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Continuing in the long tradition of GS loudness debates Studio Headphones
Old 31st August 2011
  #1
Continuing in the long tradition of GS loudness debates

I came across this Sound on Sound article.

‘Dynamic Range’ & The Loudness War

It gets a little complex and technical but it is good. I think it pretty much sums up in words what mastering engineers do with ears. I personally have never felt the need to take a strong position that limiting is purely bad and have accepted that is has some positive attributes as well. Though I have never liked clipping very much due to the unknowns of how subsequent systems will react. (However I admit to occasionally employing it when I had no other tool available to get a result a client requests) I have always felt it's horses for courses for perceived level. This article appears to largely relate to "creme de la creme" recorded popular music forms and takes inot account genre which is important. I would suggest that there are even further differences and limitations for music that has not been optimally recorded of which there is plenty.
Old 31st August 2011
  #2
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This article was mentioned in a recent thread.
I thought it was an interesting study, and raised some interesting points - particularly about how the nature of dynamics has changed throughout the development of genres anyway. However, it's pretty reductionist as the numbers only tell one side of the story. Statistics can be useful but much like anything else, input data and maths used can be tweaked to prove pretty much anything you like.
Old 31st August 2011
  #3
This I why I have thought anyone who has 1/2 a clue would be listening to what is happening and having a sensitivity towards genres.I enjoyed the read though. Sound on Sound have some good articles on their site/magazine and they seem to get better and better IMO.

I like to use limiters as creative tone shaping/character tools as well as for their more obvious and primary uses. They have a very different sound between the better ones out there.
Old 3rd September 2011
  #4
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Xperienced's Avatar
 

Wow, that article is a massive bag of hurt.

He measured everything except what matters.

I'll write about it when I have a chance.
Old 4th September 2011
  #5
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I'm in the process of reading it, but it comes across as a lot of statistical gobbledygook. LKFS by design is gating out low level dynamics and only keeping the upper levels, so it shouldn't be a surprise that everything looks pretty much the same. I'm no Bob Dylan fan, but I generally agree with his comment about "no nothing" in some latter day material. I don't think it was appropriate to refer to the guy as "ancient".
Old 4th September 2011
  #6
A tad waffly, maybe.

Quote:
I'll write about it when I have a chance.
Yes, please do and signing off with your actual name will be appropriate when you do so.
Old 5th September 2011
  #7
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I don't think that the author (Deruty) really understood what Dylan was getting at when he said that "they have sound all over them". What he meant was that some of this "modern" music sounds like layer-after-layer of sound piled on top of another to the extent that it sounds like a din. Some famous musician was once quoted saying something to the extent that music wasn't just playing the notes but learning how to put the spaces in between the notes. There are NO spaces in this modern stuff at all. This digital loudness processing has in addition stripped the teeth off of whatever envelope was there in the beginning and has left no microdynamics in the resulting sound file. Bob Katz had a lengthy dissertation on this problem a number years back. Some of this stuff does indeed sound atrocious!
Old 5th September 2011
  #8
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Bang! Sizzle eeow ? Excellence! Fade..... Amazing drum fill just before the surface noise takes over...
Old 5th September 2011
  #9
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DaveUK's Avatar
Sorry just arseing about in aid of self importance post counts:+) though food for remembrance?
Old 5th September 2011
  #10
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Crest smesht !

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Old 5th September 2011
  #11
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Really really liked this article.

And it proves a few points that were wizzing round my head for some time in a more eloquent way I could ever put across, have already sent it over to some engineer friends who all say it's a breath of fresh air.

To expand slightly, what I am mostly talking about is that what people often moan about is a "lack of dynamics/song doesn't go anywhere etc" when really what they are probably hearing is bad limiting/clipping, because there is a hell of a lot of "micro" dynamics in modern pop, I think he makes a good point about minimal, dry, rnb and hip hip style composition/mixdown being the biggest influence on pop music being so damn loud, because it's built to go loud, and sounds great loud in the right hands.
Old 6th September 2011
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe_caithness View Post
Really really liked this article.

And it proves a few points that were wizzing round my head for some time in a more eloquent way I could ever put across, have already sent it over to some engineer friends who all say it's a breath of fresh air.
The article bends over backwards to find some plugin that will generate a visual display showing that some obscure measure of some even more obscure definition of "dynamics" is still as in-tact as it ever was.

And that's what gets us into these types of messes.

The visuals on the plugins say it is OK. It must be OK!

Meanwhile, the audio quite obviously sounds crushed to death.

Quote:
To expand slightly, what I am mostly talking about is that what people often moan about is a "lack of dynamics/song doesn't go anywhere etc" when really what they are probably hearing is bad limiting/clipping, because there is a hell of a lot of "micro" dynamics in modern pop...
First of all, what good are any kind of dynamics if the "bad limiting/clipping" is preventing you from hearing them? Second...I don't think you understand what people mean when they say "micro dynamics".
Old 6th September 2011
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheebs Goat View Post

First of all, what good are any kind of dynamics if the "bad limiting/clipping" is preventing you from hearing them? Second...I don't think you understand what people mean when they say "micro dynamics".
Where do I say the opposite? Music is ruined by bad limiting and clipping. I thought I was quite clear about that.

and second.. how do you come to that conclusion? micro dynamic is a very easy concept to understand which I understand fully, something of which a lot of very LOUD pop records that sound great have a lot of, including the Beyonce example he uses.

I'm not blindly backing this guys article, but he goes far enough to dispel a lot of myths about loud mastering that do my nut in.
Old 6th September 2011
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tpad View Post
There are NO spaces in this modern stuff at all.

I'm not trying to troll, and I rarely enter discussion which raise much passion, but what do you mean by "spaces" and "this modern stuff"?

A lot of recent pop hits have been very very minimal and dry, a lot less "layers" going on than a classic rock n roll record for example. Which is the part of which I agree with in the article, the whole point that some music has evolved to go louder, and if the older stuff can't compete, it's simple a matter of context.

The constant fatiguing and boring sound of every transient being squished is a different issue, you'll find it very hard to "add layers" or "make too thick" with a brickwall limiter, yeah you can end up with a nasty distorted, 2d sound, but how much energy is going on the music is a lot more to do with composition and compression at all stages.
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