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Creating examples of "Loudness Wars" effect

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by Elgrindio, Jul 11, 2017.
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  1. castleofargh Contributor
    sorry but this doesn't work for me. I get that when creating an album you should think about the playback gears that will be used. just like for pictures and video, it's not a bad idea to have a few crappy monitors or at least crappy color profiles to test if the result still works. but that's as far as I can follow you. chronologically, we started with very limited SNR and dynamic available for playback. a MP3 is arguably as good or better than an old K7 tape in that respect depending on what you're looking at. and it's a 'go to' example of low resolution. my DAP measures better than my dad's expensive stereo from when I was a kid. so I just can't follow that rational of making low dynamic music to adapt to the bad gears. to me transducers and ambient noises are the most limiting factors of playback, not file resolution or DAC chips. your narrative just doesn't align with what I know of objective measurements. I'd rather go with the idea that our daily life is noisier than in 1980 itself noisier than in 1950. that could probably be one of the great many reasons why we make music with lower dynamic nowadays. I don't have a clue, but at least the correlation seems to work. which is a start.
  2. TheSonicTruth

    Let me ask you, Pinnahertz, Gregorio, bigshot, et al something:

    WHY is it that most of you dismiss what are the most commonly discussed contributing factors to the (modern) Density War - the devices being listened on nowadays, earlier on, the CD changer phenomenon, even the desire by artists to have the loudest album at the time of release?

    Instead, some of you spout such *stuff*(we know what the real word I'm implying is, and no, not ***) like 'consumers demand louder, squashed music', trying to use sales of downloads and CDs as proof. Of course they buy it - because they like the song or that particular artist, not because of how it was mixed or mastered! Heck I didn't know the difference between mixing and mastering until just ten years ago.
  3. pinnahertz
    Because commonly discussed depends on the circles the discussion takes place in, and therefore doesn't mean "right". If your viewpoint is limited to that outside the industry you won't see the causes the same way.
    1. You've answered your own question. The demand isn't so much that they're asking for louder mastering, but rather, they aren't objecting to it and buying anyway.

    2. Do you think you're typical or exceptional? Do you think the average consumer knows anything about either? Or cares? All they know is what their favorite music is, and that louder is better.

    Why is louder better? Perception. Just a fact, until someone actually learns what to listen for beyond just "loud", and those are very, very few.
  4. gregorio
    Indeed and from almost the beginning and ever since, the bulk of consumers always had "inefficient speakers and other cheap consumer products in the main stream", so I second castleofargh's question, how "does any of this relate to the so called loudness war?"

    1. What is the "Density War"? I've never heard of it, so how can I be dismissing "the most commonly discussed contributing factors" to something I've never heard of?

    2. Huh? You do know that virtually all popular music does not actually exist as a "performance" of a song? That it only exists as that song because it was mixed? "How it was mixed" is therefore largely or entirely why "they like the song" because if it wasn't mixed it wouldn't be that song in the first place!!
    2a. Heck, you don't appear to know what mixing or mastering even is or does, even now!

  5. TheSonicTruth
    'Density' is what I feel better describes what is currently referred to as the Loudness War. A lot of pop music now has everything up front, in your face as you are listening to it. This could be a result of the composition of the piece, how it is mixed after being recorded, what is done to it in mastering, any combination of those things, or other factors.

    BTW Gregorio, I have wind of an exciting job opportunity out here on the East Coast: The woman currently in the position might be stepping down this year, primarily due to the stress of having to be the sounding board between her employer and the media, and by her being harrassed out in public. You might actually find this job fulfilling, and right up your alley!
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2018
  6. castleofargh Contributor
    I can only answer for myself, but I see an important difference between dismissing something, thinking it can be part of the cause, or claiming it is the one true cause.

