If Sound-check, Replay gain or any other system should be ON by default, the situation would already improve enormously.
I have been in the vinyl mastering business from 1972 and took up CD mastering in 1986.
Quote from: foonmastering on 01 June, 2013, 06:29:53 AMIf Sound-check, Replay gain or any other system should be ON by default, the situation would already improve enormously.I doubt it. I think most people will rather think that this "thingy" is broken and makes everything too quiet and even destroys "sound quality". They might even blame volume cap laws and they'll post instructions on internet forums to disable the "crippling volume limiting setting".I don't think the loudness war can be won without some amount of education. For me, the test to perform is to crank up the volume. If you feel completely immersed in the music, if the drumming makes your body vibrate, then the recording is good. If everything sounds flat and "gooey" and it gives you a headache after a minute, or if the drumming makes your headphones / speakers sound like they're made of cardboard paper, then it's too fucking loud. Compare a good recording and a bad recording at high volume, and the difference in actual sound quality will be more evident (IMO).Edit: there's already a lot of misunderstanding about what Replaygain does, particularly in audiophile circles. Notably, that it "kills dynamics".
Quote from: foonmastering on 01 June, 2013, 06:29:53 AMI have been in the vinyl mastering business from 1972 and took up CD mastering in 1986.Welcome to Hydrogenaudio. Glad to see a mastering pro on this forum (where dynamics are still much appreciated)!
I think I will have to explain what "Loudness Normalization" (like Sound-Check) does
And yes people will complain that their device isn't loud enough with some headphones
Quote from: foonmastering on 01 June, 2013, 02:36:57 PMI think I will have to explain what "Loudness Normalization" (like Sound-Check) doesNot here, you don't. FYI, the author of Replaygain is an active member on this board. Did I sound like *I* misunderstood the concept? I thought it was clear that I was pointing out widespread misunderstanding of other people.And yes people will complain that their device isn't loud enough with some headphones, or when connecting their DAP to a hi-fi or their car stereo , and thus will look for ways on the internet to disable that "crippling" feature. People routinely report that "problem", which is even more pronounced on EU DAPs that already come with volume caps that can't always be disabled (like iPods). Most DAPs probably output only 1V at max volume, which is half that of a proper line-out. So if you further reduce the signal by 6dB, or even 12dB (which is not at all uncommon), the problem gets significantly worse.
EBU R128 / BT.1770-2 is slowly taking over the world
The solutions discussed earlier in this thread would stop this happening though. It's true that a simple ReplayGain + clipping prevention + an arbitrarily low target level that's independent of the volume control can stop you from turning the volume up, and force you to listen to some tracks far quieter than they were delivered. However, a target level that's integrated into the volume control, plus a peak limiter, will (if you push it, and the device allows you to push it) allow you to make your music even louder than it started out (though it'll sound truly awful if you do). A device configured like that, with sensible limits and useful headroom, will never sound quiet at full volume. Whereas mp3s with ReplayGain applied at 89dB can do on some devices.
Quote from: 2Bdecided on 17 July, 2012, 01:08:05 PMEBU R128 / BT.1770-2 is slowly taking over the worldDoesn't that standard have a target of 84dB, a full 5dB lower than Replaygain? Which means that "I'm With You" by Red Hot Chili Peppers gets attenuated by 17.36dB (!), which in the world of volume capped iPods, is bordering on insanity.
Quote from: 2Bdecided on 01 June, 2013, 05:45:05 PMThe solutions discussed earlier in this thread would stop this happening though. It's true that a simple ReplayGain + clipping prevention + an arbitrarily low target level that's independent of the volume control can stop you from turning the volume up, and force you to listen to some tracks far quieter than they were delivered. However, a target level that's integrated into the volume control, plus a peak limiter, will (if you push it, and the device allows you to push it) allow you to make your music even louder than it started out (though it'll sound truly awful if you do). A device configured like that, with sensible limits and useful headroom, will never sound quiet at full volume. Whereas mp3s with ReplayGain applied at 89dB can do on some devices.Apologies, I should have read the whole thread before answering. Integrating normalization into the volume control sounds like a neat idea (if I understand it correctly), but how would that be much different than attenuation in the digital domain, and conversely, disabling tag-based Replaygain on the playback device in order to get maximum volume?
