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Dynamic Range questions

Hi,

This current situations about covid19 let me time to listen more musics, read and learn about it...
I recently read a lot about Dynamic Range, Audio compression, EBU norme, LUFS....
But I see many poeple saying something and its opposite and I need some clarification.
My whole library come from my CD ripped in one FLAC + CUE + LOG

1/ I watch a bit the DR database (http://dr.loudness-war.info/) and i see most of time (not to say always) LPs has better DR than CDs for a same artist and same album, i wonder if is it because :

- The LP physically can't be compressed in mastering as the CD ?
- The LP and Cds mastering are done by different persons (so different compression) ?
- The hardware used to rip the LP low the loudness and so the flac analyzed in database is low loud than the original LP (like a false positive) ?
- Other suggestion ?


2/ I understand that the replaygain normalise the volume in playback, i read that a big audio compression can tired ears even if you play it at low volum, so i wonder :

- Does the replaygain is a solution for those Cds who has a low dynamic Range and a big audio compression ?
- How can i counterbalanced this "bad" mastering ?


3/ Do you know a resource (website, magazine...) where i can discover new artist, new music who provide a good quality (i don't mean hi-res here but good mastering, good instrumental, good vibes...) ?

Thanks for your help






Re: Dynamic Range questions

Reply #3
EBU R128 Loudness Range (LRA) is probably a better measure of dynamics, but human perception of dynamics isn't easy to nail down.  i.e.  There are long-term dynamics (like a song that starts soft and ends loud) and short term dynamics (like drum hits or an accented guitar note) and everything in-between.

Quote
The LP physically can't be compressed in mastering as the CD ?
Not true.   i.e.  A sine wave "test tone" has no dynamic range.   

But, an LP made from the same master may have a higher crest factor (which can give a higher "measured" or "calculated" dynamic range), especially if the master was "artificially" limited and compressed, because of the all-pass filtering (phase shifting) introduced by the LP cutting & playback processes.   That doesn't affect the sound of the dynamics.

Something similar happens when you make an MP3.   The wave shape changes making some peaks higher and some lower.   The new highest-peaks will give a higher crest factor making it "appear" to have more dynamic range, again without affecting the sound of the dynamics.

It should be obvious that CD as a format has more dynamic range capability.  The noise of vinyl limits it's usable dynamic range.

Quote
- The LP and Cds mastering are done by different persons (so different compression) ?
Sometimes.   From what I understand most modern vinyl uses the same master as the CD.   Or, a few additional "tweaks" may be done after CD mastering to to accommodate the vinyl limitations.   

Of course with older recordings from the "vinyl days", the CD version may be re-mastered.  That could be an improvement or it could make it worse depending on what was done and depending on what you consider to be an improvement.   Of course they are trying to make an improvement.  I might consider some well-done noise reduction and some "necessary" EQ to be an improvement and I might consider over-compression to have made it worse.    

Quote
- The hardware used to rip the LP low the loudness and so the flac analyzed in database is low loud than the original LP (like a false positive) ?
What? Hardware has nothing to do with it unless the analog-to-digital converter is clipped.    "Loudness" and dynamic range are sometimes related but different.

Quote
2/ I understand that the replaygain normalise the volume in playback, i read that a big audio compression can tired ears even if you play it at low volum, so i wonder :
That would depend on the listener.  IMO - Constant loudness (played loud or soft) can be boring.

Quote
- Does the replaygain is a solution for those Cds who has a low dynamic Range and a big audio compression ?
Replay Gain is not compression (or expansion).  It's just a normal-linear volume adjustment (volume matching) before the song starts.  The ReplayGain setting does not change in the middle of the song.   I can keep you from getting blasted by a "loudness war" song after listening to a quiet song and/or you won't have to turn-up the volume if a quiet song comes-on after a loud song.

Quote
- How can i counterbalanced this "bad" mastering ?
In general, you can't.  Find different music to buy.   :P   There are peak-unlimiter and expander effects/plug-ins but you can't exactly un-do what's been done.



Re: Dynamic Range questions

Reply #4
Quote
There are peak-unlimiter and expander effects/plug-ins but you can't exactly un-do what's been done.
it's also error prone and many effects have questionable algorithms so there's a very high chance to make something that's actually even worse than the already bad master.
some ANC'd headphones + AutoEq-based impulse + Meier Crossfeed (30%)

Re: Dynamic Range questions

Reply #5
@DVDdoug  Thank you for your point by point answer. What i understand from your answer and Cynic once is if i want to check the quality of Cd and compare it from his vinyl version, I have to check the database, and check if it is mastered by the same person or different person ? then the result is more relevant ? But i have to keep in mind that LP is a bit advantaged
If am i right do you know a "database" where i can check those information (master...) ?
Do you know if there is a  LRA meter for linux and a database ?

Edit : Ok i re-read your answer... i guess my ears, listening both of them in a shop and speak with music professionnal (LP and CD vendor fo example) is a best bet ?
So refered to my question 3/ in my first post, do you know where i can read and learn about good stuff ?