    specifically about old albums remade with the signal stuck to the roof. maybe they do it because the decision maker suck? maybe they do it because there was that guy in the room always asking for more cowbell? maybe they think it's how you make old stuff sound more modern to attract modern audience? maybe that's just a preconception the industry has that kids today prefer it that way? maybe the guy learned his job in the middle of the loudness war and his entire "style" relies on doing it? maybe it's not a preconception and they ran enough panels to come to that conclusion? maybe they thought like I did that in a generation of mad shufflers, it was more important to have a song appear about as loud as the others or it would get removed from the playlist for being annoying with the massive volume change? some of those ideas are probably dumb, some are probably part of the real cause, and I'm most certainly missing a lot of the actual reasons. but ultimately I have no mean to know for sure from my random consumer viewpoint.
    now having several sound engineers here and on other forums, rejecting your various approaches to the "problem". that should IMO be a sign they they're all in on the master plan to destroy music. or, be a sign that you're wrong. you've picked one a long time ago and it doesn't involve second guessing yourself. I don't have your confidence on this matter.
  7. TheSonicTruth
    RE: That last statement of yours: A typical scenario of what happens when I download music off Amazon or iTunes. I might be looking for a '70s one hit wonder which I cannot physically locate anywhere, and see that Amazon lists three options for buying that song. So I'll click each one to preview it. Automatically I will reject the louder versions of it, and download the quietest version! Cranked up on my phone through a decent set of speakers, the file actually sounds mighty good, and punchy! Like the original.
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2018
  8. drtechno
    Well, in the typical cd player, there is 3 db headroom above 0dbfs in the analog stage. The systems, over time have reduced the gain out of the dac (most likely due to reduction of stages to even a cheap single chip solution) and due to this gain structure change in cheaper units, the signal needs to appear hotter. so we hard limit, that causes the dac to translate the signal to a higher voltage level than what 0dbfs can do. This really trashes the audio for you guys that really listen to music btw.

    I personally hate it, and even other professionals (like Bob Catz) hates this, but we do it because the guy who writes the check says so. Whats even worse, is the newer musicians think that a mix form my mixer should sound like that (which should never happen, thank you). My mixes resemble more like a wave like you see on a mid 70's record. Then I send it to someone like Bob Catz, who slams it through his $10,000 limiter and some light eq.
  9. castleofargh Contributor
    Bob Katz :wink:
    TheSonicTruth likes this.
  10. TheSonicTruth
    Yes - if one contributes regularly to an audio forum or newsgroup, spelling that name correctly should be automatic! lol
  11. TheSonicTruth
    Actually, I have (1)met Bob Katz personally, (2)listened to his seminars on mastering and (3)own at least a couple CDs for which Katz is credited with mastering. And from what I have listened to I'm sure he does not "slam" anything. Except perhaps that one car door that never fully shuts on the first try.. (!) :D Don't we ALL come across one of those in our lives?

    But I can think of another Bob out there who has a pretty strong reputation as a slammer - and squasher - in the mastering sense.
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2018
  12. drtechno
    I didn't mention the super slammers like the guy at Mercury Mastering. And yes, I did overstate slamming a little bit. But whats interesting was watching Bob Katz mix, because he ignores all signal meters, clip lights, etc, and just listens as he mixes. Granted the "clip" light on those mixers are just an indication, as that is an adjustable set point (-14 to clip is the typical range of this adjustment).
  13. TheSonicTruth
    With Katz's 'K-Metering' system, one can focus on listening more, as it places the reference loudness level down more, as in -12, -14, -16, and even below -20.

    I still stubbornly advocate equal doses of ears AND eyes while one is recording, mixing, or mastering something.
  14. bigshot
    I acknowledge that in commercial pop music with the qualification that it's really only an real problem with back catalog pop/rock reissues, since current pop music is designed from the ground up to be listened to that way. But for just about every other genre of music it really isn't an issue at all. Mastering falls into a normal bell curve of good and bad in jazz, classical, bluegrass, soundtracks, etc. There's even some pop/rock music that bucks the trend, but those tend to be marginal titles, not mainstream pop.\
  15. TheSonicTruth
    "current pop music is designed from the
    ground up to be listened to that way

    You're the second person to bring up that point, regarding current pop releases, yet the first one has yet to explain the techniques involved. Could you please lay it out in basic terms?
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