A treasury and a place to meet people of all ages with various interests from all over the World
Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

News:

PLEASE READ OUR FORUM RULES HERE

Author Topic: Is Music Too Loud?  (Read 1747 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

adamzero

  • A Thousand Pages
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Gender: Male
  • Posts: 1410
  • "The dude abides."
    • Phoebe Claire Publishing, LLC
Is Music Too Loud?
« on: June 04, 2007, 04:46:58 AM »

Nice story with quotes from Geoff Emerick and Bob Dylan on the crappy crunched up sound of todays MUZAK.  

http://www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,2-2007250708,00.html
Logged

BlueMeanie

  • Guest
Re: Is Music Too Loud?
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2007, 07:53:47 AM »

Nice quote from Emerick, makes me hopeful for the future of any Beatles remasters. It's a sad fact that 'pop' music today is mastered for maximum effect, which means mp3 and radio play. Some songs mastered deliberately for radio are heavily compressed, making them louder and heavier on the bass, cutting out detail in the middle range. Unfortunately, less than scrupulous record companies put these mixes out on CD as well, instead of mastering them separately. A friend has the aforementioned Chilli Peppers album and can't listen to it.
Logged

An Apple Beatle

  • That Means a Lot
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Gender: Male
  • Posts: 5635
  • Be yourself, no matter what they say.
    • The studio
Re: Is Music Too Loud?
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2007, 10:43:41 AM »

interesting.
Logged
http://www.4sitemusic.com
USE THE SEARCH FUNCTION ON THIS FORUM! CLICK HERE!

Whoever

  • Getting Better
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Gender: Male
  • Posts: 259
Re: Is Music Too Loud?
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2007, 10:28:04 PM »

Yes, alot of complaints about MAF about it clipping or something. I'm no expert but does a high definition CD make a difference to how loud you can get the CD without distortions and clipping?

I think my Gooner friend knows something about all of that malarky.
Logged

alexis

  • A Thousand Pages
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1860
Re: Is Music Too Loud?
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2007, 05:32:39 PM »

Quote from: 779
Yes, alot of complaints about MAF about it clipping or something. I'm no expert but does a high definition CD make a difference to how loud you can get the CD without distortions and clipping?

I think my Gooner friend knows something about all of that malarky.



My understanding is that the clipping and subsequent distortions are in the CD, and will be present no matter what volume the CD is played at.

If you have some software that lets you view the waveforms of a commercial CD, here's something to do that is really pretty interesting. You'll need an early version Beatles CD , and also a current pop CD.

Open up your software. There are two main differences in how they look:

1) If you adjust the zoom so that the whole song is visible on one computer screen, the Beatles CD has a LOT of variation between the peaks and valleys. It looks like the Himalayas  - peaks and valleys, followed by peaks and valleys.

The current pop CD looks like a Sausage - no peaks and valleys, just soft at the beginning, one constant HIGH volume throughout, then maybe twisted off at the end with a soft ending.

This constant Max volume is very hard on the ears, and makes unpleasant to listen to more than a song or two at a time. The Beatles CD has dynamics - soft parts, loud parts, which make it look like peaks and valleys, and more importantly, make the ears interested in hearing more. They have dynamics not only between different songs, but WITHIN songs - I Want to Hold Your Hand is a great example - the chorus is lower volume, and other parts are much louder, but with variation as well. I haven't heard that Chili Peppers album, but I've read it is a classic example of exactly the opposite - no variation in volume between parts.

2) The 2nd difference between a well recorded CD and a poorly one can be seen by zooming WAY in on the song. In the Beatles CD, the tops of each peak are almost ALWAYS sharp - go up, come down. In the new pop CD, the tops are flattened - looking like somebody took a knife and cut off the tops of all the Himalayas. This is done to make the overall volume of the CD louder than they used to be in the old days, but the problem is that if you have more than a few flattened peaks in a row, there is horrible distortion (the more peaks flattened off before coming down into a valley, the worse the distortion).

The problem is that, FOR A BRIEF PERIOD OF LISTENING, the brain interprets louder music as better. So, there is a race among recording engineers and producers to compete with the other guy's records by making theirs as loud as possible. Nothing inherently wrong with that, except the only way that we know how to do that now involves introducing things that make music unpleasant to listen to OVER MORE THAN A FEW SONGS - lack of dynamics (everything is at the same volume - BORING!), and distortion.