Greatfulness !

Re: Dynamic Range questions

Reply #6
Quote
I have to check the database, and check if it is mastered by the same person or different person ?
"Good luck" finding that information.   Even if it was a different master you'd have to listen to both to decide which you prefer.  (And the same mastering engineer could do two different jobs.)   I read something on a vinyl-production website once and the way I understood it, the place that makes the actual lacquer master might make some "small adjustments" which wouldn't be attributed to any particular mastering engineer.

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But i have to keep in mind that LP is a bit advantaged
Do you mean disadvantaged?   A few people do prefer the sound of vinyl but it's technically inferior to CD.    CDs are a better than human hearing and vinyl is obviously worse than human hearing.   Specifically, vinyl noise is audible and there are sometimes frequency response & distortion issues with analog vinyl.

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If am i right do you know a "database" where i can check those information (master...) ?
I don't know. But dynamic range is only one factor and if the CD sounds worse than the vinyl, I'm not listening to either one. ;)   I grew up with vinyl and I'm NOT going back! .   The "snap", "crackle", and "pop" always annoyed me. 

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Do you know if there is a  LRA meter for Linux
I don't know.  I'm a Windows guy.   GoldWave has it and GoldWave is supposed to run under Linux/Wine.  Audacity is cross-platform (Including Linux) and I use a plug-in called dpMeter4 but that plug-in is only available for Windows & OSX.

Edit : Ok i re-read your answer... i guess my ears, listening both of them in a shop[/quote]Yes if you can listen, decide for yourself which one you prefer.

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and speak with music professionnal (LP and CD vendor fo example) is a best bet?
I wouldn't trust a "random professional".    If it's someone you trust and someone that has similar taste as you, OK.

Quote
So refered to my question 3/ in my first post, do you know where i can read and learn about good stuff ?
I don't know.    Most of the "audiophile" community is "nuts".   They "hear" things that normal people can't hear and then they have all kinds of excuses about why blind listening tests are invalid.   Most of the "audio quality" related information on the internet is probably misinformation.    

Re: Dynamic Range questions

Reply #7
@DVDdoug  Thanks again for your complete answer. I will make my beginners experience using your advice.

Most of the "audiophile" community is "nuts".   They "hear" things that normal people can't hear and then they have all kinds of excuses about why blind listening tests are invalid.   Most of the "audio quality" related information on the internet is probably misinformation.    

Here i was asking for resource to discover good music stuff not just audiophile things. Something like article/website/blog talking about artist where someone could say "You may listen to this guy/girl he/she does great music" and not the kind of "listen to the best billboard charts this years he/she sold X albums"

Re: Dynamic Range questions

Reply #8
Quote
The LP physically can't be compressed in mastering as the CD ?
Not true.   i.e.  A sine wave "test tone" has no dynamic range.   

But, an LP made from the same master may have a higher crest factor (which can give a higher "measured" or "calculated" dynamic range), especially if the master was "artificially" limited and compressed, because of the all-pass filtering (phase shifting) introduced by the LP cutting & playback processes.   That doesn't affect the sound of the dynamics.
Actually, CD mastering and LP mastering are by definition very different.  The LP has a number of physical constraints that must be considered, and none are simple fixed level thresholds.  For example, the maximum level that can be recorded is actually defined by a curve that represents stylus velocity as a function of frequency.  High frequencies cannot be cut at high modulation levels because at a certain velocity the rear facet of the cutting stylus collides with the grove the stylus just cut creating horrific distortion.  Maximum modulation is also more limited in the vertical groove component, meaning high level, high separation signals have another physical limit.  CD/PCM has none of those limitations, you can modulate at 0dBFS full bandwidth, and without regard to channel separation or content.  Thus the infamous "brick wall" limiter is easily applied to a PCM signal, but potentially unproductive on vinyl, which is one reason many vinyl versions have higher crest factors and appear more dynamic, until you consider the noise floor.
It should be obvious that CD as a format has more dynamic range capability.  The noise of vinyl limits it's usable dynamic range.
...and the maximum velocity, which as above not only changes with frequency, but changes with groove diameter.  Innger grooves have less dynamic capability than outer grooves.  And vinyl quality makes a significant difference too.

Quote
- The LP and Cds mastering are done by different persons (so different compression) ?
Sometimes.   From what I understand most modern vinyl uses the same master as the CD.   Or, a few additional "tweaks" may be done after CD mastering to to accommodate the vinyl limitations.   
More likely the reverse.  The vinyl master is less processed, and processed differently.  The tweaks for vinyl and CD are very different.  There's a common master somewhere upstream, but what gets cut into lacquer vs glass is usually different for a number of reasons, some physical, some artistic.  Vinyl has the current reputation for sounding...um...well...different.  It serves no marketing purpose to make them identical, though frankly, outside of the noise floor, it can be done.  I've done it, in fact.  But that's not the goal, they want the vinyl to sound different, so it does.  If they want it to be processed for a hot cut, the processing will be quite different from CD.
Quote
2/ I understand that the replaygain normalise the volume in playback, i read that a big audio compression can tired ears even if you play it at low volum, so i wonder :
That would depend on the listener.  IMO - Constant loudness (played loud or soft) can be boring.

