LOUDNESS WARS - What Side Are You On

Posts 1 - 25 of 31
  1. 1414881
    BradoSanz : Fri 16th Jan 2015 : 7 years ago

    Now, I know that there are mixed opinions on this issue but it seems to becoming more and more apparent in today's music - The loudness of tracks are (or appear to be) on the increase. Even I did this in some of my older mixes. What do you think about this issue in today's music? Do you think have dynamic variation (if so, why?) or louder, more upfront songs (if so, why) are better? I won't state my opinion just yet, just want to hear your thoughts.

  2. 782612
    40A : Fri 16th Jan 2015 : 7 years ago

    It's a shame you won't present your own opinion in a topic you're clearly interested in, at least enough to start a thread about it.

    What people don't seem to understand is that... dynamics aren't required for certain genres, and this "loudness" war is mostly superficial. Last time i checked, jazz, cinematic, classical, lounge, rnb and dozens of other genres still make use of all that dynamic headroom, and they're perfectly operational and legitimate musical styles.

    They're just not as prolific as EDM, Trap, Dubstep and other naturally loud genres. What you're hearing isn't the advent of loudness - it's the trending popularity of certain types of noisy music. If the genre demands loudness, and if it's not there, then it's just as bad as not preserving the dynamics in a much quieter genre.

    How do you feel when a Wubstep drop pretty much climaxes into someone farting into a wet piece of latex? It's the same feeling you get when a piano is played at max volume, and all keys are at 100% velocity.

    Genre Dictates Loudness. Loudness Does Not Dictate All Genres. So there's really no war, there's just a battle between common sense,

  3. 848132
    mrwolf14 : Fri 16th Jan 2015 : 7 years ago

    I like the point of view brought up by 40A.
    I am totally against the increase of loudness, I tend to avoid even listening to songs which have a "fat-wave-graph".
    But probably that's only because of the music genres that I tend to favor ... EDM and all the electronic stuff not being my cup of tea, I am always looking for some dynamic in a song.

    Unfortunately I have to say that in some cases I have seen this extreme and unnatural compression applied also to songs which would have benefited from some dynamic.
    And more to the topic... having an increasing number of "commercial" songs heavily compressed, makes the more "dynamic" ones sound too quiet in comparison.

    This is also no issue for me, since I barely listen to any music on radio, but I see how this would prevent the work of some fine artists to be broadcasted in the same program as [just put a name of a top10 artist here]. (*)

    For the sake of the thread:

    I am against loudness and in favor of more dynamics

    Just my 2 cents.
    Ciao, Domenico

    (*) I don't know any name of popular artists...I was going to come up with some name from the 80s but that would have been totally out of context here...boy I am getting old :-)

  4. 1205128
    LivingInSilence : Fri 16th Jan 2015 : 7 years ago

    This is one of my biggest issues with a lot of modern EDM, more specifically house and dubstep. People just sausaging the living shit out of everything seems to be very common these days and it pisses me off. I liked the farting-into-wet-latex analogy, that's pretty much spot-on. It's as if people have forgotten what volume dials are for.

  5. 666289
    FreeRadical : Fri 16th Jan 2015 : 7 years ago

    Sausaging? That's a term i've not heard before. I make "EDM" (I agree with Spivkurl and hate that term as well) But i never try and max anything out as i figure you can just turn it up yourself afterwards if you want to. It's always better to have a bit of headroom to play with.

  6. 186161
    Spivkurl : Fri 16th Jan 2015 : 7 years ago

    You should never have to turn your system down to almost nothing just to hear one song at a normal volume. On the other hand, you shouldn't have to max out your volume control just to pick out the instruments in a song. Go for a happy medium. Most people should not be at all concerned with "Loudness Wars," as they don't seem to know anything about sound (waves) or hearing. This is proven by the fact that often someone will put out something intended to be loud, and it is beyond the range of the digital realm... lost data bits, clicks, pops, distortion... all rolled up into one song which could otherwise be good. Loud or quiet, whatever the genre, there is a set amount of dynamic range and headroom in audio. Keep that in mind, and you will be okay. Not saying the stuff will be ready for MTV (what's that?!) but you will have decent audio for getting feedback or sharing.

