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The Loudness War - your experiences - Page 4

post #46 of 147
This problem is also affecting musicians themselves. I work as a mastering engineer. I remaster and restore stuff too.

Over the past 6 months or so I can't tell you how many times a band has sent me something and request that it be loud. Never mind the ticks, pops, hum, noise or drop outs - they couldn't care - so long as it's loud.

A band from the UK recently sent me a song to see what I could do. I received a mix that was maximized past 0bd and then the dumb mix engineer reduced it in volume some 12db so the mastering engineer (me) could get some headroom to work with.

What did I do? I EQ'd it for a more natural tone, I ran it through my special sound decrapulator process (R)(TM) and voila - I had a natural sounding, dynamic and rocking song at the end. Their verdict: They thought it sounded worse than the mix because it had lost it's punch!

I then sent them the youtube video in my signature with an explanation about dynamics and loudness. They responded that at higher volumes, my remaster did sound much better. However, they wanted their CD to sound like retail CD's. *sigh*

In the end, they chose another mastering engineer who charged them almost triple what I would have charged them. This same engineer charged them 3 times more than I would have and admitted that all he did was take the mix, run it though a loudness maximizer with the standard preset and send it back.

Bah! Too me this topic is the following:

post #47 of 147
this is depressing.

buy vinyl.
post #48 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by salannelson View Post
this is depressing.

buy vinyl.
That's not the answer either. The RHCP - Californication LP is sourced from the same crap master that the CD is sourced from.

Then there is the vinyl that I feel rips people off. Some recent releases come to mind. The CD is in the junk bins for $5 and the LP reissue costs $60!!! The sad part - the CD sounds better than the LP!!!! Now that pisses me off!
post #49 of 147
Its a depressing moment of what seems to be a trend that will come to an unfortunate (for us) end. The differences in releases from even 5 years ago to now can be shocking. And its not relegated to music which is intended for top 40 charts (this is what kills me). Just got a new cd from my favorite band, a jazz group, and its mixed too hot. The music is still good, but its just missing what the earlier releases had: dynamics and a sound that wasnt fighting you to enjoy it. Bummer for sure.
post #50 of 147
Here is One Week by Barenaked ladies. Oddly enough for this song and some others, it looks like someone forgot to reclip them when they got put on iTunes.
post #51 of 147
some more waveforms... this time as links

Nine Inch Nails - [WITH_TEETH] DVD-A

Gorgoroth - Antichrist (whole album)
1999 Century Black
2005 Season of Mist
(i'd love to have waveforms for the original Malicious Records release and the 2007 Regain Records "remaster")
post #52 of 147
I've only just recently (past month) started building a (modest) hi-fi system, and while I knew about the loudness war, it started to make itself obnoxiously apparent. Listening to some new albums I LOVE like Fever Ray's self titled debut, Animal Collective's Merriweather Post Pavillion, or St Vincent's Actor (to name a few), the bass begs for attention and the song as a whole turns into one washy atmosphere of noise as opposed to having any sort of variation in tone.

I've dug into my mom's CD collection and grabbed albums from bands I don't really dig like Phil Collins or Steely Dan (don't hurt me), as well as artists I do like such as Neil Young or Fleetwood Mac.

In listening to (most, but not all) of these albums, you really experience what a sound stage is. It wasn't until I popped in Phil Collins live album that I understood the term "sound stage", and I've had my system for about a week, using it regularly.

I guess I've been enlightened...sorry for the grammar and juxtaposition, I'm dreadfully tired.

BTW, system is Yamaha S1800BL (Redbook, don't own SACD/DVD-A)>>>NAD C326BEE>>>PSB Alpha B1 (on occasion Sennheiser HD555)
post #53 of 147
Yeah, hearing an uncompressed version of an album (I have a prerelease of Trapt - Trapt that I found on the internet) is so much better than hearing the actual album version. Less harshness, and more punchy. It's too quiet for today, but there is definitely a middle ground to be had.

This is a particularly horribly compressed song, it just sounds terrible. Too bad because I know the original recording sounds _much_ better.

Carolina Liar - Show Me What I'm Looking For.


The final album version looks something like this..

post #54 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by sgrossklass View Post

If you want to see a bad remaster job, check out the Cocteau Twins' Heaven or Las Vegas. That's badly brickwalled (album gain -9.43 dB, the original CD release has -2.32 dB) and with bass and highs jacked up. Some tracks were reduced in volume by 1..2 dB after limiting. The clipping is quite obvious at times - give me the original release any time.
I am so glad that someone pointed this out. This is one of my favorite albums, and I got it as a gift last year. I was very very disappointed to hear what happened to it during remastering. The sparkle the album once had is gone.
post #55 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by Speex View Post
I recently got the 25th anniversary remastered edition of Synchronicity () by The Police (which is probably the first album I've ever bought ever) from Amazon. I love the album and I like the songs on it. Once I ripped it using EAC, I looked at the waveforms (this one's from Every Breath You Take) and I noticed something....



Is it just me or is it too loud? Can anyone with an earlier CD of Synchronicity compare it too this one? Or is it just that my head/earphones suck? If it really is because of the loudness war, that'd be a major bummer....

Here's the MSFL version of Every Breath You Take



Though you don't have to get MFSL or DCC releases, when buying CD's, I would always go for the original late 80's/early 90's pressings if possible (get them used, usually very cheap). I avoid modern remasters if it's an option. Though your copy could be much worse, the 1990 version would be better, and they are starting at $0.72 used on Amazon
post #56 of 147
I just glanced at this thread and was shocked. At first I thought, "do my tunes look and sound like that?" Then I realized it might very well have something to do with the genres we listen to. I'm on the road with just my laptop, but the first few samples from my library I looked at don't look anything like the previous graphs. Moby and Electronic (Oxygene=not recent recording) are kinda ugly, but most of what I listen to looks and sounds pretty good. Maybe it is partly what type of music gets hacked up. I don't have any teeny pop or rap to analyze so I can't be sure, but maybe, hopefully it's not everything?

Moby


Electronic


Smooth Jazz


Blues


Jazz (notice it's even an mp3)


Classic Rock

.
post #57 of 147
thanks for the illustrations. I used to show that kind of thing to people and get somewhere. however, I just recently saw news coverage about a music prof whose students now overwhelmingly PREFER the compressed and badly mastered sound: it sounds better to them because that's the sound they're used to, that's what they expect.

looking at these illustrations posted above, I think to myself: it's as if the human race had (d)evolved to monobrow, suddenly having articulated eyebrows is going to seem freakish and unnecessary...
post #58 of 147
I didn't know about "the loudness war" until I stumbled upon it a week ago while researching for my headphone purchase. I feel fortunate that I listen almost exclusively to classical music. I just hope the plague doesn't spread. Sometimes I do wonder about it though. A lot of great classical recordings are only available as digital remasters, and I really don't know how they may sound differently from the original.

This is my first real post in the forum!

Yes, I am desperately performing CPR upon my wallet right now.
post #59 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by melomaniac View Post
thanks for the illustrations. I used to show that kind of thing to people and get somewhere. however, I just recently saw news coverage about a music prof whose students now overwhelmingly PREFER the compressed and badly mastered sound: it sounds better to them because that's the sound they're used to, that's what they expect.
I recall reading about a music instructor who found that students preferred the sound of lossy compression (MP3) to lossless. Are you perhaps getting dynamics compression (the loudness war kind of compression) confused with lossy compression in the news article?
post #60 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by floydman View Post
I wish Steven Wilson produced everything...
Not a bad choice. He's sort of like Tom Scholz of Boston 25 years later.

BTW, I like Steely Dan.
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