Originally Posted by LFF
I believe we should.
I would rather lose a job than contribute to the genocide of musical art. If all mastering engineers took a stand then we might be getting better sounding music. I blame the mastering engineers first and foremost because they should know better! Then I blame the suits involved because they don't know their products. If you want to sell something, you should first know your product before you even entertain selling it to a small audience.
And here is what sucks the most:
Changing IEM's will not help. Lowering the volume will not help. Nothing can fix this sort of compressed crap.
OK, I don't know who LFF is, I don't know any of his work or how good or knowledgeable of a mastering engineer he is. I've been an audio professional (recording engineer, producer, audio post) for nearly 20 years and I can tell you that in my experience virtually everything LFF has stated in this thread is absolutely accurate! Over compression, often referred to as the "loudness wars", is a serious problem in our industry and has been since I first got into this business. As LFF stated, once it's been done, there's nothing you can do about it.
The only point on which I would slightly disagree with LFF is the blaming of mastering engineers (in general) for not standing up for their principles. 20 years ago most of the industry was controlled by a small number of record labels (it is still today but to a much lesser extent), as a mastering engineer doing work for the major labels it would have been professional suicide to refuse their demands. There have been lot's of attempts over the years, the AES (Audio Engineering Society) making public statements on behalf of audio professionals to the majors. Even threats of en-masse boycotting have not worked. If a mastering engineer refuses to slam the compressors, most clients will go elsewhere and find someone who will. And there is always someone who needs the money badly enough. I had a friend a few years ago who got refused by two different mastering engineers and ended up getting a student to slam the life out of their mix, we had a big falling out over it, hence my use of the past tense! Most musicians and labels see music as art but primarily they see it as a product and the product has to be as loud or louder than other products, regardless of quality. Loudness sells better than audio fidelity, maybe not to audiophiles but unfortunately the mass market are not audiophiles.
The only thing you as consumers can do about this situation is vote with your wallets. Look at the albums you like and make note of the mastering engineer, buy more stuff by that mastering engineer! Here's a few to start you off: Bob Katz, Bob Ludwig, Bob Ohlsson, George Massenburg. You might try writing to the record label and/or artists complaining about the crap quality and over compression. They might
start taking note if they get a pile of complaints from customers.
My 2 cents, GEdited by gregorio - 8/28/11 at 1:37pm