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The loudness war

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The loudness war

#1

Post by Pedro-NF » 28 Apr 2012, 07:48

I've explained in very simple terms what the "loudness war" is in my Amazon.com review of Iron Maiden's latest studio album, "The Final Frontier":

Another shameful "loudness war" production, April 24, 2011

But I want to listen to Iron Maiden LOUD", you cry. Of course you do, and so do I. But that means YOU turning up the volume on your sound system till it's loud enough for your taste, instead of listening to a recording which was so poorly mastered that its sound waves have simply been "clipped" (cut off) and its audio distorted because the volume was set so high that it exceeded the CD-Audio specifications. That's what the "loudness war" is all about - in an attempt to make buyers think they are getting a better product because it sounds louder, they are actually offering you a badly mixed, distorted recording with parts of the audio just NOT present on the CD. That was the case with most Iron Maiden's "enhanced" re-releases, but in those cases you could still get the original CD releases. Since this is a new album, there is no alternative, my friend - you are going to have to listen to a distorted recording with poor dynamic range and parts of the audio missing. This CD has 2969 clipped samples on the left channel and 2116 clipped samples on the right channel - that is, at those points, the sound wave volume level was pushed above the CD-Audio specification limits and was cut off - like a hill that had its top flattened out. Since Iron Maiden has long had full control over their productions, it's hard not to blame the band for this shameful release, technically speaking. As a long time, die-hard fan, I feel disrespected and betrayed by them.


Below are a few essential site links and video examples of the loudness war. I've never met anyone who didn't like music, no matter what style, so read these texts, watch these videos and spread the word on the loudness war as much as possible.

Turn Me Up! Bringing Dynamics Back To Music

Dynamic Range Day - Dynamic music sounds better - NO MORE Loudness War!

Wikipedia - Loudness war

Unofficial Dynamic Range Database

The Death Of Dynamic Range

LAST.FM - The Death of Dynamic Range - people against Loudness War (join them!)

YouTube - The Loudness War

YouTube - Another Loudness War Example

YouTube - Curmudgeon by Nirvana (1992 vs. 2004)

YouTube - Loudness Wars versus Michael Jackson - Loud Loses!

YouTube - Fighting The Loudness War (Iron Maiden examples)

A few CD's tagged on Amazon.com as "victim of the loudness war"


IRON MAIDEN - Powerslave

First CD editions

Image

Remastered, enhanced, etc. editions

Image


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Re: The loudness war

#2

Post by JR^^ » 29 Apr 2012, 21:34

I am sure they think most fans will not notice the difference between the
"remastered" and the original quality.

Some of the "high quality" music from youtube sounds like
it is coming out of a loaf of bread.

I saw Iron maiden with Judas priest a long time ago.
JR^^

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Re: The loudness war

#3

Post by Pedro-NF » 30 Apr 2012, 22:39

Some of you may have read in the Soundtracks topic my little review of Uriah Heep's latest studio album, 2011's "Into The Wild", which I highly praised. Unfortunately, I also had to mention the horrible loudness war production of the album.

I only discovered Uriah Heep in the mid 1990's, even though the band released their first album in 1970, and since then it became one of my all time favorite bands. I'm decades younger than the original band members, but I'm sure there are lots of fans of younger age groups around.

I never really cared for the band's output during the 1990's and the 2000's, sticking to the albums recorded with original vocalist David Byron and the 3 albums with his sucessor, John Lawton. That's why the surprising excellence of the "Into The Wild" album made such an impact on me, and certainly on a lot of other fans.

The horrible "loudness war" mastering, however, has been bothering me ever since I first heard the album, so I decided to write to the band's management about it. Below is the exchange of messages between us, and I'll keep this topic updated when there are further developments.

From: Pedro Corbett <pedro.corbett@brasil-livre.org>
Sent: 28 April 2012 08:28
To: QEDG@QEDG.co.uk
Cc: ClaireStone@theagencygroup.com
Subject: Best Uriah Heep album in 20 years destroyed by loudness war mastering


What kind of amateurs are you to have allowed for the best Uriah Heep album in over 20 years, "Into The Wild", to be sonically destroyed by one of the most extreme examples of "loudness war" mastering in history? Or perhaps you're so dumb you don't even know what that means? It means this:

Image

The dynamic range of these great songs was annihilated, the album is so loud that it's painful to listen to. A decent remastering must me made urgently. You have commited a crime.

Since you probably are complete technical morons, take some time to watch and read the material below carefully:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Gmex_4hreQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTBoMlsw-0I

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KMNJEC1G-fE

http://www.turnmeup.org

Fuck you,

Pedro Corbett

* * *

From: "QEDG" <qedg@qedg.co.uk>
To: Pedro Corbett <pedro.corbett@brasil-livre.org>
Cc: "'Claire Stone'" <clairestone@theagencygroup.com>
Subject: RE: Best Uriah Heep album in 20 years destroyed by loudness war mastering
Date: Mon, 30 Apr 2012 12:25:48 +0100


Dear Pedro,

Thank you for your interesting letter, this has been passed to the band’s producer.

