#1
This is something kind of old (2009?) that I am just catching up on, but I am shocked. I just took some of my favorite songs to see how their dynamic ranges were, and found that they were in RED the ENTIRE TIME! (I used the TT Dynamic Range Meter)

I love those songs! I am quite shocked... However how come I can still love those songs when they don't have a dynamic range?

The "loudness wars" and trying to add more dynamic range to songs sounds like an amazing idea, but this lack of dynamic range didn't seem to affect me as I still loved the songs. I don't quite understand it. Care to discuss? Look up "loudness wars" if you don't know about it already.
#2
To the average listener, louder is always better. Plus with so many people listening on mp3 players with earbuds to low quality bitrates, the dynamic range isn't really a concern anyway.
Let's party.
#3
It's one of my biggest pet peeves. Everyone likes cranking their favourite tunes, but some people are conditioned to believe that loud is better, and don't want to hear any different.
#6
Quote by Fat g0r0T
omfg tmusician, im sorry but i really hate your posts.

xoxo


lol why? I haven't even seen one of your posts until now.

Quote by Iommianity
It's one of my biggest pet peeves. Everyone likes cranking their favourite tunes, but some people are conditioned to believe that loud is better, and don't want to hear any different.


I'm pretty sure there is research that the louder something is the more appealing to the ear, but taking away the dynamic range and putting it as loud as possible instead of letting the listener turn it up seems annoying. When some people started doing it though, everyone else had to follow or else their mixes would be 'quieter' and not be as appealing.

Now they are doing the loudness wars which is working to some extent I think but not enough.

However in all of this, I find that songs I love have barely any dynamic range but I still love them. It makes me wonder how much it really matters or not.
Last edited by Tmusician at Apr 11, 2012,
#7
Well its just a move from classical music where dynamics are extremely important in the actual concept of the music. Though at this point its more about apparently loud and soft vs real loudness and softness.

I think you get the same effect of appealing to the listener.
#8
Quote by Chaosinborn
Well its just a move from classical music where dynamics are extremely important in the actual concept of the music. Though at this point its more about apparently loud and soft vs real loudness and softness.


Yeah classical music had lots of contrast in terms of loudness.
But then music recording got invented, and anybody who listens to classical music knows how annoying it can be if you listen to it on your headphones.
Sometimes it gets so loud that your ears hurt, but when you turn it down too much you can't ear the silent parts at all.

So yeah that was a pretty big problem, that's why radio friendly music always has to be very much compressed to approximately the same loudness. so you wouldn't have to bother with the volume knob while you're driving and stuff.
#9
Depending on the genre of the track, I often love the sound of a good old-fashioned slam the living hell out of it kind of master. You sacrifice dynamic range for the sound of compression on a final master bus.

A great mastering engineer can still make a track slam even though it has about 3db of dynamic range.

That said, I find this interesting...

In the video world, we want the biggest TV's we can get with the highest resolutions. We want the 75" plasma HD set with 3D blue-ray, etc.

And yet... in audio.... we're mostly happy with 128kbs mp3's. How the hell does that happen? Not only has this inferior format made CD obsolete, this is even more ironic given that DVD audio has been a reality for ten years or more. That's right. We *could* encode our music at 24bit/96khz, which would have enormous dynamic and frequency range compared to that offered by CD for a really high-definition audio experience. But alas, no... we go the other way instead.



CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#10
Quote by axemanchris

And yet... in audio.... we're mostly happy with 128kbs mp3's. How the hell does that happen? Not only has this inferior format made CD obsolete, this is even more ironic given that DVD audio has been a reality for ten years or more. That's right. We *could* encode our music at 24bit/96khz, which would have enormous dynamic and frequency range compared to that offered by CD for a really high-definition audio experience. But alas, no... we go the other way instead.



CT

I love my few DVD-As I have.

As for my opinion on soundness wars I had an argument of why it was good but can't remember...
#12
Quote by axemanchris
Depending on the genre of the track, I often love the sound of a good old-fashioned slam the living hell out of it kind of master. You sacrifice dynamic range for the sound of compression on a final master bus.

