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Loudness Wars - Whose Fault? DJ Software
Old 10th February 2011
Lives for gear
jinksdingo's Avatar
I agree. I dislike the sound of most modern CDs. It really is giving digital a bad name.

Whose to blame is a hard pill to swallow.

It all began with the invention of the limiter used to protect our frail equipment.

Then we could compress to audio cassette tape and get a reasonable loudness for what is a very restricted bandwidth.

It goes further.

Once we started using limiters on drums to make them louder we ended up training the listening audiences ear to a compressed artificial sound.

It worked on other sources as well so variable controls and settings the compressor had come into its own.

Reverse the idea and you got an expander and now we could make our mixes pristine and quiet

Mix boards were being produced which included compression and were combined with units already in the studio.

Then when records were released with drum machines no one much objected. We were used to the sound.

Back then we wanted less hiss from tape.

We needed more loudness as it was perceived as the better mix.

Signal to noise ratio was the holy grail.

Radio stations liked the louder mixes even more so, so the labels wanted what the station wanted.

Obvious it is us the engineers. We are still on the holy grail of best signal to noise.

Only now the noise is our thick as brick waveform.

All we need realize is we have a new holy grail.

Dynamics versus (check Dictionary as not the against def.)
Perceived loudness

It is not the ME but the Recording Engineer to attain a quality sound thru quality sounding equipment and the Mix Engineer to attain a perceived loudness without the use of the dynamic limiting devices.

During tracking it is acceptable to record a signal thru a desired chain and compression and or limiting used sparingly. Thats the way we did it.

Just like the old days the EQ is our most important mix tool.

When a mix is optimized with EQ it can then be mastered loud.

Hands up who thinks it is a Mix Engineers job to flatten most tracks into submission with one or more compressors and a limiter at back stop ?
Hands up
Hands down if you are a manufacturer of said units.

A good Mix Engineer is one who can produce a mix that is Mastering proof.
Old 10th February 2011
Lives for gear
echoRausch's Avatar

Dynamic processors have their downsides as well as EQ's.

Just to use filters and no dynamic effects will not really help you.

Sure you can do a good mix without the use of dynamic processors as well as you can get from A to B by a horse drawn carriage instead of your car.
Old 10th February 2011
Lives for gear
Alex Niedt's Avatar

It seems like it's just about everybody's fault on some level. I think the blame game is growing old.

There are still records coming out whose sound I enjoy at least mostly, but I've definitely been referencing way more material from 1995-2005 lately and removed a bunch of post-2005 mixes from my referencing file.
Old 10th February 2011
Motown legend
Bob Olhsson's Avatar

Verified Member
The real test is how many times you can listen to the recording in a row.
Old 13th February 2011
Here for the gear

The answer is in the article :

the music industry has never adopted loudness standards (like the long established standards in film and broadcast)
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