Poll: Loudnes War - Whcih do you prefer
Poll Options
View poll results: Loudnes War - Whcih do you prefer
Loudness
8 4%
Dynamic Range
186 83%
Dont Care
29 13%
Voters: 223.
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#1
I have heard alot about the loudness War, How Mastering engineers are compressing the stuffings out of music just so it can sound much louder than anything else out there.

The use of "Dynamic range" have been thrown out the window, im very surprised at even slow rock songs being a victim of heavy compression, such as "Otherside" By the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

But on the Flip side, the Loudness war is being waged on because people believe louder sounds better and its more flexible due to most people listening to mono radio stations and at home or while on the go.

Just wandering what you guys go for.

Dynamic range or loudness

Discuss


www.myspace.com/souldreamers1

Note: Music like this should never lose its dynamic range
Last edited by TANK4 at Sep 30, 2009,
#3
compressed music is worse quality also a cd will always sound better than an mp3, but mp3s win because people care more about having more music.
But that has nothing to do with master tracks.
#4
I'd say dynamic range, but the loud bits actually need to be loud for it to be effective. I'd prefer everything to be the same level though...I hate it when I'm listening to my songs on random, turn the speakers up because I'm listening to an old song, then when a recent song comes on, my eardrums explode.

EDIT: Same level I mean generally consistent with other songs.
Last edited by denfilade at Oct 3, 2009,
#5
dynamic. easily.
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#8
Well its depends, Producers and artists make albums so they can flow out through a song seamslessly (well most of the time) through each track.

And each album has its own vibe, story and volume knob to fit with its life story of that album. The only way for everything to have the same level, is if everysong goes through a volume interprenter, in which it changes the song amplitude to the same waveforms as the next. But i think the result will be disasterous.

Cause we need our quietness in music such as "Stairway to heaven" (example song everyone should know). In the beginning it starts off slow and soft and quiet and it builds up in volume as the track progresses and really only reaches a peak volume at the start of the solo.

Quietness = dynamic range = emotion through out a song

if everything was in constant loudness, we will eventually find it boring and expereince fatigue.

An example is the Death Magnetic Album
#9
I'm glad to see the loudness war us being recognised, and that people do want dynamics, I do too of course.

But then again, people who play an instrument, musicians are bound to be more aware, I doubt the average Joe even knows what dynamics are

There's still wonderfully produced stuff out there though.
So just SHUT your face, and take a seat,
'Cause after all you're just talking MEAT...


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#10
Quote by TANK4
Well its depends, Producers and artists make albums so they can flow out through a song seamslessly (well most of the time) through each track.

And each album has its own vibe, story and volume knob to fit with its life story of that album. The only way for everything to have the same level, is if everysong goes through a volume interprenter, in which it changes the song amplitude to the same waveforms as the next. But i think the result will be disasterous.

Cause we need our quietness in music such as "Stairway to heaven" (example song everyone should know). In the beginning it starts off slow and soft and quiet and it builds up in volume as the track progresses and really only reaches a peak volume at the start of the solo.

Quietness = dynamic range = emotion through out a song

if everything was in constant loudness, we will eventually find it boring and expereince fatigue.

An example is the Death Magnetic Album


Have you listened to Death Magnetic? You should you might change your view its not all loud.
#11
Quote by funkyducky
compressed music is worse quality also a cd will always sound better than an mp3, but mp3s win because people care more about having more music.
But that has nothing to do with master tracks.



Thats a differnt story.
True mp3 compress your audio files.
But Mastering Engineers are pressured into giving full volume and even clipping tracks just so it can be loud.

Heres an example

Get the wav file of "Otherside" of Red Hot Chili Peppers

and put it on Audacity

now chek out the wav files and you can see it has no space at the top or bottom.
and play the song and you can clearly hear the clipping that is heard throughout the track.

