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Topic: Does anyone else sometimes get kind of pissed thinking about the loudness wars? (Read 2016 times) previous topic - next topic
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Re: Does anyone else sometimes get kind of pissed thinking about the loudness wars?

Reply #25
I don't get angry but sometimes I'm disappointed.   And, I can't say it's always compression/limiting.    Sometimes the band sounds good and I want to like it, but the music isn't doing anything for me emotionally.   Maybe more dynamics would help, maybe not.

I grew-up with vinyl and when CDs were introduced I expected artists (and producers/engineers) to take advantage of the new dynamic range.    The fact that that didn't happen was disappointing too...

But overall, I have a lot music and I have a lot of music that I enjoy listening to .   I don't have to listen to stuff I don't like.
   
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As another anecdote, the singer of my old band who did all the mixing and mastering of the stuff that was released felt that the volume level should match Death Magnetic and some Slipknot album.  Needless to say this didn't make me happy.
That would tend to make me angry!

I believe this is what the mass market wants.   It's a free market and if all (or most) of the top selling albums were highly-dynamic, everybody would be copying that style.   It's copycat business.   The new artists want to sound like the stars, and the engineers & producers want to use the same microphone & preamp as the Grammy winners, etc.


Re: Does anyone else sometimes get kind of pissed thinking about the loudness wars?

Reply #26
Having lived on both sides of the so called "loudness war", I tried to explain some of my perspective in this article: https://www.computeraudiophile.com/ca/ca-academy/dynamic-range-no-quiet-no-loud-r643/
Included are a number of sound samples to listen to help identify types overly compressed sound.

Compression is a standard tool used during recording, mixing, and mastering, and includes the artists, engineers and producer's "intent" as to how much compression to use. As my article tries to explain, there are many aspects to why we are where we are today. One major difference from when I was in the biz, was I trained at a recording school, with a background in electronics. We were taught a body of knowledge, plus given hands on training on each of the "tools" what they do, what they sound like, especially when overused.

Flash forward today, with the ubiquitous nature of virtually everyone having access to a "studio in a box" i.e. a computer with DAW, some mics and converters, folks can simply click on "Mastering Preset 2" in the DAW during mixdown and instantly get over compressed audio. Like candy, initially it can taste good, but over time, too much makes you sick... It takes skills, listening, and time to tone down "Mastering Preset 2". It seems for some recordings, all three are missing....




Re: Does anyone else sometimes get kind of pissed thinking about the loudness wars?

Reply #27
Like candy, initially it can taste good, but over time, too much makes you sick...
Who does it make sick exactly? Is there an actual research that shows that people who are exposed to DRC'ed recordings for longer periods of time feel nausea or any other negative feelings as opposed to high DR recording? I'm kinda repeating myself but to me it seems like it's a sort of old-fart-dad-rock audiophile preference/taste thing rather than something objective. Who decided that modern artists are supposed to be interested in high DR and not in better audibility of different instruments (or genericallly, audio tracks) with the help of DRC?
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But what’s good for AC/DC should be good for any rock band.

This quote from your article is just laughably ignorant.

Re: Does anyone else sometimes get kind of pissed thinking about the loudness wars?

Reply #28
Like candy, initially it can taste good, but over time, too much makes you sick...
Who does it make sick exactly? Is there an actual research that shows that people who are exposed to DRC'ed recordings for longer periods of time feel nausea or any other negative feelings as opposed to high DR recording? I'm kinda repeating myself but to me it seems like it's a sort of old-fart-dad-rock audiophile preference/taste thing rather than something objective. Who decided that modern artists are supposed to be interested in high DR and not in better audibility of different instruments (or genericallly, audio tracks) with the help of DRC?
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But what’s good for AC/DC should be good for any rock band.

This quote from your article is just laughably ignorant.

Obviously, you're not a golfer...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0CWfPUrmeiU

Re: Does anyone else sometimes get kind of pissed thinking about the loudness wars?

Reply #29
Like candy, initially it can taste good, but over time, too much makes you sick...

Who does it make sick exactly? Is there an actual research that shows that people who are exposed to DRC'ed recordings for longer periods of time feel nausea or any other negative feelings as opposed to high DR recording? I'm kinda repeating myself but to me it seems like it's a sort of old-fart-dad-rock audiophile preference/taste thing rather than something objective. Who decided that modern artists are supposed to be interested in high DR and not in better audibility of different instruments (or genericallly, audio tracks) with the help of DRC?

