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Woolie_Wool
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Location: Far beyond the prophecy of tyrant guardians
PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 7:09 pm 
 

If you've got the stereo cranked to ten, either it's dangerously loud (a stereo has a louder "danger" threshold than headphones, but it still exists and it's far below the pain threshold), or you have the shittiest stereo ever.
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SwarteHeap
Metalhead

Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2009 11:52 am
Posts: 410
PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 7:10 pm 
 

FierceBlackandWicked wrote:
Here's my question though: If you take a CD that was victim of the loudness war, and a CD that was produced with more dynamics, and play them both on the same stereo cranked to 10, the CD that was victim of the loudness war will be louder. So in a way, there is still an advantage to loudly producing CD's?


No, if you want actually louder music you should purchase more powerful speakers.

edit: And yeah, it should already be plenty loud enough, unless you're trying to play your music for people on the other side of a rushing river...

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Oblarg
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Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2009 2:59 pm
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Location: The second sea
PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 7:11 pm 
 

Woolie_Wool wrote:
If you've got the stereo cranked to ten, either it's dangerously loud (a stereo has a louder "danger" threshold than headphones, but it still exists and it's far below the pain threshold), or you have the shittiest stereo ever.


This. Even on my shitty logitech speakers, my volume knob never goes above halfway, even for rather quietly mastered albums.

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Lippyass Major
Mens Mentis Minor

Joined: Mon Mar 01, 2010 12:57 pm
Posts: 2055
Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 7:13 pm 
 

SwarteHeap wrote:
FierceBlackandWicked wrote:
Here's my question though: If you take a CD that was victim of the loudness war, and a CD that was produced with more dynamics, and play them both on the same stereo cranked to 10, the CD that was victim of the loudness war will be louder. So in a way, there is still an advantage to loudly producing CD's?


No, if you want actually louder music you should purchase more powerful speakers.

edit: And yeah, it should already be plenty loud enough, unless you're trying to play your music for people on the other side of a rushing river...


Okay, so I buy better speakers and crank those up to 10. Then I play the CD that was victim of the loudness war and it still sounds louder than the well-produced one. Do you see where I'm going with this?

I'm torn between quality and volume. And I don't have the money to get expensive speakers, especially not installed in my car.

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Oblarg
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Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2009 2:59 pm
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Location: The second sea
PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 7:15 pm 
 

FierceBlackandWicked wrote:
SwarteHeap wrote:
FierceBlackandWicked wrote:
Here's my question though: If you take a CD that was victim of the loudness war, and a CD that was produced with more dynamics, and play them both on the same stereo cranked to 10, the CD that was victim of the loudness war will be louder. So in a way, there is still an advantage to loudly producing CD's?


No, if you want actually louder music you should purchase more powerful speakers.

edit: And yeah, it should already be plenty loud enough, unless you're trying to play your music for people on the other side of a rushing river...


Okay, so I buy better speakers and crank those up to 10. Then I play the CD that was victim of the loudness war and it still sounds louder than the well-produced one. Do you see where I'm going with this?

I'm torn between quality and volume. And I don't have the money to get expensive speakers, especially not installed in my car.


If you can't make your speakers play a quietly mastered album loudly enough, you've already suffered extensive hearing damage and should probably stop listening to music before you go deaf.

That, or you live next to a fucking lumber mill, or something.

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SwarteHeap
Metalhead

Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2009 11:52 am
Posts: 410
PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 7:18 pm 
 

Or else this is purely theoretical "problem" with no practical basis. Here's a purely theoretical answer: if you want the highest possible loudness, instead of playing music, play a constant max-volume tone. It has the added bonus of having literally no dynamics at all. Problem solved!


Last edited by SwarteHeap on Thu May 20, 2010 7:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Lippyass Major
Mens Mentis Minor

Joined: Mon Mar 01, 2010 12:57 pm
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PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 7:18 pm 
 

Oblarg wrote:
FierceBlackandWicked wrote:
SwarteHeap wrote:
FierceBlackandWicked wrote:
Here's my question though: If you take a CD that was victim of the loudness war, and a CD that was produced with more dynamics, and play them both on the same stereo cranked to 10, the CD that was victim of the loudness war will be louder. So in a way, there is still an advantage to loudly producing CD's?


No, if you want actually louder music you should purchase more powerful speakers.

edit: And yeah, it should already be plenty loud enough, unless you're trying to play your music for people on the other side of a rushing river...


Okay, so I buy better speakers and crank those up to 10. Then I play the CD that was victim of the loudness war and it still sounds louder than the well-produced one. Do you see where I'm going with this?