  7. 1414881
    BradoSanz : Fri 16th Jan 2015 : 7 years ago

    Excellent points. And my opinion on the matter is actually quite in line with 40A - I find that the genre of music largely determines how loud or soft a song should be. Like a rock or EDM song, for instance, that has an in-your-face attitude would not be expected to carry the dynamic range you would find in softer, more laid back songs. I started off my producing wanting to drive the loudness of every song up...all because I was comparing to mainstream music that was on the radio. It would always pain me (unneccessarily) to hear how soft my music was compared to radio songs. I was thus driven to raise the volumes on my tracks to match them. This was a big issue for me starting off as I had no plugins or any software besides a stock Pro Tools 6 and Windows XP rig to do my mastering in. Needless to say, I did not get the best results. :P

    Speaking of which, if you haven't discovered the Massey plugins (it's a free unlimited-time demo for PT7 to 10 or something like that; the paid features simply allow for more versatility and such), he has an awesome mastering limiter (the L2007) that I just discovered (like 6 years late hahaha) that can help at least raise the volume of your track a little, provided you deem it necessary. I'll probably have to make another post about it, if it hasn't already been mentioned on the forums.

    http://www.masseyplugins.com/ (click "try em'")

  8. 111346
    Planetjazzbass : Sat 17th Jan 2015 : 7 years ago

    Ever since digital devices and Daws appeared they have a single fixed saturation point at the top end of the level scale,there's no gradual buildup of distortion like with the old analog gear,when it hits it's sudden and overwhelming ..here's where the Loudness wars started and there's one standout culprit,the Digital Brickwall Limiter,it takes levels up to the very threshold of digital distortion and no further so sound engineers can push the overall level of signals considerably..and yeah it's LOUD..am I for it or against it,well seeing as the music I prefer to listen to isn't affected by the "if it's louder it must be better mentality" it doesn't overly concern me....but being me I'm against it on principle! haha

  9. 1414881
    BradoSanz : Sat 17th Jan 2015 : 7 years ago

    It's basically the abuse of brickwall limiters that has gotten them such a bad name. Though in their design they aren't necessarily a sin to use when used reasonably, at least in my opinion.

  10. 111346
    Planetjazzbass : Sat 17th Jan 2015 : 7 years ago

    Definitely,it's the guys that crank the limiters all the way they don't do it by themselves.

  11. 498019
    Tumbleweed : Sat 17th Jan 2015 : 7 years ago

    Waves L2 Limiter was the original vst that started the loudnes competition as far as I can tell from readings on the subject....Music without dynamics is music without the expressiveness that the instruments originally produced..they are noises that likely work for dance clubs....dont work for listeners...You can create perceived loudness without sausaging the mix (love that description LiningInSilence)...you just do what pro engineers have always done since analog days...step them up gradually starting with comp only on the tracks that need it..use your automated volume editing to take out spikes before you compress or limit.slightly round out the peaks but dont cut them off...forget you own a limiter until you are ready to master (just my opinion)...mix down your very best mix to a new stereo (pre-master) track before you decide you are ready to master (and put it away for a couple of days if you are getting tired 0f listening...then listen again)....Use a soft-knee limiter if you can (or adjust the attack-release setting to accomplish the same thing).....Dont Dither until the very last step in mastering...(if you record at 24 bits and render to 16 you will have used the default dithering setting in your DAW...dithering produces noise ..so when you master you will amplify the noise....)....Let your mastering software do the final dithering to 16 bit ....Good thing about the loudness war......It has created a niche market for audiophiles who are willing to pay quite a bit extra for the songs they want without the commercial killing aplication....always a good subject for discussion..........make music.....Ed

  12. 631823
    Mahloo13 : Sat 17th Jan 2015 : 7 years ago

    The loudness war is over. Loudness won. Around -6dB RMS is the new standard and has been for awhile now. Get a good meter and check songs...most of them will be sitting around the above dynamic range.

    There are great points in this thread.

    It doesn't bother me to be honest. I'm lazy and can't be bothered to change the volume everytime a new song in the playlist starts to play....Just kidding of course but honestly the point is people like to have the comfort of listening to songs without having to reach for the volume knob on their amp, remote, cd-player, mp3 player etc.

    Sure the standard could have been lower let's say....-12dB RMS or -10dB RMS but it's the listener that sets the trend and loud sells and has been selling for a while now.

  13. 1414881
    BradoSanz : Sat 17th Jan 2015 : 7 years ago

    Though there have been studies on sales versus album volume and they show that there is no correlation between increased volume and higher sales. I think it depends on genre, because other artists (such as Sandford and Sons, Adele and the like) have avoided boosting loudness like the plague, and they are still very popular.