Most engineers and producers I have read say they HATE making this kind of music, but that they are forced to by the management (who won't use their services if their product isn't as loud as the guys across the street), and the musicians themselves!

I took a look at Paul's Chaos & Creation (focused on one song - Friends to Go) , and compared it to I Want to Hold Your Hand on the 1 album. Overall, there was a lot less dynamics on FTG than IWHYH, and even some clipping. Nevertheless, I think Nigel whatever his name is (the producer of C&C) made his album with a lot more dynamics than the average that is coming out recently.

If you're interested in reading more about this, this website http://www.digido.com/ has LOTS of discussion about these points.

Happy reading!


Logged
I love John,
I love Paul,
And George and Ringo,
I love them all!

Alexis

alexis

  • A Thousand Pages
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1860
Re: Is Music Too Loud?
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2007, 05:46:44 PM »

Quote from: 779
Yes, alot of complaints about MAF about it clipping or something. I'm no expert but does a high definition CD make a difference to how loud you can get the CD without distortions and clipping?

I think my Gooner friend knows something about all of that malarky.



My understanding is that the clipping and subsequent distortions are in the CD, and will be present no matter what volume the CD is played at.

If you have some software that lets you view the waveforms of a commercial CD, here's something to do that is really pretty interesting. You'll need an early version Beatles CD , and also a current pop CD.

Open up your software. There are two main differences in how they look:

1) If you adjust the zoom so that the whole song is visible on one computer screen, the Beatles CD has a LOT of variation between the peaks and valleys. It looks like the Himalayas  - peaks and valleys, followed by peaks and valleys.

The current pop CD looks like a Sausage - no peaks and valleys, just soft at the beginning, one constant HIGH volume throughout, then maybe twisted off at the end with a soft ending.

This constant Max volume is very hard on the ears, and makes unpleasant to listen to more than a song or two at a time. The Beatles CD has dynamics - soft parts, loud parts, which make it look like peaks and valleys, and more importantly, make the ears interested in hearing more. They have dynamics not only between different songs, but WITHIN songs - I Want to Hold Your Hand is a great example - the chorus is lower volume, and other parts are much louder, but with variation as well. I haven't heard that Chili Peppers album, but I've read it is a classic example of exactly the opposite - no variation in volume between parts.

2) The 2nd difference between a well recorded CD and a poorly one can be seen by zooming WAY in on the song. In the Beatles CD, the tops of each peak are almost ALWAYS sharp - go up, come down. In the new pop CD, the tops are flattened - looking like somebody took a knife and cut off the tops of all the Himalayas. This is done to make the overall volume of the CD louder than they used to be in the old days, but the problem is that if you have more than a few flattened peaks in a row, there is horrible distortion (the more peaks flattened off before coming down into a valley, the worse the distortion).

The problem is that, FOR A BRIEF PERIOD OF LISTENING, the brain interprets louder music as better. So, there is a race among recording engineers and producers to compete with the other guy's records by making theirs as loud as possible. Nothing inherently wrong with that, except the only way that we know how to do that now involves introducing things that make music unpleasant to listen to OVER MORE THAN A FEW SONGS - lack of dynamics (everything is at the same volume - BORING!), and distortion.

Most engineers and producers I have read say they HATE making this kind of music, but that they are forced to by the management (who won't use their services if their product isn't as loud as the guys across the street), and the musicians themselves!

I took a look at Paul's Chaos & Creation (focused on one song - Friends to Go) , and compared it to I Want to Hold Your Hand on the 1 album. Overall, there was a lot less dynamics on FTG than IWHYH, and even some clipping. Nevertheless, I think Nigel whatever his name is (the producer of C&C) made his album with a lot more dynamics than the average that is coming out recently.

If you're interested in reading more about this, this website http://www.digido.com/ has LOTS of discussion about these points.

Happy reading!


Logged
I love John,
I love Paul,
And George and Ringo,
I love them all!

Alexis

Whoever

  • Getting Better
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Gender: Male
  • Posts: 259
Re: Is Music Too Loud?
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2007, 06:54:01 PM »

Thankyou Alexis, a very good informative posting.
Logged

The Fox Drummer

  • A Beginning
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 144
  • I'm a drummer, not a wetnurse.
Re: Is Music Too Loud?
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2007, 05:28:41 PM »

Wow, thanks Alexis, very good points. Out of curiosity, do you know how that difference in volume affects the sound of the actual melody?
Logged
<br />One thing I can tell you is you got to be free...

alexis

  • A Thousand Pages
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1860
Re: Is Music Too Loud?
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2007, 06:50:14 PM »

You're welcome Whoever and Fox Drummer!

