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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 18th November 2009
  #1
Mastering
 

Vote on the solutions to the loudness war....

This poll is about your preference in directions to move (or not to move) in dealing with the loudness race. To attempt to solve it, or to leave the status quo.

Here's a summary:

Loudness normalization is already an optional part of Itunes, it's called SOUNDCHECK and can be enabled in the preferences. Many consumers are already using it, to their satisfaction, to deal with varying loudness of CDs in their playlists. In my opinion, Soundcheck is fraught with sonic problems, and Apple's implementation of it includes a compressor which changes the sound and adds distortion. A more sophisticated form of loudness normalization is called "REPLAY GAIN" and is available on music servers for the home like the Logitech Squeezebox. REPLAY GAIN is simply an internal volume control which adjusts the gain of each song or album according to a loudness algorithm. The advantage of the Squeezebox approach is that it is open-source and can be refined or improved as better algorithms are developed. No one is pretending that these sorts of solutions are completely great. It's mainly a question of deciding whether they're better than the status quo and help artists to express themselves and/or compete in an unfair world.

PLEASE BE AWARE THAT loudness normalization still gives the artist total choice on how compressed or how dynamic his recording will be. Just that the loudness of the dynamic material will be turned up so it can compete loudness-wise with the compressed material. This is a very important concept and make sure that you understand it before you vote.

Please vote. Your options are:

1) I believe that the musician/artist already has total artistic freedom, and I am against loudness normalization in all forms. It is a restriction on artistic freedom to implement loudness normalization in any playback equipment. The artist should be able to choose to be as loud as he wants.

2) I am in favor of loudness normalization as long as the consumer or the sophisticated user can turn it off via a menu. The equipment should default to "LOUDNESS NORMALIZATION ON."

3) I would like to see loudness normalization required in all reproduction gear, e.g. DVD players, CD players, client-servers, etc.

4) I am laissez-faire, no opinion. Whatever will be will be.
Old 18th November 2009
  #2
Elk
Gear Nut
 

Option 2.

However I would have the default set to "LOUDNESS NORMALIZATION OFF."
Old 18th November 2009
  #3
Lives for gear
 

hm, I can only imagine that this makes sence if different songs on the same CD are very different in loudness, which should usually not happen, otherwise the customer has volume control. Or if the customer has an iPod with an individual playlist. For classic, these algorithms make no sense at all. Therefore, "3" is not an option for me. I think, I chose option "1", since I doubt that there is a practical solution without causing significant initial latency, so I could not switch between songs as fast as I am used to.
Old 18th November 2009
  #4
Lives for gear
 
Edward_Vinatea's Avatar
 

I'd really like to take part of your poll, Bob. However, I just don't think I have a problem with "loudness" but more with over or hyper compression. To me loudness is the ability to hear something at a level one can prefer or even tolerate. It's that horrible sound from squashed mixes and the by-product of compression/hard limiting, that I have a problem with. Meaning, it would bother me a great deal more to hear a song that I truly love completely squashed but at low level than a song with plenty of dynamics at a very loud listening level. This post feels like Deja Vu, Bob.

Regards,
Old 18th November 2009
  #5
Gear Maniac
 

Hey Bob what if all major music stores like iTunes and Beatport would incorporate a volume leveler like squeezebox. Could be one way of getting rid of the need for everyone to compete so their tune stands out.
Old 18th November 2009
  #6
Deleted User
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by bob katz View Post
The advantage of the Squeezebox approach is that it is open-source and can be refined or improved as better algorithms are developed.
This sentence nails down the real problems with music of the modern age: under-developed digital processing that never seems to "nail it". Why are half-assed solutions brought into daylight over and over again?

I have seen enough of people raving over the latest software-whatever-it-might-be just to drop it for a new one half a year later just do drop that new one for another half a year later. What an endless fiasco.

No "LN" or any other attempt to let algorithms do my or any music consumers hearing - over my dead body.



Best Regards
Patrik
Old 18th November 2009
  #7
Lives for gear
 
EddieTheRed's Avatar
 

+1 for 'Over My Dead Body'.