I'm torn between quality and volume. And I don't have the money to get expensive speakers, especially not installed in my car.


If you can't make your speakers play a quietly mastered album loudly enough, you've already suffered extensive hearing damage and should probably stop listening to music before you go deaf.

That, or you live next to a fucking lumber mill, or something.


Dude, I can hear the music fine. I'm just saying it's human instinct to keep wanting it louder. What do you think those literally hundreds of metal songs about cranking it up to 10 until your head explodes are about?

Yeah, as I've said, I have mixed feelings. I do appreciate a well-produced album with dynamics.

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Oblarg
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PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 7:20 pm 
 

FierceBlackandWicked wrote:
Oblarg wrote:
FierceBlackandWicked wrote:
SwarteHeap wrote:
FierceBlackandWicked wrote:
Here's my question though: If you take a CD that was victim of the loudness war, and a CD that was produced with more dynamics, and play them both on the same stereo cranked to 10, the CD that was victim of the loudness war will be louder. So in a way, there is still an advantage to loudly producing CD's?


No, if you want actually louder music you should purchase more powerful speakers.

edit: And yeah, it should already be plenty loud enough, unless you're trying to play your music for people on the other side of a rushing river...


Okay, so I buy better speakers and crank those up to 10. Then I play the CD that was victim of the loudness war and it still sounds louder than the well-produced one. Do you see where I'm going with this?

I'm torn between quality and volume. And I don't have the money to get expensive speakers, especially not installed in my car.


If you can't make your speakers play a quietly mastered album loudly enough, you've already suffered extensive hearing damage and should probably stop listening to music before you go deaf.

That, or you live next to a fucking lumber mill, or something.


Dude, I can hear the music fine. I'm just saying it's human instinct to keep wanting it louder. What do you think those literally hundreds of metal songs about cranking it up to 10 until your head explodes are about?

Yeah, as I've said, I have mixed feelings. I do appreciate a well-produced album with dynamics.


At a point you don't want it louder, if you know what's good for your hearing. That point is easily reached by even rather crappy speakers.

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Lippyass Major
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PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 7:36 pm 
 

Oblarg wrote:
FierceBlackandWicked wrote:
Oblarg wrote:
FierceBlackandWicked wrote:
SwarteHeap wrote:
FierceBlackandWicked wrote:
Here's my question though: If you take a CD that was victim of the loudness war, and a CD that was produced with more dynamics, and play them both on the same stereo cranked to 10, the CD that was victim of the loudness war will be louder. So in a way, there is still an advantage to loudly producing CD's?


No, if you want actually louder music you should purchase more powerful speakers.

edit: And yeah, it should already be plenty loud enough, unless you're trying to play your music for people on the other side of a rushing river...


Okay, so I buy better speakers and crank those up to 10. Then I play the CD that was victim of the loudness war and it still sounds louder than the well-produced one. Do you see where I'm going with this?

I'm torn between quality and volume. And I don't have the money to get expensive speakers, especially not installed in my car.


If you can't make your speakers play a quietly mastered album loudly enough, you've already suffered extensive hearing damage and should probably stop listening to music before you go deaf.

That, or you live next to a fucking lumber mill, or something.


Dude, I can hear the music fine. I'm just saying it's human instinct to keep wanting it louder. What do you think those literally hundreds of metal songs about cranking it up to 10 until your head explodes are about?

Yeah, as I've said, I have mixed feelings. I do appreciate a well-produced album with dynamics.


At a point you don't want it louder, if you know what's good for your hearing. That point is easily reached by even rather crappy speakers.


I guess, whatever. Once in a while won't hurt though, and sometimes you do want to make it painful. You know, just don't make a habit of it.

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Oblarg
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PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 7:37 pm 
 

FierceBlackandWicked wrote:
Oblarg wrote:
FierceBlackandWicked wrote:
Oblarg wrote:
FierceBlackandWicked wrote:
SwarteHeap wrote:
FierceBlackandWicked wrote:
Here's my question though: If you take a CD that was victim of the loudness war, and a CD that was produced with more dynamics, and play them both on the same stereo cranked to 10, the CD that was victim of the loudness war will be louder. So in a way, there is still an advantage to loudly producing CD's?


No, if you want actually louder music you should purchase more powerful speakers.

edit: And yeah, it should already be plenty loud enough, unless you're trying to play your music for people on the other side of a rushing river...


Okay, so I buy better speakers and crank those up to 10. Then I play the CD that was victim of the loudness war and it still sounds louder than the well-produced one. Do you see where I'm going with this?

