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A new discussion on over-compressed CD titles, Split from the one comparing vinyl to CD (no vinyl involved)
db1989
post Feb 4 2013, 22:51
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QUOTE (cliveb @ Jan 31 2013, 10:16) *
I don't listen to Coldplay, but my wife has a lot of their albums. I had in the past casually noticed that when she played X&Y on our main system is sounded absolutely dreadful.

So this thread prompted me to do a quick clipping analysis of all the albums she has. And on first inspection, Mylo Xyloto has the least amount of clipping. [Ö] As you can see, there is a fairly shocking amount of clipping on all the Coldplay albums, and indeed Parachutes is the worst of the lot:

[images]

However, the apparent less-damaged nature of Mylo Xyloto is partially hidden by the fact that it has a lot of clipping well below full scale. All of the above scans were looking for clipping at or above -0.5dB. If we rescan Mylo Xyloto looking for clipping at or above -1.5dB, we get a worse result:
I didnít notice your analysis before, so thanks for doing that! Shame about the results. Those images hurt my eyes and, therefore, my ears. unsure.gif

QUOTE (Neuron @ Feb 4 2013, 21:22) *
If I find something not loud enough, I turn up the volume on my speakers.
Whoa! Steady on! Thatís way too much work for whichever hypothetical superconsumer the loudness war is founded upon. And there, again, we see the problem of catering downwards to laziness and simplistic biases. [sigh] The worst thing is that such qualities may not be anywhere near as prevalent as the industry imagines, but the results exist in any case.
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bug80
post Feb 4 2013, 23:17
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QUOTE (LithosZA @ Feb 4 2013, 16:18) *
QUOTE
It's good that a site like this exists, although IMHO the quality ratings are too strict, I think. To me, some modern music styles sound fine with a DR7 value (which, according to this website is 'bad'). In fact, those styles will sound thin/weak/not in your face/etc with DR14+ values, which according to this site are "good" values.


I find it REALLY difficult to tolerate anything at or below DR9.

That makes me curious: what kind of music do you usually listen to? I think almost all CD's I bought since, say, 2000 have values lower than DR9. I'm mostly into the indie/rock/singer-songwriter kind of stuff. So do you prefer other genres or did you not buy any music since the 90's?
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cliveb
post Feb 5 2013, 10:05
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QUOTE (bug80 @ Feb 4 2013, 22:17) *
That makes me curious: what kind of music do you usually listen to? I think almost all CD's I bought since, say, 2000 have values lower than DR9. I'm mostly into the indie/rock/singer-songwriter kind of stuff. So do you prefer other genres or did you not buy any music since the 90's?

I buy very little modern music, and have always assumed I simply don't like it (probably because I'm getting old). But I sometimes wonder whether the reason I don't like it could be that it is overcompressed and therefore sounds uninteresting (rather than it not being to my taste).

Limiting the dynamic range seems to limit any sense of drama that you might otherwise get out of the music. For example, everyone tells me what a wonderful singer Adele is and what fabulous songs she writes, but I frankly find her stuff pretty much a snooze-fest. And it's not as if I just don't like female singers - I'm a big fan of people like Kate Bush, Joan Armatrading, etc.
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LithosZA
post Feb 5 2013, 12:21
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QUOTE
That makes me curious: what kind of music do you usually listen to? I think almost all CD's I bought since, say, 2000 have values lower than DR9. I'm mostly into the indie/rock/singer-songwriter kind of stuff. So do you prefer other genres or did you not buy any music since the 90's?


Any genre from the 60s up till now. I do have a lot of music at DR9 or below, but I simply don't enjoy them that much.
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2Bdecided
post Feb 5 2013, 17:02
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QUOTE (Neuron @ Feb 4 2013, 21:22) *
If I find something not loud enough, I turn up the volume on my speakers.
I just use ReplayGain wink.gif

QUOTE
In extreme cases (such as Sade's classic 80s song Smooth Operator), I normalize the file to 0 dB without compression or clipping. I don't feel dynamic music is "weak", in fact the loud parts, especially drums, kick a lot more.

