Tidal and Loudness Normalisation

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by old tech, Nov 15, 2017.
  1. old tech
    Interesting latest The Mastering Show episode, with Ian Sheppard interviewing Eelco Grimm.

    Apart from the background studies resulting in Tidal being the latest service to decide turning normalisation on by default, which hopefully will hasten the end of the loudness wars. The surveys were also interesting which found that most people preferred normalisation by album rather than by track and the reasons why that is so.

  2. bigshot
    Normalization won’t end hot mastering. Peak level isn’t the same as perceived volume.
  3. Strangelove424
    Loudness normalization is a great tool, and I applaud the efforts of all parties, Apple, Tidal, Foobar, and AES for continuing to develop such a helpful plugin. However, normalization has been around for years already, and the loudness war continues. I am of the opinion that simply lowering the volume on our tracks/albums in our players is having zero effect on the mastering decisions being made in the studios. They simply don't care. What they will care about are public outcry stinkaroos of Death Magentic proportions, boycotts, and piles of angry letter that reflect in sales. Sales.... sales.... sales. That's where you gotta hit 'em. That's their proverbial nut sack. This is a war. Normalization is flower power. We need something stronger.
  4. RRod
    It sounds like a logical flow, but I agree with bigshot: normalization won't do anything to the loudness war, because the war is actually a 'dynamics war', not a loudness war. People want to hear their music on trains, planes, and automobiles. Whether a track gets +1 gain or -11 gain, it doesn't matter compared to being able to hear all the content without having to fiddle the pot mid-song. All the normalization does is keep your ears from getting blown out if your favorite playlist style is to constantly switch between Mahler and Metallica.

    Also, at least in my collection, loudness matching is just kinda 'meh' sometimes.
  5. Strangelove424
    Good point. I bought a CD recently mastered at a low level but never went up over 6db above. I was thinking “nope, you guys still aren’t getting it. Back to square 1” I want quiet AND loud. It’s the dynamics.

    To be fair to normalization, the logic behind it was: if all the track are given a common denominator of equal level, they'll all end up being quiet, and engineers will be forced to differentiate again based on dynamics. But there are a couple deductive leaps there I don't believe have materialized in the real world.
  6. RRod
    I have a few harpsichord albums where they deliberately kept the peak level low so that they jive better with other classical stuff for loudness. As you say, this doesn't suddenly make it a dynamic instrument.

    I imagine engineers have been cursing under their breath for a while about having to crunch things up. You summed it up above: the buyers have to want the dynamics there. And when you call a bus your listening room, the absolute last thing you want is to deal with is ppp to fff. Normalization won't help that; compression will. I think of AC-3, where in fact the default is to have just a tad of compression, but with the option for fancy-pants people like us to turn it off.
  7. bigshot
    I've got a harpsichord box set where the volume level is normalized and it's unGodly loud!

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