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Do "quiet tracks" have less dynamic compression?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

I've been reading a lot about the "loudness war" (there are many active threads around here) and have noticed that a lot of my music is gained very highly and sounds very loud, which I imagine means that they have been dynamically compressed.  I try to pay attention to see if I can gauge the amount of compression.

 

But for songs that start very quietly (i.e. I have to turn the volume up to normalize with other tracks) does this imply that it has not been dynamically compressed?  Logically it seems so.  Do quiet tracks have a broader dynamic range, or at least, have they been dynamically compressed less?

post #2 of 16

It depends.™

 

There is nothing inherent about a quiet track that would let you know about the amount of dynamic compression... it also depends on how you define quiet (relative to the other data in the same track).

 

With that said, a track that doesn't compete on the loudness war level, at least has passed one hurdle and the odds go up that whoever did the mastering did not artificially compress and boost everything into a hot mess. 


Edited by liamstrain - 2/22/12 at 3:59pm
post #3 of 16

A whole lot of released music start soft or have quiet sections, but the loud sections are heavily dynamic range compressed.

post #4 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeaj View Post
A whole lot of released music start soft or have quiet sections, but the loud sections are heavily dynamic range compressed.


Exactly, very soft intro followed by dynamically compressed wall of sound frown.gif.

 

 

post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 

Oh, I see. 

 

Why even bother upgrading headphones to full hi-fi glory (i'm thinking LCD-2 and a $$$dac/amp) when recordings aren't even up to par these days?  I can tell poor recordings from good ones already with my D2000s (mid-fi by most standards).  Won't better headphones and gear only further reveal the inadequacies of modern recordings?  Especially since most recordings today (at least for my music) are mixed and mastered by the artists themselves using production software on their home computers.

 

In a new world of music where mixers will probably be out of the job and most production is done by underground artists, what is the point of maximizing fidelity in playback?

 

Thanks for the answers

post #6 of 16

That depends on the headphone honestly.  There's a good chance the D2000 would be just as revealing as the LCD-2, but in a different way.  The denons have an audiophile-esque treble spike that does work when it comes to bringing out detail and sharpening well mastered recordings, but it also blows up any record that was mastered to be bright to begin with.

 

post #7 of 16

I'm pretty sure that software on home computers these days is no problem?  Everything works with 32-bit floats at least?  The much bigger problem is if the underground producers/whoevers are not good at what they're doing or don't really emphasize putting out a good mix, at least by audio quality or fidelity standards (no comment about the music itself).  If the original synthesized samples or generators are no good to begin with, that's an issue.  Or if they're actually trying to record anything in a home environment, that's got to be noisy too.

post #8 of 16

All depends on the music you listen to. 

 

There is a lot of jazz and classical with phenomenal attention to production and mastering. That tends to not be produced in someone's basement though.  *shrug*

post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
I listen to electronic music from primarily independent record labels. Probably all of it is mixed and produced with Ableton and a macbook
post #10 of 16

I don't know how to help you then. The only plus side is being independent musicians, they might be more receptive to helpful criticisms than hitting up a label... :)

post #11 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by liamstrain View Post

I don't know how to help you then. The only plus side is being independent musicians, they might be more receptive to helpful criticisms than hitting up a label... smily_headphones1.gif

The real problem is that most of these guys have had their ears blown off from dj'ing right next to their stage monitors. So they've lost the ear for balanced sound and fidelity.
post #12 of 16

All the more reason they might appreciate a friendly and well written suggestion... 

 

But I don't know the genre or the people involved, so I can't say for sure how this would go over - or if they would care... 

post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 

Actually, there is one artist I listen to who has a very well produced downtempo-glitch-hop album that I believe has a lot of dynamic range.  The artist is Tipper, who is an english guy that has released albums in surround sound and actively works with companies such as Dolby is making test tracks to show off surround sound capabilities.  The album is Broken Soul Jamboree.  It is, I think, one of the best albums of any genre, and mastered pretty well for this genre.

post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by scannon18 View Post

Oh, I see. 

 

Why even bother upgrading headphones to full hi-fi glory (i'm thinking LCD-2 and a $$$dac/amp) when recordings aren't even up to par these days?  I can tell poor recordings from good ones already with my D2000s (mid-fi by most standards).  Won't better headphones and gear only further reveal the inadequacies of modern recordings?  Especially since most recordings today (at least for my music) are mixed and mastered by the artists themselves using production software on their home computers.

 

In a new world of music where mixers will probably be out of the job and most production is done by underground artists, what is the point of maximizing fidelity in playback?

 

Thanks for the answers


If you're listening to classical or jazz, then excellent recordings are still the rule.

 

If you're listening to rock, then the right headphones make a huge difference - but they don't need to be just good, but *right*. Rock headphones need excellent "prat" - the ability to handle sharp transients like a burst of drumming or hard notes on the cymbals. The HD25 and any(?) set of Grados are optimized for this job - you've got a Clip and mine drives HD25s extremely well.

 

post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by scannon18 View Post

Oh, I see. 

 

Why even bother upgrading headphones to full hi-fi glory (i'm thinking LCD-2 and a $$$dac/amp) when recordings aren't even up to par these days?  I can tell poor recordings from good ones already with my D2000s (mid-fi by most standards).  Won't better headphones and gear only further reveal the inadequacies of modern recordings?  

 

Maybe you need to get a player with decent EQ? Using my Cowon J3 and 25s I can turn appalling in-concert bootlegs in thoroughly enjoyable listening experiences. You could try installing Rockbox on your Clip and using the parametric EQ mode. 

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