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Software idea to rescue loudness war releases
Old 1 week ago
  #1
Deleted e142378
Guest
Software idea to rescue loudness war releases

I just had a dream last night of an ingenious software to fix the loudness war of music and restore the cut peaks.

The explanation will become a little nerdy:

1. You need a vinyl release of the same album that came out on CD or DVD.

2. The software scans both album releases. We know that most vinyls have got full dynamic range and thats crucial.

3. Two things will be scanned. First: The waveform. The optical waveform of the vinyl will be adjusted to the CD. If the software finds similar patterns, the graph will get optimised and streched/morphed to look like the CD (will be important later), as vinyls are never playing in designated speed, due to the hardware. Speed and sound colour of vinyls are inherently different to the original master.

4. A second similarity scan will be done. This time, even though the sound colour is different, the smart software figures out which instruments are the same to the CD. It will decrypt the „colour scheme” by finding same melody lines and pitch it to the same level. But this is a little more complex to realise than it sounds. The entire algorithm needs to get matched here. Complex scans figure out similarities in colour and speed.

5. Now the software notices that some instruments are louder, because vinyls aren’t over-compressed. This time the CD gets adjusted. The samples that sound the same now become quieter on the CD that were compressed to a too loud level. It gets aligned to the level of the vinyl, so that every single volume ratio is restored. The vinyl was the reference for a proper volume ratio. I think the CD will need to get an intelligent refining after this process, because over-mastering sometimes leads to clipping and distortion in the upper regions and needs a smoothing algorithm. Also mono-bass-to-stereo-bass recognition is necessary.

What do you think? Realistic idea or way-too-complicated reverie? Feel free to steal my idea. I just want to save my favourite music, ’cuz DR is life.
Old 1 week ago
  #2
Lives for gear
 
faeflora's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by martinriedel666 View Post
I just had a dream last night of an ingenious software to fix the loudness war of music and restore the cut peaks.

The explanation will become a little nerdy:

1. You need a vinyl release of the same album that came out on CD or DVD.

2. The software scans both album releases. We know that most vinyls have got full dynamic range and thats crucial.

3. Two things will be scanned. First: The waveform. The optical waveform of the vinyl will be adjusted to the CD. If the software finds similar patterns, the graph will get optimised and streched/morphed to look like the CD (will be important later), as vinyls are never playing in designated speed, due to the hardware. Speed and sound colour of vinyls are inherently different to the original master.

4. A second similarity scan will be done. This time, even though the sound colour is different, the smart software figures out which instruments are the same to the CD. It will decrypt the „colour scheme” by finding same melody lines and pitch it to the same level. But this is a little more complex to realise than it sounds. The entire algorithm needs to get matched here. Complex scans figure out similarities in colour and speed.

5. Now the software notices that some instruments are louder, because vinyls aren’t over-compressed. This time the CD gets adjusted. The samples that sound the same now become quieter on the CD that were compressed to a too loud level. It gets aligned to the level of the vinyl, so that every single volume ratio is restored. The vinyl was the reference for a proper volume ratio. I think the CD will need to get an intelligent refining after this process, because over-mastering sometimes leads to clipping and distortion in the upper regions and needs a smoothing algorithm. Also mono-bass-to-stereo-bass recognition is necessary.

What do you think? Realistic idea or way-too-complicated reverie? Feel free to steal my idea. I just want to save my favourite music, ’cuz DR is life.

I think this is totally possible and it would require a -slangwordforsexualreproduction-ton of computation. A mixed song is literally more than the sum of it's parts so this would require some major smarts for the auto adjustment of the individual parts. If you write software that can do all this there are likely other more lucrative things to do with it like dialog separation of a crowd off one mic listening to phrases in multiple languages or some big brother shi+.

Also, records like, suck. May as well model the re-master on an 3d scan of an interpretive pantomine of the song. That would actually be cool.

Masters are artifacts of the time. Modern day albums have like 25 songs and they're 2 minutes long and are hyper dynamic and sparse so they're LOUD AS FUUU. It's all gaming the $y$tem for money. Was the same with records I'm sure
Old 1 week ago
  #3
Lives for gear
I think you're likely over-romanticizing the fidelity and integrity of the vinyl original. Vinyl cutting involves dynamic range limiting, bass eq-ing (vinyl can't handle very low bass, even allowing for RIAA encoding).

A better source comparison for the CD vs source would be the stereo mix of the master tape, and bypass the vinyl altogether.

It's worth noting that the vinyl represents to many the pinnacle of analog playback, despite the compromises involved in its creation...compared with the CD equivalent. This says more about the dire state of the CD version than it does about the superiority of the vinyl.
Old 1 week ago
  #4
Lives for gear
The only solution to this is pushing the industry to cut it out with the loudness wars. We've seen some re-issues on HD Tracks (e.g. Green Day - American Idiot) which sound a million times better than their original distorted releases

The best we can do as artists and engineers is lead by example. All my tracks on Bandcamp are mastered to -16 LUFS and commercial releases are -10 LUFS (which seemed like a reasonable compromise so the labels don't complain). Sadly many labels choose to master my tracks, in which case ... that's all out the window
Old 1 week ago
  #5
Lives for gear
Yeah it would work I think. The only catch of course is that most digital releases didnt have vinyl releases....
Old 1 week ago
  #6
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by fgimian View Post
The only solution to this is pushing the industry to cut it out with the loudness wars. We've seen some re-issues on HD Tracks (e.g. Green Day - American Idiot) which sound a million times better than their original distorted releases

)
I think thats already happening with google, apple, youtube etc not allowing above or below certain loudnesses - level playing field. At the end of the day though high end commercial releases will piss cleint soff if their mixes sound quieter than others. Its the clients that need educating more than the engineers.
Old 1 week ago
  #7
Deleted e142378
Guest
I‘ve listened to iTunes releases, but most of them are still sounding like the same ****. There are still plenty of vinyl releases, for my favourite genre at least.

