1. Time for some upgrades in server hardware and software to enhance security and take AK to the next level. Please contribute what you can to sales@audiokarma.org at PayPal.com - Thanks from the AK Team
    Dismiss Notice

Squashed Dynamics = Listener's Fatigue

Discussion in 'General Audio Discussion' started by jdmccall, Dec 6, 2018 at 12:44 PM.

  1. jdmccall

    jdmccall Super Member

    Messages:
    1,017
    Location:
    SW Missouri, USA
    Besides the diminished fidelity and overall sound quality that comes with the loudness wars, there is collateral damage in the form of listener's fatigue.

    I was listening to a CD copy of The Ozark Mountain Daredevil's first album this morning, then followed that with the Pistol Annie's "Hell On Heels" CD. What a difference! While the Annie's CD did sound good, with strong bass and good clarity, it was so loud I had to reach for the volume...twice. It hurt my ears! By the time it's 30:09 running time was over, my listening session was too.

    I can see the advantage of dynamic limiting in noisy environments and for background music; I guess that's what the industry is catering to...but not music lovers / audiophiles. We don't count, I guess. Shame there can't be a reasonable compromise that would be acceptable to all, or as I have long proposed -dynamic limiting in playback, not in recording. It would just need to be in the form of a button. Off or on. Everybody's happy. If only we lived in a perfect world!
     
    Judas Priest and bruhl001 like this.

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  2. bobins08

    bobins08 Loving the dream Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,295
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    If only everything was “well recorded”.

    It was not true back when analog/vinyl was king and it still isn’t today.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018 at 11:54 PM
  3. jdmccall

    jdmccall Super Member

    Messages:
    1,017
    Location:
    SW Missouri, USA
    I understand and accept that recording sound quality is always going to be variable, but...extreme dynamic compression in the name of commerce or convenience, is an insidious desecration of art. Even if the "art" is only pop music.
     
  4. Condorsat

    Condorsat Audio Enthusiast

    Messages:
    4,593
    Location:
    Ohio
    David Byrne (video below) asks "Does the venue make the music?". About 11:00 ish minute mark .. he makes the point that music today is written or made for Car/DAP audio … vice a home stereo system. Essentially, music adapts to the technology of the time it was made.



    A good indicator to me that I'm listening to a well recorded album (full dynamic range) is when I have to turn my stereo volume up.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018 at 2:29 PM
  5. jdmccall

    jdmccall Super Member

    Messages:
    1,017
    Location:
    SW Missouri, USA
    Very interesting presentation by Mr. Byrne and I think the point he makes is valid. But still, artists have to be aware that recorded music is listened to in a variety of ways and over a variety of systems. Again, it seems that the people who arguably care the most about sound quality are getting the least consideration.
     
    Bill Ferris and bruhl001 like this.
  6. Condorsat

    Condorsat Audio Enthusiast

    Messages:
    4,593
    Location:
    Ohio


    Their aware of it .. it's just how things have evolved. Caters to how the masses listen to music.
    Don't like it much either .. just is what it is.
     
    jdmccall and bruhl001 like this.

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  7. jdmccall

    jdmccall Super Member

    Messages:
    1,017
    Location:
    SW Missouri, USA
    Excellent videos! Thanks so much for posting those! I just wish there was something we as audiophiles and music lovers could do!! I guess the easy answer is to not buy compressed recordings, but that's hard to do if you listen to popular music at all; and besides, we usually have no way of knowing how the music will sound until we lay the money down.
     
  8. imral3

    imral3 Super Member

    Messages:
    2,578
    Location:
    Blackwood, New Jersey
    I hate when a bad recording ruins the mood. :rant:
     
    Bill Ferris likes this.
  9. sqlsavior

    sqlsavior AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,914
    Location:
    Española NM
    It's like a generation of cows grew up preferring astroturf.

    I've come to the conclusion that there is no remedy for Loudness Wars compressed music. A few months ago I put on a CD of Chicago's greatest hits, and took it out in the middle of the second song. Just too irritating. It's on a mental do-not-play list now. I've got a fairly eclectic taste, but I'm growing more discriminating about what I listen to nowadays. It's funny that (most) record surface noise doesn't bother me much, but blare and glare puts me right off.
     
    Alobar, bobins08 and restorer-john like this.
  10. Condorsat

    Condorsat Audio Enthusiast

    Messages:
    4,593
    Location:
    Ohio
    My solution was … wait let me put my hard hat on (some are not going to like this) .. lossy subscription streaming. Low cost .. ephemeral .. no emotional "buy off" on albums that I purchased & regret buying. I listen & if the recording is really bad .. I just won't listen that much or ever again. Like renting a movie from local Drug Store .. if I like the album and it is well recorded (relatively speaking) .. I might buy a physical copy.

    [​IMG]

    An example of a modern album I streamed & liked .. bought the physical CD (not all that common for me). Does not sound like something out of the 70's but sounds good to me on my rig .. modern (forward & muscular) but good.