I'm torn between quality and volume. And I don't have the money to get expensive speakers, especially not installed in my car.


If you can't make your speakers play a quietly mastered album loudly enough, you've already suffered extensive hearing damage and should probably stop listening to music before you go deaf.

That, or you live next to a fucking lumber mill, or something.


Dude, I can hear the music fine. I'm just saying it's human instinct to keep wanting it louder. What do you think those literally hundreds of metal songs about cranking it up to 10 until your head explodes are about?

Yeah, as I've said, I have mixed feelings. I do appreciate a well-produced album with dynamics.


At a point you don't want it louder, if you know what's good for your hearing. That point is easily reached by even rather crappy speakers.


I guess, whatever. Once in a while won't hurt though, and sometimes you do want to make it painful. You know, just don't make a habit of it.


You'd be surprised at how easy it is to permanently damage your hearing. Better to err on the side of caution.

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Lippyass Major
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Joined: Mon Mar 01, 2010 12:57 pm
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PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 7:39 pm 
 

Oblarg wrote:
FierceBlackandWicked wrote:
Oblarg wrote:
FierceBlackandWicked wrote:
Oblarg wrote:
FierceBlackandWicked wrote:
SwarteHeap wrote:
FierceBlackandWicked wrote:
Here's my question though: If you take a CD that was victim of the loudness war, and a CD that was produced with more dynamics, and play them both on the same stereo cranked to 10, the CD that was victim of the loudness war will be louder. So in a way, there is still an advantage to loudly producing CD's?


No, if you want actually louder music you should purchase more powerful speakers.

edit: And yeah, it should already be plenty loud enough, unless you're trying to play your music for people on the other side of a rushing river...


Okay, so I buy better speakers and crank those up to 10. Then I play the CD that was victim of the loudness war and it still sounds louder than the well-produced one. Do you see where I'm going with this?

I'm torn between quality and volume. And I don't have the money to get expensive speakers, especially not installed in my car.


If you can't make your speakers play a quietly mastered album loudly enough, you've already suffered extensive hearing damage and should probably stop listening to music before you go deaf.

That, or you live next to a fucking lumber mill, or something.


Dude, I can hear the music fine. I'm just saying it's human instinct to keep wanting it louder. What do you think those literally hundreds of metal songs about cranking it up to 10 until your head explodes are about?

Yeah, as I've said, I have mixed feelings. I do appreciate a well-produced album with dynamics.


At a point you don't want it louder, if you know what's good for your hearing. That point is easily reached by even rather crappy speakers.


I guess, whatever. Once in a while won't hurt though, and sometimes you do want to make it painful. You know, just don't make a habit of it.


You'd be surprised at how easy it is to permanently damage your hearing. Better to err on the side of caution.


I don't think my car has enough volume to do anything, for example. I have a 9-year-old car, and of course installing new speakers would be costly and not too smart. So yeah, that takes us back to why sometimes louder-produced CD's have an advantage.

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brightfield
Metalhead

Joined: Sat Mar 14, 2009 10:47 pm
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PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 7:50 pm 
 

This thread is like the equivalent of the loudness war for quoting. AHHHH!! My eyes...can't...take it.
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Zeroflux
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Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2009 10:14 pm
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PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 8:05 pm 
 

It doesn't matter whether you have lossy or lossless for an album that lacks dynamics, it will still sound like shit. I'd take Rust In Peace (Hoffman remaster) 64kbps over a FLAC version of World Painted Blood any day of the week (purely mastering wise).

Also, FLAC is not only for archiving, but also for playback. Stop arguing about this, some people can hear the differences, some people can not. I just happen to hear a small, but noticeable difference. I think it's worth it to get a FLAC album if I can find it for my PC, and my iPod I'll just go with 320kbps to get more songs on it.

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Oblarg
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PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 8:09 pm 
 

Zeroflux wrote:
It doesn't matter whether you have lossy or lossless for an album that lacks dynamics, it will still sound like shit. I'd take Rust In Peace (Hoffman remaster) 64kbps over a FLAC version of World Painted Blood any day of the week (purely mastering wise).

Also, FLAC is not only for archiving, but also for playback. Stop arguing about this, some people can hear the differences, some people can not. I just happen to hear a small, but noticeable difference. I think it's worth it to get a FLAC album if I can find it for my PC, and my iPod I'll just go with 320kbps to get more songs on it.


Download winABX, post a log, and prove it. Any difference you hear in anything other than a true double-blind test is meaningless.

