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  • Mach-X
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Does Heavy Metal sound bad or is it my speakers?
Topic sums it up. In my home theater I picked up some vintage paradigm mk3se's as since the first time I heard paradigm speakers I was a fan. Using a pair of atoms for surround. I am a fan of of deathcore/death metal/thrash, etc, and whenever I listen to any of this on my system I can't stand the sound. It's lifeless with overbearing mud. When watching a dvd with dolby digital, or playing pop music like Madonna's celebration double disc set, the audio is sublime with bass that punches you in the chest, and when somebody jangles keys in a movie it sounds like it's coming from _over there_. Is metal just badly produced? Is it _supposed_ to sound so muddy? My favorite metal albums like Master of Puppets or Whitechapel's A New Era of Corruption just sound aweful.

  • Kohlrabi
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Does Heavy Metal sound bad or is it my speakers?
Reply #1
In my experience the production of metal music is generally very bad. "Mud" pretty much hits the nail. I have several albums where there is excessive clipping, overzealous dynamic range compression, very badly separated stereo/instruments and weird equalizing. This simply comes with the territory.

Sometimes I regret having listened to properly mastered albums, that really takes some of the enjoyment out of listening to poor productions.
  • Last Edit: 04 July, 2013, 06:22:07 AM by Kohlrabi
It's only audiophile if it's inconvenient.

  • me7
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Does Heavy Metal sound bad or is it my speakers?
Reply #2
it always depends on the specific album. There is no genre consisting of only good or bad sounding albums.
You mentioned Death Metal and Deathcore, these genres emerged after the loudness war started. After 1990, audio quality of CDs began to decline so there are probably Death albums that sound bad.

  • dhromed
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Does Heavy Metal sound bad or is it my speakers?
Reply #3
What about artists like Opeth, Mach-X? How do they sound?

Does Heavy Metal sound bad or is it my speakers?
Reply #4
Quote
I am a fan of of deathcore/death metal/thrash, etc, and whenever I listen to any of this on my system I can't stand the sound.


Quote
My favorite metal albums like Master of Puppets or Whitechapel's A New Era of Corruption just sound aweful.


I don't get this. What did you listen to your favorite albums from your favorite genre on in the first place  that made it your favorite?


  • dhromed
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Does Heavy Metal sound bad or is it my speakers?
Reply #5
If you could upload some samples, we could determine if these sound like crap. It's possible your previous system was so terribly colored that it made a lot of music sound different from what it should be.

  • probedb
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Does Heavy Metal sound bad or is it my speakers?
Reply #6
It depends. You can't generalise. Some bands like Boris really want it to clip because that's how they want it to sound. Some metal is well produced and some isn't just like many other genres of music.

Master Of Puppets sounds fine to me, always has done.

  • dhromed
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Does Heavy Metal sound bad or is it my speakers?
Reply #7
And if you're playing something like SunnO then you don't get to complain.

  • ktf
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Does Heavy Metal sound bad or is it my speakers?
Reply #8
Maybe it's neither. Maybe it's the acoustics of the room that are making it sounding muddy.

I know of a few systems where light classical music or pop music sound great, but perform poor with metal, just because it extensively uses frequency bands that other genres don't. The metal-characteristic of using double bass drum is something that might not work very well with your system or room.
Music: sounds arranged such that they construct feelings.

  • Andavari
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Does Heavy Metal sound bad or is it my speakers?
Reply #9
I am a fan of of deathcore/death metal/thrash, etc,


Some of it can also depend upon when it was released because there's and endless amount of in particular Death Metal albums from the late 1980s through to the early 1990s that weren't recorded on the best equipment (probably a money issue).

One Thrash Metal album that instantly comes to mind which to me is intolerable on any equipment (home stereo, headphones, etc.,) that has that "mud" and "overboosted bass" sound is 'Exodus - Force Of Habit (1992)' - from the original 1992 CD no less, and I'd fear a remaster.
Complexity of incoherent design.