Quote
- Does the replaygain is a solution for those Cds who has a low dynamic Range and a big audio compression ?
Replay Gain is not compression (or expansion).  It's just a normal-linear volume adjustment (volume matching) before the song starts.  The ReplayGain setting does not change in the middle of the song.   I can keep you from getting blasted by a "loudness war" song after listening to a quiet song and/or you won't have to turn-up the volume if a quiet song comes-on after a loud song.
There is some actual truth to this.  Densely processed audio is actually more apparent at lower volumes because at higher volumes the hearing system begins it's own dynamic processing, and at very high SPL, aggressive dynamic processing doesn't seem out of place.  At low volumes it is much more apparent, which can cause long term listener fatigue.  This is not well documented, but broadcasters have know about it for decades.
Quote
- How can i counterbalanced this "bad" mastering ?
In general, you can't.  Find different music to buy.   :P   There are peak-unlimiter and expander effects/plug-ins but you can't exactly un-do what's been done.
Nothing can undo the damage caused by the current loudness processing.  Nothing.  It's a one-way street.  There are just too many variations.  Multi-band peak limiting and clipping will drive you nuts trying to reverse.


Re: Dynamic Range questions

Reply #9
None of that changes the fact that vinyl masters can be and sometimes are sourced from masters that were processed with heavy DRC, and that differences in DR figures between CD and vinyl CANNOT be trusted.

Anecdotally speaking, whenever I challenge someone to show me a capture of a modern release on vinyl that the person claims came from a more dynamic master, more often than not it turns out that it wasn’t.
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?

Re: Dynamic Range questions

Reply #10
None of that changes the fact that vinyl masters can be and sometimes are sourced from masters that were processed with heavy DRC, and that differences in DR figures between CD and vinyl CANNOT be trusted.

Anecdotally speaking, whenever I challenge someone to show me a capture of a modern release on vinyl that the person claims came from a more dynamic master, more often than not it turns out that it wasn’t.
The key fact to keep in mind here is that how each type of media was mastered is almost always a complete unknown, and DR measurement techniques are erratic.  There are reasons that vinyl should exhibit a somewhat higher crest factor, but other than that, it's a wild world.  

Re: Dynamic Range questions

Reply #11
For the sake of the OP let’s be very clear: you cannot trust DR figures for vinyl releases, period.

As far as heavy DRC on vinyl goes, it is very easy to spot, regardless of the mystery meat.
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?

Re: Dynamic Range questions

Reply #12
Thank you both for the explanations supplements.

Do  you know where i can discover good music ? articles, blog about artist, song... ?

Re: Dynamic Range questions

Reply #13
https://www.music-map.com

Pandora is decent, when I listen to someone else’s station. If I like something I don’t know I use Sound Hound and check the history later.

Other than that I am of no use.
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?

Re: Dynamic Range questions

Reply #14
Do  you know where i can discover good music ? articles, blog about artist, song... ?
Good MUSIC is all about the composition and the performance. The quality of the recording is secondary.

For example: Fleetwood Mac's "Rumours" is a MUCH better recording than their old Boston Tea Party live show.
But musically I know which one I'd rather listen to...

As long as you agonise about how good the sound quality is, you're going to miss out on some fine music.
Of course, finding it is another challenge entirely - the mainstream media isn't going to help you.

Re: Dynamic Range questions

Reply #15
https://www.music-map.com

Pandora is decent, when I listen to someone else’s station. If I like something I don’t know I use Sound Hound and check the history later.

 Nice thanks you both i will check this !!

Good MUSIC is all about the composition and the performance. The quality of the recording is secondary.

This is what i asked for @cliveb, not good music in terms of sound quality but about artistic skills.


 

Re: Dynamic Range questions

Reply #16
Good MUSIC is all about the composition and the performance. The quality of the recording is secondary.
This is what i asked for @cliveb, not good music in terms of sound quality but about artistic skills.
Sorry I misinterpreted your question. Throughout this thread you've been asking about dynamic range and mastering. So it was only natural to think you were asking for recommendations about finding well recorded music.

Re: Dynamic Range questions

Reply #17
Sorry I misinterpreted your question. Throughout this thread you've been asking about dynamic range and mastering. So it was only natural to think you were asking for recommendations about finding well recorded music.

No problem, i understood quickly with your answers that the good recording is subsidiary to a good composition and performance.
that's why i changed my position in my questionning. At last all is about emotion, feelings, and very personnal :)

I Solved this thread.
See Ya

EDIT :  How could i mark it solved ? Thanks.

 
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