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Acid-Paradox
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Loudness wars? May. 23rd, 2012 @ 11:13 PM Reply

So i have been reading some articles regarding the loudness wars and the author of the articles have made statements such as :

On November 4, 2010, Earl Vickers presented his research paper at the 129th AES Convention in San Francisco with clear evidence that there is no connection between loudness and sales.

or

"So why are people pushing the levels up ?

Good question. Maybe itâEUTMs label managers and A&R peopleâEUTMs fear of not being âEUoecompetitiveâEU, maybe itâEUTMs the eternal desire to âEUoego up to 11âEUoe,or maybe itâEUTMs just a simple pissing match âEU" âEUoemy CD must be higher level than so-and-soâEUTMsâEU.

Whatever the reasons, IâEUTMve got news for you âEU" theyâEUTMre all bullshit."

So yeah , I wanted to hear your opinions about why producers are getting obsessed about the volumes even though consumers don't care about it??


Fuck labels , you don't need them.

Rampant
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Response to Loudness wars? May. 23rd, 2012 @ 11:21 PM Reply

Because it does affect consumer choice. Radios deliberately compress songs even more than they've already been compressed. Why? Because human brains automatically make the connection between "louder" and "better." If your Top 40 radio station is perceived to be a few dB louder than your rival's, then people are going to go for your station because it is perceived to be 'better.'

Same goes for pop records: if you can squeeze a few more perceived dB by compressing your whole track, and thus make it appear 'better' to consumers, then why wouldn't you do so?

RealNC
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Response to Loudness wars? May. 23rd, 2012 @ 11:24 PM Reply

At 5/23/12 11:21 PM, RampantMusik wrote: Because it does affect consumer choice. Radios deliberately compress songs even more than they've already been compressed. Why? Because human brains automatically make the connection between "louder" and "better." If your Top 40 radio station is perceived to be a few dB louder than your rival's, then people are going to go for your station because it is perceived to be 'better.'

Same goes for pop records: if you can squeeze a few more perceived dB by compressing your whole track, and thus make it appear 'better' to consumers, then why wouldn't you do so?

On November 4, 2010, Earl Vickers presented his research paper at the 129th AES Convention in San Francisco with clear evidence that there is no connection between loudness and sales.

Rampant
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Response to Loudness wars? May. 23rd, 2012 @ 11:29 PM Reply

At 5/23/12 11:24 PM, RealNC wrote:
At 5/23/12 11:21 PM, RampantMusik wrote: Because it does affect consumer choice. Radios deliberately compress songs even more than they've already been compressed. Why? Because human brains automatically make the connection between "louder" and "better." If your Top 40 radio station is perceived to be a few dB louder than your rival's, then people are going to go for your station because it is perceived to be 'better.'

Same goes for pop records: if you can squeeze a few more perceived dB by compressing your whole track, and thus make it appear 'better' to consumers, then why wouldn't you do so?
On November 4, 2010, Earl Vickers presented his research paper at the 129th AES Convention in San Francisco with clear evidence that there is no connection between loudness and sales.

Okay, and your point is what, exactly?

"there is no connection between loudness and sales."

Read your argument again. Now re-read what I wrote. Now, think for a second. Maybe you hadn't realized that music industry revenue figures have been in decline since ~2008. Album sales are down, digital sales are up: but people tend to buy only a few of their favorite songs, so the digital downloads don't make up for the shortfall.

No, there is no connection between loudness and sales. But there is a connection between loudness and perception of how good a track is: from a Mixing magazine.

RealNC
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Response to Loudness wars? May. 23rd, 2012 @ 11:43 PM Reply

Well, your argument was about radio stations. They compress music because many people listen to radio in noisy places. There's no reason to compress it on the CD, because, according to the paper, it doesn't help sales. So why compress it? The perceived "better quality" due to compression was already delivered by the radio/TV. If the people buy the CD or digital-only version, they should (IMO) expect high quality, full dynamic range audio.

Everybody wins.

ZStriefel
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Response to Loudness wars? May. 24th, 2012 @ 12:34 AM Reply

At 5/23/12 11:43 PM, RealNC wrote: Well, your argument was about radio stations. They compress music because many people listen to radio in noisy places. There's no reason to compress it on the CD, because, according to the paper, it doesn't help sales. So why compress it? The perceived "better quality" due to compression was already delivered by the radio/TV. If the people buy the CD or digital-only version, they should (IMO) expect high quality, full dynamic range audio.