  • TomasPin
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Does Heavy Metal sound bad or is it my speakers?
Reply #10
[sarcasm]
You could always give Death Magnetic a try, one of the best sounding albums of our era.
[/sarcasm]

What did you listen to your favorite albums from your favorite genre on in the first place that made it your favorite?


Maybe in suboptimal equipment or in a portable player? I often have more tolerance for compressed albums while listening on my iPod than when using my dad's Hi-fi, for instance.
A man and his music: http://tubular.net/

  • smok3
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Does Heavy Metal sound bad or is it my speakers?
Reply #11
if most of that genre is produced like sample 2 here
https://bash-o-saurus-rex.googlecode.com/gi...ample-scans.txt
then it is possible to expect the sound in pretty "muddy" or should i say "boring sound".
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  • dhromed
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Does Heavy Metal sound bad or is it my speakers?
Reply #12
if most of that genre is produced like sample 2 here
[ASCII-style analysis graphs]
then it is possible to expect the sound in pretty "muddy" or should i say "boring sound".


To quote a certain somebody, "Do you listen with your eyes?"

  • smok3
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  • Moderator
Does Heavy Metal sound bad or is it my speakers?
Reply #13
To quote a certain somebody, "Do you listen with your eyes?"

I know what you are saying and you are right, it is just my (limited) experience that things with LRA < ~4 are really not worth bothering my ears with.

p.s. Also I happen to know some people from this genre and they are all pretty deaf from years of playing over-loud music, so in this specific case/genre i would actually suggest them to use R128 measurements throught the production and redo everything with such a small LRA.
  • Last Edit: 05 July, 2013, 06:49:48 AM by smok3
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  • dhromed
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Does Heavy Metal sound bad or is it my speakers?
Reply #14
I know what you are saying and you are right, it is just my (limited) experience that things with LRA < ~4 are really not worth bothering my ears with.



Earlier I mentioned Opeth, because they're in the death metal genre relevant to MAch-X's interests, but the production is absolutely wonderful. I wonder what that kind of loudness graph would look like for some of their tracks?

  • smok3
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  • Moderator
Does Heavy Metal sound bad or is it my speakers?
Reply #15
Well try it, any r128 scanner will/should return an LRA value, (the graph is mostly irrelevant and its there due to me playing with gnuplot).
edit: or find a track on youtube and post a link here and ill draw some pretty ASCI graphs (if that is allowed per forum rules).
edit2: here is one;
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/7953236.../opeth_r128.txt
(Note: the clipping meter is highly primitive, it is not the "true peak" meter & clipping can be there due to lossy compression)

edit3: the r128 script is here http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....howtopic=100496 if you want to play around (Only tested on Debian).
  • Last Edit: 05 July, 2013, 10:53:41 AM by smok3
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  • Mach-X
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Does Heavy Metal sound bad or is it my speakers?
Reply #16
Yes, I believe room acoustics are part of the issue because they don't sound so bad at low volumes through headphones. My living room is all hard floor and painted walls. So I eliminated the center speaker and turned off dolby pro logic, letting the mk3se's shine on their own and everything is substantially better, thanks for all the replies. As to 'what did I listen on before' it was all sub optimal so everything just sounded bad. It's the old hifi rabbit hole, once you've heard better, what you have no longer sounds any good.

  • slks
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Does Heavy Metal sound bad or is it my speakers?
Reply #17
In my experience, some genres (like metal) are a lot more sensitive to timbral variations from speakers than other genres (like pop or dance).

There's probably some psychoacoustic principle behind it. Maybe having the signal more evenly distributed across a wide frequency range does it? With your typical heavily distorted metal guitar you've got everything from ~150 hz to 6 kHz+ at pretty much the same dB level. Some bands will add a "scoop" EQ filter to it - if your speakers' frequency response already has a "scoop", now you've got TWO scoops and it'll sound off.

