LOUDNESS WAR - is there anything we can still do ?!
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earwicker7

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Quote:

Originally Posted by royalcrown /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I figure talking about filesharing is illegal here


If not, it should be.
 
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post-5573941
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Uncle Erik

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Quote:

Originally Posted by earwicker7 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
If not, it should be.


It is; I think there's a sticky about it.

I'm all for buying music. Just picked up a bunch of used CDs at the swapmeet on Saturday. $2 each. Used records ranged from a quarter to a dollar.
 
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post-5575156
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krmathis

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* Don't buy those CD's
* Let the record companies know why you don't buy their CD's
* ...
 
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post-5575288
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HeadLover

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How can I or any other guy let them know that we don't like the CD's cause of the loudness?
I am serious, what can we do as a forum or what ever?
 
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post-5575339
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The-One

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First off, I'm relatively young and so I suppose music with less dynamics is what i'm used to.

Several thoughts occurs to me though. when I listen, it's usually as loud as I feel comfortable at that moment. An unexpected 10dB spike for eg is a great shock and that kind of dynamics is typically reserved for watching a movie. And also suppose someone has turned up their system as loud as they can, a big dynamic spike could literally blow their speakers or over load their amps if their equipment doesn't have auto protection circuits.

Granted I do listen to classical music, but I find I listen to them on average at a lower volume than pop music because when the dynamic swings come, the peaks are too loud for me and constantly adjust the volume defeats the dynamics in the first place.

So I kind of don't agree with the "Turn it Up" view. IMO it's just a fact that the more dynamics = lower average spl
 
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post-5575510
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Aleatoris

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Quote:

Originally Posted by The-One /img/forum/go_quote.gif
First off, I'm relatively young and so I suppose music with less dynamics is what i'm used to.

Several thoughts occurs to me though. when I listen, it's usually as loud as I feel comfortable at that moment. An unexpected 10dB spike for eg is a great shock and that kind of dynamics is typically reserved for watching a movie. And also suppose someone has turned up their system as loud as they can, a big dynamic spike could literally blow their speakers or over load their amps if their equipment doesn't have auto protection circuits.

Granted I do listen to classical music, but I find I listen to them on average at a lower volume than pop music because when the dynamic swings come, the peaks are too loud for me and constantly adjust the volume defeats the dynamics in the first place.

So I kind of don't agree with the "Turn it Up" view. IMO it's just a fact that the more dynamics = lower average spl



Holy crap, you must listen to some pretty crazy music (or are just very sensitive to volume changes). I don't think I have anything that has such an "unexpected" large spike. ...And cranking your system to as loud as it can go is generally unrecommended, and I don't think it's a regular practice. Could you even listen at those volumes without a good set of earplugs?
 
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post-5575561
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earwicker7

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What would be really cool is if we (that being the whole of Head-Fi) created some kind of database of CDs we've listened to and their sound quality (ie, not rating the music but the engineering). That way we would know that Version A is better than Version B, etc.
 
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post-5575579
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Rempert

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Quote:

Originally Posted by royalcrown /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I figure talking about filesharing is illegal here, but if you really want to vote with your wallet, get your music in another way. I don't know if people here are so motivated to break the law or ethical beliefs (depending on how you feel about IP in general), but it's what some people do - pirate the crappy stuff for casual listening, buy the albums for critical listening. I dunno how much of a real impact that would have on sales, or even the cessation of buying lousily mastered music altogether. I doubt it would really do anything in the grand scheme of things.


And while you are at it, if you disagree with how Walmart treats it's employees, you should go to Walmart and sneak out with a bunch of stuff. Don't bother with anything legal or ethical like boycotting, because then you wouldn't get the stuff!

Actually if you pirate the music you are part of the problem. The industry is oblivious to any forces that are currently causing drops in record sales, because what they see is "Sales are down due to illegal file sharing." If you want to take a stand, you can't still listen to the music.
 
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post-5575635
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Rempert

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Pio2001 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I have noticed that CD that sound the most clipressed are not always the ones that are the most compressed according to the replaygain estimation of loudness. For example, Indochine - L'aventurier, from the unita compilation, is very compressed, but strangely, it sounds very dynamic. The comparison of the polish and english mixes of Closterkeller - Nero album is also interesting. The 2004 english remix have been very compressed and is much louder than the original polish mix of 2003, however, contrary to what we could expect, the 2004 compressed version sounds more lively than the 2003 dynamic one, which sounds boring.
These are exceptions to the rule, but I find them very interesting in order to understand what compression really is. It can't be dissociated from the mix. It is often the other way, but sometimes, there can be good compressed mixes, and bad dynamics mixes.

Also, some music needs dynamics, while other needs flatness. Artesia is a good example of band whose music have to be mastered without dynamics, because this is the way it must be played. It has a musical purpose. They create beauty from uniformity.



I know what you mean here. Some people look at a waveform or a number on ReplayGain and think they already know what the album is going to sound like! It's not that simple. But if a really loud album sounds great, it still sets the bar a notch higher and then everyone else has to match the loudness. I'm convinced the only solution is to have ReplayGain type behavior in all playback devices.
 
