Compression techniques ruining modern music (article)

Harpozep

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Thanks
I read the article and am more dismayed than ever with the state of the music industry.


I can understand that for most folks cds are "good enough" . For this reason I do understand, say the failure of SACD to take off in any meaningful way ( I'm a late adopter to the format myself, but love it
).
But the overcompressing and horribly lossy formats being churned out now make me sick . Really, listening I get headaches !


I can see the need for compressing the DR in an automobile, I always did it some with the cassettes I made. When I made them from my NAD 5300 I would often utilize the compressor button on the NAD. This was my CHOICE, the original retained its DR and I purposely made a version of the album for a specified environment. What is happening now is quite different.

If the new breed of "LOUD" engineers bring their tool box to bear on a lot of remastering, the results will be ugly, and JQPublic will be none the wiser. Oh for the days of snap, crackle, & Pop vinyl...................
 

PaulDA

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This article explains quite well why I've moved into classical and jazz for at least 50% of my listening (used to be around 5-10%). The uncontrolled compression disease is, so far, quite rare in those genres. It just shows that, as a culture, we are losing the capacity to appreciate subtlety. If that makes me an elitest snob, so be it.
 

Christ Reynolds

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there's a lot more than compression techniques ruining modern music. i blame the artists that produce the music


CJ
 

ThomasC

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I'm still not quite sure what compression is. Let me throw out an example of what I think compression is and let me know if it's correct:

Classical music piece is compressed. Original piece has pianissimo, fortissimo and mezzo-forte passages. If compression is applied, it no longer sounds like there are pianissimo and mezzo-forte passages. Everything sounds like forte, fortissimo or even fortissimento (fff).
 

Steve Y

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These compression "techniques" are all about the new context of popular music: in a club, in a car, at a party -- producers (and the bands themselves) are absolutely TERRIFIED that extreme levels of high/low (subtleties) will cause a listener to lose interest, so they do what commercial sound mixers do on television - make everything the same volume, homogenized, in-your-face, etc.

Headphone music this is not. Sadly, when I'm driving in my car with all the road noise, this sort of compression really helps me hear the music. But this wall-of-sound approach is just pandering to the restless radio-dial flipper.
 

Dave Mack

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Yep, just got the new Sarah McLachlan Wintersong CD, (don't laugh! She is one of my fave artists!) and it is one of the most over the top compressed, L O U D and mp3 ready CDs I have ever listened to. There is absolutely NO dynamic range whatsoever! My Harman Kardon CD recorder has a level meter and when Noel started (acapella) they were way in the reds already. I thought hmmm, where is this gonna go when all the instruments come in? NOWHERE! Even at the 1/2 way part when all the percussion comes in. Somewhere under there was I'm sure a good recording. Whoever mastered it should be paddled! Hell, my amp was at -30db for this and it was bordering on being LOUD! Thanks, IPOD generation, thanks...
 

Dave Mack

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Oh and btw, wanna hear a great CD with minimal compression? Universal Mother by Sinead O'Connor. When she suddenly sings louder or the band gets louder, G A S P!!!! it gets louder!!!

 

Doug Schiller

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Dylan talked about this in an interview and everyone jumped on him thinking he was talking about how modern music sucks.
No, he was talking about the sound.
He was complaining how the CD of Modern Times doesn't sound as good as he remembers in the studio.
Well, I think he had the power to change that, but oh well.
 

Adam Lenhardt

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... and, naturally, the iPod. Once music became truly portable, this was inevitable. We should have seen it coming since Sony released the Walkman, really.

Cat Stevens - The Wind (Tea for the Tillerman - 1970)


Death Cab for Cutie - Sound of Settling (Transatlanticism - 2003)
 

Dave Mack

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Wow! Adam! Wow!

Anyone want to here raw mixes uncompresed and unmastered just click on my MySpace link below. I have 4 songs I recorded myself that are (hopefully) mixed well level-wise but unmastered and uncompressed... 16trk.

I am not selling anything so this isn't a cheap come-on ad...

 

Dennis Nicholls

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I'm always amazed how people call me a "snob" because I love classical music and can take-or-leave pop music. To me a snob is someone who only likes "high priced" items. Very fine classical recordings are available for a fraction of the cost of mediocre pop recordings. I started another thread here recently on a complete set of Mozart's music - on 170 CD's - for $99. That's 58 cents per CD. The quality is good to very good but not great. There's another thread about spending $33 on some old Jethro Tull album.
 

MikeH1

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Yup, compression and maxing out the dynamic range is probably why any CD from after about 1998 gets very little time in the CD player. Its just so damn fatiguing to the ear I can't tolerate it for long and hence why I quit buying many new discs.

At this point in recording/mastering history in many cases a 224 VBR Mp3 does me just fine, its not like the overly compressed CD sounds any better anyways.

Great article and I linked it on a gaming site I frequent
 

Marc Colella

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I wouldn't blame MP3 for this, this was the trend of sound quality before MP3 became popular.

We can obviously blame the labels and the producers, but I think part of the blame has to be put on the artists themselves. For those artists who are against the overcompression (let's face it, some artists want this "feature" as it helps get their music more easily heard - aurally) they should be putting their foot down. I know some artists don't have the clout or power to say so - but why are bands like U2 putting up with it?

The longer this continues to occur, the more acceptable this will be (especially for the new generations of listeners - as they will never have experienced good sound).
 

MikeH1

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I'm not blaming Mp3 Marc, I meant that because these Cd's sound so shitty to my ear that I might as well be listening to a mp3


I definetley could have worded it better.
 

MarkHastings

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Here's a screen shot of the wave analysis from Bon Jovi's "You give Love a Bad Name" from the original CD release (i.e. 1986-ish):



and here is a wave analysis of the same exact song, from the 1999 remastered CD:

 

MarkHastings

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I don't think 'snob' is solely based on high priced items...Snobbery is more about thinking that your method is superior to others....looking down on other peoples choices, etc.

Not listening to pop music does not make one a snob...trying to feel superior to others by putting down the music they listen to, that would be considered a snob.

How do you broach the subject with others? Do you tend to (unknowingly) look down upon pop music when telling them how much you like classical? That can be construed as 'snobbish'.
 

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