Edit: Having a center speaker (for a total of 3?) would add a further compounding weirdness, due to the comb filter effect from when the speakers' output combines at given points in the room. Dolby Pro Logic can only further muddy the signal at that point! Generally I stay away from "sound enhancements" of that sort. I used to have a surround sound setup I played everything though, I've found it better to reserve that for true multichannel content and play stereo content from 2 speakers as intended!
  • Last Edit: 06 July, 2013, 02:42:36 AM by slks

Does Heavy Metal sound bad or is it my speakers?
Reply #18
Topic sums it up. In my home theater I picked up some vintage paradigm mk3se's as since the first time I heard paradigm speakers I was a fan. Using a pair of atoms for surround. I am a fan of of deathcore/death metal/thrash, etc, and whenever I listen to any of this on my system I can't stand the sound. It's lifeless with overbearing mud. When watching a dvd with dolby digital, or playing pop music like Madonna's celebration double disc set, the audio is sublime with bass that punches you in the chest, and when somebody jangles keys in a movie it sounds like it's coming from _over there_. Is metal just badly produced? Is it _supposed_ to sound so muddy? My favorite metal albums like Master of Puppets or Whitechapel's A New Era of Corruption just sound aweful.


Sounds like you may need a good subwoofer.  Heavy metal generally has a lot of mid bass.  I can't believe that Atoms can do much with it.

  • shadowking
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Does Heavy Metal sound bad or is it my speakers?
Reply #19
In my experience bringing speakers closer to one another and increasing their distance from the wall gives a tighter and more accurate sound (less imprecision and muddy sound) . This is similar to headphones but without the soundstage quirks they introduce.
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  • Hotsoup
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Does Heavy Metal sound bad or is it my speakers?
Reply #20
Earlier I mentioned Opeth, because they're in the death metal genre relevant to MAch-X's interests, but the production is absolutely wonderful. I wonder what that kind of loudness graph would look like for some of their tracks?

I was about to mention that metal on my home system is also hit and miss, but like dhromed mentioned, Opeth (especially Ghost Reveries) sounds great on it. So I've always assumed it came down to production and mastering. Master of Puppets is an old favorite from my youth, but it doesn't really stand out on my main system either while Slayer's South of Heaven, from around the same time period, sounds pretty damn good. Dream Theater also sounds good. I also tend to agree with Arny about the mid-bass because my car speakers are jacked up in those frequencies and all my metal has a nice "crunch". So maybe in your home theater you could tweak the EQ a bit for metal.

  • Porcus
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Does Heavy Metal sound bad or is it my speakers?
Reply #21
Yeah, there is often quite a bit of mid-bass that might create booms in your room etc., and besides, there are quite a few lesser productions out there. (Nevermore: “Enemies of Reality”, anyone?)

Curious that Opeth should be mentioned; back in the mid-nineties, the attitude was that Dan Swanö made good productions, and quite a few of us were surprised to hear from Swanö himself that he quit out of dissatisfaction. Now listen to the sound of the first two Opeth albums vs the next few, I think that represents one trend of production in Swedish death.

  • Martel
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Does Heavy Metal sound bad or is it my speakers?
Reply #22
I'm facing this problem all the time when upgrading my audio stuff. Only a small portion of my metal collection (mostly Doom/Black/Death metal) is well recorded/mastered.

But what I find worse than sounding muddy (low fidelity) is too much treble. It renders some high end (full treble range/sibilant) equipment unusable (ear-splitting).

So I usually end up testing with Eric Clapton, Bryan Adams and some other pop albums I keep because they are reasonably recorded and the musical content is somewhat bearable.
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  • ferday
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Does Heavy Metal sound bad or is it my speakers?
Reply #23
Check out metal-fi.com for metal reviews that take the sound seriously and as part of the review

There is some superbly recorded metal, just like any genre

  • shadowking
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Does Heavy Metal sound bad or is it my speakers?
Reply #24
Try Paradise Lost Draconian Times . I cannot think of an album that has better sound in any genre.
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