After the cd came out. Consumers started complaining about the sound. SInce then, bootleg of unmastered versions have been released online
Last edited by TANK4 at Sep 30, 2009,
#12
on either side, there are legitimate reasons for each approach.

as musicians, we're all bound to say we prefer dynamics over loudness, because our ears and listening ability are matured to a further extent than the average listener. it's the same reason why we cringe when we hear a Marshall MG cranked into "crushing overdrive," whereas the average non-musician listener says, "cool, a Marshall!"

it's a different story for marketers and research analyst though. loud attracts more attention, which amounts to a better sales/plays ratio. radio stations are required by the powers that be to broadcast at a given level, not to exceed that decible threshold (the exact figure escapes me at the moment). highly compressed tracks are precieved to be louder than their competition (i.e., other bands' songs) when broadcast over regulated stations.

of course, MP3s vs. CDs must be calculated into the waging war; however, CDs are still limited to 44.1. so, if you were to record at a higher rate, say 96, without proper dithering, you're still bound to suffer a loss of much harmonic content.

that said, i'm an audiophile at heart, and my vote goes towards dynamics over loudness any day. my belief is that prevention of ear fatigue is more beneficial than being louder than another song simply due to the fact that a listener can hear it again and again, each time discovering new subtlties to the given tracks. then again, trained listeners are all but extinct.
#13
Listen to Pink Floyd, then listen to most any album produced after 2000. Gigantic difference.
#14
Quote by TANK4
I have heard alot about the loudness War, How Mastering engineers are compressing the stuffings out of music just so it can sound much louder than anything else out there.
Nope. Quiet passage in music are masked by ambient noise when the music is played in a noisy environment. In an open car, at a party or club, w/e. This is one of many reasons for compression.

Quote by TANK4
But on the Flip side, the Loudness war is being waged on because people believe louder sounds better and its more flexible due to most people listening to mono radio stations and at home or while on the go.
lolwut? Where on earth do you live that "most people" listen to mono radio stations?
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#16
Here's an idea. Play the loud versions on the raido, but leave them with dynamics on the physical releases.

[IN PHIL WE TRUST]


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#17
Quality over Loudness
"Don't piss in my ear and tell me it's raining" - Wrex
#18
I always use a Pink Floyd song to test any Hi-Fi amp, because there is no loudness compensation.
If I want more loudness, I turn up the volume.
#19
Tasteful compression.
E-married to ilikepirates

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#20
.. but radio stations use their own compressors and adjust the volume as they want, so in reality the loud mastered records are self-defeating.
Quote by Ichikurosaki
sloth is hacking away feebly at the grass because he is a sloth but he was trying so hard ;_; hes all "penguin im HERE i am here to help you penguin"
#21
Quote by Demon Wolf
.. but radio stations use their own compressors and adjust the volume as they want, so in reality the loud mastered records are self-defeating.
lol, no. when people listen to the CDs in their cars or play them at a party, they rarely have a compressor. It wouldn't be all that much trouble for a mobile DJ to add one to his rig, but most don't have one.

People "say" they prefer uncompressed music because it's a purist or elitist thing to do.
In reality, unless the listener is in a quiet environment with the music loud enough that the quieter passages are still able to be easily heard, they will actually prefer songs that are compressed.
Meadows
Quote by Jackal58
I release my inner liberal every morning when I take a shit.
Quote by SK8RDUDE411
I wont be like those jerks who dedicate their beliefs to logic and reaosn.
#22
Quote by SomeoneYouKnew
lol, no. when people listen to the CDs in their cars or play them at a party, they rarely have a compressor. It wouldn't be all that much trouble for a mobile DJ to add one to his rig, but most don't have one.

People "say" they prefer uncompressed music because it's a purist or elitist thing to do.
In reality, unless the listener is in a quiet environment with the music loud enough that the quieter passages are still able to be easily heard, they will actually prefer songs that are compressed.


But for years they've used the argument for "radio stations", when it is utterly pointless. I do volounteer work for a radio, I should know.