I have huge respect for BK - I use K-System metering, and I generally make DR-14 records - but this kind of forced intervention undermines any concept of artistic freedom in my eyes.

I agree that it makes sense on radio/jukeboxes/record stores/iTunes so louder records don't seem more attractive to buyers, but most of the aforementioned systems already have measures in place.
Old 18th November 2009
  #8
Mastering
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elk View Post
Option 2.

However I would have the default set to "LOUDNESS NORMALIZATION OFF."
For me that's an unacceptable option as it defeats the intent of the idea of LN. My idea is that most consumers are pretty ignorant of the whole thing and want it plug and play. My idea is that if LN gets implemented in servers as a default, then hopefully eventually producers will get the idea that they have no control over the loudness perceived by the consumer and so will not be tempted to overcompress.

Informed consumers and professionals will know how to get at the menu. If you're really upset you can even write an article or editorial telling consumers how to turn off the menu and such.... But in my opinion if LN is going to have a chance at all it should be defaulted to on. PROBABLY I'D TURN IT OFF IN MY OWN PLAYER :-)

For example, I'm upset that dialnorm is not defeatable in my Marantz A/V receiver, but I'd be comfortable if it defaulted to on as long as it was defeatable. However, dialnorm is a failure, in my opinion, as it's an option set by the producers and most of them are just setting it to 31 to make their program sound louder! Only a form of loudness normalization that's out of the producer's hands has a chance of helping defeat the problems associated with the loudness race.
Old 18th November 2009
  #9
Mastering
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skywalker View Post
Hey Bob what if all major music stores like iTunes and Beatport would incorporate a volume leveler like squeezebox. Could be one way of getting rid of the need for everyone to compete so their tune stands out.
I'm all for it. It's kinda like the radio, though with feeling :-).

I'm in favor of anything that will demonstrate to producers that they no longer have to overcompress their product in order to compete. We all know why commercials on TV are louder, let's remove the incentive.
Old 18th November 2009
  #10
Lives for gear
 

I still don't understand how this LN should handle classic music.
There can be a very loud orchestral part followed by a quiet part.
So for this type of music, LN should be switched off. I have the
feeling, such an algorithm would make things just worse.
Old 18th November 2009
  #11
kjg
Lives for gear
 

"To protect everyone's freedom, we shall now moderate you."

+1 for over my dead body.
Old 18th November 2009
  #12
Mastering
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by HomeProducer View Post
hm, I can only imagine that this makes sence if different songs on the same CD are very different in loudness, which should usually not happen, otherwise the customer has volume control. Or if the customer has an iPod with an individual playlist. For classic, these algorithms make no sense at all. Therefore, "3" is not an option for me. I think, I chose option "1", since I doubt that there is a practical solution without causing significant initial latency, so I could not switch between songs as fast as I am used to.
The idea is that the LN makes its adjustment on INGEST into the server or Itunes. So there will be no latency in adjustment. The big problem as I see it is whether to LN based on album or single! The object is to make it simple for the consumer and so I guess it should default to SINGLE. But then the consumer will find the ballads from such and such an album to be as loud as the rockers. But since these days most consumers are playing playlists on shuffle, default to SINGLE makes the most sense.

In classical music, SINGLE setting would cause the second movement of a Beethoven symphony to be as loud as the first. ALBUM setting would permit the entire Beethoven symphony to compete with the rest of the world, including rock. So Beethoven would appear (nearly) as loud as Metallica.

Yes, I know this is complication. Life isn't easy, is it? But this is the proposed solution and for better or worse that's what I'm in favor of.
Old 18th November 2009
  #13
Mastering
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by HomeProducer View Post
I still don't understand how this LN should handle classic music.
There can be a very loud orchestral part followed by a quiet part.
So for this type of music, LN should be switched off. I have the
feeling, such an algorithm would make things just worse.

Please see my comment below about LN based on SINGLE or ALBUM.
Old 18th November 2009
  #14
Craneslut
 
Brad Blackwood's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by kjg View Post
"To protect everyone's freedom, we shall now moderate you."

