04 July 2006

"Loudness Wars"

Via ever-entertaining LinkFilter and observant 'Mac', this piece on how the 'loudness wars' are ruining our music. Selective quote:

"A vinyl record from the 70s or 80s will have a big dynamic range -- new nuances every time you listen to it. Now listen to any music track recorded in the last ten years, and it'll be radically different: dynamic range gone, entire track is loud, all the way through.

The sound sounds more intense, and it "grabs" you more quickly the first time you hear it. But does it still reward re-listening?

Nope, says a writer at Stylus magazine, arguing that the "loudness wars" are destroying music.

Record labels have lonjg tried to make records louder ... but the way you make music louder is via "compression".

In a normal recording of music, the loudest parts -- the peaks -- are much higher than the quietest ones, the valleys. Compression shrinks the difference between the peaks and valleys, so there's less dynamic range; this frees up more room up top so you can boost the whole volume of the entire song.


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