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Dynamic Range of CDs (examples)

Discussion in 'Music' started by csir, May 16, 2010.
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  1. CSIR
    Avril Lavigne: Forgotten Peak: over DR: 5
    Backstreet Boys: Incomplete  Peak: L:xf_eek:ver R: 0 DR:5
    Coldplay: Fix You P: L 0 R:xf_eek:ver DR:7
    Coldplay: What if P: Over DR 7
    David Gray: Rice P:0 DR 10
    David Gray: Lullaby P: -1.35 DR 14   (Nice!)
    David Gray: Wurlitzer P:-8.80 DR 13 (NICE!)
    Green Day: Wake me up when Sept ends P Over DR 6
    James Blunt: No Bravery P:0 DR: 9 (surprised)
    Asia: Heat of the moment P:-1.3 DR 10
    Anna Nalik: Wreck of the day P -1.86 DR 8
    White Strips: Hardest Button to Button P: L:xf_eek:ver R:0 DR:11
    Journey: Faithfully P-1.49 DR 11
    Keane: Goodbye to yellow brick road P: -.82 DR 8
    Oasis: Lyla P:xf_eek:ver DR 4
    "Loudness has always been an important topic in mastering - never more so than today.
    But knowing how loud is too loud has always been difficult. I've written before about how we hear loudness, and different software solutions for measuring loudness - but now, everything has been made far easier.
    Recently a new tool has been released, purpose-designed for measuring the loudness of music. Anyone can now see at a glance how loud their mix is, make informed decisions about compression and limiting, and choose to make their recordings punchy, loud and competitive.
    This tool is the TT Dynamic Range Meter, released by the Pleasurize Music Foundation. It comes in two flavours - the one in the animation on the right is the real-time version, available for both Mac and PC now, in AU, RTAS and VST versions.
    There is also a second, off-line version, which generates an overall DR dynamic range measurement for a complete WAV file, but we'll come back to that in a minute.
    The plugin shows peak and RMS metering for the left and right channels, but also a measurement of the dynamic range - the difference between the loudest and quietest parts of the music - in the centre.
    Broadly speaking, anything with an overall dynamic range of 14dB or more ("DR14") will sound great - in this case, the central DR meters stay green. Louder material will sometimes have less range than this - any less than 10dB will start to sound very agressive and crushed, and the DR meters start to fade from green to orange to red to represent this.
    So, to ensure you aren't over-compressing your mix - keep the meters green for most of the time. It's that simple. Not all of the time, but a track where they are always red is almost certainly pushed too hard. Try it yourself - fire it up and watch how the meters react to your favourite recordings.
    One of the cleverest things about the DR meter is that it works independently of the overall level of the music. So, something very loud, crushed and distorted, like, say - oh, I don't know - Metallica's "Death Magnetic", for example - will be in the red, almost all the time - even if you turn it down. 
    This means you can objectively compare how squashed different recordings are, regardless of the overall level. This in turn makes it a great mixing tool - if you over-compress everything in your mix, the meters will show you're in the red, even if the overall level isn't that high, yet.
    It's important to note thought that the realtime DR meter only gives the loudness at an instant. And, it's quite permissible (and necessary) to push into the red at some points. To get an overall measurement of a tracks loudness, you should use the off-line version. Currently this is only available in a PC version, but it works very well on my Intel Mac using CrossOver Mac.
    I strongly recommend the Pleasurize Music Foundation website - there is lots of good information and they have ambitious plans, including getting all music labels to agree to a standard minimum DR14 measurement on all albums, as measured by the offline metering tool. 
    If they succeed, this would mean standardisation of levels across CDs in the same way there is in the cinema, and an end to the "Loudness War" madness. I'm cautious about their chances for success, but it's an interesting idea, and one I wish them every success with - and making the fantastic Dynamic Range Meter plugin freely available is a very clever move, in my opinion."
    Ian Shepherd, http://mastering-media.blogspot.com/ 2010
  2. necropimp
    maybe if you explained the method used to get your numbers this thread could actually go somewhere
  3. jiamenguk
    The TT dynamic range meter generates the DR number. I don't think you can get the full online meter for free, but the free version's around on the internet somewhere. And you'd just run mp3 or wav files through the meter and it'll give you a rating.
    I thought this was like old news?
  4. CSIR
    It is old news but it is still interesting to see some examples.
    I did a test on my old Metallica CDs and compared them to the DCC versions.
    For whom the Bell Tolls original CD: Peak: over DR: 9
    For whom the Bell Tolls DCC: Peak: L -.45 R - .1 DR: 9
    The day that never comes original CD: P: L: over R: 0.0 DR:2  (I'm surprised that the R isn't over; wow 2 is a record I haven't seen one that low)
    The guitar hero rip for some reason is not compatible with the TT Meter.  I really wish it was b/c this would be the most useful.
  5. leeperry
    DR14 seems highly optimistic...OTOH DR12/10 sound entirely doable. I'm checking it w/ the VST plugin in realtime, most of my music is in the DR12 region [​IMG]
  6. CSIR
    Yeah I wish the program I have didn't require me to convert FLACs and WAV to MP3.  I've been checking some of my DCC cd's as Steve always says he leaves the dynamic range intact on almost every recording and so far the highest DR in any of the ones I've tested is 12.  I'm guessing if I checked some of my classical records they would be huge.