It's another story in people's homes though... but cranking up the volume ain't that hard.
Quote by Ichikurosaki
sloth is hacking away feebly at the grass because he is a sloth but he was trying so hard ;_; hes all "penguin im HERE i am here to help you penguin"
#23
Quote by denfilade
I'd say dynamic range, but the loud bits actually need to be loud for it to be effective. I'd prefer everything to be the same level though...I hate it when I'm listening to my songs on random, turn the speakers up because I'm listening to an old song, then when a recent song comes on, my eardrums explode.


god yes...
#24
I would rather have dynamics when I'm at home where there isn't any outside noise, but compression is nice when I'm driving and there's a lot of outside noise that can cover up the quite parts of songs.
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#25
Quote by SomeoneYouKnew
(1)Nope. Quiet passage in music are masked by ambient noise when the music is played in a noisy environment. In an open car, at a party or club, w/e. This is one of many reasons for compression.

(2)lolwut? Where on earth do you live that "most people" listen to mono radio stations?


(1)the first part of this is true, but it in no way addresses the quotation you attatched to it. you're talking about a very different application of compression, where a particular track(s) containing either extreme sub bass or 20kHz+ freqs are compressed to reduce "white space" in a master. this has nothing to do with the loudness war.

(2)radio stations broadcast in mono. that's why panning, which can sound very unique and interresting when done right on a CD, will only sound like a somewhat out of phase passage over FM radio. data can be decoded by your car/home stereo to correct this when using satellite services such as XM, but that's a different thing altogether. satellite signals are data streams, not actual FM waves, which is why you can't just dial your car radio into any XM station without an XM reciever, subscription, etc.
#26
Quote by Demon Wolf
But for years they've used the argument for "radio stations", when it is utterly pointless. I do volounteer work for a radio, I should know.

It's another story in people's homes though... but cranking up the volume ain't that hard.


it's not pointless. radio stations have a cap on how loud they can broadcast. now, if you have a system that can shake the earth, great, blow your eardrums out, but that's still not going to replace the harmonic content lost from over compression.

and compressed music does serve its purposes. in a noisy bar or whatever, it allows all parts of a song to be consistent enough to be distinguishable without having a lot of peaks/relative silence, but in settings like that, i for one am not looking for great quality music through a state-of-the-art system, nor do i expect it... nor do i really give a **** if the music sounds great, i'm just there for the beer and chicks or to hang out with friends. that said, when i'm home listening to a CD in my system, just trying to enjoy some good music while i chill out or whatev, i want audible dynamics.

i will agree that it has become the "vogue" thing amongst musicians to condemn the compressed side of the loudness war, especially when relatively few could actually explain why it's a bad thing. a compressor, along with a decent EQ, can be a producer's/engineer's best friend when used sparingly.
#28
Obviously if you don't compress anything it's likley to end up sounding iffy unless you're going for that kind of thing. I hate the radio loudness thing where every song is constant noise. This idea of 'good' modern production is horrible. Music needs the silences and the quiet parts.
#30
Quote by GrisKy
it's not pointless. radio stations have a cap on how loud they can broadcast. now, if you have a system that can shake the earth, great, blow your eardrums out, but that's still not going to replace the harmonic content lost from over compression.

and compressed music does serve its purposes. in a noisy bar or whatever, it allows all parts of a song to be consistent enough to be distinguishable without having a lot of peaks/relative silence, but in settings like that, i for one am not looking for great quality music through a state-of-the-art system, nor do i expect it... nor do i really give a **** if the music sounds great, i'm just there for the beer and chicks or to hang out with friends. that said, when i'm home listening to a CD in my system, just trying to enjoy some good music while i chill out or whatev, i want audible dynamics.

i will agree that it has become the "vogue" thing amongst musicians to condemn the compressed side of the loudness war, especially when relatively few could actually explain why it's a bad thing. a compressor, along with a decent EQ, can be a producer's/engineer's best friend when used sparingly.

Example of dynamics, and their lack of, the song on my profile. I recorded the acoustic section completely dry, no compression whatsoever. An actual look at the waveform reveals a CONSIDERABLE drop in peak levels, whereas the distorted guitars are compressed, somewhat more than lightly.

You won't hear this on the radio.

But adding to the excellent points GrisKy makes, Compression was INVENTED for a reason. somebody figured out how to make it loud, and people liked it. no gain comes without sacrifice, and sometimes that gain (hey, it's a pun!) can be put to good use. If you want it loud, you'll have it loud.