I simply fail to see any technical solution to a cultural problem, which wasn't there in the 80s. Loudness normalization is not something that content producers and consumers want.
The only solution that I see, is to have all parties listen to a great recording on a good system, and the same material but with all the usual excessive compression and peak limiting applied, hoping that they will realise that some amount of dynamic range makes the recording sound a lot punchier, in contrast to what almost everyone has come to conclude (for all the wrong reasons). I have no idea how to do that on a massive scale, however.
Thanks for your comments David. Very helpful.With improved performance of DACs, and advent of digital user interfaces, the variable analog gain stage is seen much less frequently now especially in portable players. Even where this is not the case, it's hard to argue that multiple gain controls for the same signal is of value to the user. The proposal challenges designers to make it look like there is one control even if there are multiple. Either they'll fail and (hopefully) we'll be no worse off or they'll succeed and the listening and human-machine experience will be improved.I believe there is room for improvement for how the the control responds towards the top of the range. We think, however, the best solution is to avoid the problem altogether and build systems with more headroom. The hearing protection features make this safe to do. One thing we did not want to do is try to tackle the dynamic range management issues. We recognize that dynamic range management in the player is useful for playback in noisy environments etc. but defining how that should work is not something we could take on at this time. You can argue that specifying a limiter is a more tractable problem but based on crappy limiter implementations we see in players, we decided the best approach was to make the system linear.The focus of the HLP provisions is more on meeting requirements of current (EU) legislation than on actually protecting hearing. True HLP is another piece that we considered but decided we could not, in good conscience, take on. Current legislation calibrates SPL based on factory earbuds. There's no known solution to the loophole of using sensitive aftermarket transducers. While a configurable sensitivity parameter is an interesting improvement. We worked hard, however, to reduce the system to a single knob.There are no hard requirements specified in Annex 4. The purpose the annex is to make player designers aware that there is no authentication mechanism in many metadata systems. Blindly trusting metadata can enable a different kind of loudness war where content providers fudge loudness metadata to make their media more compelling.
Again there's also the problem of the inadequacy of high dynamic range material in noisy environments. A solution to that, as mentionned earlier, is a live DRC DSP, but then I don't see people using it appropriately (enabling and disabling it whenever it makes sense), and mostly I really don't see content producers leaving that up to the consumer (because that would mean losing control over their competitive edge).Edit: perhaps a notable counter-example, is Daft Punk's latest album, "Random Access Memories", which is number one pretty much everywhere. It has an album gain of just -6.07dB, and while its DR8 score isn't all that impressive, it sounds really good, nothing like a smashed RHCP album. And in this particular instance, everyone is raving about how good it sounds.
... This is indeed a good sounding album, with DR's between 6 and 9, but still with a lot of inter-sample overs, which I can hear very clearly distorting in some places on my studio-monitors. ...
I'm concerned that many audio systems don't have a single digital gain control, but have some analogue gain as well (or multiple digital gains). Where this is true, it's wrong to assume that 0dB FS at a given point in the chain represents the loudest sound a system will ever produce. It would be nice to integrate the loudness normalisation into the only volume control (I suggested something like this in 2001), but you've got to anticipate that this won't always be possible.
I'm thinking about how this would work on my portable mp3 player. I'm listening to a classical track that's basically quiet but has a few loud peaks. These loud peaks mean that the top part of my volume control effectively doesn't work. I visibly change the volume control, and the volume doesn't audibly change - because those peaks (which might not even be in the part of the album I'm listening to at the moment) are preventing it from going higher. Then I skip to a pop track (I got bored with the classical track - I couldn't turn it up loud enough to hear the quiet parts!) and BANG the volume control is working and the level jumps up by 12dB. You could put some logic in to prevent the jump, and/or visibly lock out the top of the volume control range while the classical track was playing - but either way I still can't turn up the quiet parts of my classical track (or the quieter parts of any dynamic album) to listen to them properly.