Dynamic range compression of classical music.

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by xenophon, Nov 24, 2014.
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  1. TheSonicTruth

    I, like many opponents of the loudness war, initially villainized the mastering engineers for overcompressed new releases and what was sold to the public as remasters. That was years ago, just as protesters of the Vietnam war blamed the returning soldiers for that. I have since matured and learned more about the recording business and who ultimately calls the shots. Sure, there are still a few engineers who talk the talk but don't walk the walk - some like to exclaim "Ignore the DR values and that man behind the glass, use your EARS!" but for the most part I think most engineers try to educate their clients on the compromises of overloudening, but in the end let the clients make the final call on how far to take it.
    JaeYoon likes this.
  2. pinnahertz
    Very glad to hear that.
  3. TheSonicTruth
    In my research I am finding that forums like GearSlutz and Steve Hoffman Forums are closing threads that discuss dynamic range, compression, or measurment of DR. Below is a link to such a thread. I'm not asking anybody to read every post, but just glance casually through and see if there's anything that might present a reason to have closed it:

  4. bfreedma
    The last post in that thread is over 4 years old. The thread may have been closed due to inactivity.
  5. bigshot
    I think it's kind of funny to think that suggesting that someone listen to music with their own ears is bad advice. Most of what goes on in a tracking or mixing session is listening. At the end of a mix when there's final playback, the approval is based 100% on ears. I think some people who have never worked on music production have the idea that there is some machine that does it and humans just follow a recipe. The truth is that it's almost all careful listening, judgement calls and application of subjective taste. If audiophiles spent more time improving their subjective taste they would understand the process of recording and mixing music a lot better. They'd probably appreciate music more than equipment too.
  6. gregorio
    Great, then you'll have the answer to a problem I came across a few years ago. I was trying to create clipping distortion (not for a music project but for a sound effect design), no matter what I tried, I simply could not find anyway to clip the sound. The problem is that pretty much all modern DAWs are 64bit float and seem to be impossible to clip, even deliberately! My solution in the end was to transfer the sound FX on to an old fixed point DAW, on which creating clipping distortion was relatively straight forward, although still took some effort. So if you know of a way to clip a current pro DAW (Pro Tools), I'd be much obliged if you could let me know how. Thanks.

    Glad to hear there are still some people on GearSlutz who know what they're talking about! It's a very old (and very wise!) audio engineering cliche, which actually goes: "mix with your ears, not with your eyes". There is so much visual information (numbers) available to the mix engineer that it's very easy to be distracted/fooled by it and end up screwing up a mix or part of a mix. I've certainly fallen into this trap on occasion and there can't be a single experienced engineer who hasn't, hence why it's a cliche and why it's particularly important to drill it into newbs! I suspect, as is often the case in the audiophile world, that you've take actual facts and misinterpreted them or applied them out of context. Rather than jumping to ridiculous conclusions and then using those conclusions to assume engineers have no idea what they're doing, you should take pinnahertz's advice. Take a step back and question what you think you know rather than assume you know everything and that everyone else has no idea what they're talking about! In reality, no engineer would ever suggest actually ripping out all the meters, EQ, compression and other processor parameter displays, although doing so is sometimes a shockingly effective exercise when training less experienced engineers.

    Last edited: Oct 9, 2017
  7. TheSonicTruth
    I'm just advocating the use of both!
  8. pinnahertz
    I'm pretty sure there's no need, it's already being done and has been since the beginning of electrical recording around 1925. But that's only 92 years or so.
  9. gregorio
    Who isn't? The point of the cliche is to emphasise the use of the ears in the creative/decision making process and only use visual stimuli (such as looking at a meter) to occasionally check.

    Now, what about an answer to my first point/question?