A great mastering engineer can still make a track slam even though it has about 3db of dynamic range.

That said, I find this interesting...

In the video world, we want the biggest TV's we can get with the highest resolutions. We want the 75" plasma HD set with 3D blue-ray, etc.

And yet... in audio.... we're mostly happy with 128kbs mp3's. How the hell does that happen? Not only has this inferior format made CD obsolete, this is even more ironic given that DVD audio has been a reality for ten years or more. That's right. We *could* encode our music at 24bit/96khz, which would have enormous dynamic and frequency range compared to that offered by CD for a really high-definition audio experience. But alas, no... we go the other way instead.



CT


I think part of that has to do with how completely uninformed people are about music quality and bitrates. Like, I pointed out to some of my friends that their music on their ipod sounded like it was at 120kbps, and they said "What does that mean?"

I never really noticed a difference between 120kbps and say, v0 quality until a few years ago when I learned about bitrates. I've slowly been going through my music library and trying to redownload a lot of my old music in higher qualities, because so much of it is at less than 160kbps, and I never noticed it because I was never aware of it.
#13
Participating in the loudness war doesn't mean it's going to sound bad. A lot of engineers can make the track loud but still sound great.

You still love all those songs because they do sound good.
But that doesn't necessarily mean they always sound their absolute best.

Also, if you haven't seen this guy's video then it's a good example, but I assume you have since it comes up as a top result.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Gmex_4hreQ

I like music as loud as it'll go before it begins to negatively effect the sound of the track. At that point I don't feel the loss is worth the extra volume.

But for me it all comes down to what I hear. I don't care what the wavform looks like or how loud the track is.
If I can't tell the difference in overall sound between a dynamic one and one that's been slammed to death then of course I'm going to want the louder one.

and for the record, the loudness wars have been going on much longer than since 2009.
Last edited by TechnicolorType at Apr 11, 2012,
#15
Quote by TechnicolorType
Participating in the loudness war doesn't mean it's going to sound bad. A lot of engineers can make the track loud but still sound great.

You still love all those songs because they do sound good.
But that doesn't necessarily mean they always sound their absolute best.

Also, if you haven't seen this guy's video then it's a good example, but I assume you have since it comes up as a top result.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Gmex_4hreQ

I like music as loud as it'll go before it begins to negatively effect the sound of the track. At that point I don't feel the loss is worth the extra volume.

But for me it all comes down to what I hear. I don't care what the wavform looks like or how loud the track is.
If I can't tell the difference in overall sound between a dynamic one and one that's been slammed to death then of course I'm going to want the louder one.

and for the record, the loudness wars have been going on much longer than since 2009.


I share similar feelings on it as TechnicolorType. Sometimes remastering doesn't bother me (One of my favorite albums ever, "The Downward Spiral" was remastered great in 2004 and in my opinion it improved the product). Sometimes remastering can be a bad thing ("Pretty Hate Machine", also by Nine Inch Nails, was remastered in 2010 and some things were bad, such as the track "Something I Can Never Have" losing a lot of its dynamic range).

Another great remaster in my opinion, which I have debated with people is Pearl Jam's "Ten", but that may be more because of the remix I like it...

Loudness when done right can sound great, carelessness though can make bad results.


Quote by ChemicalFire
I'd recommend reading this if you're at all interested in the "loss" of dynamics and the loudness war:

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/sep11/articles/loudness.htm


Very interesting read.
Last edited by FireHawk at Apr 11, 2012,
#16
Quote by axemanchris
In the video world, we want the biggest TV's we can get with the highest resolutions. We want the 75" plasma HD set with 3D blue-ray, etc.

And yet... in audio.... we're mostly happy with 128kbs mp3's. How the hell does that happen? Not only has this inferior format made CD obsolete, this is even more ironic given that DVD audio has been a reality for ten years or more. That's right. We *could* encode our music at 24bit/96khz, which would have enormous dynamic and frequency range compared to that offered by CD for a really high-definition audio experience. But alas, no... we go the other way instead.



