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Thread: NYT article on The Loudness Wars

  1. #1
    Member Paulrus's Avatar
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    NYT article on The Loudness Wars

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/07/o...gtype=Homepage

    I thought about putting this in the OT forum, but then said "F*ck it." This subject is constantly getting kicked around on the main page and I know there's lots of folks here with an opinion about it. And hey -- Pink Floyd is mentioned.
    I'm holding out for the Wilson-mixed 5.1 super-duper walletbuster special anniversary extra adjectives edition.

  2. #2
    This has been a problem for a while now, and often why "remasters" are worse than the original edition of CDs.

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    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    I don't buy the author's premise.
    If the Eagles or Marvin Gaye fan in your life is complaining about this year’s Grammy songs, this might be why.
    I don't think overuse of compression is the most serious problem with music today. It's a problem, yes, but it pales in comparison to the absolute DEARTH of innovation and surprise in today's music. Nothing I've heard in twenty years has been anything but a mishmash of the styles and signatures of artists popular 1970-1990.

    Everything's one big juicer these days.

  4. #4
    Great article. A buddy and I were talking about this the other day- he mentioned the compilations I burned for him had an enormous variation of loudness from track to track. He'd turn up a soft track, only to grab the remote in haste when the next track blasted his eardrums out. I tried to explain it, albeit poorly, so I'll just pass this along.

    Thanks for the link!

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    Howdy Dave (in MA)'s Avatar
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    This reminds me that I have to go and edit the tracks from Black Sabbath's 13 on my music player to reduce the volume. Any time one of the pieces comes up on Shuffle mode after a normally-leveled track, it's painfully loud.

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    Howdy Dave (in MA)'s Avatar
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    I'm not an audiophile, so...
    Is this piece an example of the so-called Loudness problem?

    It sounds all distorted to me, and bugs me every time I play AH Vol. 3. (It's not actually Vol. 1 like the YT post claims) The rest of the series is not like that.

  7. #7
    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    The same way that I want to confront a driver who doesn't use turn indicators to find out WTF they're thinking, this article (and the whole issue) makes me want to hear some of these people who are in the music business and decided they wanted an album to be compressed like this. I know they have their reasons, but I want to hear them admit it went against the idea of actually making the album "sound good" to someone who bought the album. I want to hear them admit their mistake. But I never really get that satisfaction.

    I know I've used this example before, but Marillion is so careful to make sure their albums have a wide dynamic range. It does make such a difference.

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    Member Since: 3/27/2002 MYSTERIOUS TRAVELLER's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    I don't buy the author's premise.

    I don't think overuse of compression is the most serious problem with music today. It's a problem, yes, but it pales in comparison to the absolute DEARTH of innovation and surprise in today's music. Nothing I've heard in twenty years has been anything but a mishmash of the styles and signatures of artists popular 1970-1990.

    Everything's one big juicer these days.
    indeed! the Pop music world is all a rehash with very little originality and too much reliance on programmed music instead of actual playing of instruments
    Why is it whenever someone mentions an artist that was clearly progressive (yet not the Symph weenie definition of Prog) do certain people feel compelled to snort "thats not Prog" like a whiny 5th grader?

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave (in MA) View Post
    This reminds me that I have to go and edit the tracks from Black Sabbath's 13 on my music player to reduce the volume. Any time one of the pieces comes up on Shuffle mode after a normally-leveled track, it's painfully loud.
    I need to do that to Iggy Pop's 'Raw Power', and to a lesser extent, the Who compilation 'Then and Now'.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by MYSTERIOUS TRAVELLER View Post
    indeed! the Pop music world is all a rehash with very little originality and too much reliance on programmed music instead of actual playing of instruments
    Sigh... at least we still have Coldplay to cling to.

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    I too think it's a combination of bad mastering and cookie-cutter songwriting. Too many of the same 'song doctors' and producers involved now.

  12. #12
    Music for mass consumption must be produced to reflect the way that the majority listen to music. If every album is going to be produced for the guy with an $18,0000 sound system perfectly balanced for one chair in his home, then it's not going to work for the vast majority who use earbuds.
    No matter what anyone says, you are the decider of how you will listen to music.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by MYSTERIOUS TRAVELLER View Post
    indeed! the Pop music world is all a rehash with very little originality and too much reliance on programmed music instead of actual playing of instruments

    Seems to be in the same place as the last 20 years of "prog," too.

  14. #14
    This is interesting. Having recently listened again to The Final Cut, you have all those moments where it is soft and then right in your face, that add to the dynamics. I have no facts to back me up, but this doesn't work well when listening to music with a lot of background noise. Since many people listen to music in their car or with earbuds in, the dynamics can get overwhelmed by other noise, so the highly compressed audio sounds better in these listening environments.