If you want it dynamic, you're probably in the right business, as you know what you want and know how to get it.

There is little to be said, but the point is clear, we are in a war on how loud something should be, regardless of whether or not it affects the quality. Argue amongst yourself the points you know somebody else already made, but I have to say: What can I do about it?
GTFO my sig
#31
Dynamic range. If I want it loud, that's what the volume knob is for. I understand the advantages of compression in a loud setting, but that can be done with DSP's instead of ruining the actual song for everyone.

Quote by SomeoneYouKnew
People "say" they prefer uncompressed music because it's a purist or elitist thing to do.
In reality, unless the listener is in a quiet environment with the music loud enough that the quieter passages are still able to be easily heard, they will actually prefer songs that are compressed.
You are wrong. Music with dynamic range sounds better. I'm not trying to be cool or an elitist or anything. It sounds better.
Last edited by Masonpwiley at Oct 1, 2009,
#32
One of the first, and probably last people to make tasteful compression was Joe Meek in the 60's.

Ive tried it, but it never works.

Dynamics for sure.
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#33
Quote by Masonpwiley
Dynamic range. If I want it loud, that's what the volume knob is for. I understand the advantages of compression in a loud setting, but that can be done with DSP's instead of ruining the actual song for everyone.

You are wrong. Music with dynamic range sounds better. I'm not trying to be cool or an elitist or anything. It sounds better.

What about a chauvinist?

we're past that point in discussion.
GTFO my sig
#34
Quote by Th6r6a6sH
What about a chauvinist?

we're past that point in discussion.
Well soooory.


#35
The poll's options are REALLY black and white. I would vote "dynamic but punchy" if such a choice existed.

When you produce your own tracks you will understand the need for compression. It's partially about "making the song louder" but that's really not what it's meant for. If you take a waveform for, say, a kick or a snare (and this could be for rock, electronic music, you name it), it'll have a spike that is VERY large relative to the trail of the sound. Compression brings up the volume of the rest of the waveform so that it's a more even sound with the attack, so that you can bring up the level of that sound to a desirable volume without the initial attack raping your eardrums. If you didn't compress anything (and you will hear this all the time in amateur produced tracks) the track will seem harsh on the ears and yet will be very quiet. Compression is the difference between a mediocre track and a great track.

That being said, some things shouldn't be touched by compression, like classical music. It all depends on what style. House would not be house if it weren't for compression. The pumping sound you hear where everything's levels duck down when the kick hits is the result of sidechain compression (well, originally, now people can use ducking tracks as well)

If this is all going over your heads, don't worry, half the stuff said on here about guitars goes over mine.

Quote by Masonpwiley
Dynamic range. If I want it loud, that's what the volume knob is for. I understand the advantages of compression in a loud setting, but that can be done with DSP's instead of ruining the actual song for everyone.

You are wrong. Music with dynamic range sounds better. I'm not trying to be cool or an elitist or anything. It sounds better.




Why do people use compression, then? "Oh, the general public hates compression so much, I'm going to produce every band that hires me with as much compression as possible"

No, it's because people LIKE it. Seriously, the volume knob can only control so much.
Last edited by xaviergray at Oct 1, 2009,
#36
Quote by Masonpwiley
Dynamic range. If I want it loud, that's what the volume knob is for. I understand the advantages of compression in a loud setting, but that can be done with DSP's instead of ruining the actual song for everyone.


but that's just the point, it's the marketing execs who want to take the volume knob out of your hand and turn it up whether you like it or not.

further, we're not talking about actual loudness in terms of what your amplifier can do vs. your neighbor's. we're talking about preceived loudness, as "modern" producers have embarked on a quest to get closer and closer to unity without clipping. it's not like one song on the radio will be very soft like a whisper and another will be like a shout. it's more like one would be a normal, warm talking voice and the second would be a slightly robot-like, lifeless and cold talking voice. the actual decible difference between the two is measured in the tenths and hundredths.
#37
Quote by xaviergray
The poll's options are REALLY black and white. I would vote "dynamic but punchy" if such a choice existed.