CT

It is all about what marketing and sales tells us to do.

One is told televisions/video that bigger is better and resolution is everything.

They sell us music by the smaller the product the better, hence we get tiny MP3 players with ear buds.

It has nothing to do with what is better, it is all about what we are told to buy. Next time I see a 52"+ television with a viewing distance of six feet, I think I will throw up. It is no where near optimal size (way to big) for the space, but the owner is proud as hell to show it off to me even though it is completely inappropriate for proper viewing.

I put it in the same class as when someone sends me a "Youtube" link so I can "listen" and "see" how great their band is. Sorry, it sounds and looks like crap but no one else seems to think so.
If I miss one day of practice, I notice it.
If I miss two days, the critics notice it.
If I miss three days, the audience notices it.

Ingacy Jan Paderewski (1860 - 1941)
Last edited by Quintex at Apr 11, 2012,
#17
I find this a very interesting visual on the case:

I've been meaning to listen to each of these to compare but haven't got round to it yet.
RIP Gooze

cats
#18
Quote by TechnicolorType
Participating in the loudness war doesn't mean it's going to sound bad. A lot of engineers can make the track loud but still sound great.

You still love all those songs because they do sound good.
But that doesn't necessarily mean they always sound their absolute best.

Also, if you haven't seen this guy's video then it's a good example, but I assume you have since it comes up as a top result.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Gmex_4hreQ

I like music as loud as it'll go before it begins to negatively effect the sound of the track. At that point I don't feel the loss is worth the extra volume.

But for me it all comes down to what I hear. I don't care what the wavform looks like or how loud the track is.
If I can't tell the difference in overall sound between a dynamic one and one that's been slammed to death then of course I'm going to want the louder one.

and for the record, the loudness wars have been going on much longer than since 2009.

Think this and Chris' posts are the two I agree with most in the thread... which begs the question, why did you (Tech. Type) have to stop posting here and leave us with one less regular?

Come to think of it, I miss a few of the people that were regulars when I started using this forum section more (Sympho, suppositron, Tech. Type... even Odirunn posts less it seems, despite him posting twice in this article)


As far as I'm concerned, it's mainly an annoyance for two reasons - music has no uniform standard for volume/loudness, and as a result it is frustrating to use iTunes without Soundcheck* turned on, because the volume changes so drastically you're constantly hovering over the volume control when a song ends, but without a standard to base the loudness on how can you impose limits that will be fair to all but allow for unbiased listening levels?

The other issue I have is when songs suffer tonally because of poor abuse of compression (Death Magnetic's snare and kicks; the snare clipping at the start of a couple of tracks on Unearth's The March... there's others in my collection, but I don't actively search for them!) and that is a pretty inexcusable mistake but not much you can do about it I guess, as it's down to the production team how the final product ends up


*Soundcheck, if you aren't aware, is a feature in iTunes that tries to analyse the RMS volume (or so it seems - probably uses other algorithms too) to adjust the playback volume of tracks in your playlist, so they are more balanced track-to-track. The only issue I have is that it can be fooled by songs that are very dynamic and have very loud parts occasionally, but are mostly softer, as the loud parts appear to restrict the relative volume gain vs heavily-compressed music, so it probably isn't reduced as much in volume as the loud stuff but it could definitely be a bit louder than it is to allow the quieter sections to be more audible... alas, it would also sound pretty bad if it raised and lowered the volume throughout the track in response to this but maybe they'll work out a fairly transparent way of getting that to work well.
Hey, look. Sigs are back.
Last edited by DisarmGoliath at Apr 12, 2012,
#19
Quote by ChemicalFire
I'd recommend reading this if you're at all interested in the "loss" of dynamics and the loudness war:

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/sep11/articles/loudness.htm


I don't quite understand that article. It reaffirms that now things are being more heavily compressed, but it seems to be saying that it isn't a problem as long as the "crest" is still high?
#20
Basically the dynamic range is the same as it's always been. The quieter bits are now just louder.
All I want is for everyone to go to hell...
...It's the last place I was seen before I lost myself



Quote by DisarmGoliath
You can be the deputy llamma of the recordings forum!
#21
Quote by DisarmGoliath
Think this and Chris' posts are the two I agree with most in the thread... which begs the question, why did you (Tech. Type) have to stop posting here and leave us with one less regular?
I didn't really see a point to bother if making an effort to help is of no appreciation.

