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Loudness Wars explained in simple terms

Ah but since it only applies to drum hits, it's not really that big a deal, is it? :eek:bscene-buttred:
PaulyT said:
Ah but since it only applies to drum hits, it's not really that big a deal, is it? :eek:bscene-buttred:

I know that's tongue in cheek (and funny :laughing: ), but to me the lack of impact from the drums was a good enough example of the life of that track being sucked out of it.

Great example!
Currently, very few recordings have dynamic impact. The majority are compressed to the point of unrecognizable from the original. That's what you get in the digital age so people with their iPods and MP3's are happy.

That video clip makes it very clear and easy to understand... just wish EVERYONE could see it...
Rope said:
Currently, very few recordings have dynamic impact. The majority are compressed to the point of unrecognizable from the original. That's what you get in the digital age so people with their iPods and MP3's are happy.


Hmmm. That's certainly not my experience.

I hear no difference, on average, between today's recording, those from just before the age of "iPods and MP3's" and from the era prior to that.

New CDs, on average, have the same "dynamic impact" as older ones to me. Some have more. Some have less. Same as it's always been.

The big difference, since quite some time ago, is that formats like SACD offer terrific "dynamic impact" and my one recent music BD even more so.

In fact I'm not even sure that I could notice a difference in "dynamic impact" between any CD, old or new, and an MP3 ripped from it at say a 192 bitrate.

I wonder what others think.


ps. I'm confused by what you say above. The first sentence says few recordings have dynamic impact. What do you mean by recordings? The original masters? What format are you listening to these "recordings." I assume that the second sentence is referring to these same recordings, but I'm confused by your reference to "the original." So the recording in the first sentence is not the same as in the scond, or the original? And are you then saying, in the third sentence, that iPods and MP3's have somehow ruined something? The "recordings" as opposed to "the originals." Pardon my confusion. My comments above were based on an assumption that you simply meant "today's commercially available music is..."
Rope said:
Seems you're confused with the word "currently".


I guess that's partly it, because if I combine your first and second sentences, grammatically they would read: "Currently, the majority of recordings have very little dynamic impact, having been compressed to the point of unrecognizable from the original." My confusion is that you are comparing "recordings" to the "original" and I don't undertsand what that entails. Can you give an example of an original and its recording and how it has less dynamic impact?

Would a "recording" be a downloaded song, in MP3 format, that's being played on an iPod? In that case I guess I would agree that what the listener would hear (as played through the iPod, with IPod headphones) could have less dynamic impact that when played through a good home system. But the "original" (whatever that is - and I'll assume you mean the just-out-of-the-studio master) probably is chock full of dynamic impact, which we still have the option of purchasing in a format that preserves that (or most of that) dynamic impact when played on a quality system.

Or are you saying that, straight from the studio, today's recording engineers and performers are already reducing their product's dynamic impact in order to prep it for the iPod/MP3 market, in a way that was not done previously? Meaning that when it's sold to me in a non-MP3 format, that it is still dynamic impact-reduced?

Well if so that's where my observation came in: that I've not noticed this dumbing-down effect, when comparing new music that I can buy today, with that which I could buy in the past.

That's all.

For explanation reasons, I'll be very concise. The vast majority of today's recordings (Rock, Pop, R&B) are shit! Compressed to the point they do not emulate the dynamics found in earlier recordings. If you happen to own a CD from the 80-90's era, purchase that same disc remastered. You'll see what I mean.

As for MP3s; It doesn't really matter how the current recording is mastered, since the iPod generation (MP3) is going to crop the highs and lows when they compress it (physically). Shit in, shit out.

What I've discovered is that most of today's music has the opposite dynamics of real life. In other words, they boost the levels just like they show in the video, removing all the "upward dynamics" of things like drums or the attacking dynamic peak of a plectum striking an acoustic guitar string. So, to make up for the lack of upward dynamics, they use advanced ducking, noise gating, and careful hand editing to make the moments of silence between attacks much quieter than real life.

In real life instruments have a ton of peak dynamic content but the silence between plucks, hits, and strikes is filled with ringing and sustain. Most modern recordings reduce the levels of those in-between sounds and boost the levels of the median sounds, and effectively cut the dynamic peaks. The result in music which we perceive as being very dynamic because of the short silences, but the peaks are not present and the middle levels are all very, very loud.
I downloaded a single from iTunes for an album due to release on the 13th.

They compressed the shit out of most of it, except for 2 specific pieces where the difference is remarkable and viewable on Wavepad.

I'm confident that the album release won't be like that. They're audiophiles, opting to even put out on vinyl too.

It's Dream Theater's On the backs of Angels. Check it out.