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Loudness War trend, has declined?
Seeking_Lossless
post Oct 15 2010, 16:39
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Anyone agree that Loudness War seem to be slow down after the buzz of Death Magnetic around the world? Especially for this year released in rock and heavy metal.
The list for good sound quality record this year is:

Nightmare - Avenged Sevenfold
Slash - Slash
The Final Frontier - Iron Maiden
Asylum - Disturbed
Black Swans and The Wormhole Wizards - Joe Satriani
A Thousand Sund - Fever
Fever - Bullet for My Valentine
Accept new album

and i know there are many more.
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Canar
post Oct 15 2010, 17:36
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The new Bad Religion album also marks a return to saner volume as well.


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ramicio
post Oct 15 2010, 17:52
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Those artists listed aren't that popular, that's why. They are real artists. Pop musicians contribute nothing but their voice (and mostly autotuned) so they have no say over anything. I think the trend will stay around forever because the majority of people don't sit down and just listen to music, they do things like drive, exercise, mow the lawn, or other loud stuff that would make music with a nice dynamic range very unpleasing to listen to for them. I wish it would end. Peaking every single sound makes music sound like crap and that a 2 year old mastered it.
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Northpack
post Oct 15 2010, 18:16
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http://www.dr.loudness-war.info/

You can sort the album list by date, that will give you a good idea of the trend in mainstream music. Unfortunately I don't see much of an improvement there...
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db1989
post Oct 15 2010, 18:19
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QUOTE (ramicio @ Oct 15 2010, 17:52) *
Those artists listed aren't that popular, that's why. They are real artists. Pop musicians contribute nothing but their voice (and mostly autotuned) so they have no say over anything. I think the trend will stay around forever because the majority of people don't sit down and just listen to music, they do things like drive, exercise, mow the lawn, or other loud stuff that would make music with a nice dynamic range very unpleasing to listen to for them. I wish it would end. Peaking every single sound makes music sound like crap and that a 2 year old mastered it.

They are popular as fairly mainstream rock acts, and while I hate manufactured pop music as much as the next person, your comparison is not very convincing—we all know that there are plenty of horribly mastered rock recordings out there (whether by otherwise good bands or not).
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ramicio
post Oct 15 2010, 18:30
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QUOTE (dv1989 @ Oct 15 2010, 12:19) *
They are popular as fairly mainstream rock acts, and while I hate manufactured pop music as much as the next person, your comparison is not very convincing—we all know that there are plenty of horribly mastered rock recordings out there (whether by otherwise good bands or not).


They may be more mainstream in rock, but rock isn't exactly mainstream anymore. The 60s and 70s rock was mainstream, now it's thought of and turning into screaming and sadistic sounding, just very dark and depressing, or just whiny crap about not being loved. Since rock is not pop anymore, the artists have control over music. The Rolling Stones are still around, but is anyone going to be watching some rapper or teen icon sing when they are 70? No. I like rock, but anything new it is hard to find anything good. There is only one album (for me) that has come out in the past like 30 years that I can actually listen to the whole thing, and still listen to constantly.

I don't get why it's referred to as a war...the majority of people don't care about quality, and are not complaining. I could understand if every single person who bought a cd was disappointed and complained, and the record company was just like F you. We the people who like quality sound are the minority.

This post has been edited by ramicio: Oct 15 2010, 19:21
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db1989
post Oct 21 2010, 20:57
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> I don't get why it's referred to as a war...the majority of people don't care about quality, and are not complaining.

