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Why the majority of your CDs sound horrible. - Page 2

post #16 of 217
Thread Starter 
The CD format is significantly more powerful in what it can do than a vinyl release. There really is no argument there.

The problem arises from the fact that since so much more is possible, there are alot of new ways to cause problems that did not exist before. There are also alot of new ways to make it sound significantly better, that did not exist before.

If all the dynamic range was squeezed out of a vinyl release to the degree that is done today, the needle would not be able to track properly. It would literally pop out of its groove. A laser doesn't have this problem.... what does this mean? It means you can have much sharper transients, more realistic attacks & decays, more definition, more transparency. It also means you can squash all the life out of it, and still have it playback without problems (besides headaches from the listener).

"With great power, must also come great responsibility."
post #17 of 217
Quote:
If all the dynamic range was squeezed out of a vinyl release, the needle would not be able to track properly.
I think you'd be surprised at what's possible with a straight pin and a rolled up piece of paper. Edison's tube and the grammophone of the last century worked over the range of a few hundred hertz, no doubt.

Somehow, there's always this assumption that because digital is new, no one could've been able to do it before in any other way. If the quality of the first music and recordings was pretty bad and limited to a few hundred hertz in the beginning, then the capability to take it back there always existed.

When radio came along, this ability became a premium - even when higher quality equipment was in use. Silence in the radio business is death - even a few seconds. It's always been in their interests to optimize the broadcast power to a limited spectrum. These days, the ability to finesse it is what's improved.
post #18 of 217
I absolutely agree with what's been said here. However, I don't have the impression this compression madness is that widespread. My modern Jazz CDs and Classical CDs don't show these symptons; my Pop/Rock/Guitar Hero stuff (Mark Knopfler, Chris Rea's Blues) seem okay to me, and Flamenco is crammed with dynamic range - that goes without saying.

Some of the little more mainstream Pop I have is compressed, yes (Avril Lavigne, Maroon 5, Coldplay), but I don't really mind. I don't really pay attention to quality when I listen to Pop - they're just catchy tunes I put on now and again because they're fun.

So, from my experience, this compression problem seems to be limited to a quite small proportion of music.

When and where have you guys been actually annoyed by this compression? On what albums did you notice it to the point where it bothered you?
post #19 of 217
There wasn't the quality of brickwall limiting though. You can select -0.1 db and brickwall it at this so there is no digital distortion and the maximum amount of level.
Yes compression is as old as the ages, but it is being used (abused) at a different level these days.
I use compression at work for mics everyday, but not to compress the snot out of the anchors voice. It is used to maintain a relatively constant level for all program material.
Again, it is not all bad, but from a musical standpoint it destroys the dynamics of the music, the nuances if you will. It's all just one big lump of sound.
But this is the record companies fault because this is what they expect and demand now.
post #20 of 217
Quote:
When and where have you guys been actually annoyed by this compression? On what albums did you notice it to the point where it bothered you?
I felt pretty annoyed while listening to "Jerk it out" by the Caesars. It is by far one of the worst offenders I've ever seen when it comes to loudness.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v1...oNamek/RMS.jpg
post #21 of 217
I've gotten to the point where this is actually the main limiting factor to how my rig sounds. Changing headphones, amp and source may help improve some, but not to the extent of listening to a "good" cd vs. a "bad" cd.

The worst part is that as consumers, we don't have much control to improve on this if others keep buying it.

It's depressing to think that my $1500 transportable listening rig is bottlenecked by this problem.
post #22 of 217
Quote:
Originally Posted by TVaudio View Post
I have been complaining about this for years. I do some mastering for a small recording studio and I was getting complaints from artists that it wasn't LOUD enough. They were doing just what the video shows. They would look at a track recorded by a major artist and compare it to theirs and ask why the waveform was so empty. I said it's called dynamic range and it's what music really sounds like. They all want it at it's loudest. It sounds like crap!!!
I always liked the production quality of Def Leppard. Then they released Euphoria and it sounded like garbage. Completely compressed. You couldn't do this with vinyl, it is definitely a product of the digital age.
New isn't always better.
Just my opinion.
specially on vinyl it has to be loud because of the poor SNR of the format. Engineers maximize, compress, EQ, etc if the needle skips. If you overdo it, then the song sounds like crap. I like vinyl that is half way loud - as loud as possible, yet not clipped.

There is no excuse for clipped CDs. I can understand why radio FM needs to be loud, so they compress the heck out of songs, but CDs??? And when I used to buy WAV files from Beatport.com, most songs were clipped! I could hear digital clipping. Awful :/
post #23 of 217
Quote:
Originally Posted by TVaudio View Post
There wasn't the quality of brickwall limiting though. You can select -0.1 db and brickwall it at this so there is no digital distortion and the maximum amount of level.
Yes compression is as old as the ages, but it is being used (abused) at a different level these days.
I use compression at work for mics everyday, but not to compress the snot out of the anchors voice. It is used to maintain a relatively constant level for all program material.
Again, it is not all bad, but from a musical standpoint it destroys the dynamics of the music, the nuances if you will. It's all just one big lump of sound.
But this is the record companies fault because this is what they expect and demand now.
compression is tricky. The less you use it and depend on it, the better. I used to compress the snot out of my music before. Now, I try to get by with as little as possible if none. Compression should be like the last thing you use to fix a recording or performance blunder. Bad musicians...just fire them.
post #24 of 217
Quote:
Originally Posted by Piffles View Post
So, from my experience, this compression problem seems to be limited to a quite small proportion of music.

When and where have you guys been actually annoyed by this compression? On what albums did you notice it to the point where it bothered you?
It's in tons of rock CDs, too, which make up a huge segment of the market. Rush's Vapor (Vapour, guys!) Trail and Red Hot Chili Pepper's Californication can only be listened to in the car.
post #25 of 217
Quote:
Originally Posted by Low Fidelity View Post
I had a dream about Miles Davis and Johnny Coltrane. They are playing with Charlie Parker and being recorder with todays fantastic gear and those eternally great Ribbon mics and Tubey preamps. Bob Thiele is sitting behind a mackie board.
Sounds like a very nice dream indeed
post #26 of 217
I guess I don't see why Bob Dylan can't get the type of mastering he want's. I think he wants to have his cake and eat it too, complain about over-compressed recordings but still do it to make money.

I still have an old dBx dynamic range enhancer which can both compress and expand signals. It can operate on the entire dynamic range or just above a certain threshold. This is analog equipment but it would seem to be useful if you are really annoyed by this problem.
post #27 of 217
Quote:
Originally Posted by PiccoloNamek View Post
I felt pretty annoyed while listening to "Jerk it out" by the Caesars. It is by far one of the worst offenders I've ever seen when it comes to loudness.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v1...oNamek/RMS.jpg
True, but you gotta love that keyboard bit.
post #28 of 217
Check out Dani California off the CD version of Stadium Arcadium. Check out the last 1/3 of the track... can't see ANY black.



*sigh* What I would give for somebody to do a needle-drop of the Steve Hoffman-engineered Vinyl master of Stadium Arcadium
post #29 of 217
Man...that guy is an internet icon. His voice is used on ALOT of videos. Most notably, if you're into flash design, his voice is used on almost every flash tutorial on the web....
post #30 of 217
Is there any way to reduce or eliminate the fatiguing symptoms of compression with a DSP or limiter or something, because I'm starting to actually notice it now in those 'hot' recordings the article has spoken of...

I always wondered why some stuff was more fatiguing than others.
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