new CD mastering techniques compress Dynamic range
Mar 16, 2006 at 9:39 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 71

jerb

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http://www.cdmasteringservices.com/dynamicrange.htm

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In December, 2001, several prominent individuals in the recording industry served on a panel to judge the best engineered CD for the Grammy's. After listening to over 200 CDs, they couldn't find a single CD worthy of a Grammy based on the criteria they were given. Everything they listened to was squashed to death with heavy amounts compression. What they wound up doing was selecting the CD that had the least amount of engineering. In reality, the winner didn't win because of great engineering, he won simply because he had messed with the signal the least. On second thought, maybe that was great engineering.


what is your take on this, is this real or is this guy overexagegrating?

(btw I'm sorry if its been posted but I didnt see it on the front page)
 
Mar 16, 2006 at 10:24 PM Post #3 of 71

AndyRx7

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I've seen this before, and it's a huge problem IMO. I just got a new CD I was really looking forward to, and I literally can't listen to it it's mastered so badly (constantly distorted). I just can't believe anyone would give the green light to albums sounding like that.
 
Mar 16, 2006 at 11:26 PM Post #4 of 71

SennFan

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It's simply, non musical. It's no wonder that consumers don't want to pay for the music that's being produced today. It's over priced and sounds bad. Our musical heritage is being threatened by this anti-music. It's time for all of us in the music industry to wake up!


-Excerpt from that site

Some of us still spend a lot of money to buy CD's as opposed to DL'ing music because we want the highest quality package. However, this isn't what's being offered to us time and time again. Rather than whine like babies all of the time it's up to the artists, studios, labels and engineers ect to get their act together and give people a reason to pay a premium.
 
Mar 16, 2006 at 11:41 PM Post #5 of 71

rickcr42

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Quote:

what is your take on this, is this real or is this guy overexagegrating?


lowest common denominator


The majority of music is sold to regular folks with crap stereo systems that not only have no use for the extra dynamic range but this extreme range actually makes their systems sound bad....as it should or why upgrade ?
Then you add in all you knucklheads who swear MP3's sound just as good as the original and it is just another step up the ladder of mediocrity for everyone no matter what your class or financial situation !

Socialised music for the masess ? No music buyer left behind ? Equality for everyone even if it is a step down ?
very_evil_smiley.gif


Progress has always meant moving forward but I think they need to reconsider the entry in the unabridged dictionary for the modern use of the word
tongue.gif
 
Mar 17, 2006 at 12:47 AM Post #7 of 71

Dusty Chalk

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It's a real problem.
 
Mar 17, 2006 at 2:43 AM Post #9 of 71

brian183

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My friend is starting his own recording studio and he's had plenty of experience recording and mastering CD's. He understands that making the whole CD hover around the max dynamic range of CD(around 93~96db) decreases the dynamics of the album. Even though he understands the major drawbacks of this it's what the norm is now and his business won't work unless he does it this way. It's a shame but that's what "most" people want...a dynamicless loud dry sounding album.
 
Mar 17, 2006 at 3:06 AM Post #10 of 71

Wodgy

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Quote:

Originally Posted by brian183
Even though he understands the major drawbacks of this it's what the norm is now and his business won't work unless he does it this way. It's a shame but that's what "most" people want...a dynamicless loud dry sounding album.


Who specifically wants this? I'm genuinely curious. Or does he just think it's what people want? Most average people I know do like a "punchy" sound with good bass impact, and that gets completely lost with such extreme compression. It also doesn't make a lick of difference for radio play, since the radio stations all use compressors anyway.

This compression just contributes to people buying less music, since three-quarters of pop CDs have an unsatisfying sound quality and are hard to listen to. The White Stripes proved that people will buy well-recorded, well-mastered music. They even use it as a promotional point.
 
Mar 17, 2006 at 3:39 AM Post #11 of 71

Kirosia

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I hate it when they make cds "hot". Many of my favorite songs sound forward, loud, and melded together. Some of which are nearly unbearable. But . . through some crappy phones, it can sound better (well, to avg joe teen consumer) than stuff that is recorded decently IMO. Many of the recordings that are lackluster with my kscs/px100/crud phones often sound incredibly balanced and refined through my home setup.
 
Mar 17, 2006 at 3:47 AM Post #12 of 71

rickcr42

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Quote:

Who specifically wants this? I'm genuinely curious.


everyone that does not have a system that can resolve the lowest of notes noise free while also handling a peak event 100dB louder without clipping and generally wrecking your day.

Dynamic range is misunderstood as is comprssion which if used right makes music better fit the systems that must reproduce it.no one would really want straining to hear a note just barely audible above the noise floor then be blown out of their chair the next moment even though they may think they do.

Overly compressed allows a louder overall volume and brings UP the low while dampng DOWN the peaks but to an extreme that allows "any system" to be played loudly without clipping or losing part of the song into the noise floor
 
Mar 17, 2006 at 3:59 AM Post #13 of 71

Wodgy

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Quote:

Originally Posted by rickcr42
everyone that does not have a system that can resolve the lowest of notes noise free while also handling a peak event 100dB louder without clipping and generally wrecking your day.


That's a fine argument for symphonic music, but most modern pop recordings have less than 3dB dynamic range. 2dB is closer to the norm. That means the loudest parts are less than twice the volume of the softest parts. Even the absolutely cheapest stereos can handle more than 3dB dynamic range.
 
Mar 17, 2006 at 6:27 AM Post #14 of 71

michaelconnor

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Saw that article on Digg this morning. I concur with most of his assertions. Compression will make some recordings more playable on low-performance gear, but it's a terrible price to pay.

When I first realized how many of my favorite songs were severely compressed, I felt a kid who realized Santa is a lie. The recordings were only sounding worse as I listened to more music and with more analytical equipment. How depressing!

I surely hope that the recording engineers kept some precompressed versions for archiving and potential re-release. Perhaps some day we will be able to hear all the music from 2000-2010 in an unadulterated form.
 
Mar 17, 2006 at 7:00 AM Post #15 of 71

jerb

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glad to see you commented on this rick, i was hoping you'd reply when I posted this.

I agree that dynamic compression is needed to some extent, but do you think the music industry may be going too far?

does anyone have any more information on this subject, perhaps some data about the dynamic range of top cd's?
 

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