duration at a loud SPL will likely seem louder than dynamic material at the same average loudness but peaking up and down around it. Tool versus Peppers, for example.

Keep this in mind: There's nothing to prevent you from riding your volume control with LN engaged. The main difference is that instead of there being 16 dB of difference between 2009 and 1980 there may only be 2 or 3, and that could be more pleasant for anyone to deal with, even you in a normal living room situation. And if you really want to hear all the 16 dB or whatever difference there is between oldest and newest, defeat the LN or ride the volume control with LN engaged. (Even 5-10 dB difference between two pop CDs is seriously annoying, in my book, for normal livingroom listening. I'd say Consumers and audiophiles tolerate somewhere around 4-5 before it gets to be a pain, and I'm not a couch potato, I adjust my monitor for every playback, but I'm speaking of normal living room playback enjoyment).
I change my vote to no way. If that's what it will do, no way.
Old 19th November 2009
  #101
Mastering
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Superdisc View Post
I change my vote to no way. If that's what it will do, no way.
What part of the explanation made you change your vote?

BK
Old 19th November 2009
  #102
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A. This thread is hilarious.
2. Who voted for choice three, anyway?

DC
Old 19th November 2009
  #103
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dcollins View Post
A. This thread is hilarious.
2. Who voted for choice three, anyway?

DC

I did. I figure if everything is forced to go through the level wealth distribution scheme, I stand to make a fortune.
Old 19th November 2009
  #104
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Where's the option for everyone's audio being required to go through level normalization - except for the stuff that's processed at my studio? That's the one I want.


Best regards,
Steve Berson
Old 19th November 2009
  #105
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I still believe extreme loudness is just as valid as a sonic choice as a perfectly dynamic & open track. How else can you think this up?

If someone is stupid enough to have one's track ruined by smashing it too much when it's not necessary, so be it. Darwin's laws work here, too. When you think about this, there has been a lot of sonic violations over the years. I consider excessive pitch correction as one them, but I'm not demanding tanks on the streets for that.

Or maybe you could add a pitch analyzer to the LN algorithm. I'm sure you could write a software that would alert the authorities when someone's playing a both loud and autotuned-to-death track.

If a consumer likes mindless comedy movies, should there be an algorith in the player that constantly stops playing and pops up trailers of movies that could be considered "more intelligent"?
Old 19th November 2009
  #106
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob katz View Post
Don't shoot the messenger, Alistair. Regarding peak-normalization, many learned men have already studied this problem, and we have identified peak normalization as one of the major catalysts of the digital loudness race.
I thought peak-normalization was for hacks and not taken seriously by anyone professional, now it is a major catalyst?

Quote:
What you get in return is better sound quality.
Mr. noiseshape/dither/jitter/sensitive hearing himself prefers all digital audio, incl low resoultion versions, to be processed by mathematical algorithms with

NO

EARS.


The amount of irony is undescribable.


Regards
Patrik
Old 19th November 2009
  #107
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bob katz View Post
What part of the explanation made you change your vote?

BK
16 dB of difference between 2009 and 1980 there may only be 2 or 3,

Too much manipulation. It takes a lot of skill to get something 6 or 8 dB louder and still have some definition left. I can't see how an automatic system can do this amount of "correction" without destroying it.

The real thing is that the more I think about it (and read other opinions) the less I like the idea.
Old 19th November 2009
  #108
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Loudness Normalization in iTunes would change EVERYTHING.

I've been saying this for years and I said it at Tape Op Con almost four years ago.

If this idea was implemented --- and all it would take is a switch in Steve Jobs' office somewhere to make it a default --- THE ENTIRE SOUND OF MODERN MUSIC WOULD CHANGE WITHIN A YEAR.

There's a subtly political component to this discussion. If you think about it, Loudness Normalization is fundamentally a kind of lefty/progressive maybe even socialist concept. When it comes down to it, what we're talking about is egalitarianism. The value system you're suggesting would force egalitarianism on a fundamentally competitive, crush-the-other-guy, capitalistic medium.

Let's put it this way: Beyonce's management company would NOT be happy.

It would freak those kinds of people out. They would find the whole thing deeply unpleasant and vertiginous.

Ultimately, at the heart of the loudness war are some of the very nastiest aspects of the human condition: greed and insecurity.

You can never really defeat those things. Y'know, Bob?

I'm on a year's sabbatical from full-time mastering work in order to focus on my own music. I'm enjoying every day away from the madness, let me tell you.

I wake up every day and nobody asks me to crush anything. It's lovely. I'm happier than I've been in years.

- c
Old 19th November 2009
  #109
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Sonya View Post
... If you think about it, Loudness Normalization is fundamentally a kind of lefty/progressive maybe even socialist concept. When it comes down to it, what we're talking about is egalitarianism. ...
I see it more as an environmental protection measure to safe an endangered species... musical content.

But I don't like the concept for the collateral damage it would do to classical music, 3% of the market but 97% of the quality content (only slightly exaggerated ;-). Classical music lovers often are not the most tech savvy, so LN on by default would be a disaster.