I don’t think I am over-romantisising the vinyl integrity. You can ignore the lacking bass and just decreasing it linearly along with every other levels that get decreased without taking the vinyl as a reference in terms of bass.

It would be a lot better to do this instead of the normalisation algorithm of Spotify, iTunes etc., because their algo is just presuming instead of knowing the real ratios. Vinyls still have got the original uncut peaks, which would already be enough to implement my idea. Imagine two pyramids abreast. The first one is big but with a missing spire. The second one is small and complete but with damaged bricks in the lower region. Both consist of the same amount of bricks in the mid and low area. You know if you shrink the big one that it will preserve the same amount of bricks in the bottom even though the small pyramid has got some damaged bricks in the lower area (limited vinyl low-end), but the CD contains the original already. The spire can then just be scanned and be put on top of the damaged pyramid.

Someone with a little tricky mind can program this easily. Not every missing data in the vinyl is neccessary. The mid-to-high-end ratio is crucial.
Old 1 week ago
  #8
Lives for gear
I'm pretty sure the maximum dynamic range of vinyl was around 40-55dB. Maximum theoretical for CD was of course much higher, but never exploited. The problem is the window of typical listening environments (esp car radios for example) ...it was this that began the compression drive, which if anything ramped up even further in the CD era, despite it being less necessary.

Dynamic range means a greater variation between loudest and quietest sounds on an LP or CD, meaning more frequent trips to the volume dial of the playback device to fine tune and micro-manage it from moment to moment.

Most human hands (and record company execs, on behalf of human hands) don't like frequent visits to the volume dial, hence the much reduced volume envelope we're stuck with.

The simple solution was to make everything loud (ie Loudness War outcome)

You love natural dynamic range, you love making frequent trips to turn the volume up or down ? Most people don't/didn't.

You can either have natural, uncompressed dynamics...or uniformly loud (and fewer trips to the volume knob).

You can't have both...

Choose...
Old 1 week ago
  #9
Lives for gear
Mastered for iTunes seems to be fluff. It is mostly focused on True Peak not exceeding 0dbfs IIRC. There's absolutely no one enforcing LUFS of a particular value on releases. They have Sound Check on Apple Music and a normalising algorithm on Spotify, but people are still releases insanely loud masters, especially in EDM music.

I'd be happy to be wrong on this honestly.

Bandcamp allows 24-bit files to be uploaded as do some stores; but even Tidal doesn't do such things in streaming world as far as I know.

At some point in the future, whatever iteration of humanity exists will look back on what people have done to music and be seriously confused. Especially since there is no solid evidence indicating that louder music actually sells more. Truly, such a sad state of affairs we have :(

I wrote a rather lengthy post on my blog about this actually: https://fgimian.github.io/blog/2016/...o-really-mean/

Last edited by fgimian; 1 week ago at 01:58 PM..
Old 6 days ago
  #10
Here for the gear
 

Aren't modern day vinyl releases essentially just digital recorded onto a record, ie the exact same lossless digital master which then gets ported over to every format (CD, Vinyl , WAV/MP3)

An original Pre early 80's Vinyl then yes, will sound different in colour to its recent CD transfer
Old 6 days ago
  #11
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bitman's Avatar
Terry West ReLife vst.

Voodoo.
Old 6 days ago
  #12
Deleted e142378
Guest
Most vinyl checks in Audacity of modern metal albums are not clipped unlike CDs. The dynamics are there.

Interesting VST. I need to check it, but it’s different from my idea.
Old 6 days ago
  #13
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted e142378 View Post
What do you think? Realistic idea or way-too-complicated reverie? Feel free to steal my idea. I just want to save my favourite music, ’cuz DR is life.
I think that you indeed have a somewhat romanticized view of vinyl. The dynamic range isn't higher regardless of what happens with peaks.

I also think that the reasons for the loudness war are separate from the medium, and if you don't address those reasons then the 'war' will continue.

And if you feel vinyl is superior sonically then the solution is to just do a clean transfer of that master. After all there's a master for vinyl and it needs to be clearly different from the one to CD if you prefer one over the other, so at that point just "rip" the vinyl.

Lastly, I actually think you're thinking about the technology in ways that are inaccurate technically. The short version of that is that if the solution was as easy as you imply it is it would have been done already. So something is 'off'.
Old 6 days ago
  #14
Lives for gear
There's very likely a very healthy amount of dynamic range inherent in a typical digital or analog final mix mastertape or file...the step after final mixing down to stereo, and before it goes to mastering.

It's in the mastering phase where someone decides that either the vinyl, CD, download, mp3 needs to be range limited...and that's where your intervention might have the best impact
Old 5 days ago
  #15
Gear Addict
Most albums are nuked at the mixing stage nowadays I’ve heard. No one wanted to be accused of not making it loud enough. Or to give the mastering engineer a way to change things a lot. See Death Magnetic. I’ve taken a loud record and trimmed the volume before running it through Peacock. Decent results. A lot of digital sourced vinyl has had problems.
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