Because it involves escalation in an attempt to outcompete opposing parties. As for people not complaining, they don’t know any better. Related to the latter, and coincidentally, just today I was made aware of the document “Silent Weapons for a Quiet War”. It may or may not be real, and I’m no conspiracy theorist, but it offers disturbing parallels to reality (as we know it). [/veryofftopic]
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Larson
post Nov 5 2010, 15:00
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I also add Janelle Monàe's "The ArchAndroid" which is very nice and well mastered i believe.
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jrchris3
post Dec 4 2010, 03:28
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The industry assumes people have short attention spans. As long as they sell cds, they couldn't care whether or not it's distorted. I assume Metallica's next album to be distorted
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d_headshot
post Jul 10 2011, 03:41
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QUOTE (Seeking_Lossless @ Oct 15 2010, 10:39) *
Anyone agree that Loudness War seem to be slow down after the buzz of Death Magnetic around the world? Especially for this year released in rock and heavy metal.
The list for good sound quality record this year is:

Nightmare - Avenged Sevenfold
Slash - Slash
The Final Frontier - Iron Maiden
Asylum - Disturbed
Black Swans and The Wormhole Wizards - Joe Satriani
A Thousand Sund - Fever
Fever - Bullet for My Valentine
Accept new album

and i know there are many more.


Both Iron Maiden's and Accept's new albums are still terrible in terms of mastering, with Accept being extremely brickwalled.

QUOTE (dv1989 @ Oct 21 2010, 14:57) *
> I don't get why it's referred to as a war...the majority of people don't care about quality, and are not complaining.


And it's also been proven that loudness does not mean better sales. People care about the actual music, so why not make a little efford into putting quality into the masterings? The industry has no valid reason to brickwall albums aside from paranoia(and that's not even a good reason).


This post has been edited by d_headshot: Jul 10 2011, 03:45
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mzso
post Jul 25 2011, 13:44
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I don't have much new albums but basically every one of them is loud flat and distorted.
Some of the albums I have from 2010:
Korn - Remember who you are
The Pretty Reckless - Light Me Up
Charred Walls of the Damned
Stone Sour - Audio Secrecy
12 Stones - The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday

Actually The Pretty Reckless' "Goin' Down" was the song that pushed me to investigate the issue. Its just so flat, distorted and painful at some parts.


By the way. Is there a(n at least somewhat) practical way to undo the damage to some extent? I guess it would the very least require to separate the instruments sound (and vocals) and change their loudness separately.
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xnor
post Jul 25 2011, 14:49
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I also don't agree. Already the first mentioned album from A7X has audible clipping/compression noise.


QUOTE (mzso @ Jul 25 2011, 14:44) *
By the way. Is there a(n at least somewhat) practical way to undo the damage to some extent? I guess it would the very least require to separate the instruments sound (and vocals) and change their loudness separately.

Not really. You can fix the clipping noise but what's lost is lost.

This post has been edited by xnor: Jul 25 2011, 14:51
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DVDdoug
post Jul 25 2011, 21:30
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QUOTE
By the way. Is there a(n at least somewhat) practical way to undo the damage to some extent?
No. sad.gif As xnor said, the information is lost. i.e. If you have a signal with a 0dB peak (or clipped at 0dB) there is simply no way to know if the original peak was +3dB or +12dB, etc..

You can apply some "upward expansion" and there is clip-repair software, but there's no way to restore the original lost information. (Of course, you have to reduce the overall level after restoring/boosting peaks, or it will clip again...)

Expansion is the opposite of compression. In theory, you can undo compression if the compression ratio is not infinite (the ratio is infinite with limiting), and you if know the compression ratio, threshold, curve, and attack/decay timing (and possibly the multi-band compression parameters). But in the real world, all of these settings are up to the mastering engineer's discretion and this information is never known (and hard-limiting is frequently used).

QUOTE
I guess it would the very least require to separate the instruments sound (and vocals) and change their loudness separately.
No. Most of the damage is done to the mixed-down stereo signal during mastering (after mixing). If you actually had access to the separate unmixed tracks, you'd be in good shape.

In any case, you can't un-fry-an egg, un-bake a cake, and you can't un-mix a song.


This post has been edited by DVDdoug: Jul 25 2011, 21:35
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d_headshot
post Jul 30 2011, 04:33
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And unfortunately a lot of engineers are limiting the mix before it even gets to the mastering stage. Limiting the peaks for technical reasons is fine, but doing it to guarantee loudness before mastering is flat out disgusting.

