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LOUDNESS WAR - is there anything we can still do ?!

post #1 of 121
Thread Starter 
Turn Me Up! | Bringing Dynamics Back To Music
Loudness war - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Death of High Fidelity : Rolling Stone
PerformerMag : Articles : The Loudness War
YouTube - The Loudness War
YouTube - Metallica Death Magnetic - CD vs. "Guitar Hero" comparison
What’s the loudness war? | New Music Strategies
The Loudness War Analyzed « Music Machinery
Loudness War Rages On


Ok I hope after those links (please read or see some of them!) you all know what I am talking about.
It seem that even "Pure" music like Jazz, Classic and so on, been "infected" with this "sickness"
So
What can we do ???
Is there any way or chance that future music won't be doomed to be bad ?

What do you think guys ??

It is a real pity that I can't even listen to new Led Zeppelin alums that are being sold on the stores cause they are just really bad mastered
And the same for many other good things like The Beatles, Tom Petty, Iron Maiden, Sarah Brightman and so on.
post #2 of 121
No
post #3 of 121
Don't buy music that you don't like the mastering of, if they lose money because of the problem, they will stop doing it.

Short of that or starting your own band, no there isn't much you can do.
post #4 of 121
Yes. Stop buying their crap.

Buy used CDs, recorded before the loudness war began.

Buy a turntable and buy used vinyl.

Buy SACD, which is usually mastered for audiophiles.

If you vote with your wallet, you can make a difference. The compression is put there for consumers who, largely, do not pay for their music.

However, most audiophiles do pay for quality recordings.

Big Music needs to respond to their paying customers. I'd be happy to pay $20 for well-mastered releases on SACD or vinyl.
post #5 of 121
Ah, at first I thought this thread was about something else.

When listening to classical music selections, what bugs me most about some artists is that they treat silence like some kind of instrument. So you'll find a classical music piece with an 8-minute track length, but the second half of that is just a long "silence" solo with a few notes from a conventional instrument tacked onto the end.

Of course, that would be called "the silence war," or, "how little can you actually provide."

I don't like the loudness war, but (IMO) mediocrity sells stuff, en masse. If you can take something great and make it mediocre enough to be enjoyed by people who really have no idea what they're enjoying, then you may well have a viable business model. Art, music, video games, paint -- doesn't matter what.

Danged if some of that new stuff isn't catchy, though. LOL
post #6 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by null_pointer_us View Post
Ah, at first I thought this thread was about something else.

When listening to classical music selections, what bugs me most about some artists is that they treat silence like some kind of instrument. So you'll find a classical music piece with an 8-minute track length, but the second half of that is just a long "silence" solo with a few notes from a conventional instrument tacked onto the end.

Of course, that would be called "the silence war," or, "how little can you actually provide."

I don't like the loudness war, but (IMO) mediocrity sells stuff, en masse. If you can take something great and make it mediocre enough to be enjoyed by people who really have no idea what they're enjoying, then you may well have a viable business model. Art, music, video games, paint -- doesn't matter what.

Danged if some of that new stuff isn't catchy, though. LOL
As a musician, I have to point out that silence is absolutely as important a tool as loudness. Without knowing when to "shut up" on your instrument, the music becomes a masturbatory competition to see who can play the most notes. That's why I can't stand jazz.
post #7 of 121
I have recently been fortunate enough to find The Original Master version of Nirvana's In Utero album released by Musical Fidelity Sound Labs (MFSL). I know this album really well, having grown up with it. To hear the MFSL version is an absolute treat - I cannot properly describe the difference in audio quality, it's huge, far beyond what I expected!

I plan to share this experience by offering friends the opportunity to hear what they always should have over the years from this incredible recording. I believe in helping more people to properly understand what the loudness war means in real terms, by way of getting them to actually experience what happens to sound when a recording is abused.

I think my jaw was literally hanging off my head throughout my listening experience. It is an extremely rare occasion that I get to the end of an album and enjoy it that much that I start it playing again immediately... which I did.

I'm embarrassed as an 'audiophile' to admit that I thought that what I had heard from my older (non-MFSL) Nirvana recordings was 'part of their dirty sound'. It was all I have ever known them to sound like - why would I know any different? I think this is an important realisation in terms of the current music consumer; most have never had the opportunity to hear any different! Indeed most of the general public don't actually listen to music... it's on, in the background at dinner perhaps, or while doing the dishes, or on really loud whilst vacuuming... it's just pleasant background noise...

If we want things to change, we have a big battle ahead of us all. The only advantage we have in our corner is how damn good it can sound...


As a side note, if you see a MFSL recording of an album you love... might be worth a listen
post #8 of 121
What jazz or classical recordings have you found that are involved in the loudness war? My experience is that the loudness war stays in its own neighborhood of R&B, rock, and alternative rock.

My response to the loudness war has been to stop listening to that music and changing my listening habits to music that sounds good. I used to listen to lots of alternative rock. But sometime after 2000 I just stopped listening to any of the new alternative rock. I stopped listening to alternative rock radio stations. I'm completely out of the loop now on what new music is being released because frankly I don't care about it any more. If Green Day or Muse is releasing a new album I don't care, I don't even want to listen to it. If in a moment of weakness I buy a new release like R.E.M. Accelerate I end up regretting it (I bought it, I can't enjoy listening to it, I regret it, I'll never learn, but I still like R.E.M.).