But I could also ask why did you have to rudely ignore me like everyone else on this site does?

.-.
The other issue I have is when songs suffer tonally because of poor abuse of compression (Death Magnetic's snare and kicks; the snare clipping at the start of a couple of tracks on Unearth's The March... there's others in my collection, but I don't actively search for them!) and that is a pretty inexcusable mistake but not much you can do about it I guess, as it's down to the production team how the final product ends up
yeah, I don't listen to Metallica but the version of the tracks on Guitar Hero sounded leagues better. so if I did I'd definitely be listening to that over the loud one.
It's times like that when it's just overkill.
Last edited by TechnicolorType at Apr 12, 2012,
#22
I honestly don't think the 128kbps bitrate thing has anything to do with people being stupid, and/or marketing evil. I think it's because most people just can't tell the difference. I certainly can't. My iPod format is of less quality than my CDs? If you hadn't told me that just now, I'd have never known.

We listen to our music from so many different places, from earbuds to car stereos, and they all make it sound different. I really think that, at the end of the day, it's like the difference between Macs and PCs. PC users like to upgrade their video drivers to run the latest version of Crysis. Mac users like that they don't need a degree in engineering to type a letter to grandma. And yes, I realize that's a really simplified analogy.

That said, I do get a little annoyed when my older albums are half the volume of my new ones. It wreaks hell with being able to listen to everything on my iPod when I'm out walking. I turn it up full volume to barely hear Twisted Sister, and then Evanescence comes on and I go deaf.
Last edited by CarsonStevens at Apr 12, 2012,
#23
Quote by CarsonStevens
I honestly don't think the 128kbps bitrate thing has anything to do with people being stupid, and/or marketing evil. I think it's because most people just can't tell the difference. I certainly can't. My iPod format is of less quality than my CDs? If you hadn't told me that just now, I'd have never known.


I think this is very valid. I know until I started recording I really couldn't tell the difference between 128kbps vs. 320kbps. I used 128kbps just to keep space free on my iPod. To be honest I really can't tell a difference on anything above 256kbps, I will say I hate 128kbps now though. Cymbals just sound eww usually. I only listen to 320kbps now, though so maybe if I go back I can tell a difference between 256kbps and 320kbps. I read a study one time that said like 80% of people can't tell a difference between 320kbps (might have been 256?) vs. a lossless file.
#24
Quote by CarsonStevens
I honestly don't think the 128kbps bitrate thing has anything to do with people being stupid, and/or marketing evil. I think it's because most people just can't tell the difference. I certainly can't. My iPod format is of less quality than my CDs? If you hadn't told me that just now, I'd have never known.

We listen to our music from so many different places, from earbuds to car stereos, and they all make it sound different. I really think that, at the end of the day, it's like the difference between Macs and PCs. PC users like to upgrade their video drivers to run the latest version of Crysis. Mac users like that they don't need a degree in engineering to type a letter to grandma. And yes, I realize that's a really simplified analogy.

That said, I do get a little annoyed when my older albums are half the volume of my new ones. It wreaks hell with being able to listen to everything on my iPod when I'm out walking. I turn it up full volume to barely hear Twisted Sister, and then Evanescence comes on and I go deaf.

It's not quite a proper analogy, because Macs (when a new model comes out each time) are genuinely up there in the better segment of the PC market, rather than being the lowest denominator, so to speak. I do think what you're saying about the vast differences in all the mediums we hear sound in may be something to do with why many people pay little attention to sound quality. Vision is the more dominant sense than hearing, so I guess the reasoning could be that people easily notice when a picture isn't as clear because sight is something constantly at the forefront of our conscious thought.