Extreme compression destroys the bass and the kick of the sound, as demonstrated in this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Gmex_4hreQ . I even experimented myself with an original 1980s song, and my own overcompressed "2010s style" variant. After Replaygaining the 2 files and ABXing them, the overcompressed clipped one (I destroyed it roughly to the same level as the later Red Hot Chilli Peppers albums) had signifactly less kick than the original one. Clipression does not add kick to music, it just distorts it.
There are degrees of it, and sometimes more sounds better (up to a point, in some contexts) as I tried to show here...
http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....showtopic=99166


There is something about the fullness of clipressed mastering that's appealing - but it must be possible to get that sound without actual distortion/clipping.

It amazes me how many CDs audibly clip the bassline these days (for a few years now) - it sounds like the equipment is broken.

It also amazes me that they don't sell two or even three different versions - full dynamics, squashed dynamics, and clipped to death. I'm sure enough people would buy more than one version to make it commercially useful.

Cheers,
David.

This post has been edited by 2Bdecided: Feb 5 2013, 17:02
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Engelsstaub
post Feb 6 2013, 01:24
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QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Feb 5 2013, 10:02) *
...
It also amazes me that they don't sell two or even three different versions - full dynamics, squashed dynamics, and clipped to death. I'm sure enough people would buy more than one version to make it commercially useful...


Earache Records (a UK-based record company/distributor that specializes in metal...mostly of the more extreme variety) has been offering "dynamically unlimited masters" of select titles they've been reissuing. They are said to be cut from original master tapes. Unfortunately for many, they are seemingly limited to the vinyl re-releases.


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Mach-X
post Feb 6 2013, 10:41
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I think too much has been made of the whole 'loudness/compression' thing. 'Hey what do you think this album sounds like' 'Hey let me check my spectrum analyzer'. I was once accused of 'soapboxing' by greynol in another thread, and he was correct, it wasn't appropriate for THAT thread, but perhaps this is the right one. I will choose Metallica's 'Death Magnetic', despite the fact it's now 5 years old, but it's a favorite for 'compression' fanbois. Metallica have always been a band to use different 'sound' for each of their albums, ie kill'em all was very crisp with lots of reverb, and fat bass drum, whereas 'black' was an extremely dry mix, intended for the new 'digital' generation. 'Justice' was highly processed with little bass guitar, etc, etc. I find it ironic that so called 'audiophiles' are so paranoid of clipping, yet they run for their overpriced tube amps, and direct drive turntables, which are the epitome of 'euphoric distortion'. Last I checked, an album was representitave of an artists 'creative expression'. The more I listen to 'Death Magnetic' the more I warm up to it. Now does that mean I want to hear every new album that way? Of course not. But for this album, rick ruben's presentation, and at this point in Metallica's illustrious career, its different enough from each of their previous albums to provide one more 'unique' album listening experience, one I treasure with my ears instead of graphs.
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Stone Free
post Feb 6 2013, 15:33
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QUOTE (Mach-X @ Feb 6 2013, 10:41) *
I think too much has been made of the whole 'loudness/compression' thing. 'Hey what do you think this album sounds like' 'Hey let me check my spectrum analyzer'.

I will choose Metallica's 'Death Magnetic', despite the fact it's now 5 years old, but it's a favorite for 'compression' fanbois. Metallica have always been a band to use different 'sound' for each of their albums
Eurgh, I didn't need to run DM through a spectrum analyser to know that the recorded sound quality was awful.

Just trying a number of attempts at playing it back at different volumes, to try and get it to sound good was all that was needed. I kept thinking this is too quiet, so turn it up, and then when it was up it was god this is too loud, there wasn't any setting that was appropriate.