  7. necropimp
    Muddy Waters - Folk Singer MFSL   DR:15
    Venom - Black Metal 1985 Combat Records  DR:13
    Venom - Black Metal 2002 Castle Records  DR:12
    i'll dig up some more to test out later... maybe compare my 1999 Century Black and 2007 Regain Records versions of Gorgoroth - Under the Sign of Hell
  8. necropimp
    back with some more
    Gorgoroth - Under the Sign of Hell
      1999 Century Black DR:7
      2007 Regain Records DR:6
       i was thinking it would be a wider gap looking at the waveforms
    Bathory - Blood Fire Death
      1988 Under One Flag  DR:9
      1990 Maze/Kraze  DR:12
    and for ****s and giggles i tested a crappy album i threw together when i was in high school
    Jim7 - The Mechanical Uprising   DR:10
  9. CSIR
    Paul McCartney (DCC) Maybe I'm Amazed:  P: -.77/.00 DR 10
    Chopin Piano Concerto No1: Allegro Maestoso: P:-.99/-.81 DR 13
    Chopin Piano Concerto No1: Rondo Vivace: P:-1.61 DR 14
    Joe Satriani: Surfing With The Alien P -4.12/-3.18 DR 13
    Ozzy: Crazy Train 22bit SBM remaster P 0 DR 8 (wouldn't mind seeing original)
    Diana Krall: Broadway P0 DR15
    Just from this I think 10-14 is not a bad range to recommend but DR is definetely not the be all of sound as I would say the DCC CDs I have sound the best even with there low DR
  10. luckybaer
    I ran DR on each track on an album and did a simple average...
    AC/DC - Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap - 7.9
    AC/DC - Back in Black - 7.8
    AC/DC - Highway to Hell - 7.3
    Aerosmith - Greatest Hits - 12.1
    Alice in Chains - Black Gives Way to Blue - 7.2
    Alice in Chains - The Essential Alice in Chains Disc 1 & 2 - 6.1 & 6.8
    Anthrax - Among the Living - 12.4
    Anthrax - Spreading the Disease - 12.2
    Audioslave - Audioslave - 5.6
    Audioslave - Out of Exile - 5.2
    Aztec Camera - High Land High Rain - 11.2
    Baroness - Blue Album - 8.1
    Baroness - Red Album - 6.9
    Beck - Mellow Gold - 9.5
    Beck - Odelay - 8.4
    Beck - Midnite Vultures - 6.5
    Big Country - Peace in Our Time - 15.0
    Black Sabbath - Greatest Hits 1970-1978 - 7.7
    Bob Marley - Legend - 9.9
    Corrosion of Conformity - Blind - 9.7
    Crazy 8's - Law and Order (Anniversary Ed.) - 10.9
    Cream - Disraeli Gears - 11.7
    Devo - Greatest Hits - 13.6
    Dire Straits - Brothers in Arms (Remaster) - 12.4
    Edgar Winter - The Best of Edgar Winter - 11.0
    Elvis Costello - This Year's Model - 11.7
    Elvis Costello - This Year's Model (Rhino Disc 1) - 7.9 (ugh)
    Pixies - Doolittle - 13.5
    Pixies - Trompe Le Monde - 12.3
    Pixies - Surfer Rosa - 12.1
    Public Enemy - It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold us Black - 13.1
    Rush - Permanent Waves (MoFi) - 11.3
    Rush - Permanent Waves (Remaster) - 10.8
    Rush - Presto - 13.4
    Rush - Signals (Remaster) - 10.3
    Rush - Moving Pictures (Remaster) - 11.6
    Rush - Snakes and Arrows - 6.7 (yikes!)
    Sade - The Best of Sade - 10.1
    The Beatles - 1962-1966 (Disc 1) - 10.5
    The Police - Synchronicity - 12.5
    Van Morrison - Moondance - 13.0
    XTC - Oranges & Lemons - 12.3
    XTC - Oranges & Lemons (2001 Remaster) - 7.7 (yuck!)
    XTC - Nonsuch - 11.5
    XTC - Nonsuch (2001 Remaster) - 8.9
    Yes - Fragile (MoFi) - 10.6
    Yes - Fragile (Bonus Tracks version) - 10.0
    The Stooges - Fun House - 8.1 (with tons of extra versions of songs)
    Nick Low - Jesus of Cool (Re-issue) - 12.5
    Motley Crue - Greatest Hits - 7.9
    Monster Magnet - Dopes to Infinity - 9.1
    What happened to the XTC remasters and Elvis Costello's "This Year's Model" compared to the older pressings is sad.  The newer versions were so loud (in my opinion) that I searched Amazon and eBay to find used versions of the older pressings to get a less-loud experience.
  11. CSIR
    The more I play with it the more I think below 6 is a fail 6-8 can sound pretty good; well mastered 8-10 can still sound really good but 10-14 sounds amazing if it is well mastered.  I've never heard a Rhino release asides from the DR how does it sound?  I was reading some Steve Hoffman interviews and he said that compression can actually be really good and is required on some tracks (although he said this back in 2002ish and even still said it was over used).
  12. jiamenguk
    btw guys, there's: 
    and you can share your findings for CDs and stuff on this site, you can also look through the huge database as well, pretty darn useful in this respect
  13. murrays
    Thanks for that link, most interesting!
    Donald Fagan's "The Nightfly" has always been my benchmark reference, from what I have to hand, and I see it got a very good score (up to 18).
  14. TJ Elite
    I've used the TT DR Offline Meter 1.4 for about a year with it's folder setting (goes through every track separately and gives you the rounded average) to measure the DR value for some of my older CDs that I re-ripped to WAV just to get the DR value. Also, since I downloaded the DR Offline Meter, I've ripped every new CD first to WAV with EAC and done the DR check. All the results are are stored on my computer in an Excel file. Currently I have the results for 391 CDs along with the catalogue number, release year of the issue in question (sometimes according to Rate You Music) and the name of the person who mastered the disc (if mentioned in the booklet).
    Here are some of the results (just ask if you want more):
  15. falis
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