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    Man of repute progmatist's Avatar
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    Another factor is millennials who believe they're master multi-taskers. If the music playing while doing other things drops off in a soft passage, they wonder what happened and move on the the next song. That rules out music with any kind of dynamic range.
    "Well my son, life is like a beanstalk, isn't it?"--Dalai Lama

  16. #16
    I have finally discovered Bluetooth for my phone and I started listening probably 5+ hours a day, because it has become so much easier - no cords to interfere and constantly take off an on, just push a button and the track is muted. Wonderful! I can have conversations with people and always have music in the back ground. But...


    The difference in volumes between my classic 70's prog and much of the newer stuff is irritating. and when I fall asleep listening to music I get shocked out of sleep by some blasted song. I used to love falling asleep to music. I guess I need to create playlists that do not have those songs in it. Too bad, I wonder if there is some tech gadget that will allow me to listen to latter day Rush without crapping my pants at 3am...
    I got nothin'

    ...avoiding any implication that I have ever entertained a cognizant thought.

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    Member Jerjo's Avatar
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    Yodelgoat, my experience with Bluetooth is not as good as yours. The other day I was driving a new Suburban for work. It had a pairing for phones so I got it to pick up my phones Bluetooth (there was no place to "plug" the phone into the system like some do). Man oh man, it sounded like SHIT. I get it now. If you're streaming music you apparently need something compressed and louder than hell. I tried some prog, hard rock, jazz, etc. They all sounded weak, no authority or substance to the music at all. I bet if I had some dance pop on this it would have sounded at least louder.
    I don't like country music, but I don't mean to denigrate those who do. And for the people who like country music, denigrate means 'put down.'- Bob Newhart

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    Member Garyhead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yodelgoat View Post
    I wonder if there is some tech gadget that will allow me to listen to latter day Rush without crapping my pants at 3am...
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    Thanks for posting this...great read! So true, but I already knew that.....wish more realized you can turn the volume up on dynamic recordings and they sound great even very loud. But you can’t achieve that by turning the volume DOWN on a highly compressed recording. They still sound bad and fatiguing even at low volume levels. Take the 2 newest Kaipa releases for example...they sound awful even at low volumes..... I really like their music, but can’t listen to those two newest releases. The sound is painful to me, even at low volumes....
    Last edited by flatliner; 02-10-2019 at 11:03 AM.
    So much music....so little time....

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by flatliner View Post
    T But you can’t achieve that by turning the volume DOWN on a highly compressed recording. They still sound bad and fatiguing even at low volume levels. Take the 2 newest Kaipa releases for example...they sound awful even at low volumes.....not bad too.
    There have been rare exceptions where the album still sounds majestic like the mighty Vapor Trails by Rush!

  21. #21
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    Any rock record where one needs to turn it down for it to sound good is a direct affront to the very soul of rock n roll. Regardless of band "pedigree".

    And for Rush to take their hand off the wheel and let VT go out as it did....it did a disservice to the fans, the Band and more importantly to the music they created and so desperately wanted others to hear.
    No one plans to take the path that brings you lower

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    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MudShark22 View Post
    Any rock record where one needs to turn it down for it to sound good is a direct affront to the very soul of rock n roll. Regardless of band "pedigree".

    And for Rush to take their hand off the wheel and let VT go out as it did....it did a disservice to the fans, the Band and more importantly to the music they created and so desperately wanted others to hear.
    I agree. Was the band more involved in the mixing and mastering in earlier years? You'd think they ( and any band) would always want to check out an album after those stages to make sure it sounded good to them. The same way an author of a professionally published book gets to review galleys, proofs, etc. for mistakes.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by MudShark22 View Post
    And for Rush to take their hand off the wheel and let VT go out as it did....it did a disservice to the fans, the Band and more importantly to the music they created and so desperately wanted others to hear.
    Maybe it could have sounded better but the original is much better than the tepid remix they put out later. Ugh.

  24. #24
    Man of repute progmatist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flatliner View Post
    Thanks for posting this...great read! So true, but I already knew that.....wish more realized you can turn the volume up on dynamic recordings and they sound great even very loud. But you can’t achieve that by turning the volume DOWN on a highly compressed recording. They still sound bad and fatiguing even at low volume levels. Take the 2 newest Kaipa releases for example...they sound awful even at low volumes..... I really like their music, but can’t listen to those two newest releases. The sound is painful to me, even at low volumes....
    Kaipa's latest sounds much better on vinyl than CD. The former isn't brickwalled to death like the latter.
    "Well my son, life is like a beanstalk, isn't it?"--Dalai Lama

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    Member Since: 3/27/2002 MYSTERIOUS TRAVELLER's Avatar
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    that's probably part of what's behind the vinyl renaissance... vinyl always has great dynamic range cause ya cant brickwall vinyl
    Why is it whenever someone mentions an artist that was clearly progressive (yet not the Symph weenie definition of Prog) do certain people feel compelled to snort "thats not Prog" like a whiny 5th grader?

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