Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Loudness Wars Get Stupid(er)

For those unfamiliar with the Loudness Wars, it is a relatively recent phenomenon in mastering where albums are compressed and limited within an inch of their life in an effort to make the album sound louder than other tracks on the radio or in the dance club. To hear it in action, listen to a song you have from the 80's. Now listen to one released recently and the difference should be pretty extreme.

The problem with this, as you might imagine, is that doing so removes all of the dynamics from the track which not only sounds like crap, but it is physically fatiguing for your ears to listen to. Imagine having a fog horn constantly blasting in your ears for an hour straight and you can see why.

The above picture is one of the new Metallica tracks taken into an audio editor by KVR Forum member 'zircon'. At first, you might think it's empty, with only those few little lines at the bottom left, but you'd have it backwards. The green part is actually the waveform. For shit's sake people, this madness needs to stop. Music was MEANT to have dynamics.

5 comments:

kent said...

Lucky for us Metallica sucks even before the butchering in the mastering studio.

Line Of Control said...

that is why i never listen to the radio anymore... esp. all these cheesy "punk" type bands that all sound exactly the same.

quiet intro and then REALLY LOUD angst filled CHORUS, then quiet again...repeat.

Darkmaer said...

lol i'm glad i gave up listening to them awhile ago. Just there personality turns me off let alone what there making now for music

thebinary said...

A-MEN! damn it, you have to hear the crazy requests i am getting lately from clients. they way -.2db of headroom....NEGATIVE POINT TWO! WTFFFFFF!!!

then i am also dealing with asshoel engineers putting heavy limiting on the output/master out of their mixes. which isnt tooooo bad its its at like -4. but no....these fuckers are pushing the very limits of near-distortion. theres no boosting any more. its all "cut cut cut", and even that feel ineffectual at times.

damn i wish i could post this as a comment to your blog.....

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