Everybody wins.

Actually if memory serves correctly (i'll have to look this up so don't quote me on this), Multiband compressors were first used in radio stations to deal with inconsistent levels between recordings, so the listener wouldn't have to adjust his/her volume every other song.

I'm really pretty irritated that this is still a debate after like 5 years of people crying over the loudness wars. Some music sounds better compressed. And thats the music that is being over compressed. Think about it.. Doesn't it really make that big of a difference to you or anyone else if a Justin Beiber song is lacking dynamic range? No! Thats not the point of pop music. It's supposed to be hard hitting, and something people dance to, or sing to on their way to work.

Same goes for many genres such as most electronic music, most rock/metal genres etc. Because it's just the style. Sometimes squashing the shit out of something with a compressor sounds good for a certain song. Would I compress the living hell out of jazz, orchestral, or something more melodic or technical in nature? No. I wouldn't touch much at all, Because these sorts of genres thrive on the nuance.

Does it affect sales? probably not.. But why still do it? Because people want it :U

DJEarRape
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Response to Loudness wars? May. 24th, 2012 @ 12:52 AM Reply

I don't really see the point of heavily clipping tracks unless you want a lo fi sound...

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Response to Loudness wars? May. 24th, 2012 @ 01:12 AM Reply

At 5/23/12 11:29 PM, RampantMusik wrote:
Read your argument again. Now re-read what I wrote. Now, think for a second. Maybe you hadn't realized that music industry revenue figures have been in decline since ~2008. Album sales are down, digital sales are up: but people tend to buy only a few of their favorite songs, so the digital downloads don't make up for the shortfall.

No, there is no connection between loudness and sales. But there is a connection between loudness and perception of how good a track is: from a Mixing magazine.

this,

I caught my brother listening to itunes with a preamp at double volume and an EQ where every parameter was at its fullest.

The songs sounded like pure distortion.

he didnt care, he liked it because it was louder.

I proceeded to run away from the room with my ears bleeding.

As long as the the majority of listeners dont care about sound quality, song mastering will get worse and worse.

The-iMortal
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Response to Loudness wars? May. 24th, 2012 @ 02:39 AM Reply

Loudness are a bit of a strange case. Ever since I've got into audio engineering/mixing, I have noticed loudness (without full squashedness) as good acheivment. I find myself tending to enjoy the louder tracks, one of the reasons is that their loud.

When I listen to tracks I used to listen to, before I started relaly getting into mixing, I noticed that I did not care about the volume at all. I was listening to '80s tracks, which are sonically worse than all the latest tracks at the time, which I did not really like. Thing is, I never really noticed the loudness, as I would simply turn up the volume.

Being who I am, I'm always trying to achieve the loudest master I possibly can, without a squashed track. When I explain this to friends, the reply is either an unenthusiastic, "cool, man," or a, "Cool... but why does it matter how loud it is? I mean, if it's a bit quieter, I can just turn it up?".

When I first started to take mixing seriously, I made a mistake of making my mix way too bright because it sounded louder to me. This is a problem I believe many Newgrounds tracks have. I also made the mistake of incredibly loud and muddy, because the bass is sick, yo. Nowadays, I find myself enjoying the warmer sound, not too bright, but not too bassy.

The loudest professional track I've heard to date is The Night Out - Madeon Remix. It is very loud, but it does not have an overly bright sound, nor a too bassy sound. If I listen to a track like, To The Stars - Modestep, I find, even though it's a reasonably loud track, it's a bit too bright for me. Still, it's a more than acceptable mix and master. Just personal taste.

At 5/24/12 01:12 AM, jpbear wrote: this,

I caught my brother listening to itunes with a preamp at double volume and an EQ where every parameter was at its fullest.

Is that because his speaker system is weak and he wanted it louder? Doesn't really make sense to boost the media player if you can just turn the speaker knob.

The-iMortal
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Response to Loudness wars? May. 24th, 2012 @ 02:41 AM Reply

OMG, grammar and spelling in that post is absolutely terrible. I sincerely apologise.