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brightfield
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PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 8:10 pm 
 

I rarely download music. I buy CD's and rip to a high bit-rate mp3 and FLAC. Hard drives are so cheap these days. Why not do both? With 1 TB drives costing around $100, you can fit roughly 3000 albums at an average cost of around 3 cents each (if I did my math right).
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Oblarg
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PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 8:13 pm 
 

brightfield wrote:
I rarely download music. I buy CD's and rip to a high bit-rate mp3 and FLAC. Hard drives are so cheap these days. Why not do both? With 1 TB drives costing around $100, you can fit roughly 3000 albums at an average cost of around 3 cents each (if I did my math right).


Of course, if you have enough storage that filesize is a nonissue, keep everything as FLAC, as there's no reason not to (save, perhaps, the lack of support for it on most mobile media players). I only have a 320gb HDD, though, more than half of which is full, so I really don't have the space to archive everything in FLAC. That, and most of my music has been obtained through...less than legal means, so I don't really have the option of getting everything in FLAC.

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SwarteHeap
Metalhead

Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2009 11:52 am
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PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 9:12 pm 
 

I should add that, as some people have hinted at, "dynamics" (in terms of a song having some loud parts, some soft parts, etc) don't have much to do with mastering and the "loudness war". If a song doesn't have dynamics it was written that way.

What the "loudness" problem does is distorts the sound. It makes music sound bad in general, as well as adding artifacts such as drum beats "suppressing" other sounds (such as the guitar).

brightfield wrote:
This thread is like the equivalent of the loudness war for quoting. AHHHH!! My eyes...can't...take it.


Agreed. Please edit out the quotes, Oblarg and Fierce! You're just responding to the post above you, so they're totally unnecessary, let alone quoting half the thread.

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Expedience
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Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2008 4:22 am
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PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 11:09 pm 
 

Oblarg wrote:
ForbiddenThoughts wrote:
Yea... FLAC is lossless (Hence why it's called Free Lossless Audio Codec) cause you can essentially uncompress it once you have received it. But once you convert something to an mp3, you can never undo that compression, even though you can still convert it back to, say a .WAV, but it's already too late, that compression is still there.


However, the difference is usually inaudible if the bitrate is sufficiently high.

The point of FLAC is archiving, not playback.


That's not the point of it. Lossless is music without any data loss, whether it's compressed or not. Playback is exactly the same.

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Zeroflux
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Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2009 10:14 pm
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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 12:15 am 
 

Oblarg wrote:
Zeroflux wrote:
It doesn't matter whether you have lossy or lossless for an album that lacks dynamics, it will still sound like shit. I'd take Rust In Peace (Hoffman remaster) 64kbps over a FLAC version of World Painted Blood any day of the week (purely mastering wise).

Also, FLAC is not only for archiving, but also for playback. Stop arguing about this, some people can hear the differences, some people can not. I just happen to hear a small, but noticeable difference. I think it's worth it to get a FLAC album if I can find it for my PC, and my iPod I'll just go with 320kbps to get more songs on it.


Download winABX, post a log, and prove it. Any difference you hear in anything other than a true double-blind test is meaningless.


It's meaningless to you, but not me. I don't care about your opinion, as don't everyone else. I do hear a difference, and that's all that matters. A relatively small difference though, and not for all songs, around 60% last time I ran an ABX test. I am not interested in wasting my time trying to convince you for this, because frankly, I don't give a shit. I can hear the difference, you can't. It's as simple as that. Now, stop trying to instigate me, and stop derailing the topic (I know I'm being a hypocrite here, sorry, but I need to get this out of the way). End of story.

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FasterDisaster
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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 12:17 am 
 

Well, another decent thread down the shithole to stupid lossy/lossless dick-waving contests. Good job, guys.
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DunnRiffHorror_EHSB
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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 2:08 am 
 

FasterDisaster wrote:
Pushing all of the nobs to 10 and compressing and expanding/loudening/whatever all of the instruments doesn't do anything for the music except make it sound like total shit.


I'll second this. There are a few instances where I've enjoyed incredibly loud albums, and there are a few genres it can work well for, but for the most part, over-compression turns everything into a wall of noise and distortion. I think that record label execs are putting pressure on mastering engineers to give them loud albums. They want there tracks to be the loudest on the radio, so they "stand out" amongst the others (which is essentially useless, because radio broadcasts are usually compressed, and sometimes, you could be hearing compression upon compression upon compression depending on how the album was recorded and mastered). Only in recent years have we been seeing a large amount of commercially released albums that consistently go over 0db. Schools that teach audio recording are telling their students to compress everything. It's a cycle that continues to degrade the sound quality of modern music.