Re: " ... how that difference in volume affects the sound of the actual melody?" - the melody itself doesn't change, by that I mean a C note won't become an F#, and the like. The main things we notice would be an absence of variation in loudness of the music, and distortion.

As some background: The technical word for the process at the root of all this is called "compression", and the end result of how it is used most often is to "compress" the difference in volume between the loudest bits and the softest  bits, so there's not as much variation between the loudest and softest parts of a song/track/passage. It does have quite legitimate uses in recording and engineering. Examples might be to even out the volume for a bass player who has one string that is dead compared to the others, for a drummer who unintentionally hits the bass drum with varying force throughout a song, or a vocalist who doesn't have great control over how loud they sing. Also, because it's the loudest parts of a song that limit how loud the overall song can be recorded and put to tape (and since compression brings the peaks down to the rest of the song), a compressed passage can be recorded with a greater overall loudness - the engineer or producer has more room to turn the volume up before those peaks become a problem again.

The process can be abused also, and that is where problems can come in. If everything is the same volume, with no variation, it gets to be boring to listen to. It would be like a beginner drummer who plays everything at the same volume - maximal loudness -it might sound great for the climax to a rocking song (or possibly even a whole rocking song), but after one or two of those it would be hard on the brain to listen to.

The distortion part of all this occurs because compression makes it easier to make the music louder before it is put on the master tape, but past a point (because the musical peaks start limiting how high the engineer can turn the volume)  it stops getting louder and starts becoming distorted. The distortion is hard to describe, but it's a bit like when the wires from stereo speakers are loose a bit causing that "electric" sort of non-musical sound, or maybe what we hear if we turn our amplifier up too high (problem with trying this is that sometimes the speakers get blown out before this amplifier limit is hit!).

All this was possible in the days before digital recording and digital CDs, or course, but as it turns out having meters in the red in the studio on tape recordings destined for vinyl winds up causing distortion that our brains perceive as a lot more pleasant than the distortion associated with digital recordings.  In the race to be the loudest song on the block people are turning the music up more and more before it gets to the master disc stage, sometimes apparently without much regard for the resulting clipping and distortion.

Having said all that, there's no reason that distortion can't deliberately be introduced for artistic purposes! "I want you/She's so Heavy"  had some variation of white noise put in at the end. The problem is when it is in the song as an unintentional artifact. "Yesterday" probably wouldn't have sounded as good with the same amount of distortion!

Finally, it's interesting to note that the people making the decisions to put out this non-dynamic (in terms of no variation in volume), distorted music are doing so because they apparently lack faith in us as consumers to make adjustments with the tool each of us already has at our disposal ... the volume knob on our radio or amplifier!
Logged
I love John,
I love Paul,
And George and Ringo,
I love them all!

Alexis

harihead

  • A Thousand Pages
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Gender: Female
  • Posts: 2339
  • Keep spreading the love
Re: Is Music Too Loud?
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2007, 07:08:38 PM »

Alexis, thanks for the great description-- and for the vote of confidence in the intelligence of the consumer. For some reason, everyone seems to think everyone else is a blockhead these days-- not me, of course, just everyone else!  ;D Cheers.
Logged
All you've got to do is choose love.  That's how I live it now.  I learned a long time ago, I can feed the birds in my garden.  I can't feed them all. -- Ringo Starr, Rolling Stone magazine, May 2007<br />

alexis

  • A Thousand Pages
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1860
Re: Is Music Too Loud?
« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2007, 09:16:04 PM »

Quote from: 551
Alexis, thanks for the great description-- and for the vote of confidence in the intelligence of the consumer. For some reason, everyone seems to think everyone else is a blockhead these days-- not me, of course, just everyone else!  ;D Cheers.


not me, of course, just everyone else!  Not me, either, just evereyone else BUT you and me (and everyone else reading this!)  :)


Logged
I love John,
I love Paul,
And George and Ringo,
I love them all!

Alexis
 

Page created in 0.671 seconds with 26 queries.