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Volume range and presence

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Here's the thing. I want the music to have presence, not just be audible. Classical - which is what I listen to - has a very wide range of volume, from whisper to roar. On some digital recording this range is so great that if I set the volume to bring up the quiet bits to presence level, the loud bits are deafening.

ATM I've using Beyer DT880s, 600 ohm version, with Little Dot MKIV SE. Is it my equipment, do you think? Or my (aging) ears?

Bruce

post #2 of 16

Classical is supposed to be dynamic. Be glad it's a genre mostly untouched by the Loudness Wars (partial exception being some soundtracks).

 

I'm sure you can find a dynamic range compressor plugin if you use your computer as your source. I wouldn't touch one myself. Or, you can just reach for the volume knob on loud passages.

post #3 of 16

That's why I rarely listen to classical even though I do like it.  It usually just hurts too much.

 

I'm not a fan of the loudness war, but recorded music need to have its range compressed some, for the sake of your hearing if nothing else...

post #4 of 16
It hurts? unless you listen a a really loud level, it's not supposed to hurt. Only listening to classical in quiet environments is a must I would say.
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 

One guy has suggested to me (not on forum) that classical is mastered for playback through speakers, which leads to the problem with cans. Doesn't seem right to me - aren't cans used in the recording studio?

 

Anyway, thanks for the feedback. No way would I want to limit the range - maybe one day when I upgrade (whistles Dixie here) the problem will vanish. BTW it most frequently occurs with orchestral music.

post #6 of 16

Headphones aren't used that much for mastering AFAIK. More likely to use high end monitor speakers.

post #7 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by khaos974 View Post

It hurts? unless you listen a a really loud level, it's not supposed to hurt. Only listening to classical in quiet environments is a must I would say.


I don't really like loud noises.  Unless I'm in a place that's already dead quiet and using IEMs or something, any volume that will let me hear the quiet parts usually makes the peaks quite uncomfortable to say the least.

post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by maverickronin View Post


I don't really like loud noises.  Unless I'm in a place that's already dead quiet and using IEMs or something, any volume that will let me hear the quiet parts usually makes the peaks quite uncomfortable to say the least.


Hmmm, most classical music doesn't have peaks exceeding 20 dB.
post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by khaos974 View Post



Hmmm, most classical music doesn't have peaks exceeding 20 dB.


Not sure what you mean by that ?
 

Did you mean 120db which would be very loud ?

 

20db peaks in a concert hall would be inaudible , 20db peaks on  a speaker system would be below the noise level of almost all listening rooms

 

????

 

 

 

post #10 of 16
I mean if we consider the full from 0 dB to - 96 dB of a CD, having a classical CD recorded at -20 dB RMS with its peaks at 0 dB is rather common.
post #11 of 16

Interesting. I just ran a dynamic range check on some Mahler and Beethoven, the RMS averages for a set of movements range between  -14db to -40db (overall average -23db) and the peaks range between -25db (!!) to 0.00 db (average -2.9db) ,  dynamic range (min to max) is obviously greater, but yeah the difference between average and peak is about 20db (on average) - fascinating !

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by khaos974 View Post

I mean if we consider the full from 0 dB to - 96 dB of a CD, having a classical CD recorded at -20 dB RMS with its peaks at 0 dB is rather common.


 

post #12 of 16
I'm talking about overall average, which would mean the peaks would be louder than your normal listening volume and the pianissimo passages would be softer than your normal listening volume. That doesn't make the peaks extremely loud to me. The pianissimo moments being at -40 dB and the loudest moments being at 0dB doesn't exactly surprise me.

That said, distortion is audible (blind) at - 60 dB below the signal, which could mean that noise could also be audible at this level (I know it's a wild supposition since any properly dithered CD would have uncorrelated noise), which could mean that a CD with no noise shaping with extremely soft pianissimo passages could be facing the limitations of its 16/44 nature.
Edited by khaos974 - 8/9/11 at 6:29pm
post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by khaos974 View Post

I'm talking about overall average, which would mean the peaks would be louder than your normal listening volume and the pianissimo passages would be softer than your normal listening volume. That doesn't make the peaks extremely loud to me. The pianissimo moments being at -40 dB and the loudest moments being at 0dB doesn't exactly surprise me.

That said, distortion is audible (blind) at - 60 dB below the signal, which could mean that noise could also be audible at this level (I know it's a wild supposition since any properly dithered CD would have uncorrelated noise), which could mean that a CD with no noise shaping with extremely soft pianissimo passages could be facing the limitations of its 16/44 nature.


I have some recordings where there is clearly audible noise. Worst offenders (in my collection) are solo lute recordings. I call these poor recordings. For the modern DDD recordings of Mahler which have a very wide dynamic range if I crank it up I might just hear noise in the really quiet parts (opening of movt no 1 for instance, not really sure may be noise may be just the gentle scraping of strings and room atmospherics, hard to tell) but when the loud parts come in it would be unpleasantly loud at that level, at normal listening levels there is no obvious noise, to put it in perspective on vinyl the background noise on that section was murder.
 

 

post #14 of 16
Is the noise from the microphones and the preamplifier or from the noisefloor of the CD?

Anyway, I wasn't comparing 14/44 to vinyl but to 24/96 when I was talking about the limitations of 16/44.
post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by khaos974 View Post

Is the noise from the microphones and the preamplifier or from the noisefloor of the CD?

Anyway, I wasn't comparing 14/44 to vinyl but to 24/96 when I was talking about the limitations of 16/44.



Most likely the former. Sorry for the digression, I grew up with devices with poor noise levels so when CD arrived for me in 1984 I was gobsmacked. As for the limits of 16/44.1, if you listen at really high volumes to music with very quiet passages then yes it could be a limitation but it would have to be very quiet and very loud as M and M found...

 

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