  14. 1048767
    buffalonugaluss : Sun 18th Jan 2015 : 7 years ago

    lol you guys never ate that one pill that made it fun to molest the speaker with your ear eh?

  15. 1414881
    BradoSanz : Sun 18th Jan 2015 : 7 years ago

    I think I missed the joke, pardon me :D

  16. 111346
    Planetjazzbass : Sun 18th Jan 2015 : 7 years ago

    (interpretation)....like hitting your fist with my face...you never got high and thought it sounded better loud.

  17. 1414881
    BradoSanz : Sun 18th Jan 2015 : 7 years ago

    Hahahaha I love this looperman family. Its like a musicians Facebook lol

  18. 1048767
    buffalonugaluss : Sun 18th Jan 2015 : 7 years ago

    i like that analogy lol and i totally would think it sounded better if there was a good smack when the hit connected :) ironically a high thought

    sorry to just pop in and say something stupid without reading what people said lol i just saw loudness wars and figured it was just another "i hate dubstep" kinda thing.

    theres good and bad for quiet and loud music but i like louder stuff,hence the speaker molestation.

  19. 666289
    FreeRadical : Sun 18th Jan 2015 : 7 years ago

    I used to hate dubstep when i first heard it but there are some dam good tracks out there. I don't get why people want to pop pills and go clubbing to it though. When i do pills i want to listen to something that you can groove to and dubstep is just waaaaaay too slow for my taste. But that's getting off topic so i'll shut up now. It is loud though so i guess it's not totally irrelevant.

  20. 1243210
    Gore33 : Sun 18th Jan 2015 : 7 years ago

    Some of the EDM songs are actually not that loud... like Deadmau5, he's producing progressive house and that's EDM, so... not all EDM songs are too loud. You're all right that loudness is annoying etc. etc. but I agree with buffalonugaluss because I like loud stuff too. It just depends on your musical ear how you like music etc..

    And yeah it's also musicians problem when you are fiddling with EQ too much then it will sound too bad.

  21. 1095400
    AnalogDisc : Sun 18th Jan 2015 : 7 years ago


    I`m a big fan of "Deadrat" and I think that he sounds FAT (like myself trying to be) and sometimes people (myself too) fall over the other side of the horse and instead of fatness they come up with overloud, clipping tracks.
    I trying always to produce @ 0 DB so when I master my tracks I put it on Serato how it looks and when it looks fine I upload it here and it`s just a stripe. How is this possible? I upload them 4 different sites and they come up with 4 different waveforms (I know it`s just flash player, but hey!), in Audacity it`s different again, so what are we talking about now?

    About the Loudness Wars:
    Do someone remember those amplifiers in the 80`s with a "Loudness" button? I do. They just powered up the low and high frequencies, the middle steyed where they was. Today`s ones got none of them.
    Other side is that those "loudness" tracks are mainly played in clubs and festivals, where the equipment is less quality oriented, but got more power, so no one cares about the quality, but of huge loud tracks.

    Maybe I`m wrong, but this is my opinion.

  22. 186161
    Spivkurl : Sun 18th Jan 2015 : 7 years ago

    Okay, those people who like loud music, you're just proving the point of people on the opposite side of the discussion. If a song is mixed and mastered properly, at a fairly standard loudness... then you have the option to TURN IT UP! That's what we all used to do when we wanted to hear something loud. All I can say is get a decent hi fi, stop listening to music on your phones, and learn what quality sounds like.

  23. 1243210
    Gore33 : Sun 18th Jan 2015 : 7 years ago

    Or just turn the volume down. I mean is it a big problem to just reduce the bass a bit and turn that little thingy knob to -6DB or something? I don't see any point of discussing quality and quantity of something that can be fixed...

    I mean come on. If you don't like loud music then don't listen to it or turn the volume down... maybe I am just a dumb person but that's a matter of opinion.

  24. 631823
    Mahloo13 : Sun 18th Jan 2015 : 7 years ago

    Adele is mastered to the current loudness standard.

    My point was that regardless how much we talk about this stuff the standard is set and it's been used for every song that get's released nowadays, even though nobody likes to admit it every mastering engineer uses references and those references are loud.

    It's just a matter of perception and perceived loudness, some genres will appear louder due to the instrumentation, arrangement and overall lack of dynamics in the arrangement and interpretation. Rock vs Jazz would be a good example...both use the same loudness standard yet the difference is huge in perception.

    Anyways I'd also like to listen to stuff with a bit more dynamic range but that won't happen anytime soon, at least not at an international or national release level.

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