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The Loudness War


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#1 KRose

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Posted 17 June 2009 - 08:30 PM

This has been known for a long time, but I don't think many people really know about it outside of audiophiles:

From Wikepedia: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loudness_war) :
"The loudness war (or loudness race) is the music industry's tendency to record, produce, and broadcast music at progressively increasing levels of loudness to attempt to create a sound that stands out from others."
Here is a video that is helpful, if you don't want to read the entire article.


It really is true. Get an audio editing program if you haven't got one (I recommend Audacity), get songs from albums that played on the radio and try them against older CDs. It's really neat if you can compare the same song from CDs produced in different years. For the most part, if I paste a song from today's radio in Audacity, it will be a block of noise, or close to it, lacking in dips and real dynamics. Newer releases of older songs get louder than they used to be.

I think this might be why I really can't stand most of today's music, or a lot of today's "remasters" of older music. There were these few months years ago that I listened to nothing but Pink Floyd and then I couldn't stand anything off the radio...even songs that were similar to Pink Floyd but recorded recently. And now I seek older or audiophile CDs of my favourite artists in the hopes that they aren't as distorted as today's releases. There are a few artists from today I genuinely like, but I find I can't listen to them for long before I feel pain.

What do you guys think? Are you able to stand the difference? Do you perceive any differences? How do you cope when you do enjoy the "loud" albums but not the loudness?

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#2 groovicus

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Posted 18 June 2009 - 12:01 AM

I have always said, "if it's too loud, you're too old."

<shrug>

#3 Guest_Abacus 7_*

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Posted 18 June 2009 - 12:14 AM

:thumbsup:

The off switch on Hearing Aids turn them into Hearing Plugs.

:flowers:

#4 etavares

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Posted 08 July 2009 - 08:41 PM

There was an article about that a year or two ago in Rolling Stone. I do notice some difference when I listen to my dad's LPs from the 60s/70s versus my CDs from the 90s/00s. However....

I'm more concerned that everyone is getting used to poor quality music with compressed music and video files!


If I don't respond within 2 days, please feel free to PM me.
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#5 Layback Bear

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Posted 22 August 2009 - 01:19 PM

There is a simple rule. If the music your listing to is at a level that people who don't want to hear it can; it's to loud!

#6 DnDer

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Posted 24 August 2009 - 04:45 PM

Vinyl sounds better, quiet or loud.

#7 BlackSpyder

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 05:01 PM

I believe the cause of this "loudness" is called "compression". Which is where the natural Highs and lows of the sounds are compressed together to give digital music a fuller sound (all be it a shallower sound too). Also the method in which some people rip music will cause compression. People often do this to set the volume of their MP3's so that when switching from one song to the next from another artist and/or album the music will remain at a set Db level. this is what compression is meant to do in a one song example take Metallica's "Unforgiven" if played at real life levels at the level so as not to blow your ear drums out on the guitar solo one would not hear the intro acoustic guitars, however if the intro were the set level the Solo would blow your ear drums along with the Amps most likely.

please correct me if i'm wrong

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#8 ddeerrff

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 10:58 PM

yes, amplitude compression so that while the peak levels are the same, the average level is higher. The same reason TV commercials often sound louder than the programming..

You do want the peaks to be at the maximum recordable level for a given media though. That gives you the greatest dynamic range. But then to compress it.... I guess it doesn't have to make sense.

If it is just too loud, use the volume control and turn it down.
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#9 DnDer

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Posted 26 August 2009 - 10:39 AM

So what's the difference between amplitude compression and "normalizing," which seems to do the same thing - stabilize the peaks and valleys to a uniform level for every track?

#10 ddeerrff

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Posted 26 August 2009 - 11:03 AM

Normalization set the peak level to a consistant level without changing the dynamic range. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audio_normalization

Edited by ddeerrff, 26 August 2009 - 11:03 AM.

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