Jump to content
semente

What's wrong with commercial recordings

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

This week I was zapping through the radio stations on my way home and this band was playing live from the BBC studios.

The vocals could do with a bit reverb but it sounds much more "lively" than most commercial recordings, crisper, better balanced, like being in a club:

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05xjkzm

 

Why don't most commercial recordings sound as good as this?

Who's to blame, the producers?

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Loudness Wars are a bit silly and with some present indie bands they even make fun of it by doing it so LoFi and non-polished it's gotten critic's attention. Electric Studio's Forum (Steve Albini's Studio) has some hilarious but valid pro's and con's. Unless you're listening to "most" music from a reputable label, Production/Recording/Engineering staff it is what it is. It's hard to enjoy music if you know what goes behind it, or you're not hearing a tone stretch out due to it being cut off on the note to ether. That sucks. I hate it. But I also grew up on indie bands on labels that recorded like Pavement's original release of Slanted and Enchanted. I hated Nirvana's Nevermind because it was not the band's sound. It was more glossy than Appetite For Destruction.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I doubt its the loudness wars to blame, more likely the AAC 320 the bbc use to stream just sounds better than flac/wav. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, diecaster said:

Sure, lossy AAC 320 sounds sounds better than lossless FLAC/WAV. Not in any reality I am aware of is that the case.....

Sound quality is subjective isn't it? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Rexp said:

Sound quality is subjective isn't it? 

Sure. Please explain how a FLAC that would be a source of an AAC320 file would sound wise than the AAC320 file. I am really looking forward to how you explain that having less bits with a lower sample rate could sound better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
54 minutes ago, diecaster said:

Sure. Please explain how a FLAC that would be a source of an AAC320 file would sound wise than the AAC320 file. I am really looking forward to how you explain that having less bits with a lower sample rate could sound better.

The AAC seems to filter out the objectional noise (bit like vinyl) that I hear in the original FLAC. Of course AAC aint perfect but I find it preferable. I am analog guy that thinks most digital playback sucks. Useful feedback anyone? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's been said many time about where the modern record production and mastering is going on, but what catching my eye also recently is when you go to DR Database you could see that for instance most of the 90s recordings where very dynamic and recent so called re-masters are (mostly!) shit! Of course, you could argue that's not only about the dynamic range, but still why to compress them so much!? Let's say from 11dB in average to 6dB average! This is insane and very stupid! You are getting 24/192 "re-master", when its originals in redbook quality sounds way better for less money, c'mon. 

 

Oh, it's about remasters, but almost all new releases how are still so much compressed. Don't even bother to mention them :-/

 

Please read this article as well if not pasted somewhere here: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/07/opinion/what-these-grammy-songs-tell-us-about-the-loudness-wars.html especially comments.

 

This is also good read: https://www.electricalaudio.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=68607

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/23/2018 at 4:58 PM, jasenj1 said:

Don't know if this was a rhetorical question along the lines of "What's wrong with kids these days?" or if you're looking for serious answers/speculation, but I'll throw some input in.

 

 

I played the video through MusicScope. The peaks are at -6dB. The loudness range (similar to dynamic range) is 10.0 - which is a pretty high value; this indicates the song has a mix of loud & soft passages, and even wide volume range within a passage. There is definitely some hard limiting at -6dB, but it is mostly the snare, kick, & bass that hit the limiter.

 

Compare that with Bruno Mars' "That's What I Like" from the album 24K Magic (winner of the 2018 Grammy for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical): The peaks are at 0dB - all the way to the top. MusicScope says the "True Peak Level" is even higher than zero (this means after the DA conversion the signal may distort the analog stage; i.e. it's really loud). The LRA is 3.6 - pretty tight. And it's not just instantaneous signals like drums that hit the peaks; the vocals sit at 0dB most of the time, too. IMHO, this track is designed to be listened to in headphones in a gym or in a car; i.e. It is designed to block out ambient sounds - it is pretty white noise.

 

Also, the Bruno Mars track is not a live performance. It is assembled from individual, isolated recordings (stems), and heavily edited. It wasn't played, it was built.

 

 

If you are an this site, I expect you are aware of "The Loudness Wars". Music is no longer something you are expected to sit down & listen to in a controlled (read quiet) environment. It is something you listen to while going about your day. It must compete with all the other ambient noise going on around you. Therefore it is mixed loud & stays loud - you control the volume with a button. It's a culture problem. I don't think any one group can be blamed.

 

 

 

If I see this level of edition and compression is getting Best Engineered Album statue, I would like to vomit! It's insane, stupid and non-professional - ok, it's pure commerce :-(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...