+1 for over my dead body.
Ditto.
Old 18th November 2009
  #15
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bob katz View Post
Please see my comment below about LN based on SINGLE or ALBUM.
ok thanks, yes that sounds reasonable
Old 18th November 2009
  #16
kjg
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bob katz View Post
In classical music, SINGLE setting would cause the second movement of a Beethoven symphony to be as loud as the first. ALBUM setting would permit the entire Beethoven symphony to compete with the rest of the world, including rock. So Beethoven would appear (nearly) as loud as Metallica.
Like Beethoven needs to compete with Metallica.
And that is the album setting then.

In single setting it gets even worse, because the system will mess up the balance between songs based on some loudness detection algorithm.

So, it can not be loud, it can not be quiet, it can not be dynamic between songs/movements/parts. And all that to allow poor Beethoven (artist that doesn't need ANY support) and poor Norah Jones (entertainer that hardly needs support) can "compete" with Metallica, and, of course, so the couch potato can have his music in pre-chewed, half digested, lukewarm, glorious ALL equal loudness blandness without even having to use his remote.

In the name of art. Seriously.
Old 18th November 2009
  #17
Lives for gear
 
Edward_Vinatea's Avatar
 

If I am understanding everything you are saying correctly, what you suggest Bob will not address the tendency among artists and producers to squash the life out of mixes in order to gain a more "loudness" edge. Inserting a "defeatable" or undefeatable LN control won't stop IMHO, that disgusting practice. Leaving everything as is and as intended by the artists and producers will foment accountability, something that is needed in order to reverse this ridiculuos practice of sucking the life out of great music. Without accountability there won't be any hope for a reversal of the loudness war. No one will make the connection anymore that Loud=Squashed {horrible} and Lower=More Dynamic {pleasant}. If you made a super loud record, you are accountable for it.

Regards,
Old 18th November 2009
  #18
Gear Addict
 
beanface's Avatar
 

Maybe moderation isn't the way to go long-term, but it seems like a bloody good solution for the minute! Its pretty much a given that there will be at least some better sounding commerically released music available, which in itself is worth a vote IMHO.

+1 for LN with an option to disable it.
Old 18th November 2009
  #19
Lives for gear
 
24-96 Mastering's Avatar
2 more options I'm missing:

- LN a feature but optional, i.e. default to OFF.

- LN in pre-sale sample of that music (i.e. the preview sample in itunes), but not on the actual song / player playback.


The latter one especially might be interesting since it would separate marketing from the equation. No cencoring of the product, just enforcing 'standards in advertising'. How about that?
Old 18th November 2009
  #20
Lives for gear
 
IIIrd's Avatar
 

Verified Member
no compulsion, but just have the public learn what a volume knob is for....
Old 18th November 2009
  #21
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bob katz View Post
I'm all for it. It's kinda like the radio, though with feeling :-).

I'm in favor of anything that will demonstrate to producers that they no longer have to overcompress their product in order to compete. We all know why commercials on TV are louder, let's remove the incentive.
I tend to agree. Actually I read in the newspaper that in some EU countries they are going to limit the output volumes on mp3 players to protect people´s hearing due to music getting louder and louder.
Old 18th November 2009
  #22
Mastering
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kjg View Post
Like Beethoven needs to compete with Metallica.
And that is the album setting then.

In single setting it gets even worse, because the system will mess up the balance between songs based on some loudness detection algorithm.

So, it can not be loud, it can not be quiet, it can not be dynamic between songs/movements/parts. And all that to allow poor Beethoven (artist that doesn't need ANY support) and poor Norah Jones (entertainer that hardly needs support) can "compete" with Metallica, and, of course, so the couch potato can have his music in pre-chewed, half digested, lukewarm, glorious ALL equal loudness blandness without even having to use his remote.

In the name of art. Seriously.
It can and should be dynamic between movements. Default the loudness normalization to ALBUM. I believe the current situation with CD Changers is much worse. Back in the day I could put a bunch of albums on the record changer and have a party. Try that with old and new CDs today. Which idea makes more sense? Nothing is perfect. I prefer the LN choice which will hopefully give me better sounding music in the future as producers stop making recordings in an attempt to control the consumer's volume. A vote for Loudness normalization IS a vote for freedom.