When you produce your own tracks you will understand the need for compression. It's partially about "making the song louder" but that's really not what it's meant for. If you take a waveform for, say, a kick or a snare (and this could be for rock, electronic music, you name it), it'll have a spike that is VERY large relative to the trail of the sound. Compression brings up the volume of the rest of the waveform so that it's a more even sound with the attack, so that you can bring up the level of that sound to a desirable volume without the initial attack raping your eardrums. If you didn't compress anything (and you will hear this all the time in amateur produced tracks) the track will seem harsh on the ears and yet will be very quiet. Compression is the difference between a mediocre track and a great track.

That being said, some things shouldn't be touched by compression, like classical music. It all depends on what style. House would not be house if it weren't for compression. The pumping sound you hear where everything's levels duck down when the kick hits is the result of sidechain compression (well, originally, now people can use ducking tracks as well)

If this is all going over your heads, don't worry, half the stuff said on here about guitars goes over mine.




Why do people use compression, then? "Oh, the general public hates compression so much, I'm going to produce every band that hires me with as much compression as possible"

No, it's because people LIKE it. Seriously, the volume knob can only control so much.


I agree with most of what you said from an engineers point of view except the part in bold. A compressor doesn't raise the rest of the wave, it limits the peak area (or, more specifically, any part of the waveform that crosses a set threshold). I'm pulling numbers out of my ass here, but say you set your threshold to -10dB and your ratio to 4:1. now you record a signal that, without compression, is -2dB. that's 8dB above your threshold, but your ratio will only allow for a 2dB increase, or 1dB for every 4dB above the threshold. that's hard compression. soft compression is a little more vague in terms of ratio right around the threshold. EDIT: think of soft vs. hard compression as rolling down a hill vs. falling off a cliff.

anyhow, in most cases, the studio tracking engineer isn't going to be the one doing most of the damage with his compressor. it'll be the mastering engineer. you make a good point with house music, but that's the exception, not the rule. imagine those techniques applied to led zeppelin.
Last edited by GrisKy at Oct 1, 2009,
#38
Quote by GrisKy
I agree with most of what you said from an engineers point of view except the part in bold. A compressor doesn't raise the rest of the wave, it limits the peak area (or, more specifically, any part of the waveform that crosses a set threshold). I'm pulling numbers out of my ass here, but say you set your threshold to -10dB and your ratio to 4:1. now you record a signal that, without compression, is -2dB. that's 8dB above your threshold, but your ratio will only allow for a 2dB increase, or 1dB for every 4dB above the threshold. that's hard compression. soft compression is a little more vague in terms of ratio right around the threshold.

anyhow, in most cases, the studio tracking engineer isn't going to be the one doing most of the damage with his compressor. it'll be the mastering engineer. you make a good point with house music, but that's the exception, not the rule. imagine those techniques applied to led zeppelin.


I might have worded it wrong, but yeah it limits it and most compressors allow gain for the stuff that doesn't hit the threshold. I don't really know all the technical details, I just use the stuff

But in most cases of modern music, the studio engineer is going to be using compression. If the mastering engineer uses it it's usually because of a level mistake that rendered one section a lot lower volume than the rest, usually in some form of contemporary music as opposed to classical or jazz or whatever. You listen to any modern rock, metal, electronic, pop, country, it's all got compression. Led Zeppelin is not the greatest example as they're a band from 30+ years ago, and back then compression really wasn't used as much.
#39
LOUD NOISES!

yea, i said it.
.
..
...
I have no opinion on this matter.
#40
I'm for dynamic mainly but adding just a little but of compression would be nice.

Ex. "Today" by the Smashing Pumpkins. I can rarely hear the soft guitar intro, so I turn it up, and when the chords come in, it's waaay to loud. If they at least put the volume on the guitar up for the intro a bit, it would be a vast improvement.


Either way, I just wish they would just decide on one volume and stick with it. I mean, I hate it when I'm listening to one song then the next one kills my ears
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