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So, how, why did we lose the volume wars?

Discussion in 'Recording In Progress' started by 4pickupguy, Sep 25, 2018.

  1. 4pickupguy

    4pickupguy Poster Extraordinaire

    May 12, 2013
    Fort Worth, Texas
    Yeah, it would be like that...
     
  2. D_W_PGH

    D_W_PGH Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    41
    Aug 28, 2018
    Pittsburgh
    Equivalent to a pro wrestling match where the bell rings and both guys continuously go off the top turnbuckle for 30 minutes.

    I guess nobody wants to make the effort to play quietly, for fear that they'll be forgotten.
     
  3. thesamhill

    thesamhill Tele-Holic

    574
    Dec 20, 2010
    Harrisburg, PA area
    I kind of thought it had already been established that commercials are the answer about why there are loudness wars (though as always, I could be wrong).

    There's a peak level for TV shows and movies which happens once or twice during the show for impact. Commercials were mastered to be that loud during the entire commercial, to be attention-grabbing. Radio commercials were doing it too. Everyone got sick of it (a la @SolidSteak ).

    Not too much the TV show creators could do, but musical artists could 'fight back' by doing the same thing the commercials were doing. To me that seems like the right move in a situation where none of the choices were ideal.

    I bet most artists of any generation would rather go back to dynamic productions if they could. Why wouldn't they? They're more effective and everyone from rock to classical to EDM knows it. I can't think of any reason NOT to incorporate dynamics into a piece of music... unless you only have 15 or 30 seconds- lacking time to actually build dynamics- in which case you have to resort to just going full-on loud. Or unless your music is airing alongside those 15 to 30-second recordings.

    I'm not sure when auto-volume first came out on TVs but it was at least 10 years ago. This is from a thread in avforums from 2009 on auto volume:

    "I don't use it. But if I was to use it it would only be when watching TV to stop the adverts being loads louder than the programme..."

    "... They remove all of the dynamics from the sound and the compression effects are clearly audible. They're a crude version of the dynamic range compression that has afflicted many CDs for the last few years."

    https://www.avforums.com/threads/lcd-tv’s-the-pros-cons-of-‘auto-volume’.1045553/

    So at least 10 years ago, if not earlier, the world was sick enough of commercial loudness wars to incorporate a countermeasure as a feature of TVs. Apparently dynamic range compression had been afflicting CDs for at least that long.

    Millenials were 9 YEARS OLD AT THAT POINT you grumpy old bastards, lol
     
    RLee77 likes this.
  4. woodman

    woodman Grand Wazoo @ The Woodshed Gold Supporter

    Age:
    72
    Nov 28, 2004
    Mint Hill, NC
    Subjecting 9-year-olds to that is child abuse! :D
     
    suthol likes this.
  5. David Barnett

    David Barnett Poster Extraordinaire

    "Loudness Wars" on CD has been a "thing" since the early-mid 1990s.
     
  6. Charlie Bernstein

    Charlie Bernstein Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 26, 2003
    Augusta, Maine
    Coincidentally, had a pub gig last night, and the PA died during the second song.

    So we set the mic stands aside and just played and sang amp-free for the next three hours.

    No one minded that we weren't amped up. In fact, no one seemed to notice. One guy wanted to sing a song, so we invited him up. He asked us which mic he should use. He hadn't realized we weren't amplifying!
     
  7. estreet

    estreet Tele-Meister

    298
    Jan 10, 2013
    Southern UK
    The loudness wars are bad but it's all part and parcel of the apathy towards audio fidelity these days. No-one seems to care any more... you can't even buy a hi-fi setup in a normal high street shop any more, just an overgrown plastic boom-box that probably comes with flashing lights. Even worse, most people - even musicians - I know seem to listen to stuff on their phones in mono more than on anything else. I've lost count of the times I've asked someone I'm working on stuff with what they thought of a mix to hear a reply like 'Yeah sounds great mate - only heard it on my phone tho'. It's weird that with all the techno obsession that gets directed at video resolution and definition that no-one seems to care about the music, even though we could now easily do away with bit compression and have high definition audio readily available.
     
    fmmlp and RLee77 like this.
  8. Stiv

    Stiv TDPRI Member

    Age:
    49
    23
    Jan 31, 2018
    East Lansing, MI
    The last recording project I engineered for a customer became somewhat of a volume war casualty.

    We were mixing, thought we had it, and then I compared them to some commercial MP3's. The customer said, "Can you make it loud like the others?" so I complied.

    I heavily multipressed the mix, and ran it through another brickwall limiter plugin. It still wasn't "loud enough," so I pulled that MP3 to a wave editor, redrew peaks by mouse that spiked over 80% to below that, then amplified the mix again so the peaks were at 100%. Ugh...

    On playback, it was dynamically Hulk-smashed, but the customer was happy.

    Later the customer asked me to send it to a commercial CD mastering facility, the engineer asked for, and I sent him, the non-compressed version, and guess what he did? Hulk-smashed it to a volume same as the earlier MP3's.

    That is what people want so their recording sounds "Pro."
     
    4pickupguy likes this.
  9. 4pickupguy

    4pickupguy Poster Extraordinaire

    May 12, 2013
    Fort Worth, Texas
    Instruments sound terrible when overly compressed. Listen to the acoustic guitar in that Mix for Hire add. Its dreadful.
     
    David Barnett likes this.
  10. Geoff738

    Geoff738 Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    54
    May 11, 2007
    Toronto
    I’ve heard the argument that streaming has kinda ended the loudness wars as each streaming platforms have different LUFs standards.

    Not sure I buy that, but it’s one opinion IV,e heard.

    Cheers,
    Geoff
     
  11. David Barnett

    David Barnett Poster Extraordinaire

    So why are almost all new releases still just as loud and smashed as ever?
     
  12. Geoff738

    Geoff738 Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    54
    May 11, 2007
    Toronto
    Good question.

    I guess we’re still mixing for radio too.

    And, like I said, I don’t completely buy it.

    Cheers,
    Geoff
     
  13. David Barnett

    David Barnett Poster Extraordinaire

    Why would anyone compress for radio? The stations already smash the hell out of everything.

    Anyway, terrestrial radio for music is a dead medium.
     
  14. cyclopean

    cyclopean Friend of Leo's

    Aug 14, 2009
    innsmouth, MA
    except motorhead albums aren't brickwalled.
     
  15. StrangerNY

    StrangerNY Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    True. They knew how to make a good record.

    - D
     
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