FasterDisaster wrote:
Well, another decent thread down the shithole to stupid lossy/lossless dick-waving contests. Good job, guys.


I'll second this as well. Can we get back to the loudness wars?
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Expedience
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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 2:27 am 
 

So, um.... yeah. How about that loudness eh?

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Lippyass Major
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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 3:00 am 
 

Expedience wrote:
So, um.... yeah. How about that loudness eh?


One of the better Japanese bands, in my opinion.

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sdoifuyiadsugy
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Joined: Fri May 21, 2010 1:14 am
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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 3:30 am 
 

The Loudness War is really fucking up a lot of music, metal included. I made an example vid that demonstrates a lot of the problems, notes below. Headphones highly recommended, and you can click over to HD too.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxcNvwerTOk

The first bit is of course from Nothing Else Matters by Metallica off the Black Album, which is widely regarded as having great production all around. After that, I chose a similar sample from the song Black River Falls off Cage's Science of Annihilation from last year. I'm picking on Cage because I really enjoyed their previous two albums but their new one is just terribly produced, and the Loudness War has a lot to do with it.

What you're looking at is the the waveforms for the two songs brought into Audacity, with the portion that plays highlighted. You can follow the green arrow as it scrubs through during playback. Both songs are recently purchased from iTunes and so originated as 256kbit/s AAC.

OK, so these two selections are very similar in approach. They both begin as melodic instrumentals, bring in soft vocals, then build to a climax with strong vocal punctuation. Let's break it down.

First up is Metallica:

  • Note how clear and lively the recording is. All the instruments sound natural and have plenty of breathing room.
  • The drums in particular are outstanding, with a lot of emphasis. You can see how the thin spikes correspond to different drum hits.
  • Watch how there's a natural rising progression in the volume level as vocals, guitar parts, and strings are layered in -- and as the playing and emotion builds.
  • The volume reaches its peak as the music swells and Hetfield does his significantly louder "YEAH-AH!" at the climactic moment.

Now forget about the content of the song -- this isn't about how Metallica sold out, etc. What's important is that all the elements of production, including volume levels, support the intention of the artist.

Now we switch to Cage, but first I had to dramatically decrease the volume to achieve parity in playback level:

  • Note how artificial the recording is. There's a very unnatural congestion to the overall sound.
  • Within the first second you can hear examples of clipping; they're the static crackling noises, and they continue throughout.
  • The drums have no punch. They're a percussive instrument, but all their power is blunted because they're not able to break through as they naturally would.
  • The climax is ruined. This whole bit: all four of Sean Peck's vocal parts (the lead, the harmony, the spoken part, and especially the wailing), plus the introduction of new power chords, are at exactly the same constant volume as the melodic parts before. Because the music cannot get any louder, it's not possible to grow in power and emphasis. Where is the majesty in this moment? There is very little. His wailing should be dominating the song at this moment!
  • After the climax, the melodic guitar part from before actually continues under the power chords. But it's a lot softer now, because instead of layering in parts and allowing the volume to naturally increase, they had to lower that part down to make room.


Limiting dynamic range also limits music's expressiveness. You can see it in both the macro, like a wet blanket over power and emotion, and the micro, like crippling a drum kit.

Fuck the Loudness War!

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sdoifuyiadsugy
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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 3:58 am 
 

Also, to clarify some discussion earlier, db's are being used in different contexts.

What MP3Gain is talking about is the volume level from the reference point of the maximum volume that an instant of time captured on a CD and MP3 can represent. As digital files, they have a hard-coded range and if you try to represent a volume level above that range you get junk results. Static. Noise. Clipping. The maximum is labeled 100db. Silence is 0db.

These MP3Gain numbers are only meaningful in regards to the sound files. They have no exact correlation with the db's you can measure coming out of your headphones or speakers. That measurement is of actual physical sound waves, air particles moving, and they range from 0db of complete silence to theoretically unlimited. A Manowar or Motorhead concert could be as loud as 120+ db. A comet crashing through the atmosphere and landing on top of you would be even louder. There is no clipping in the real world. Shit just gets louder, even though your ears and microphones might explode.

Now the trick is, the db level of your CD track is only one factor in the real world sound level. It's an arbitrary starting point. Just an input into a system that eventually culminates in a little paper cone vibrating the air. You can turn the volume knob up and the paper cone vibrates more and shit gets louder, or you can turn the volume knob down and the paper cone vibrates less and shit gets softer. Doesn't matter if the digital source is 70db, 80db, 90db, or 100db. Just turn the fucking knob. It will get louder as you turn the knob more. The only limit is the speakers themselves. If it's not loud enough, get bigger speakers. Maybe you have to turn the knob more for a 1990 album than for a 2010 one. Who cares. Turn the fucking knob more for the 1990 album and it will sound just as loud as the 2010 album. It will also sound better.