"Apologise" is spelled correctly - I'm Australian.

neyus99
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Response to Loudness wars? May. 24th, 2012 @ 02:44 AM Reply

According to Bob Katz ( a well known mastering engineer ) he looked into the science of people listening to loud things and he found out that, our ears naturally when we are hearing something that we like, we tend want to hear it louder. It's that simple. Frig I like my music loud and pumpy sounding.

It's not really hurting anyone I believe. Acoustic music now a days can still sound really soft and have lots of dynamic range. And producers aren't really abusing the limiter or anything. Still using it professionally to the point where it wouldnt sound distorted.

DJDela
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Response to Loudness wars? May. 24th, 2012 @ 02:47 AM Reply

At 5/24/12 12:52 AM, DJEarRape wrote: I don't really see the point of heavily clipping tracks unless you want a lo fi sound...

Who mentioned anything about clipping.
Compression =/= clipping

midimachine
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Response to Loudness wars? May. 24th, 2012 @ 04:14 AM Reply

lol @ everyone acting like one semi-scientific report = definitive proof of ANYTHING.


p.s. i am gay

Chris-V2
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Response to Loudness wars? May. 24th, 2012 @ 08:18 AM Reply

At 5/24/12 02:47 AM, DJDela wrote:
At 5/24/12 12:52 AM, DJEarRape wrote: I don't really see the point of heavily clipping tracks unless you want a lo fi sound...
Who mentioned anything about clipping.
Compression =/= clipping

It's relevant, though, number of samples clipping in modern productions is signifigantly higher.

There's alot of issues at play with the Loudness Wars. There's the fact that very few people in a Record Label know anything about music other than it's supposed to make them rich, so they think it's like advertising a product - the music advertises the CD. So they, like all marketing mooks, expect louder things to catch peoples attention more. The artist has similar expectations and so does the manager. So everyones all for slamming it, basicly, and the engineer is there to satisfy the client.

The perceived issues come from a few things - the waveforms are often hitting 0dbFS a couple of times a bar. The problem is that these points may not be the peaks of the physical waveforms and when the D/A tries to recreated them the internal amplifier can actually clip regardless (The guys who made your CD player didn't expect the signal to go over 0dbFS, funnily enough).

Secondly many digital limiters and compressors suffer from aliasing and IM distortion issues, which adds alot of artifacts.

Thirdly the use of white noise to act as a sort of "DC offset" to the ear is particularly fatigueing. I find this sort intense sidechained white noise very unpleasant.

Fourthly the mixes are made extremely bright in the mids and particularly the upper mids (5-7KHz, around where a Babies crying is most prominent) and we subjectively hear this quite well. But it's actually fairly sore after a while. I've met people who praised this sort of mixing style and yet wouldn't even touch a set of NS-10's, too midrangey.

Fifth point is that the loudness wars are actually over, the EBU have set out a standard for Loudness Units which will prevent marketing material being at a much higher perceived volume than the content itself. LU meters should become more and more common over the next few years. This is a whole new set of headaches for many engineers, but it actually ties the mooks hands. Quite music will be boosted relative to loud music, loud music will be turned on. Turning up your radio for Bohemian Rhapsody only to get deafened by Bad Romance will no longer be a risk.

Last point is that alot of the features people hate about the music is to do with production and not compression. Stupidly big sidechains, a lead singer spewing sweet nothings into a U87 (Slammed to bits) with a short delay autotuned to fuck, stacked sawtooths, white noise and a I-vi-IV-V twenty times in a rowis a different kind of fatigue to fatigue from compression. Probably shouldn't say this, but I hate this constantIn-Da-Cluuuuub faux Eurovision bullshit. The lyrics and videos are laden with product placement, they promote and intensely negative culture and offer a version of life based around that doesn't exist. To be honest, Adele did well to keep as far from that aesthetic as she has. But I think if she was thinner they'd have paraded her around like a cheap sex object just like the rest.

And the music sucks, too.

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Response to Loudness wars? May. 24th, 2012 @ 10:19 AM Reply

In before Soundgoodizer.

General Guideline:

Higher Energy Genre = More Compression
Low Energy Genre = Less Compression

Makes sense and there's no much more you need to know. Yeah you can argue over stats about relations to sales and enjoyment and what have you, but you should just fall in line and mix to taste accordingly, because this thread is one giant TLDR at the moment.