Now that I have the guitar hero version there is no such problem. The irony is that they are basically applying what home cinema amplifiers call Night mode, which is where it irons out the differences in volume variation so they are not that great meaning you can play it less loud and yet still hear most of the instruments (in home cinema instead of instruments read talking, and explosions).

Also in songs that have been written to have a fortissimo section like "One By One" by Foo Fighters, the mastering instead robs the original performance and the fortissimo section just gets squashed to the same volume as everything else.

This post has been edited by Stone Free: Feb 6 2013, 15:34
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Engelsstaub
post Feb 6 2013, 16:46
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QUOTE (Mach-X @ Feb 6 2013, 03:41) *
...omitting full-quote...


...And Justice for All was not highly-processed; it was rather quite the opposite. Most of the other thrash bands at the time immediately tried to emulate the unprocessed drum sound and production with their releases that followed (Testament - Practice What You Preach, Flotsam and Jetsam - When the Storm Comes Down, Overkill - The Years of Decay, etc.)

Most of the audiophiles I know despise direct-drive TTs and prefer belt-driven ones.

I don't think enough has been made of the whole "loudness/compression" thing. If that makes me a fanboi in your mind and you feel the need to polarize people based on preference (like equating someone's legitimate criticisms of the poorly-supported WMA format with "anti microsoft sentiment,") then let me conclude with this opinion shared by many: the production on Death Magnetic sucked ass. I loathe albums like that that I can't even turn up to a decent level on my own. I have to listen to that crap at low volumes and even then it's fatiguing. The fact that you had to listen to it repeatedly to warm up to it, doesn't apparently illustrate that you liked it that much either. It rather seems to me that you're trying to like it. Now I may be making some immature assumption, but it's based on what you said rather than some sweeping asinine statements categorizing nobody in particular as "fanbois" and "audiophiles."

I honestly get that there are some that prefer the way things are produced now. This thread is obviously not going to appeal to them.

This post has been edited by Engelsstaub: Feb 6 2013, 16:48


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greynol
post Feb 6 2013, 17:48
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FWIW, I believe later releases of Justice got the "remastering" treatment.


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Porcus
post Feb 6 2013, 18:29
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QUOTE (greynol @ Feb 6 2013, 17:48) *
FWIW, I believe later releases of Justice got the "remastering" treatment.



I have three copies of Justice ripped (... bought entire CD collections once in a while), none of them is the DCC 24k gold thing. So just now I scanned all three with foo_dynamic_range and also compared ReplayGain album gain and album peak.


One of them has
RG=-3.70, peak .999969, DR = 12.2 over RMS = -14.4

The two others are obviously the same master (though slightly different TOC -- they differ not only by offset).
RG=-4.07, peak .995239 DR=12.0 over RMS=-14.1


So, remastered, but not too wildly different figures.

This post has been edited by Porcus: Feb 6 2013, 18:30


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greynol
post Feb 6 2013, 20:58
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Clearly not the treatment I'm talking about, which I am quite certain exists even if you don't have it. wink.gif


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krabapple
post Feb 7 2013, 04:34
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QUOTE (bug80 @ Feb 1 2013, 08:24) *
QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Feb 1 2013, 15:12) *
You can have very low DR numbers without clipping, and even without compression, if the music isn't very dynamic.

Of course, but on the Oasis' album clipping is clearly audible. But apparently those are harmonics introduced by clipping in analog hardware, rather than brickwall/soft clipping in the digital domain. At least, that is my explanation why Wave Repair does not detect any clipping.


What I see on the Oasis tracks is sequential but slightly variable (non-flattop) peaking, so WR would not detect it as digital clipping
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krabapple
post Feb 7 2013, 04:38
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QUOTE (cliveb @ Feb 5 2013, 04:05) *
Limiting the dynamic range seems to limit any sense of drama that you might otherwise get out of the music. For example, everyone tells me what a wonderful singer Adele is and what fabulous songs she writes, but I frankly find her stuff pretty much a snooze-fest. And it's not as if I just don't like female singers - I'm a big fan of people like Kate Bush, Joan Armatrading, etc.