Here are various studies on listener preference when it comes to loudness in music. Does anyone have access to these articles so that we could read past the abstracts?

https://asa.scitation.org/doi/abs/10.1121/1.4730881

http://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=17084

http://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=15934

http://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=17168

http://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=17169


Re: Does anyone else sometimes get kind of pissed thinking about the loudness wars?

Reply #30
Well that's the issue, subjective preference of whatever DR in recordings and whether certain DRC levels makes you sick (or in other words, objectively harmful) are different issues that shouldn't be muddled together. Most people don't prefer noise music for example, but it's not wrong music in essence. When you don't approach this stuff from dad-rock perspective of how music is supposed to sound things get a bit more interesting. The last sentence in the abstract from your last link seems to support this: "In addition, it was found that subject factors such as age group, and speculatively the amount of exposure to different genres, were of considerable influence on listener preferences." (though we can't know what they mean by "speculatively" without full access).

Re: Does anyone else sometimes get kind of pissed thinking about the loudness wars?

Reply #31
If you think it's due to the clipping of the source please explain why.

Your file seems to be corrupted, it looks to me like a problem of normalization.

Re: Does anyone else sometimes get kind of pissed thinking about the loudness wars?

Reply #32
Hello all, can i propose an example ?
Is anyone feeling a lack of loudness after 3 minutes ?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ih61MJ72v1Y
It should be a lot louder than the beginning after 3 minutes IRL, no?

Re: Does anyone else sometimes get kind of pissed thinking about the loudness wars?

Reply #33
Dunno, have you asked the artist?

How about this one?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_2T43dy_Ew
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?


Re: Does anyone else sometimes get kind of pissed thinking about the loudness wars?

Reply #35
Hello all, can i propose an example ?
Is anyone feeling a lack of loudness after 3 minutes ?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ih61MJ72v1Y
It should be a lot louder than the beginning after 3 minutes IRL, no?

Funny, I was watching Evanescene's music videos on YT the other day.
I don't think so because if you watch other music videos like "My Immortal" and "Bring Me To Life" they are similar. I DRC on the fly when I'm in a loud environment because, for example, the beginning of "My Immortal" just can't be heard without DRC.

Re: Does anyone else sometimes get kind of pissed thinking about the loudness wars?

Reply #36
Mostly pissed about the lack of dynamic range nowadays. I have some 80's CDs that actually have quiet passages , something that just doesn't exist for some time (two decades).
Brick walls everywhere...

Re: Does anyone else sometimes get kind of pissed thinking about the loudness wars?

Reply #37
I ignore most current popular music. Unless a specific title is brought to my attention, either in a technical discussion or because it is included in a movie or video game, I do not know it exists and don't have an opinion on it. So no, I haven't become angry, maybe disappointed a few times when a non-mainstream track by an old artist is crushed.
Generally I only care about how the music sounds to me, if it sounds good then I'm happy with it. For example, I was happy listening to the "Chandelier" by Sia before I started to notice there was kind of a buzzing noise in it, especially when it gets to the loud parts. [..] I doubt that the cause is the clipping of the source because I've not been able to reliably ABX a clipped music from the unclipped so I don't think clipping..
I listened to "Chandelier". At -12.81 dB RG, it is among the loudest tracks I have, and most definitely contains heavy clipping. The intentionally added buzzing effectively masks it, suggesting that it belongs to the compositon. A harsh noise like this along with clicky drums, obvious edit points ("it doesn't exi~i~ist") and obligatory pitch bends / autotune, creates a disconnect between the sound and the lyrics: a song about party and love feels like it is set in a sci-fi alien robot factory in space. And the next pop/rnb song on the playlist is the same. Clipping is clearly audible during the peaceful ending of Chandelier with fewer simultaneous sounds: " cos I'm juŝt holding õn for tonight, õn for toniîight, on for toniîight. "

I usually notice clipping as my problem: are my speakers too loud? is something rattling against the cabinet? For some time I've marked clipped albums or tracks with a tag. It is most noticeable while listening quietly at night and not focusing on it. If I turn the level up, and repeat a segment trying to localize the defect, I eventually can't hear it anymore. I was surprised that I couldn't hear clipping in "Kiss From a Rose" by Seal (DR7), one of the most beautiful ballads from the 90s, or new age piano music from Keiko Matsui ("Wildflower" and "Moyo"). It is calm music with wide stereo, where a single choped off peak usually comes through as a click.