BK
Old 18th November 2009
  #23
Gear Guru
 
UnderTow's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by 24-96 Mastering View Post
2 more options I'm missing:

- LN a feature but optional, i.e. default to OFF.

- LN in pre-sale sample of that music (i.e. the preview sample in itunes), but not on the actual song / player playback.
Agreed, The poll is flawed by design. The results are meaningless.

Quote:
The latter one especially might be interesting since it would separate marketing from the equation. No cencoring of the product, just enforcing 'standards in advertising'. How about that?
Makes sense.

Alistair
Old 18th November 2009
  #24
Lives for gear
 

On a funny sidenote, many A&Rs, clients etc. listen to Mixes/Masters/Roughmixes via iTunes with the LN-thing dialed in!
Old 18th November 2009
  #25
kjg
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward_Vinatea View Post
If you made a super loud record, you are accountable for it.

Regards,
yes. they should be punished.

before you get your license to make music, you have to take an oath, and when you break the oath you will be punished. in the name of artistic freedom!

LOL
Old 18th November 2009
  #26
Mastering
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kosmokrator View Post
On a funny sidenote, many A&Rs, clients etc. listen to Mixes/Masters/Roughmixes via iTunes with the LN-thing dialed in!
Interesting. That's the idea, actually! Does the LN thing (Soundcheck) influence them to pick a record based strictly on its musical merits?
Old 18th November 2009
  #27
Gear Guru
 
UnderTow's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by bob katz View Post
For me that's an unacceptable option as it defeats the intent of the idea of LN.
Do you want to prove your point and push your views or do you want an honest poll? What you do or do not find acceptable is completely besides the point. Jeez.

Quote:
Informed consumers and professionals will know how to get at the menu. If you're really upset you can even write an article or editorial telling consumers how to turn off the menu and such....
Wow. The sheer arrogance! How about you go and write an article instead of playing loudness ****.

Alistair
Old 18th November 2009
  #28
Mastering
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by UnderTow View Post
Agreed, The poll is flawed by design. The results are meaningless.



Makes sense.

Alistair

This is kinda like the health care debate. If you're in the opposition, just throw in enough crap to defeat the healthcare bill! I already mentioned why for me the poll is meaningless if you include the option for LN in receivers but default to OFF. If you tell producers "all new receivers are equipped with optional Loudness normalization." Their response: So What! Now let me get back to squashing so my record can get attention." If you vote for that option, then you're saying, "I'm a wimp. I'm not in favor of LN" so just vote for option #1 and defeat it.

This does not mean that optional LN in all receivers would not be useful. It would be helpful for parties, etc. But only if a knowledgeable consumer (is there such a thing?) was operating the receiver. For those of us in favor of LN, our only hope is for it to default to ON. The more complex the software, the less the chance the consumer will implement it.
Old 18th November 2009
  #29
Gear Addict
 
beanface's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skywalker View Post
I tend to agree. Actually I read in the newspaper that in some EU countries they are going to limit the output volumes on mp3 players to protect people´s hearing due to music getting louder and louder.
I'm all for it. I keep on limiting the output of my missus ipod so she wont go deaf, but she keeps on removing it and having a go at me for putting it on. Going deaf shouldn't be anyones option, it will just end up costing the NHS (taxpayers) more money that we will end up having to front.
Old 18th November 2009
  #30
Gear Guru
 
UnderTow's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by bob katz View Post
I already mentioned why for me the poll is meaningless if you include the option for LN in receivers but default to OFF.
No Bob you did not. You explained why having the LN default to OFF would be pointless but you did not in any conceivable way mention or explain why it would make the POLL meaningless.

The idea of a POLL is to find out what people think. Removing one very obvious option from the POLL makes it utterly meaningless.

Bob, you are confusing having and honest POLL and and pushing your own personal views.

Alistair
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