However, he will no doubt consider the case of Arkell vs. Pressdram Ltd (1971) if responding to your email.

Kind Regards,

QEDG Management

* * *

About the Arkell vs Pressdram case they cite in their reply (you gotta admire the English style of burying the knife while smiling at you):

Arkell vs. Pressdram

An unlikely piece of British legal history occurred in the case Arkell v. Pressdram. The plaintiff (Arkell) was the subject of an article relating to illicit payments, and for a change the magazine (Private Eye) had ample evidence to back up the article. Arkell's lawyers wrote a letter in which, unusually, they said: "Our client's attitude to damages will depend on the nature of your reply". The response consisted, in part, of the following: "We would be interested to know what your client’s attitude to damages would be if the nature of our reply were as follows : Fuck off".


* * *

From: Pedro Corbett <pedro.corbett@brasil-livre.org>
To: "QEDG" <qedg@qedg.co.uk>
Subject: RE: Best Uriah Heep album in 20 years destroyed by loudness war mastering


> At 30/04/2012 08:25, you wrote:
>
> However, he will no doubt consider the case of Arkell vs. Pressdram Ltd (1971) if responding to your email.

That would be very nice, given the exponentially increasing amount of interest the loudness war has been gaining. His "fuck off" would be actually directed at his own lack of skill as a producer (with which perhaps a psychiatrist could help him, since he might be in denial of that fact), rather than at me.

It would also be a pleasure to spread his words all over the internet - actually, that's one of my areas of expertise, non-intrusive internet promotion and marketing.

I do apologize if I directed my "fuck you" to the wrong party, but unfortunately there was no contact information for the band or the producer on the band's site. So, let's change that to a FUCK HIM (the producer) instead of you (or not, if he was working as he was instructed to by the band's management).

Let's make something clear here - you may care only about the commercial side of things, but I and millions of others have grown up listening to Uriah Heep, and we love the band and we care about their legacy and their place in the history of music. However, even speaking from a strictly commercial perspective, like many other labels and producers have already realized, a "loudness war" produced album will hurt a band's reputation (even when it's not the band's fault) and that album's sales. I can think of no better example than Metallica's latest studio album, "Death Magnetic":

Remix or remaster Death Magnetic! Petition (currently 22K+ signatures)

http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/re- ... netic.html

Metallica's "Death Magnetic" Sounds Better In Guitar Hero (Ian Shepherd, Mastering Engineer)

http://mastering-media.blogspot.com.br/ ... etter.html

Metallica's "Death Magnetic" - Stop The Loudness Wars

http://mastering-media.blogspot.com.br/ ... dness.html

Anyways, thank you for replying. That means you do care about this issue, even though you might not admit it. I will be starting an online petition for the remastering of "Into The Wild" soon. And if possible, forward both my emails to the band. They don't deserve to know about this through the media or other outside parties.

Fuck the producer,

Pedro Corbett
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Re: The loudness war

#4

Post by Pedro-NF » 02 Dec 2012, 06:54

Just found this amazing site with comparisons between non-remastered and remastered CD editions of various albums. The site's author included images of the waveforms and statistics for every CD he analyzed:

Loudness war - CD List

Bauhaus - In The Flat Field
Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath
Black Sabbath - Paranoid
Bob Marley - Burnin'
Bob Marley - Natty Dread
Bob Marley - Catch A Fire
Death Cult - Death Cult
The Cult - Dreamtime
The Cult - Love
Southern Death Cult - Southern Death Cult
Miles Davis - Kind of Blue
Death In June - Burial
The Doors - The Doors
Einstuerzende Neubauten - Zeichnungen Des Patienten O.T.
Einstuerzende Neubauten - Halber Mensch
Einstuerzende Neubauten - Haus der Luege
Einstuerzende Neubauten - Fuenf Auf Der Nach Oben Offenen Richterskala
Hawkwind - Doremi Fasol Latido
Hawkwind - In Search Of Space
Hawkwind - Space Ritual
The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Electric Ladyland
Christian Death - Ashes
Iron Maiden - Live After Death
Iron Maiden - Powerslave
Iron Maiden - Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son
Iron Maiden - Somewhere In Time
Jefferson Airplane - After Bathing At Baxter's
Jefferson Airplane - Surrealistic Pillow
Jethro Tull - Aqualung
Jethro Tull - Benefit
Jethro Tull - Stand Up
Jethro Tull - Thick As A Brick
Jethro Tull - This Was
Joy Division - Closer
Joy Division - Unknown Pleasures
Judas Priest - Defenders Of The Faith
King Crimson - In The Court Of The Crimson King
King Crimson - Islands
King Crimson - Larks' Tongues In Aspic
King Crimson - Lizard
King Crimson - In The Wake Of Poseidon
King Crimson - Red
King Crimson - Starless And Bible Black
Kommunity FK - The Vision And The Voice
Led Zeppelin - II
Led Zeppelin - IV
Led Zeppelin - I
Osibisa - Osibisa
Osibisa - Woyaya
Pink Floyd - Atom Heart Mother
Pink Floyd - Meddle
Pink Floyd - Soundtrack From The Film More
Pink Floyd - Obscured By Clouds
Pink Floyd - A Saucerful Of Secrets
Pink Floyd - Ummagumma
Queensryche - Operation: Mindcrime
Santana - 3
Santana - Abraxas
Santana - Santana
Shiva Burlesque - Shiva Burlesque
Simon And Garfunkel - Bridge Over Troubled Water
The Sisters Of Mercy - First And Last And Always
Sonic Youth - Confusion Is Sex
Sonic Youth - Daydream Nation
Sonic Youth - Evol
Sonic Youth - Sister
Swans - Children Of God
Tangerine Dream - Zeit
This Heat - This Heat
Uriah Heep - Salisbury
The Velvet Underground & Nico - The Velvet Underground & Nico
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Re: The loudness war

