Compressed/cranked albums artistic?
Mar 3, 2006 at 6:47 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 9

Twombly

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See thread title.

I'm thinking specifically of M83's Before the Dawn Heals Us. It has a Replaygain value of -9.61, but I think the "wall of sound effect" this produces actually adds to the atmosphere of the album in my opinion - especially on tracks like "Don't Save Us from the Flames" and "Car Chase Terror", which start to push my pain threshold even on low volume. It makes me slightly uncomfortable, but I can't help but wondering if I enjoy it more that way. Has anyone else experienced this on Dawn or any other album by any chance?

Also the ghost chorus and the monologue on "Car Chase Terror" are freaking scary.
 
Mar 3, 2006 at 5:26 PM Post #2 of 9

JefferyK

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Pulp's "Common People" is compressed to within an inch of its life, and it sounds absolutely fantastic. The in-your-face aural assault perfectly communicates the aggression, anger, and disgust in the lyric.
 
Mar 5, 2006 at 8:49 PM Post #4 of 9

Twombly

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Quote:

Originally Posted by trains are bad
What about stuff like My Bloody Valentine. Does that count as 'compressed'?


Yes, very. Do you like it? Because I've heard good things about MBV, but was always scared off by the promises of compressed sound. That, and my limited budget forces me to choose my music purchases carefully.
 
Mar 5, 2006 at 10:21 PM Post #5 of 9

Davey

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Twombly
Quote:

Originally Posted by trains are bad
What about stuff like My Bloody Valentine. Does that count as 'compressed'?


Yes, very. Do you like it? Because I've heard good things about MBV, but was always scared off by the promises of compressed sound. That, and my limited budget forces me to choose my music purchases carefully.



All rock and pop music is compressed, but Loveless is far, far less compressed than just about any modern CD. You can crank the volume, you have to crank the volume, and it gets better when you crank the volume. By nature, it's an odd recording, with kind of a gauzy sound that seems to wash over you due to all the effects and overdubs, and parts are compressed to get the sound he wanted, but it has nothing even remotely like the compression levels employed by the idiots (or idiot servants) that master CDs now. One of the true classics of the rock era. Skipping such a unique experience because you don't think the recording is the best is ... well, crazy
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Mar 5, 2006 at 11:46 PM Post #6 of 9

trains are bad

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Yeah, I like MBV-Loveless. It's interesting sounding, but basically just catchy in a bubblegum way. A good listen.

Reason I asked if it counted as 'compressed' as we are discussing it, is that although it doesn't have any dynamic range, that's the point....it's not like a 'squashed' conventional recording.
 
Mar 6, 2006 at 12:11 AM Post #7 of 9

Davey

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Quote:

Originally Posted by trains are bad
Yeah, I like MBV-Loveless. It's interesting sounding, but basically just catchy in a bubblegum way. A good listen.

Reason I asked if it counted as 'compressed' as we are discussing it, is that although it doesn't have any dynamic range, that's the point....it's not like a 'squashed' conventional recording.



The thing is, Loveless does have quite a bit of dynamic range. Peaks that hit close to the max at 95% and average levels below 50%. Far different from modern CDs that have the average level and peak level set almost the same, at or very close to 100% with a lot of clipping and/or hard limiting. We've come to associate dynamic range with recordings that sound dynamic, but sometimes it's just the opposite. When a recording is highly compressed it actually sounds more dynamic because all the subtle details and shadings are bought up to the same level, fooling you into thinking that the extra punch and pizazz and sizzle is dynamics, but it's not. Whereas, many of us now characterize old CDs as being flat and lifeless, even though they are the only ones with any dynamic range anymore. We've just gotten used to the vividness that comes with all the compression. But at the expense of musicality and naturalness.
 
Mar 6, 2006 at 1:12 AM Post #8 of 9

trains are bad

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Interesting, but not surprising I could be wrong, as a product of popular music afterall. Any CDs you'd like to reccomend as examples?

Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots sounds squashed to me.

The Arcade Fire-Funeral sounds very naturally recorded to me, as does my Electrelane album. In the Aeroplane over the Sea isn't exactly squashed, but features copius amounts of deliberate clipping.

The killers-hot fuss-squashed.

I'm sure Ghost Reveries is loud, being a metal album, but it sounds rather dynamic.

How wrong am I?
 
Mar 6, 2006 at 2:21 AM Post #9 of 9

Davey

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Quote:

Originally Posted by trains are bad
Interesting, but not surprising I could be wrong, as a product of popular music afterall. Any CDs you'd like to reccomend as examples?

Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots sounds squashed to me.

The Arcade Fire-Funeral sounds very naturally recorded to me, as does my Electrelane album. In the Aeroplane over the Sea isn't exactly squashed, but features copius amounts of deliberate clipping.

The killers-hot fuss-squashed.

I'm sure Ghost Reveries is loud, being a metal album, but it sounds rather dynamic.

How wrong am I?



Yeah, all of the Flaming Lips and Mercury Rev stuff is squashed. Dave Fridmann. Toss in his other projects like Wheat and the latest Sleater Kinney and the most recent Low and a bunch of others. He calls it artistic expression, but I call it a producer who doesn't know good sound.

And NMH Aeroplane is highly compressed. That's Robert Schneider. I once emailed him asking him if the vinyl version of one of his Apples In Stereo albums was as severely compressed as the CD, but he never answered. I might not have been very complimentary
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But the Electrelane girls are golden in my book. I've been meaning to write them and tell them how much I like the music and appreciate their sticking with Steve Albini and bucking the industry trends. Same with Nina Nastasia. But we went over a lot of that in the recent Albini appreciation thread.

Lots of stuff that is mastered well, just not muchclose to the mainstream. That last Wayne Robbins & The Hellsayers sounds good. Black Mountain is a nice dynamic mastering. Not sure what you're after, and I don't have the Opeth album. Some of the Califone stuff is very nice. Same with Wilco. The Arcade Fire CD isn't too bad. Not a great recording, but the mastering isn't bad by any means. Peaks at 100% and average level is about 80%. Much better than most today. The vinyl supposedly sounds much better, but haven't heard it myself. Get past before the 90s and the dynamic range increases dramatically.
 

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