To put it another way: record yourself twice: once speakly softly, and once screaming as loud as you can right on top of the mic. If you analyze the soft one with MP3Gain it might say 70db. It's kind of arbitrary when it comes to playback. You can crank your speakers at top volume and you'll have your neighbors banging on your walls at your "soft" voice booming throughout your building because the real-world sound is 100db. Now maybe MP3Gain says the screaming one is over 100db and it's clipped to hell and back. A static mess like a vocal effect. But if you play it back with the volume knob turned way down you can barely hear it. The real world sound is 50db. So MP3Gain's db is kind of abstract, a measurement only understandable in terms of how much of the digital file's range is being used. In practical terms you can make any real-world sound level you want with the volume knob.

In addition, these differences between say 90db for an older album and 100db compressed to hell for a newer one are not very significant from the perspective of sound system fidelity. In practice, you're not getting anything "better" with the louder sound. Any stereo, speaker, and headphone can handle turning the volume knob of the 90db up to match the perceived loudness of the 100db one. I mean, that kind of dynamic range was fine up until recently. The Loudness War is mainly a perceptual, human, psychological problem driven from misguided record industry decisions and the ignorance of moron consumers.

Hope that helps.

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ForNaught
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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 6:32 am 
 

It does. Thanks for the clarification!
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The_Erlking
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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 6:43 am 
 

sdoifuyiadsugy, thank you for your very informative post!

sdoifuyiadsugy wrote:
If it's not loud enough, get bigger speakers. Maybe you have to turn the knob more for a 1990 album than for a 2010 one. Who cares. Turn the fucking knob more for the 1990 album and it will sound just as loud as the 2010 album. It will also sound better.


This is what I'm doing. I've been planning to get a good audio system for a while now because my current one sucks ass. I listen to a lot of 70s, 80s, 90s stuff and on vinyl and it just isn't loud enough even when I turn the knob at max but that's just because I don't have a proper amp and speakers yet.

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brightfield
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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 7:48 am 
 

sdoifuyiadsugy wrote:
Now the trick is, the db level of your CD track is only one factor in the real world sound level. It's an arbitrary starting point. Just an input into a system that eventually culminates in a little paper cone vibrating the air. You can turn the volume knob up and the paper cone vibrates more and shit gets louder, or you can turn the volume knob down and the paper cone vibrates less and shit gets softer. Doesn't matter if the digital source is 70db, 80db, 90db, or 100db. Just turn the fucking knob. It will get louder as you turn the knob more. The only limit is the speakers themselves. If it's not loud enough, get bigger speakers. Maybe you have to turn the knob more for a 1990 album than for a 2010 one. Who cares. Turn the fucking knob more for the 1990 album and it will sound just as loud as the 2010 album. It will also sound better.



Great post. I just want to add a bit more detail about the bolded part above. If you want to get the volume, say, to 110 dB, you need to make sure your speakers are rated to go beyond that level. Also, if the sensitivity (the volume level at 1 m achieved when fed 1 W) of the speaker is on the low side, say 85 dB, then you will want to get a bigger amp, so you can feed the speaker enough juice (i.e. power). If you don't have a big amp (say less than 50 W), make sure to get speakers with higher sensitivity (this number is almost always on of the manufacturer's listed specs).

When you "turn the dial", what you're actually doing is supplying more power from the amp by increasing the gain (usually in the pre-amp). An alternative that some people have, such as myself, is passive attenuation. I have some variable resistors on the output of my amp that I can increase or decrease to change "the volume" (which is really the output power of the amp).
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Abominatrix
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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 9:25 am 
 

brightfield wrote:
ForbiddenThoughts wrote:
[

The thing is, as someone stated before, people with untrained ears mistake "better" with volume or "Loudness". Turning the stereo up does not have anything to do with the dynamics of the album, those dynamics were determined when it was tracked and mixed. The Loudness Wars started because, think about this: You're in your car with your buddies listening to an album which you think is pretty awesome, and then you take that album out and put the next one in, without touching the volume knob, and then HOLY SHIT.... all of a sudden this album is 3, 6, 10dB louder than the other one and its IN YOUR FACE, so a lot of people got easily excited... and sooo the Record Labels kept trying to take advantage of the thought that so many people mistake loudness for quality.