    Don't want to give the impression that I don't listen to modern music .. I do .. I just lossy stream it vice buying. My biggest problem is the selection is so vast .. I have to keep track of what I played (and liked) .. or I might forget about it and never play the album again.

    Anyway .. was a good solution for me .. been streaming since 2012 .. YMMV.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2018 at 9:36 AM
  11. jdmccall

    jdmccall Super Member

    Messages:
    1,017
    Location:
    SW Missouri, USA
    The next question then is how does one know if a given streaming service delivers music as is or if they compress further like fm radio? My music preview usually consists of a 30 second sample at 20-32 kBps (or whatever bit rate Amazon uses these days) and I've been fooled many times thinking I was getting a good sounding recording only to find out after hearing the CD --not so much.
     

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  12. quiet

    quiet AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,188
    Location:
    arkansas
    So when did this loudness thing start? When did heavy metal or head banger or whatever it's called start? So what's new.
    And Cher didn't do use any favors with Believe. Bless her heart. That's when I first noticed pop falling victim.
     
  13. jdmccall

    jdmccall Super Member

    Messages:
    1,017
    Location:
    SW Missouri, USA
    The first "heavy metal" song might (arguably) be "Born To Be Wild" (…"heavy metal thunder") from what...1969?

    I don't have much argument against compression that is used to achieve a desired sound. I think that's been done since the 50's. It's the heavy-handed use of dynamic compression for non-musical reasons that frosts me. When it's over-used and abused to the extent that the music (and our ears) suffer, somebody needs to jump up and down and yell "STOP THAT!" until the industry gets the message. Not that they even care. It's all about money. Just like most everything else.:(
     
    Judas Priest, sdw54 and Bill Ferris like this.
  14. quiet

    quiet AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,188
    Location:
    arkansas
    I think that was the first reference to heavy metal used in a song. And quite intelligible.
     
  15. bobins08

    bobins08 Loving the dream Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,295
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    You mean lossless streaming, not lossy steaming ... right?
     
  16. sKiZo

    sKiZo Hates received: 8642 Subscriber

    There's ways around that ... can't imagine life without my 3bx and holographic processor. Also have the dbx boombox to tame and tailor the bottom end of most anything I throw at it. a dbx SNR-1 does a nice job of cleaning up surface noise and hiss too.

    [​IMG]

    Granted, no real way to restore missing music due to bad mastering and production, but you can make some real turds sound quite nice ...

    PS - probably mentioned already, but a lot of the early cd's were total crap as manufacturers rushed to get their entire catalogs to market on the new media. I've ripped a lot of old vinyl that runs rings around those.
     
    sdw54 and bobins08 like this.

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  17. Condorsat

    Condorsat Audio Enthusiast

    Messages:
    4,593
    Location:
    Ohio
    No lossy @ 50% the cost of lossless subscription (actually less for me w/ military discount on Tidal I'm paying $6 per month).

    Currently I use the service to listen to mostly(to me) modern music (90s & up) .. where the loudness factor often comes into play on pop rock.

    Essentially .. not worth lossless to me. If I was listening to Classical Music, Jazz or 70's type Classic Rock (before excessive compression loudness wars) .. I would opt for lossless subscription (which would cost me $12 per month). Lossy is good enough for modern pop music to me .. which I take a rent vs buy mentality.

    That's just how I roll .. I'm aware most folks on AK .. don't look at this way. I may change in the future :dunno: stream more old school tunes, Classic Music or Jazz more often .. but I'm all good now. Lossy actually does not sound bad on my rig.

    .. I spin vinyl (70s Classic Rock) 40 - 50% of the time .. that's where I get my real Hi Fi :music: mojo.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2018 at 5:55 PM
  18. jdmccall

    jdmccall Super Member

    Messages:
    1,017
    Location:
    SW Missouri, USA
    I used a dbx 3BX II back in the analog days. IIRC, it could provide a maximum of 50% expansion. So if a modern pop CD only has, let's say a 10dB dynamic range going into the expander, it would come out with 15 dB. Audible but maybe not by a lot. Besides, I think even 10dB might be rare these days. 6-9 might be the norm but I'm on shaky ground here with my numbers. Point is, I'm skeptical it would be worth the effort to buy a new expander. You already had yours, I presume, so that's different. What does one of those things go for today (assuming they're still available)?
     
  19. 851 SP3

    851 SP3 Active Member

    Messages:
    220
    Location:
    Canton, Ohio

    One of the absolute worst concerts I ever attended was Crosby, Stills, and Nash at the Richfield Coliseum. It was all acoustic. Terrible sound from start to end. Completely 'wrong' combination of music/venue. He's 1000% spot on about "the worst sounding venues on the planet" (at 10:00 or so).
     
    Condorsat likes this.
  20. Condorsat

    Condorsat Audio Enthusiast

    Messages:
    4,593
    Location:
    Ohio

    Probably one of those CD's that they re-master a legacy recording to make it sound "competitive" in the market place .. or the same volume level as modern mastered music.



    Notice the Time (horizontal axis) vs Amplitude (Vertical axis) & the sound (leaving the volume the same from start).

     
    imral3 likes this.

Share This Page