Re: Does anyone else sometimes get kind of pissed thinking about the loudness wars?

Reply #38
Hello all, can i propose an example ?
Is anyone feeling a lack of loudness after 3 minutes ?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ih61MJ72v1Y
It should be a lot louder than the beginning after 3 minutes IRL, no?

Funny, I was watching Evanescene's music videos on YT the other day.
I don't think so because if you watch other music videos like "My Immortal" and "Bring Me To Life" they are similar. I DRC on the fly when I'm in a loud environment because, for example, the beginning of "My Immortal" just can't be heard without DRC.
My position advocates LOCAL control of dynamic range compression, and not letting the studios/distributors overly distort the audio for all but the most noisy real-world situations.  I'd like to see high quality DRC available on every component, and all audio recordings be left with at least 20+dB peak-rms or more.  (peak-rms is only one measure, and not really adequate -- just giving an example.)
I like ABBA for example -- the music, not so much the available recordings.  The wall of sound isn't as bad as the extreme dynamic range compression so often used.  I can understand some technical reasons and why ABBA might sometimes sound better with more compression, but it is really good when left pristine...  When the TCSR recordings are left with 4-5crest factor and 13dB peak-rms ratio, that doesn't leave much dynamic range when the original recordings tend to have 10-12 crest factor and 18-22dB peak-rms ratio.  It takes SIGNIFICANT processing to do that much damage to the dynamic range.
The very sorry state is that the only (legacy -- 1960's thru 1980's) material that I can find -- not on vinyl -- that isn't irrepairably DRC damaged are the DolbyA encoded releases, but DolbyA generally sounds pretty bad until being decoded.
So, we (listeners -- esp of legacy recordings) have two problems -- overly agressive DRD (Dynamic Range Damage) and left-over NR (not being properly NR decoded.)  We CAN recover from the NR problems (technically -- however, high quality solutions are not always available), but the excessive compression/limiting can make it difficult (read: impossible) to recover from the DRD (dynamic range damage.)
Lets be honest and open -- a lot of DRC nowadays *IS* DRD.
We need to somehow advocate that SINCE we have so much dynamic range available in our transmission/storage mechanisms nowadays, the dynamic range MUST be allowed to be controlled by the end user... Period...

Here is an example of a compressor -- difficult to detect, might be perfect for end-user use.  It is totally dynamic, and tunes itself.   I have attached the source (and windows binaries) for the compressor -- has all of the dynamic algorithms exposed if you can read it, and also two short 30 second examples...  The compression is very subtle, the original material is master tape level dynamic range with an uncompressed "1.0" and mildly compressed "1.5:1" examples.  The compressor/source code is totally my design except for the math library (which has the copyright/license included.)  You can do with my compressor anything you want -- I only want a 2 line acknowledgement in the manual/license if you make $$$.

The compressor is very subtle in operation -- you might actually need to look at the waveforms in Audacity to see what is going on.  It is as close to ideal WRT hearing as it can get for a single band compressor.  It is very stealthy.  It does get tripped up by promenent bass at high compression -- it really would work best in a two band config -- perhaps 0-240, 240-20k.   It is a GOOD start, and would probably take only a week or two of development to make it into a really viable product.

The compressor code is not "finished" -- but will compile/build at least with clang++/llvm, and should probably be tweaked (or tweaks added) for best compression amount and maybe even the rms/sec time constants.  It was really written on/for Linux, but works fine on command line windows.  

using the compressor:  comp-avx.exe --cratio=0.33 <infile.wav >outfile.wav
Compression ratio is 1/(1-cratio).
More options:  --ingain=xxx, --outgain=xxx (all in dB.)
It likes 44.1k -> 192k sample rate, 16 bit, 24bit and floating point files.
Use sox for conversions -- it works fiine with a pipeline, and can listen realtime with the sox 'play' command.

Enjoy.

John

 
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