124. Loudness War: Turn Me Up!

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Today’s episode is about a thing we struggle with every week making this podcast — the Loudness War! Since the early 90s, music has gotten progressively louder. Everybody’s been turning it up to “11” and we talk about how and why this is happening.

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4 comments on “124. Loudness War: Turn Me Up!
  1. Lydia says:

    But why are live shows so damn loud now? Too loud even with earplugs. And listening to live music with earplugs cannot possibly represent how the music actually sounds or any of it’s subtleties.

    • Shields Brothers says:

      Lydia, it’s only been in the past 20 years that the technology could make sound be so loud. Being loud covers up problems venues may have with sonic distribution. Remember most venues adopted the technology in their current physical structure and didn’t modify the building to match the technology (unlike a concert hall built before amplification, that was designed to maximize natural sound). But that’s just what we think …

  2. Mike says:

    The benefits of high dynamic range shine when music is played LOUD. Heavily compressed stuff is so flat, deafening and fatiguing in comparison (especially bass). It’s nightclub PTSD. But earbuds and laptop speakers and noisey environments…

    This is also the reason people say vinyl sounds better. They’re nearly always mastered with more dynamic range.

    e.g Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
    http://dr.loudness-war.info/album/list?artist=daft+punk&album=random+access+memories

    There’s no reason a digital format can’t sound as good/better (and do, e.g. Earache Records “Full Dynamic Range” releases).

    IMO a good solution would be universal implementation of *dynamic* DR compression by the playback device based on playback volume (compress at lower playback volumes). Might need ReplayGain data though. Either that or release two different masters but it’s not as idiot proof.

    fyi Nirvana vs Bon Jovi
    http://dr.loudness-war.info/album/list/year?artist=nirvana
    http://dr.loudness-war.info/album/list/year?artist=bon+jovi

    Not mentioned: movies increased DR as music decreased

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  1. […] First, want to say thanks to the A.V.Club and Dan Fitchette for reviewing last week’s episode, Loudness War: Turn Me Up! […]