They Don't Make Music Like They Used To

Discussion in 'Music Forums' started by whell, Feb 9, 2019.

  1. whell

    whell AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    NY Times article regarding "the loudness war". Its in the opinion section, so this was not published as "factual", but its still interesting. From the article:

    But according to Bob Ludwig, one of the industry’s pre-eminent mastering engineers (and a winner of Grammys for Best Engineered Album for artists like Alabama Shakes, Beck and Daft Punk), this hasn’t stopped mixing engineers from ladling on the loudness, reducing the dynamic range of the music even as the streaming normalization defeats their purpose. “The loudness war is worse than ever,” he recently told me. “It is a super-discouraging situation.”
     
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  2. Johnny B

    Johnny B Active Member

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    The loudness war is what sent me back to vinyl. I switched to buying mostly CDs when I was about 19 or 20, at the end of the 1980s. But I had a lot of records that weren’t available on CD, so I’ve always kept a turntable. Around 2007, I got tired of buying bad-sounding CD reissues of older albums, so started to buy music from those eras on LP. I soon realized that new music on LP was less likely to use a crushed master and I started buying most things on LP.

    I thought the longevity remark in the article was interesting. As always, there is plenty of fantastic music out there that will never be nominated for a Grammy or be very popular. Lots of those artists have opted out of the loudness war. That’s most of what I listen to. What’s interesting, though is how many of those artists have long careers.
     
  3. Quadman2

    Quadman2 Addicted Member

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    Not sure if what I'am gonna share is in sych with the intent of this thread? But...it's sorta in the same ball park.

    Heard on the air waves just a a few mins ago that the millennials recognize tunes from the '60's to the '90's better than they do within their own period of time...and there was research to back this up. There was no comment on how valid the findings were, and by whom, but I heard it on the radio and...?:biggrin:

    The announcer came on later with his own take on this situation, sharing that, they might have been "brainwashed" when growing up hearing it at home or on the radio.

    Ya think? Loudness may only be a part of this?

    Sorry if this wasn't a fit for this thread. I thought it was.:dunno:

    Q
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2019
  4. Ds2000

    Ds2000 Oh THOSE speakers. Subscriber

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    Just posted this within another thread as well.
     
  5. whell

    whell AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Sure. The best music - in my opinion - engages and thrills. Part of the thrill is the dynamic swings in the music. Most musical pieces have it, and it has an impact of the listener. When the music is compressed, the impact of those dynamic swings are diminished or lost. So, if older music retains those dynamic swings, and is thus more engaging as a result, the older music makes more of an emotional impact and is likely more memorable.
     
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  6. grillebilly

    grillebilly Empty Head Subscriber

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    IIRC this has been the case for quite a long time. Lucky for most of us, we are not big fans of the flavor-of-the-month pop stars. Much of what we listen to and purchase comes from independent record labels and production is more in the artists' hands. At least I would like to believe this is so.
     

     

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  7. Quadman2

    Quadman2 Addicted Member

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    Great minds think alike...but forget about the other half of this axiom.:confused:

    Q
     
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  8. hnash53

    hnash53 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Thank goodness they don't make music like they used to!!!

    There's more dynamic range in today's music than there ever was. And it's clearer and crisper than ever. And that's due to advanced music making and recording. In another 20 years (about a generation in length), there will be another article written about the same thing in OUR music today.

    I'm very tired of all of the criticism of today's music, today's youth. Every generation blames the one before.
    I'm 65 years old... and I am not going to join the other curmudgeons complaining about the younger generations and their music.

    I encourage those who are in the same camp with this author to step outside of your comfort zone. Instead of being so critical of them and their music, recall your youth and the criticism of your generation's music choices. How refreshing it would have been to have our music accepted... and an attempt made to find out what is behind our love of our music... and everyone else's music, too.
     
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  9. RobRoy

    RobRoy It's just stuff - but fun

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    Yeah, back in the 60's I was "brainwashed" by my parents listening to country western music constantly. I was brainwashed to hate it. YMMV. ;)

    I didn't grow an appreciation for that stuff until the beginning of the 21st century.
     
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  10. robgmn

    robgmn Super Member

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    How do you reconcile proof of the loudness wars with the statement that "there's more dynamic range than there ever was"?

    We know the loudness war is real.
    Bob Ludwig himself has said that the engineers are ladling on the loudness (as in "compression that reduces dynamic range").
    Yet dynamic range has increased?
    Huh?
     