Sound tends to add to the picture, rather than make it, and I guess what I mean is that it isn't something as many people focus on and it is much easier to zone out of a (familiar) sound and ignore it. You can't very well ignore something in the way of an object you're looking at, while still seeing the object. That being said, we do see things out of focus on the edges of our peripheral vision but we just don't focus on them and maybe that is the key point - focus. The brain is a very complex thing anyway, and I can only speculate as I'm no neuroscientist (neurologist?)!


Quote by TechnicolorType
I didn't really see a point to bother if making an effort to help is of no appreciation.

But I could also ask why did you have to rudely ignore me like everyone else on this site does?
.-.
Sent you a PM just now.

yeah, I don't listen to Metallica but the version of the tracks on Guitar Hero sounded leagues better. so if I did I'd definitely be listening to that over the loud one.
It's times like that when it's just overkill.
A mate from uni mentioned that before, about the GH tracks, I'm yet to hear them though so can't comment.
Hey, look. Sigs are back.
Last edited by DisarmGoliath at Apr 12, 2012,
#25
Quote by DisarmGoliath
Sound tends to add to the picture, rather than make it, and I guess what I mean is that it isn't something as many people focus on and it is much easier to zone out of a (familiar) sound and ignore it.


I guess a better analogy would be, then, that I can certainly hear a far more "lush" sound coming out of my instructor's $400 monitors than I do my iPod, but I hear no difference between my eardbuds, PC speakers, car stereo, or Roland Micro Cube. The only time I heard a noticable drop in audio quality was the time I rendered "Flowers for Shetal" out to something less than 128kbps by accident.

Anyway, what I meant was... those of us with the highly-trained ears of an audio engineer can tell the difference. Me, Joe Sixpack, and Tiffany Teenybopper, on the other hand, can't.
#26
Quote by ChemicalFire
Basically the dynamic range is the same as it's always been. The quieter bits are now just louder.


that completely contradicts itself, the dynamic range is the range of the quietest part of the song to the loudest. If the quietest part is -15 db and the loudest part is -.1 then your dynamic range is 14.9 db. if the quietest part is -.3 and the loudest is -.1 then your dynamic range is a fifth of a decible, and no one, even if their dead set on hearing the change, will be able to notice any kind of dynamic movement in the piece.
Victim of Line 6 brutality

Gear?
Ibanez S570DXQM
Maxon OD 808 overdrive pedal
Boss NS-2
Peavey 6505+ 112


Recording?
Too much to list.
#27
Quote by jer-bear5212
that completely contradicts itself, the dynamic range is the range of the quietest part of the song to the loudest. If the quietest part is -15 db and the loudest part is -.1 then your dynamic range is 14.9 db. if the quietest part is -.3 and the loudest is -.1 then your dynamic range is a fifth of a decible, and no one, even if their dead set on hearing the change, will be able to notice any kind of dynamic movement in the piece.


Read the article. I probably did a bad job of summing something quite complicated that I don't really under stand fully up
All I want is for everyone to go to hell...
...It's the last place I was seen before I lost myself



Quote by DisarmGoliath
You can be the deputy llamma of the recordings forum!
#28
I've been ripping/burning mp3s at 320 for probably a decade now, and mainly just because of some stuff I was reading about the difference in bit rates etc. I can tell the difference between that and something that is sub-128 now, but like someone else said on most of the systems I play music on it typically sounds the same. When someone brings up the loudness wars I instantly think of Death Magnetic and cringe. That's a perfect example of taking something too extreme. I haven't been dabbling in recording but for a couple years now, so my experience is nill, but I really try to avoid using a lot of compression. And I think that it's because I really don't understand how to use it properly and I don't want to just click through random presets until I find something I like. Maybe I'm just completely going the wrong way about it, but I guess that can happen when you're self taught.