  10. TheSonicTruth
    How about asking me, since it didn't show up in my search of this thread.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017
  11. TheSonicTruth
    Yes!! I found a classical CD from which selected WAVs register considerably higher than the seemingly mandatory DR12, on Foobar 2000, V1.2.9:

    Foobar Screen Cap -Berlioz -Fantastique Cat No. 410 895-2.jpg
    The selected analyzed tracks returned roughly the same DR Values reported on on tracks from the original CD release of Dire Straits 'Brothers In Arms'.

    So classical CDs exist that do preserve at least most of the dynamic range of the recorded performance. My best experiences in the genre have come from the above DG label as well as London and Decca. Telarc comes in a respectable fourth.

    In general, for CDs of most genres, not just classical, the most dynamic ones are the original releases, and the earlier you go. Or, the least compression used in mastering them, since i suspect that even with earlier 'flat transfers' to CD from existing masters, some dynamic compression was used, ostensibly in theory to keep the softer segments up out of the noise floor of 16bit Red Book.

    And yes, the album represented in the above screen shot is indeed a treat to the ears! And the volume control can be set where it's supposed to be during CDs like this one.
    Last edited: May 27, 2018
  12. RRod
    The problem with DR is that you can repeat a loud section and lower the score by pushing up the 95th percentile of the RMS values. It's not a great absolute measure. I think the highest I've seen in my own stuff for a single track is DR25. Will try to find.

    Edit: NM, it was DR28:
    Album: Huaxia. Contemporary music for traditional Chinese instruments
    DR Peak RMS Duration Title [codec]
    DR20 -0.00 dB -32.43 dB 11:43 01 - Transcendence for seven performers [flac]
    DR20 -0.01 dB -29.75 dB 8:34 02 - Shuang Que for erhu and yangqin [flac]
    DR21 -0.00 dB -31.20 dB 8:53 03 - The Points for pipa [flac]
    DR28 -0.00 dB -42.44 dB 10:53 04 - Ji 2 «Floating Clouds» for chiba, zhonghu, and percussion [flac]
    DR18 -0.01 dB -30.43 dB 12:07 05 - Thinking for qudi, erhu, zhonghu, and percussion [flac]
    DR18 -0.00 dB -29.12 dB 8:35 06 - Shao 1 for seven performers [flac]
    DR19 -0.06 dB -32.10 dB 9:56 07 - Three Laughs for di, chiba, sanxian, pipa, and zheng [flac]
    Number of files: 7
    Official DR value: DR21

    Sampling rate: 44100 Hz
    Average bitrate: 494kbs
    Bits per sample: 16 bit

    Dr14 T.meter 1.0.16

    Note in your example above, the total DR is 16 but one of the tracks is DR18? So the whole disc is less dynamic than one of its tracks? So yeah, it's not a great measure in and of itself.
    Last edited: May 27, 2018
  13. TheSonicTruth

    I suspect Foobar2K is easily 'tricked' into returning some of the values it does. Regardless, the Berlioz example I illustrated proved to be an example of how the CD format can soar, sonically, if certain monkeys in the mastering suites could keep their grubby fingaz off the knobz!
  14. RRod
    I agree with your sentiment, of course. Do note that the difference between DR15 and DR16 is just 1dB on the second-highest peak. So do we blame the recording company, or the conductor?
  15. gregorio
    1. What you "suspect" is irrelevant in this sub-forum and if what you "suspect" contradicts the actual facts, then it's much worse than irrelevant, it's effectively perverting the purpose of this sub-forum and therefore trolling! If there's something you "suspect" but are not certain of the facts, then either ask about the facts or provide some reliable evidence to support what you "suspect". The actual fact here is that it has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with the noise floor of 16bit! Where dynamic compression is used to "keep the softer segments up out of the noise floor" it's to keep the softer segments up out of consumer's noise floor/listening environment NOT the noise floor of 16bit!

    2. If certain monkeys could learn some basic facts, then they wouldn't make such utter fools out of themselves by insulting others, purely on the basis of their own ignorance!! And, it wouldn't require much intelligence, time or effort to obtain some of those basic facts, just reading some of the prior posts in this thread would be a good start. Didn't you do that before posting?

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