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  11. RobRoy

    RobRoy It's just stuff - but fun

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    I kinda see it like this: There is POTENTIALLY more dynamic range in CD's compared to LP's, and SOME CD's bring that quality to the table. I suspect few of those are "pop" CD's.
     
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  12. RhythmGJ

    RhythmGJ Here, But I'm Gone... Subscriber

    There are also studies showing a limited note-range in popular music, and use of similar motifs, repeated ad infinitum. Not trying to be too "curmudgeonly," but the accusation is supported by data.

    Wait for it...

    I think what hnash53 might be alluding to above is the potential for much more dynamics in the digital realm. True. On paper, digital has it over analog hands down. But there's a big difference between specs and actual praxis in the industry, and that is where analog shines. Limitations actually create a "better" product for most listeners. You can't squeeze the amount of material, or the dynamic range of a CD or even a proper digital file onto an LP. But you also can only get an LP to play so "loudly" (in the sense that "loudness" is not just volume, but an artificial lack of dynamics). Physics prevents most vinyl from sounding too crappy. Of course, source material and mastering techniques matter, and much of today's new vinyl is still sourced from maxed-out digital sources.

    GJ
     
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  13. RhythmGJ

    RhythmGJ Here, But I'm Gone... Subscriber

    Ah, you beat me to it by being much less long-winded!!!

    GJ
     
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  14. hnash53

    hnash53 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    The Grammys have never ever meant very much to me. What I like to listen to/hear never shows up at the Grammys... at least what is featured during the televised broadcast.

    The article under consideration lumps all of today's music together... no dynamic range, too loud, etc etc etc. That's similar to what was once said about my music in my youth (I'm 65 now).

    Seems a bit narrow to apply what the article says about ALL MUSIC. As I've said elsewhere, there's plenty of music out there... new music... with plenty of dynamic range.

    So so tired of hearing/reading complaints about today's music (such a thing has been done generation after generation). It's time to get on another train.

    I've never had as much fun or gotten so much satisfaction out of listening to music as I do now.

     
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  15. RobRoy

    RobRoy It's just stuff - but fun

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    Ha! I'm 65 too. My latest "new" albums are from Lorde and ZZ Wade. Both are fantastic. They will never be an anthem or the background music to my culture like the stuff from my teen years was, but I still enjoy it.
     
  16. hnash53

    hnash53 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Ms Lorde and Ms ZZ Wade...never heard them before... they are contemporary artists using contemporary recording technologies, no?

    You mention that your new music will never be the anthem/background music to you like those of your youth.

    Elsewhere, I have voiced a complaint about criticizing contemporary music. From the song, "The Living Years," "Every generation blames the one before," I've learned that every music generation ends up being critical of previous generations... and WRONGLY so. Every generation that comes of age develops an emotional catalog of music that was playing during these formative years... and that catalog gets "burned into" their brains that sticks like a brand does to a cow or horse. There is an attachment to that music, that time, that place that stays with us forever. No music before or after that time can compare to the recalled emotional memories of yesteryear. And some people are never able/willing to move beyond that time and that sound. I have a feeling that it's these same people who write such articles and also are critical of "today's music." Every generation develops new audio technology.... Well, of course they don't make music like they used to!!
     

     

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  17. RobRoy

    RobRoy It's just stuff - but fun

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    The ZZ Wade song, Drive, is the song played at the end of the movie Cars 3. I love the solid and driving beat of that song. It caused me to buy the album and I was not disappointed. I discovered Lorde on Pandora. It was the song Royals. That LP has the most deep and solid bass I've ever heard come from vinyl. But that is only a small part of the story.
    Well said. And I will add that in my teen years, I was listening to this music with all my friends as we cruised the strip, made out, danced, you name it. It was everywhere. Nobody I know likes the new music I like, including my wife. It's not a background or hook associated with my social life. It's something I do, like working on my car, posting on the internet, working my property or mowing the lawn. It is nice, and I like it, but it will never have that "special" place. It is reserved for music that entered my life at a time when everything that entered my life shaped my world view in dramatic ways.
     
  18. hnash53

    hnash53 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Ditto... well said.
     
  19. hnash53

    hnash53 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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  20. RhythmGJ

    RhythmGJ Here, But I'm Gone... Subscriber

    Any way you slice it, audio (not digital/file) compression/limiting reduces dynamic range by definition; that is what the devices/programs do. Useful to varying degrees, also much overused on final mixes. Also, very few mix and master engineers do separate mixes for various mediums (LP, CD, digital files, iTunes, Spotify), but listener experience could be very positively effected if the requirements of various end formats were taken into account.

    GJ
     

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