This post has been edited by db1989: Jul 31 2011, 18:26
Reason for edit: removing needless and huge full-quote
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mzso
post Aug 21 2011, 11:10
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QUOTE (xnor @ Jul 25 2011, 14:49) *
Not really. You can fix the clipping noise but what's lost is lost.

QUOTE (DVDdoug @ Jul 25 2011, 21:30) *
No. sad.gif As xnor said, the information is lost. i.e. If you have a signal with a 0dB peak (or clipped at 0dB) there is simply no way to know if the original peak was +3dB or +12dB, etc..

You can apply some "upward expansion" and there is clip-repair software, but there's no way to restore the original lost information. (Of course, you have to reduce the overall level after restoring/boosting peaks, or it will clip again...)

Expansion is the opposite of compression. In theory, you can undo compression if the compression ratio is not infinite (the ratio is infinite with limiting), and you if know the compression ratio, threshold, curve, and attack/decay timing (and possibly the multi-band compression parameters). But in the real world, all of these settings are up to the mastering engineer's discretion and this information is never known (and hard-limiting is frequently used).

No. Most of the damage is done to the mixed-down stereo signal during mastering (after mixing). If you actually had access to the separate unmixed tracks, you'd be in good shape.

In any case, you can't un-fry-an egg, un-bake a cake, and you can't un-mix a song.

What do you guys recommend for fixing clipping?



I was thinking, that with the knowledge of how the instruments should sound like(since the instruments used a widespread) and with estimation, you could separate them and undo much of the damage. But I guess that's AI/Sci-fi cathegory these days. Or it would take years manually. Maybe if AI booms in 10 years. biggrin.gif

P.S.:
I heard a couple of times about hard-limiting. What does that actually mean? What is soft limiting?
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db1989
post Aug 21 2011, 13:29
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QUOTE (mzso @ Aug 21 2011, 11:10) *
I heard a couple of times about hard-limiting. What does that actually mean? What is soft limiting?

From Wikipedia’s article on limiting:
QUOTE
Hard limiting ("clipping") is a limiting action in which there is
  • (a) over the permitted dynamic range, negligible variation in the expected characteristic of the output signal, and
  • (b) a steady-state signal, at the maximum permitted level, for the duration of each period when the output would otherwise be required to exceed the permitted dynamic range in order to correspond to the transfer function of the device.
Soft limiting is limiting in which the transfer function of a device is a function of its instantaneous or integrated output level. The output waveform is therefore distorted, but not clipped.

The article on dynamic range compression offers a more general explanation [emphasis mine]:
QUOTE
Compression and limiting are not different in process but in degree and perceived effect. A limiter is a compressor with a high ratio and, generally, a fast attack time. Most engineers consider compression with ratio of 10:1 or more as limiting.[10] Engineers sometimes refer to soft and hard limiting which are differences of degree. The "harder" a limiter, the higher its ratio and the faster its attack and release times.

Brick wall limiting has a very high ratio and a very fast attack time.
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xnor
post Aug 21 2011, 22:37
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See this image. Essentially it's squeezing (soft) vs. chopping off (hard).
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Canar
post Aug 23 2011, 20:31
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I have half a mind to split all the hipster style-elitism here to the Recycle Bin. I've now done it with at least part of these posts. Let's keep the tone constructive, guys.

Edit: I've split more, and harder, because some people aren't getting the hint.

This post has been edited by Canar: Aug 23 2011, 21:40


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kraut
post Aug 23 2011, 21:47
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As an aside - I guess this will be moved to the outer fringes, therefore I post it separately - I find it disturbing that the demand for quality in music, which for me includes innovativeness, craftsmanship, technique, presentation, variety, playfulness, engagement, production etc. etc. can be decried as "elitism", a perfectly good word but in America there seems to be a trend to the lowest denominator, not necessarily the common lowest one.

And this on a forum were some care is taken to develop and discuss the real quality of audio reproduction. Why is the quality of the music being reproduced exempt? Why not be consequent and label someone elitist because he only listens to music in loss-less formats?