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post-5583446
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gregorio

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Quote:

Originally Posted by poo /img/forum/go_quote.gif
If we want things to change, we have a big battle ahead of us all. The only advantage we have in our corner is how damn good it can sound...


Maybe not such a big battle as you think. The loudness war was first discussed by the studio engineers themselves. There are many good engineers, producers and mastering engineers who are totally against the loudness wars. Back in the mid '90s if you wanted a decent 24bit recording system you needed tens of thousands now you can get a similar system within four figures. This means anyone can (and often do) set themselves up as engineers or producers even though they have relatively little idea of what they are doing. They, along with many bands and record labels generally think that louder is better. This is not just an arbitrary feeling, it was born out of the 80s and 90s where louder recordings broadcast on radio equated into higher sales.

However, many of us in the industry (especially the experienced ones) would happily back any initiative to bring the dynamic range back into many genres of music. In fact there have already been a number of initiatives within the industry over the years but it has not made much impact. Letters are sent to the labels and we explain to bands that louder is worse not better but usually the answer is along the lines of "We understand this and you can do whatever you like with the recording to make it better ... as long as it's louder than band x". At that point you smash your forehead on the console and compress the crap out of it or loose the business.

For those who asked, a compressor (softwre or hardware) reduces the peaks in the musical material. This provides a gap between the signal peak and the maximum level of the digital system (headroom) allowing you to boost the level of the whole file. Keep doing this agressively and you end up with a waveform which looks like a solid block because it has virtually no peaks, or rather everything is at peak level. In theory compression works because our ears do not use just level to determine loudness. As a naturally occuring sound gets louder, so it's range and balance of harmonics change and our ears recognise and use this information. So even though something is compressed, there should still be perceivable dynamic range even if that isn't reflected in the amplitude of the waveforms. In practice, there are good quality compressors and crap ones and many recordings are not just compressed but way over compressed. Many of the cheap software compressors sound really nasty and harsh but good quality ones actually sweeten the sound (if not over used!).

Bottom line is, vote with your wallets and email the labels complaining when you hear really poorly made recordings. Tell them you won't buy their music anymore unless you get better quality. If enough of you do this then we, the engineers, can use this to support our claim that over compression is a bad thing and more importantly unwanted by the consumer.

G
 
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post-5584015
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null_pointer_us

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Is there any standard to dynamic range?

IIRC, when I set up my HTPC, dynamic range (vs. compression) was one of the problems I experienced. Various combinations of playback software and audio equipment was that things would either be extremely loud or extremely quiet. Movies were extremely annoying in this respect -- different dynamic range then in television recordings -- though this is going slightly off-topic ...

It'd be nice if there was some industry standard we could focus purchasing decisions around (or at least some common settings on the equipment to use when needed), but I guess informed consumers would be antithetical to the industry's focus on loudness as a cash cow, so it'd never actually happen.
 
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gregorio

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Quote:

Originally Posted by null_pointer_us /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Is there any standard to dynamic range?

IIRC, when I set up my HTPC, dynamic range (vs. compression) was one of the problems I experienced. Various combinations of playback software and audio equipment was that things would either be extremely loud or extremely quiet. Movies were extremely annoying in this respect -- different dynamic range then in television recordings -- though this is going slightly off-topic ...

It'd be nice if there was some industry standard we could focus purchasing decisions around (or at least some common settings on the equipment to use when needed), but I guess informed consumers would be antithetical to the industry's focus on loudness as a cash cow, so it'd never actually happen.



There are no standards and cannot be any standards with dynamic range. Different genres of music and films have different dynamic ranges. A drama is not going to have the same dynamic range as say a war film and a string quartet is not going to have the same dynamic range as a full symphony orchestra.

There is a movement within TV to try and standardise the loudness between programs but it's not easy as percieved loudness is not just a function of amplitude, as I mentioned previously. Film sound is designed for cinema sound systems, rather than for home use. Some films are re-mixed for DVD and may employ less dynamic range but not all films have the budget for a separate DVD mix. Digital audio formats for music already provides many orders of magnitude more dynamic range than is required for playback of even the most dynamic music but with many genres it is neccesary to compress the dynamic range so that consumers can hear both the quite passages and the loud passages without having to dive for their volume control.

Remember, the industry's focus on loudness as a cash cow was originally created by consumers!

G
 
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earwicker7

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nautikal

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Rempert /img/forum/go_quote.gif
And while you are at it, if you disagree with how Walmart treats it's employees, you should go to Walmart and sneak out with a bunch of stuff. Don't bother with anything legal or ethical like boycotting, because then you wouldn't get the stuff!


Terrible analogy. Digital music files are intangible and thus record companies do not experience explicit costs when music is pirated. They do, however, experience implied costs, but these are far less than if someone were to actually steal a physical album.
 
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paaj

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and how does pirating help against this loudness war?
Just like robbing a walmart store does not help it's employees...

it's just the wrong way to do it.
 
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