Why does modern music sound so bad?
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Tad-Bravo

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Ever since I started looking for quality sound to go with decent audio gear, I couldn't help but notice a pattern: Old music sounds better, has a larger sound stage, much greater detail and background tracks that complement the overall sound. (background sound that you notice only on high end gear).
 
The stereo effect is also a lot more pronounced in old music. Iit looks like modern artists/producers just don't care about it anymore.
 
Modern music is generally compressed and doesn't benefit from high end gear at all... I feel like it's a waste of money to get high end headphones if you're just listening to ladygaga and rihanna.
 
Do you guys agree with me or am I just biased towards older music?
 
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WraithApe

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I think you answered your own question as to why a lot of modern music sounds bad in comparison to older: digital processing, including dynamic range compression, used to increase volume at the expense of clarity and quality (see Loudness War - probably a thread or two on here on that as well).
 
I would say it's more mainstream music and stuff put out by big artists / big labels that suffer from this. I listen to a lot of electronic music on niche labels, and it's fair to say there are plenty of producers out there who care about the quality of their work and don't compress the crap out of everything in the sole pursuit of loudness.
 
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Tad-Bravo

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Yeah, this video I picked up  from that wiki page sums it up perfectly:
 
 
This is just madness, all these decades of music wasted for nothing. Millions of records produced to sound dull on purpose.. :frowning2:
 
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Tad-Bravo

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I understand this topic was all the rage around 2010, but has there been any change since?
Has someone managed to make a label for records that are not "loud" ?
Are there any modern artists who are taking positions in this war?
 
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Andolink

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Listen to classical music:  problem solved.
 
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It may be loud but some of it actually sounds good. Don't forget Imogen Heap, & Daft Punks new album. But don't forget there are some really nasty sounding old albums too. 
 
 
 
 
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Redcarmoose

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It's just the first step in computers taking over the world. Soon even the human voice will sound bad.
 
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Modern music sounds amazing.
 
You're only listening to the very best of "old music" and comparing it to the giant sea of "modern music".
 
If I dropped you in 1965 and you were listening to all the complete crap that came out that year that wasn't from Beatles, Dylan, or the Who, you'd be wondering how in the world anyone listened to music at all without tearing their faces off. 
 
If you had to listen to every single recording of classical music that sounds like it was made with one microphone that was jammed in the middle of a pillow you'd be reaching for your newer recordings. 
 
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  It may be loud but some of it actually sounds good. Don't forget Imogen Heap, & Daft Punks new album. But don't forget there are some really nasty sounding old albums too. 
 
 
I've tried pretty hard to forget to Daft Punk's new album. If you want a bunch of weak disco knock-offs it's fine, but if you actually want some classic Punk it's Homework or Alive all the way.
 
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  It may be loud but some of it actually sounds good. Don't forget Imogen Heap, & Daft Punks new album. But don't forget there are some really nasty sounding old albums too. 
 
 
 
Thanks for the suggestions, some of those really do sound good.
 
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It's worth saying that the loudness war certainly is real, but it's not universal and it's also heavily dependent upon what you're listening to. I listen to metal, but mostly underground metal of all sorts. Independent labels aren't playing the loudness war because it doesn't make sense for them to. They're not going to crack onto the billboard charts by fooling listeners on the radio. As a result, I have dozens of albums from the past five years in my collection that are just gorgeous from front to back.
 
 
 
It's out there, man. You just gotta look.
 
Think about the incredible time we're in. 20 years ago you weren't able to comb through Last.FM or RYM lists, find some underground musician in Norway who makes everything in his barn, then download his album at 320kbps all in the span of five minutes. You just had what was at the store. It's amazing. 
 
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elmoe

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  Yeah, this video I picked up  from that wiki page sums it up perfectly:
 
 
This is just madness, all these decades of music wasted for nothing. Millions of records produced to sound dull on purpose.. :frowning2:
 
They have to be, because produce them properly and people will start to notice how bad all these "modern artists" actually are.
 
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Tad-Bravo

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  It's worth saying that the loudness war certainly is real, but it's not universal and it's also heavily dependent upon what you're listening to. I listen to metal, but mostly underground metal of all sorts. Independent labels aren't playing the loudness war because it doesn't make sense for them to. They're not going to crack onto the billboard charts by fooling listeners on the radio. As a result, I have dozens of albums from the past five years in my collection that are just gorgeous from front to back.
 
 
 
It's out there, man. You just gotta look.
 
Think about the incredible time we're in. 20 years ago you weren't able to comb through Last.FM or RYM lists, find some underground musician in Norway who makes everything in his barn, then download his album at 320kbps all in the span of five minutes. You just had what was at the store. It's amazing. 
 
Well, it's obvious that people who like underground and indie stuff like you have nothing to complain about.
 
But me, I can actually appreciate the talent in some of the mainstream artists, and their music sounds okay when you see it on TV, or hear it in a party. But when you sit down with your open air headphones, it's unbearable.
 
That's what I'm lamenting right now. All that talent (subjective opinion) wasted by ****ty producers, not to mention all the great old music you were talking about earlier getting butchered with the remastered albums.
 
Just the other day I wanted to get some of the old Guns n' Roses songs I had lost a long time ago, so I got their latest greatest hits compilation... My ears are still bleeding, they destroyed every bit of music, all that's left is noise.
 
Same thing with Chris Rea latest re-releases, the poor guy... they got him good.
 
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