So after 2000 I redirected my listening pursuits to classic rock, jazz, blues, and similar music. I have also always enjoyed classical music (full symphony stuff). So all is good. There is still plenty for me to listen to and plenty of new (new to me) music to explore and enjoy.

Most of the music I buy is now used CDs from Amazon. I am very very reluctant to buy new remastered releases of old albums. I'll search out the old mastered versions and buy those, and those are used. I'm buying but I'm not buying new so the music labels are missing out. Their loss.

My brother has the new remastered Led Zeppelin albums. I'll have to give them a listen to see how loud they mastered them. I've got the old versions.
post #9 of 121
^ What a horrible world you live in! I can't imagine 'redirecting' my taste in music in the way you describe, and becoming 'out of the loop' with the music I love, trying to convince myself that what I listen to in place of it is better... It's like you've sold your soul man!
post #10 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Erik View Post
Yes. Stop buying their crap.

Buy used CDs, recorded before the loudness war began.

Buy a turntable and buy used vinyl.

Buy SACD, which is usually mastered for audiophiles.

If you vote with your wallet, you can make a difference. The compression is put there for consumers who, largely, do not pay for their music.

However, most audiophiles do pay for quality recordings.

Big Music needs to respond to their paying customers. I'd be happy to pay $20 for well-mastered releases on SACD or vinyl.
This.

But I say buy DVD-A instead of SACD (at least you can backup DVD-A easily now....all drms for DVD-A have been cracked.)

Or buy some 24bit recordings from online ships (linn provides 24bit 192k records encoded as Flac)

And yes, the average of the released years of my albums kept going back for this reason.
post #11 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by poo View Post
I have recently been fortunate enough to find The Original Master version of Nirvana's In Utero album released by Musical Fidelity Sound Labs (MFSL). I know this album really well, having grown up with it. To hear the MFSL version is an absolute treat - I cannot properly describe the difference in audio quality, it's huge, far beyond what I expected!

I plan to share this experience by offering friends the opportunity to hear what they always should have over the years from this incredible recording. I believe in helping more people to properly understand what the loudness war means in real terms, by way of getting them to actually experience what happens to sound when a recording is abused.

I think my jaw was literally hanging off my head throughout my listening experience. It is an extremely rare occasion that I get to the end of an album and enjoy it that much that I start it playing again immediately... which I did.

I'm embarrassed as an 'audiophile' to admit that I thought that what I had heard from my older (non-MFSL) Nirvana recordings was 'part of their dirty sound'. It was all I have ever known them to sound like - why would I know any different? I think this is an important realisation in terms of the current music consumer; most have never had the opportunity to hear any different! Indeed most of the general public don't actually listen to music... it's on, in the background at dinner perhaps, or while doing the dishes, or on really loud whilst vacuuming... it's just pleasant background noise...

If we want things to change, we have a big battle ahead of us all. The only advantage we have in our corner is how damn good it can sound...


As a side note, if you see a MFSL recording of an album you love... might be worth a listen
MSFL is without a doubt one of the best labels there is. I recently bought a copy of "Doolittle" by the Pixies. It was unlistenable... very bright and compressed. Then I saw a version from MSFL... it still can't beat the Steve Albini engineered greatness of "Surfer Rosa," but this version of Doolittle is so much better that it's almost a different album.
post #12 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by poo View Post
^ What a horrible world you live in! I can't imagine 'redirecting' my taste in music in the way you describe, and becoming 'out of the loop' with the music I love, trying to convince myself that what I listen to in place of it is better... It's like you've sold your soul man!
It's not a horrible world at all. I'm still very much enjoying the music I listen to. I'm 40 so going back to classic rock and similar music is just going back to what I enjoyed in my youth.

I also don't consider is so much of a 'redirection' rather a 'divergence'. The modern sound has diverged from what I like and what I look for in music.

I still listen to my alternative rock music, it just tends to be the older stuff. I still like listening to Nirvana. Earlier today I was listening to Talking Heads and then David Byrne. I was also listening to Poi Dog Pondering's latest album "7" (released in 2008). But the current mainstream alternative rock like Green Day, Muse, and Radiohead has lost my interest. I could like it if it wasn't mastered loud, but it is so I get my groove on elsewhere.

Since branching my musical listening I've discovered some wonderful music (to me). It's all good and what I've been listening to hasn't been affected by the loudness war unless you count the modern remasters of older albums.
post #13 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ham Sandwich View Post
What jazz or classical recordings have you found that are involved in the loudness war? My experience is that the loudness war stays in its own neighborhood of R&B, rock, and alternative rock.
I picked up a couple Rudy Van Gelder series reissues used a while back and both of them were rather "hot" compared to older issues. Maybe Van Gelder just likes that sound, though; I don't know *shrug*.
post #14 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadLover View Post
It is a real pity that I can't even listen to new Led Zeppelin alums that are being sold on the stores cause they are just really bad mastered
"New" as in remastered 15 years ago?

I own pretty much all of Led Zeppelin's catalog, most of which was remastered in and around 1994, and while the mastering isn't perfect, I don't by any stretch of the imagination understand why someone would find the music unlistenable. From album to album, the limits are pushed from time to time, but for the most part the music is still very much full of dynamics.
post #15 of 121
I for one avoid mastering for loudness. Most producers/studios blindly follow the herd and compress the hell out of their tracks for no reason other than that's what everybody does.
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