#5

Post by blaskattacks » 02 Apr 2013, 23:10

It's all starting to make sense, why I hate most radio music. Even the classics have been remastered to be louder than fuck unnecessarily.

Wow those waveforms look like an amateur mastered them to me. It doesn't even make sense, they can't possibly tell what they are doing with it like that. They probably master them all perfectly first and then turn up their gains on a multiband compressor until its in the red the whole time.

Separation in the audio spectrum between instruments is one of the main ways to make instruments, and different sounds, vocals,the drums, sound clear and distinct from one another. When properly done you won't have maxed out audio all the time because things weave together, don't over ride one another, giving a very full even sound. If you increase different frequencies until you are maxed out loud, you lose this part of the music. The sounds have nowhere to go, if you will think metaphorically. There is another sound there trying to occupy a limited space, you end up not hearing them very well.

Fuck the loudness war man, turn up the amp after you are done making it sound crispy. Not the master before you record, it sounds like shit.
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Re: The loudness war

#6

Post by Pedro-NF » 08 Apr 2013, 10:03

A very interesting discussion on the various Iron Maiden CD pressings (including the horrible, unlistenable "loudness war" remasters):

Iron Maiden albums (CDs) pressings with best sound quality
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Re: The loudness war

#7

Post by Pedro-NF » 31 Aug 2013, 08:41

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Re: The loudness war

#8

Post by Pedro-NF » 05 Sep 2013, 01:02

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Re: The loudness war

#9

Post by Pedro-NF » 27 Sep 2013, 21:31

Clipping - digital versus analogue, and limiting



Everything you ever wanted to know about clipping but were too busy writing music to ask.
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Re: The loudness war

#10

Post by blaskattacks » 16 Jun 2014, 09:20

When I record live instruments I always just use a gate and limiter. I guess I just don't do super hard post audio processing, usually just recording and synthesizing. I balance my audio off of monitors with good bass response so usually my audio does sound quiet coming out of a laptop or bad stereo, but very full when I listen on a real stereo. Really I try to design for playing at a club.
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Re: The loudness war

#11

Post by Pedro-NF » 04 Aug 2014, 15:40

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Re: The loudness war

#12

Post by Pedro-NF » 04 Aug 2014, 15:43

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Re: The loudness war

#13

Post by Pedro-NF » 17 Mar 2015, 15:35

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Re: The loudness war

#14

Post by Pedro-NF » 27 Mar 2015, 19:33

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Re: The loudness war

#15

Post by Pedro-NF » 27 Mar 2015, 19:35

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Re: The loudness war

#16

Post by Pedro-NF » 26 Apr 2015, 22:45

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Taylor Swift's "1989" louder than AC/DC's "Back In Black", claims study

Taylor Swift's "1989" is officially louder than AC/DC's "Back In Black", according to a study conducted by a mastering engineer. Ian Shepherd is the founder of Dynamic Range Day and, as Billboard reports, carried out a study comparing the volume of popular albums. According to Shepherd's study, Swift's "1989" clocked in at a DR6 rating, which makes it much louder than both "Back In Black" and Metallica's "The Black Album" (DR12 and DR11 respectively).

Taylor Swift's "1989" Is Louder Than AC/DC's "Back in Black" - Here's Why

In honor of last month's Dynamic Range Day, mastering engineer Ian Shepherd made an infographic comparing the loudness of popular albums - and the results may surprise you. Take Taylor Swift's "1989", which clocked in at a fairly compressed DR6 rating. While Shepherd says that's pretty standard for modern pop music, it's still much louder than classic heavy metal LPs like AC/DC's "Back in Black" (DR12) and Metallica's "The Black Album" (DR11). In comparison, Metallica's more recent Death Magnetic reached a blistering DR3 level, while Skrillex's Recess charts at DR4.

None of the included albums recorded before 1996 register above DR9, helping illustrate the trend of increasing audio levels on commercial masters - commonly referred to as "The Loudness War."
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Re: The loudness war

#17

Post by Pedro-NF » 12 Jan 2016, 12:21

Why Modern Music Sucks: The Loudness Wars

There's a problem when Taylor Swift's "1989" is louder than Motörhead's "Ace of Spades".
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Re: The loudness war

#18

Post by Pedro-NF » 20 May 2016, 18:04

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