Noise, which to me seems heavy metals most common feature (I have tried, but I can not find any incentive to continue listening) has its role in Rock and Roll, or just Rock. I grew after all listening live to Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, Traffic, Tony Williams etc. beside my ventures into various jazz cellars, where noise was part of the music, but not at the cost of overall quality. Also repetitiveness has its role, see the North Mississippi Hill country blues, but heavy metal seems to only that: noise and repetitiveness.

I have to assume from the position that the mods take here that my stay and participation in this forum will be of rather short duration. Another one on the checklist of intolerant and whiny forums.
Apparently not only are personal attacks not allowed (which I agree on) but just labeling music at what you perceive it to be is a no-no - what the fuck am I doing here???

This post has been edited by kraut: Aug 23 2011, 21:52
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Canar
post Aug 23 2011, 21:52
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It's not the contempt of a given style I find so objectionable, but rather the impolite behaviour accompanying it. Who is the adjudicator of what is quality music? Each person defines it individually. I mean, hey, there are styles I rather dislike, and I can cite reasons for why I dislike them. That doesn't mean that I'm right.

If you can't play nicely with others who do not share your views, then you are not wanted here.

This post has been edited by Canar: Aug 23 2011, 21:54


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kraut
post Aug 23 2011, 21:59
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QUOTE
then you are not wanted here.


Excellent, just delete my registration, I could not find out how to do it.
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Canar
post Aug 23 2011, 22:18
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QUOTE (kraut @ Aug 23 2011, 13:59) *
Excellent, just delete my registration, I could not find out how to do it.
We have a policy of not deleting accounts. Just stop posting.


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mzso
post Aug 24 2011, 12:09
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QUOTE (kraut @ Aug 23 2011, 21:47) *
As an aside - I guess this will be moved to the outer fringes, therefore I post it separately - I find it disturbing that the demand for quality in music, which for me includes innovativeness, craftsmanship, technique, presentation, variety, playfulness, engagement, production etc. etc. can be decried as "elitism", a perfectly good word but in America there seems to be a trend to the lowest denominator, not necessarily the common lowest one.

And this on a forum were some care is taken to develop and discuss the real quality of audio reproduction. Why is the quality of the music being reproduced exempt? Why not be consequent and label someone elitist because he only listens to music in loss-less formats?

Noise, which to me seems heavy metals most common feature (I have tried, but I can not find any incentive to continue listening) has its role in Rock and Roll, or just Rock. I grew after all listening live to Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, Traffic, Tony Williams etc. beside my ventures into various jazz cellars, where noise was part of the music, but not at the cost of overall quality. Also repetitiveness has its role, see the North Mississippi Hill country blues, but heavy metal seems to only that: noise and repetitiveness.

I have to assume from the position that the mods take here that my stay and participation in this forum will be of rather short duration. Another one on the checklist of intolerant and whiny forums.
Apparently not only are personal attacks not allowed (which I agree on) but just labeling music at what you perceive it to be is a no-no - what the fuck am I doing here???

Without repetitiveness/patterns music the whole thing is just random sounds. You just plain belive yourself to be right even though you have nothing to support it and only recite narrow minded and untrue stuff about other music.
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mzso
post Aug 24 2011, 12:13
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QUOTE (xnor @ Jul 25 2011, 14:49) *
Not really. You can fix the clipping noise but what's lost is lost.


By the way what do you guys recommend against clipping noise. I asked before, but kraut diverted the discussion.
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Andavari
post Aug 28 2011, 22:54
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QUOTE (kraut @ Aug 23 2011, 15:47) *
Apparently not only are personal attacks not allowed (which I agree on) but just labeling music at what you perceive it to be is a no-no

You already did that with your "interpretation" of the heavy metal genre.

I'm a Metal recording artist and have seen such imaginative negative comments and/or worst before which really annoys me when people who don't understand the genre will crucify it so blatantly.

QUOTE (mzso @ Aug 24 2011, 06:13) *
By the way what do you guys recommend against clipping noise.

You could try using Replaygain, however with stuff that clips badly enough to be audible and annoying not even that will fix it.

I don't think the "loudness war trend" has improved much, there's still allot of material released that I've heard which has the problem.


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