Exactly. The "loudness war" simply exploits this well-known psychoacoustic phenomenon. And with it comes some side-effects that those producers apparently are quite happy to live with, even if it irks some audiophile nerds on internet forums (like myself).


Well, I'm certainly no audiophyle nerd (though perhaps I'd like to be?), but this technique is still transparently annoying and one of those things that seems to signify very little gain for the record companies at very high cost. In other words, it really doesn't seem worth doing, and I hope people realise this in time. Considering the number of folks who complain about the loudness war nowadays, I figure it has to stop sometime.

That Artillery album, When Death Comes, was a good and somewhat more underground album to point out as being a victim of this phenomenon. I got it some time ago and have barely been able to listen to it because of the way it sounds....of course, I'm also a little disappointed that it doesn't sound a lot like the Artillery I love, but I imagine it might grow on me if I found it a little more pleasant to listen to.

Edit: sdoifuyiadsugy, just want to..third, I guess...that your posts are probably the clearest and most informative in this thread. I didn't listen to your sound tests (at work right now and only have really crappy headphones anyway), but I can picture precisely what you are getting at.
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brightfield
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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 10:11 am 
 

Abominatrix wrote:

Well, I'm certainly no audiophyle nerd (though perhaps I'd like to be?), but this technique is still transparently annoying and one of those things that seems to signify very little gain for the record companies at very high cost. In other words, it really doesn't seem worth doing, and I hope people realise this in time. Considering the number of folks who complain about the loudness war nowadays, I figure it has to stop sometime.



You seem to be implying that I am defending the loudness. Let me be clear: I'm not.
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Abominatrix
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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 10:23 am 
 

brightfield wrote:
Abominatrix wrote:

Well, I'm certainly no audiophyle nerd (though perhaps I'd like to be?), but this technique is still transparently annoying and one of those things that seems to signify very little gain for the record companies at very high cost. In other words, it really doesn't seem worth doing, and I hope people realise this in time. Considering the number of folks who complain about the loudness war nowadays, I figure it has to stop sometime.



You seem to be implying that I am defending the loudness. Let me be clear: I'm not.


No, I wasn't implying that. Not sure wehre that came from. HOwever, I submit maybe that it's not only audiophyle nerds that notice these things, and that's an important distinction, because if this is perceived as only something that bothers some niche groupe of weirdos, it's not nearly good enough. People who know far less about audio than I do still notice something is wrong with many modern albums; perhaps they simply can't put their fingers on what that is.
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brightfield
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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 10:32 am 
 

Abominatrix wrote:
brightfield wrote:
Abominatrix wrote:

Well, I'm certainly no audiophyle nerd (though perhaps I'd like to be?), but this technique is still transparently annoying and one of those things that seems to signify very little gain for the record companies at very high cost. In other words, it really doesn't seem worth doing, and I hope people realise this in time. Considering the number of folks who complain about the loudness war nowadays, I figure it has to stop sometime.



You seem to be implying that I am defending the loudness. Let me be clear: I'm not.


No, I wasn't implying that. Not sure wehre that came from. HOwever, I submit maybe that it's not only audiophyle nerds that notice these things, and that's an important distinction, because if this is perceived as only something that bothers some niche groupe of weirdos, it's not nearly good enough. People who know far less about audio than I do still notice something is wrong with many modern albums; perhaps they simply can't put their fingers on what that is.


Firstly, when you respond to someone using the words "Well" and "but" within the first sentence, the tone is argumentative. If that's not what you meant, consider choosing your words more carefully, to avoid giving the wrong impression.

Secondly, do you have any evidence to substantiate the claim, "People who know far less about audio than I do still notice something is wrong with many modern albums."? Do you have data from a poll, for example?

BTW, it's "audiophile", not "audiophyle".
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Abominatrix
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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 10:40 am 
 

I don't think the tone is argumentative. Perhaps you're interpreting too much.

I don't have data from a poll, but do you really think it's necessary here? I'd be interested in such results if a poll has indeed been conducted, but I think the evidence is pretty clear when guys on the metal-archives and other places, some of whom clearly don't understand audio compression, decibel levels or any such things, still complain adamantly about things simply not sounding right in modern remastered or albums produced using modern practises, comparing them to the stuff they have from decades past and so on.

If you're indeed opposed to the loudness, why argue with this? Or do you really think those of us who notice are in such a minority position?
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DGYDP
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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 10:44 am 
 

brightfield wrote:
Secondly, do you have any evidence to substantiate the claim, "People who know far less about audio than I do still notice something is wrong with many modern albums."? Do you have data from a poll, for example?


