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Entries in loudness wars (3)


Loudness war and the side effects

By explaining something I occasionally experience as a mastering engineer I think I can help people understand some of the detrimental issues that relate to the loudness war in an easy manner. I will often send a master to a client and they will then say the track sounds excellent but they have had a listen to the track and it is not as loud as “X” as a reference. Firstly if loudness is an important factor it is always a good idea to provide a reference track so that the mastering engineer understand this is an important aspect of the audio mastering. My response to the client is often one which explains the non existence of a “loudness button” that exists independently of overall fidelity.

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Arrrrrgh my ears are ringing! (Part 1) - I have Tinnitus

I was never that super cool dude with the booming car stereo, where the sub-woofers significantly caused diminished trunk space, or the super cool kid on the bus with the loud iPod anyone can hear from more than 5 feet away;  Best yet, where I’m from in Jamaica, the dude in front of the speaker box at the session (alternative word for party) acting like the ridiculously loud volume is not bothering him.  Instead, I am the guy that complains about volume levels in the rehearsal room, at the sound check, and during the gig.  I’m the guy that wears ear plugs only on rare occasions, but could never sing with them because of this and that, so just never used them much.  That’s unfortunate, because now I’m the guy with TINNITUS.

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Why the Loudness Wars Still Matter

It’s hard to believe that in 2011 the loudness wars are still an issue. For the past decade or more, mastering engineers have been fighting against the race to 0dB (and beyond) in an effort to right the wrongs of the 90s. But records are still released that have had all the life compressed out of them. Why?

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