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Interesting Read? Dynamic Range & The Loudness War. - Page 2

post #16 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by xnor View Post
 

 

Well, what about a simple compressor in the playback device which you can enable on demand if you really need it?

 

In today's age of technology I see no reason why music should be delivered in rigor mortis, so to speak. If the consumer wants to reduce dynamic range or compress it to death - fine.

That should be a highly profitable idea (did you file your patent yet?).

 

Just as consumer cameras hide f-stop and exposure settings underneath cute pictures of mountains and flowers, there's no reason MP3 players and phones couldn't have a simple Indoor/Outdoor button, or some other equivalent.

 

On the larger topic of how music is delivered, I'd love to see a premium format (or better yet, as standard), that gets you a Redbook or equivalent, a portable (MP3 128 or equivalent), a few system options (2.0, 2.1, 5.1, 7.1), and a "stems" version for enthusiasts to mix themselves.

 

I would pay serious, SERIOUS money for some Beatles, Cream...maybe B-52s tracks delivered this way.

post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by blueangel2323 View Post

Loud, low dynamic range recordings are pretty much essential under such listening conditions, where with a "good" recording that has dynamic range, they would struggle to hear the soft notes and have their ears damaged by the loud ones.

 

Agreed that compressed, low dynamic range playback may be necessary for those conditions - but compressed recordings recordings shouldn't be.  xnor nailed it in post 11 suggesting it's better handled by the playback device than butchering the recordings.  

 

Hard to put that genie back in the bottle though, especially when you'd end up with people playing all sorts of already overly compressed recordings through devices that further compressed them.  Wow, wouldn't that sound nice...

post #18 of 23

Yes, you're correct, the trend is strongly portable devices with crappy earbuds, but trust me, I've been on the other side of this...there's not much consideration at all to the listener's environment, not in music or radio.  The problem is there's no acceptable average listener environment that you can process for that doesn't mess with other environments.  The music industry is very centered on their own personal stamp on the creative process, so producers simply ignore facts, and stamp away. The same is true for radio broadcasters and cars.  There actually is data on noise levels in cars, but broadcasters really don't care.  

 

In both cases, the rule is, I want my stuff louder than the other guy, or at least as loud, but certainly not quieter!  It's a guy thing, major male ego trip, pissing contest, whatever.  If you were responsible in part for the financial success of your product, and if you were in a bar and your record came on, but it was suddenly harder to hear than the other records, how would you react?  If you were listening to a competing radio station, and hit the button for yours, but it didn't sound as loud...same reaction...."What the!!!!!"  And, you'd want to turn it up.  

 

Now, the issue of processing for the listening environment.  Yes, noisy environments are a problem, but much more so for some genres than others.  Anything popular and contemporary has little dynamic range, even if not processed for loudness.  It's a problem with a 100dB noise environment, but nothing like classical music, which is unlistenable that way.  But, the processing could be, and should be in the player.  How hard would it be to put a little mic on the player...most already have them...sample the noise, and adjust a dynamics processor running in on-board DSP to take care of it?  This should be easy, and, if anybody at RockBox is listening, stuck into the next build.

 

In the days when HD Radio (man I hate that name!) was in development, I suggested the bit stream include a "rosetta stone" data block that represented a reference for post-processing.  That data block would be used, along with an environmental noise sample, to adjust dynamic post-processing in receivers.   It would represent a profile of the processing that had already been done, and thus be the "rosetta stone" to un-do that processing, or do more along the same lines.  Basic receivers could ignore the data, but high-end ones would also have user controls, so if someone wanted a non-processed version, he could pretty much have it except for any in-studio processing on mics, or slow compression for sloppy operators.  Of course, there was no interest, and at the time I worked for a company supporting HD radio development in another direction, so I was kind of gagged anyway.  But the lack of interest was mainly because broadcasters LOVE their loudness wars!  At least, when they win.  It's a HUGE thing.  

 

One more anecdote so you see how massive loudness is as a motivation.  I interviewed for a chief engineer's job at an FM station once, the GM told me within the first two minutes that it was his goal to be the loudest station on the dial, and he would spend whatever it took to get there and stay there.  He'd already spend $20K (that would be in late 1970s dollars) on the latest/greatest/baddest processing package, and wasn't satisfied yet.  That was decades ago, and you'd think the introduction of HD Radio would have tempered the war.  Nope, not until you temper the egos first.

 

I'm sorry, I can't help being cynical about this.  I just don't ever see it improving unless loudness processing has a quantifiable negative impact on music sales, and right now there are enough other negative factors in music sales that it would get lost in the noise...if you'll pardon me.

post #19 of 23
I agree with what you guys are saying. And that indoor/outdoor switch is a great idea, instead of ruining the actual recording so that it doesn't sound good in indoor environments. I would jump on a DAP that has this functionality. The indoor switch would be completely neutral, and the outdoor switch would boost bass, tame treble, boost volume, and compress dynamics. But that would require cooperation of the entire music and electronics industries, which is very unlikely.
post #20 of 23

Just found this in my Clip + w/ RockBox...in the Sound settings, there's a compressor for playback with most of what you need to adjust it right.  It's missing attack time, but all the rest is there.  I'll try it later, let you know if it's any good, or just makes things worse.

post #21 of 23

If we're talking about broadcasters and advertisers, there's a parallel loudness war going on in broadcast/cablecast television. You're watching a high-quality film with a lovely soundtrack. Cut to commercial, and the local carpet/auto/legal services ad blasts out at three times the volume. The better the film, the worse the problem.

post #22 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by UltMusicSnob View Post
 

If we're talking about broadcasters and advertisers, there's a parallel loudness war going on in broadcast/cablecast television. You're watching a high-quality film with a lovely soundtrack. Cut to commercial, and the local carpet/auto/legal services ad blasts out at three times the volume. The better the film, the worse the problem.

It used to be very bad but isn't anymore, at least over here. ;)

 

See #10.

 

All I can is repeat myself: ReplayGain, ReplayGain, ReplayGain!


Edited by xnor - 9/11/13 at 2:39pm
post #23 of 23

You can try an expander like Relife instead of ReplayGain.

 

Relife:

http://www.terrywest.nl/utils.html

 

Foobar 2000 VST Plugin:

http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=84947

 

In my experience it makes harsh recordings sound smoother and puncher.

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