I don't know anything about audio and I notice it right away. Judging from conversations at metal concerts, basically everybody notices it. If you don't hear it there might be something wrong with your ears (or your equipment), but then I don't know audio so I don't know.
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brightfield
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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 10:49 am 
 

Abominatrix wrote:
Or do you really think those of us who notice are in such a minority position?


Most people have no idea what the hell we're talking about. And by "most people", I mean those who don't spend a lot of time on music or audiophile forums.
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Abominatrix
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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 11:03 am 
 

brightfield wrote:
Abominatrix wrote:
Or do you really think those of us who notice are in such a minority position?


Most people have no idea what the hell we're talking about. And by "most people", I mean those who don't spend a lot of time on music or audiophile forums.


Yes, but that's exactly my point; they may not know enough to describe what the problem is; they may indeed only parrot what they have heard when they try and do so and look a little foolish, but their ears can verify what their words cannot explain, as the above poster has already pointed out. Unfortunately, if all you can say is "well, this sounds distorted and somehow wrong," you're not really making an effective case for the termination of this technique. Still, it seems to me that more and more people are becoming aware of the "loudness war" phenomenon and, by reading articles posted online (there was a good one posted in another thread here years ago that compared two Rush albums), are better able to understand what it is they are hearing.
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brightfield
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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 11:13 am 
 

You're preaching to the choir. It's not me you have to convince. I already said that. I just am being honest and saying the record companies won't really care until they see a decline in popularity of "loud" albums.

At some point, you guys have to put your money where your mouths are and stop buying the music that you think is too loud. Have you done that yet?

Money talks. Loudly.
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FasterDisaster
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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 11:17 am 
 

Abominatrix wrote:
brightfield wrote:
Abominatrix wrote:
Or do you really think those of us who notice are in such a minority position?


Most people have no idea what the hell we're talking about. And by "most people", I mean those who don't spend a lot of time on music or audiophile forums.


Yes, but that's exactly my point; they may not know enough to describe what the problem is; they may indeed only parrot what they have heard when they try and do so and look a little foolish, but their ears can verify what their words cannot explain, as the above poster has already pointed out. Unfortunately, if all you can say is "well, this sounds distorted and somehow wrong," you're not really making an effective case for the termination of this technique. Still, it seems to me that more and more people are becoming aware of the "loudness war" phenomenon and, by reading articles posted online (there was a good one posted in another thread here years ago that compared two Rush albums), are better able to understand what it is they are hearing.


I think the issue, at the end of the day, is most "normal people" who aren't really affected in their day to day lives by music, don't really care. To outside people, shit like this is trivial. One could argue it's also a lot harsher on the ears, and thereby could cause worse ear damage than simply listening to heavier albums. I don't know if this can be verified, or is an actual argument in support of abolishment of extreme compression within albums. Most people can't hear the difference, and most older albums (Beatles and others), are having all of their shit compressed and expanded and rereleased, so it's going to get to a point where this type of compression is the normality for music. Well, it probably already has become the normality today, which is sad. We're pretty much already seeing this heavily in heavy metal. Even with bigwigs like Metallica, to lesser know acts like Artillery.
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brightfield
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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 11:23 am 
 

One of the other things that probably pushed the loudness to even greater extremes is the popularity of iTunes and downloading music and listening to it on the computer - which is just about the crappiest audio system anyone can own.

On a "normal" stereo system with a decent amplifier and speakers, there is really no need for all this dynamic range compression, because you can still hear the "quiet" parts. But very few people own legitimate stereo systems these days. Most people are quite happy listening to shit on their shitty little PC speakers right next to their monitor or on some crappy little headphones that come with their iPod. The loudness war phenomenon goes hand in hand with this.
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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 11:27 am 
 

brightfield wrote:
One of the other things that probably pushed the loudness to even greater extremes is the popularity of iTunes and downloading music and listening to it on the computer - which is just about the crappiest audio system anyone can own.

On a "normal" stereo system with a decent amplifier and speakers, there is really no need for all this dynamic range compression, because you can still hear the "quiet" parts. But very few people own legitimate stereo systems these days. Most people are quite happy listening to shit on their shitty little PC speakers right next to their monitor or on some crappy little headphones that come with their iPod. The loudness war phenomenon goes hand in hand with this.


I listen on small earphones, (I'm mobile. I'm never at home.), and I can still hear the incredible compression from these albums, still. But, this is more because I have an incredible ear for music and sounds.
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