Anyway, I wonder how many voted for #1 but meant "no more hypercompression" instead.
Old 19th November 2009
  #110
Audio Alchemist
 
Lagerfeldt's Avatar
People who make glass masters should not throw stones
Old 19th November 2009
  #111
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Sonya View Post
There's a subtly political component to this discussion. If you think about it, Loudness Normalization is fundamentally a kind of lefty/progressive maybe even socialist concept. When it comes down to it, what we're talking about is egalitarianism. The value system you're suggesting would force egalitarianism on a fundamentally competitive, crush-the-other-guy, capitalistic medium.
Old 19th November 2009
  #112
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inlinenl View Post
Not nuts at all. Follow the logic.

People want loudness to compete commercially. (The fact that this is fallacious is beside the point. They think that louder sells more.)

If you take that away from them, it's fundamentally anti-competition.

Seriously, it would freak the major label folks out.

I mean, ask yourself this:

How would Metallica react?


- c
Old 19th November 2009
  #113
Mastering
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Superdisc View Post
16 dB of difference between 2009 and 1980 there may only be 2 or 3,

Too much manipulation. It takes a lot of skill to get something 6 or 8 dB louder and still have some definition left. I can't see how an automatic system can do this amount of "correction" without destroying it.

The real thing is that the more I think about it (and read other opinions) the less I like the idea.
Let me see if I understand what concerns you, Bob. Are you concerned that a simple level correction (gain adjustment) based on a loudness measurement would sound poor?
Old 19th November 2009
  #114
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Sonya View Post
Normalization is fundamentally a kind of lefty/progressive maybe even socialist concept.
what do you mean by this ...
Old 19th November 2009
  #115
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espasonico's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Sonya View Post
Not nuts at all. Follow the logic.

People want loudness to compete commercially. (The fact that this is fallacious is beside the point. They think that louder sells more.)

If you take that away from them, it's fundamentally anti-competition.

Seriously, it would freak the major label folks out.

I mean, ask yourself this:

How would Metallica react?


- c
Old 19th November 2009
  #116
Mastering
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by turtlerock View Post
wow the loudness wars huh ..?

things must be really different where you are Bob , i have spent my whole adult life , going into people homes looking at their stereo systems , watching where they set the controls, looking at what records they have and looking for patterns , call it market research if you like ... checking what people actually do when one track is louder then another , or when a track is quieter, looking at there faces to see if they even notice the hyper compressed mush being feed to them via the speakers on their laptop.
Your observations and your long-term research are generally right. This is a minority group in a niche market inside of a niche market. The "average" consumer does not care or even notice about bad sound. A few aficionados and nutty engineeers are probably the only ones in the motion picture theatre who notice when the left speaker has lost its tweeter. That's always been the case. But an increasing number of consumers have been made aware of the problem and are bothered by the fact that when they put on two CDs and they are so far apart in loudness.

Yes, the people you talk about (the majority of us) who sing along with CDs are the casual listeners and form the majority of the market. If you make the argument that this whole discussion is only about pleasing the small % of the world who care about sound quality so why bother then might as well throw in the towel.
Old 19th November 2009
  #117
Gear Addict
 
mischa janisch's Avatar
 

This might have come up already - but here's my take on this:

While I see that LN CAN be a useful feature - I would definitely vote for the default set to OFF! After all it is part of our work as ME's to get the levels within an album right relative to each other. I don't see much of a point to overrule my/our decissions. Also, I don't see much need to listen to 'My Funny Valentine' at the same level as 'Killing In The Name Of'...
Old 19th November 2009
  #118
kjg
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Sonya View Post
There's a subtly political component to this discussion. If you think about it, Loudness Normalization is fundamentally a kind of lefty/progressive maybe even socialist concept. When it comes down to it, what we're talking about is egalitarianism.
Exactly. Thinking this way about business is very dubious. Thinking this way about art is naive.

"You shall harmonize with all the "good" artists." Right. Let's not start it.
Old 19th November 2009
  #119
Mastering
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Virtalahde View Post
I still believe extreme loudness is just as valid as a sonic choice as a perfectly dynamic & open track. How else can you think this up?
I like loud as much as anyone. I play rock at quite loud levels for enjoyment. But the fact is that the only purpose of an extremely loud CD is to get attention. Much of the assumptions behind producing that extremely loud CD are misguided based on the assumption that somehow it will get more attention on the highly-processed egalitarian radio. But it doesn't because the radio brings it down, and distorts it more, besides.

So all the extremely loud new CD does is piss off the consumer who likes to play hip hop along with oldies. The consumer who only plays the latest hip-hop, pop and dance in rotation so they're all the same won't notice, but the oldies fan who tries to mix in hip hop is in for a big surprise and he gets pissed off.

From the point of view of loudness the radio is an egalitarian medium and from the point of view of loudness all music on the radio gets equal attention. Imagine the radio without the compression but with the relative loudness from program to program still adjusted. Would the clean or the distorted programs get more attention from the listeners? That would be an interesting world, and it is the broadcasters plan for the future for digital broadcasting----remove the compression, equalize the loudness.

Imagine a home music player that does the same thing. Would that change the face of the business?
Old 19th November 2009
  #120
Lives for gear
 

Mr. Katz, which algorithm do you suggest to be used for the loudness evaluation? Will it be open source or will it have to be licensed?
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