Adele's stuff sounds horribly compressed every time I hear it, in any context. And I am not automatically against modern compression.
Her voice is so close-miked + compressed that it's just absurd.. IT's like they couldn't trust her native talent to convey the passion of the songs.
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krabapple
post Feb 7 2013, 04:43
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QUOTE (Mach-X @ Feb 6 2013, 04:41) *
I think too much has been made of the whole 'loudness/compression' thing. 'Hey what do you think this album sounds like' 'Hey let me check my spectrum analyzer'.


I think you don't know how loudness/compression is visualized..


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cliveb
post Feb 7 2013, 21:02
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QUOTE (krabapple @ Feb 7 2013, 03:34) *
What I see on the Oasis tracks is sequential but slightly variable (non-flattop) peaking, so WR would not detect it as digital clipping

If these "variable (non-flattop)" peaks are *almost* flat but with a bit of "raggedness", then that it precisely what the "variance" setting in WR's clip detection is there to cater for.

Consider this example of a few clips:
Attached Image

They appear to be flat-tops. But if you zoom in on the amplitude domain, we see that they are slightly tilted (a sure sign they've been through some EQ after being clipped:
Attached Image

This is what WR's "variance" setting will catch.
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David Jay
post Feb 8 2013, 14:05
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QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Feb 4 2013, 14:39) *
Wow - Some Might Say on there is a revelation. I bet with that, and some rock band stems, you can make a decent mix? Though maybe the SACD stereo fold-down is a decent mix (still haven heard it).


I've heard the SACD stereo fold-down and it's very good - there are certain things I miss in it from the original mix, but there are very worthwhile improvements in clarity and wider dynamic range. I still think it would be great to hear the original mixes less squashed though. I've been lucky enough to hear Whatever unmastered - the same distinctive Oasis sound, but with greater perceived punch and contrast (sorry to use these more subjective terms here! If it's any help the DR meter reads DR10 for the unmastered version, and DR4 for the mastered version of the same mix. Similar story with Slide Away: DR5 mastered, DR10 unmastered).

With Some Might Say, I believe this YouTube video is remixed from the Guitar Hero stems for greater dynamic range. Worth a listen IMHO. (HD version is available).
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3R1Cyzdu7M

The same goes for this version of Don't Look Back in Anger (HD version also available):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jio8GVFt_Ss

Also, note that there are two different (and seemingly incompatible) accounts of the mastering of (What's the Story) Morning Glory?, which I have referenced in the Owen Morris interview you linked to above. I mention this purely because they describe different mastering techniques, and this may be of some interest in your discussion of clipping on the album. I'm not sure though - I'm a beginner on recording technology to be honest, and as such the site is written from the perspective of an interested layman...
http://www.oasis-recordinginfo.co.uk/?page_id=6
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krabapple
post Feb 8 2013, 21:05
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Sorry cliveb, I'd forgotten about the variance setting.....

I'm talking about this ('Champagne Supernova'):




it's a track with limited dynamic but most of the peaks are at ~-4db with some fuzz over that, and the occasional spike . Here's circa 4:50 at higher mag:




and higher still, showing some ragged 'tilt' peaks, among ragged 'plateaus' and more normal-looking peaks.



This post has been edited by krabapple: Feb 8 2013, 21:06
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bug80
post Feb 15 2013, 10:53
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On a positive note, the new Nick Cave album did not became a loudness war victim, even though he used to be a big offender in that respect (for example: Abattoir Blues (2004) is DR5).

His new album "Push the sky away" has a Replaygain of -6.07 (*) and a Dynamic Range of DR9. And music-wise it's good too wink.gif

(*) I have the CD at home, this was measured using the Lame -V4 encodes on my portable player
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