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Are the Loudness Wars Over? Apple Sound Check and iTunes Radio to the Rescue!


Paul R

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The Quietus | Features | Dynamic Range Compression: Are The Loudness Wars Over?

 

This is a very interesting article indeed, and the views presented may go against some CA inspired best practices.

But after reading the whole article, I am provisionally ready to accept this idea.

 

Please, Apple Haters- wait until you have read the entire article before unlimbering your artillery and opening fire. :)

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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Hi Paul,

 

In my experience, not yet. Perhaps not by a good clip (pun intended).

BUT... there may be reason for optimism.

To my ears, it doesn't 100% even things out but it *is* a very nice first step.

 

I think it is going to take, at best, quite a while for folks in the record industry to "grok" this.

Meanwhile, I still have to ask prospective clients how important loudness is to them--and gently refer elsewhere, those who say it is.

Too many are still using meters, instead of loudspeakers, to evaluate the final product. ("If it goes in the black, you lose." ;-{)

 

Too many mastering houses are still seeking to entice clients by how much they raise the level of incoming masters.

(And not enough clients are asking "Don't you have to hear that incoming master before making such a statement?")

 

As I said long ago in an article on the subject, "The loudness wars leave music as a casualty."

 

Best regards,

Barry

Soundkeeper Recordings

The Soundkeeper | Audio, Music, Recording, Playback

Barry Diament Audio

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I will believe it's over when I stop seeing compressed files at iTunes, and when our hi-res files based on masters from years ago stop being compressed down to a DR of 7 or 8 from 12 or 13.

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: Ropieee (RPi3b+ with touchscreen) + Schiit Modi3E to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Yes, I think you are spot on with your thinking here. And real craftsmanship is hard for some in the industry to accept- one reason of course being cost. I am not clear on what the other reasons may be, but I am sure they will follow along with cost.

 

I was a bit amused that some of those clients you turn away are going to find iTunes turning down the volume on their productions, whether they want them to or not.

 

That is a new twist, I think. Without doubt, it will enrage some people and lead to violent and over "loud" protestations as well.

 

My old gran would have commented that the music is fine, but some folks need their ears clipped. :)

 

-Paul

 

Hi Paul,

 

In my experience, not yet. Perhaps not by a good clip (pun intended).

BUT... there may be reason for optimism.

To my ears, it doesn't 100% even things out but it *is* a very nice first step.

 

I think it is going to take, at best, quite a while for folks in the record industry to "grok" this.

Meanwhile, I still have to ask prospective clients how important loudness is to them--and gently refer elsewhere, those who say it is.

Too many are still using meters, instead of loudspeakers, to evaluate the final product. ("If it goes in the black, you lose." ;-{)

 

Too many mastering houses are still seeking to entice clients by how much they raise the level of incoming masters.

(And not enough clients are asking "Don't you have to hear that incoming master before making such a statement?")

 

As I said long ago in an article on the subject, "The loudness wars leave music as a casualty."

 

Best regards,

Barry

Soundkeeper Recordings

The Soundkeeper | Audio, Music, Recording, Playback

Barry Diament Audio

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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Lately I have been using the iTunes 'Volume Adjustment' widget on a few tracks, here and there, to either reduce too loud, or boost too soft, songs.

 

So far this is only happening in a big playlist I have been building of my favorite Electronica songs, so there is little chance of (maybe, ever-so slightly) impacting the SQ of a great recording. I have no intentions of 'adjusting' good and audiophile quality recordings, but most of the ordinary studio produced stuff we all have so much of, wouldn't be harmed at all (IMO).

 

I intend to play these favorite tunes in Shuffle mode, so glaring volume contrasts would not be a good thing :)

 

It would be nice to be able to use Tunes 'Sound Check' in a limited fashion, but I doubt that will happen anytime soon.

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That's the trick to this Dave- the iTunes Radio service always runs through Volume adjustment, similar to what FM radio stations do. But it doesn't make recordings with nice huge Drs louder, it is making the highly compressed and distorted noisy tracks softer. In other words, it does not damage the "good" music and puts the brakes on the Loudness War.

 

If that proves out to be the case, people selling on iTunes will start making less compressed better music. Or so the theory goes.

 

-Paul

 

 

Lately I have been using the iTunes 'Volume Adjustment' widget on a few tracks, here and there, to either reduce too loud, or boost too soft, songs.

 

So far this is only happening in a big playlist I have been building of my favorite Electronica songs, so there is little chance of (maybe, ever-so slightly) impacting the SQ of a great recording. I have no intentions of 'adjusting' good and audiophile quality recordings, but most of the ordinary studio produced stuff we all have so much of, wouldn't be harmed at all (IMO).

 

I intend to play these favorite tunes in Shuffle mode, so glaring volume contrasts would not be a good thing :)

 

It would be nice to be able to use Tunes 'Sound Check' in a limited fashion, but I doubt that will happen anytime soon.

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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it is making the highly compressed and distorted noisy tracks softer. In other words, it does not damage the "good" music and puts the brakes on the Loudness War...

 

If that proves out to be the case, people selling on iTunes will start making less compressed better music. Or so the theory goes.

 

Paul, Yep, got it. I was relating a personal experience with a similar, through small scale, function. IOW, Hey, it's cool in both big and little applications (when used appropriately).

 

I have to say that, while I do think these new assaults on the 'Loudness War' will have a long term effect, I think that 'term' will be very long. Too much inertia, too much 'my rice bowl thinking', too much stupidity... :(

 

But I would be very happy to be wrong :)

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