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Why does it have to be loud?

Discussion in 'F.O.H.' started by ahjteam, Mar 29, 2010.

  1. ahjteam

    ahjteam Anssi Tenhunen

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    Can someone please explain the logical reason for the loudness war to me? Yeah, I know "I want to be louder than the band next door", but it really has nothing to do with it, as the bands will most likely suck anyway no matter how loud the master is, but the thing is that the loudness war really kills the mixes in my opinion.

    I was mixing one of my own songs today and an accident happened: I honestly think that the mix sounds great. The music is still shit and sloppily played, so it doesn't really save the situation, does it? BUT the coolest part is that I accidentally mixed it with the monitors too loud, so I created a huge headroom for the mix, so the snare actually pierces thru the mix easily without any "gclipping" because the drums actually had a decent 8dB headroom compared to the rest of the mix. The mix is at about -15dB RMS, so about as loud as Metallica's Black album, so it's not entirely quiet either.

    Then I tried to put the level to the "commercial level" (-9dB RMS) with pseudomastering, meaning I had to shave off 9.5dB of headroom to actually get to that RMS level. The concequenses were that especially the cymbals and drums start so sound like really constrained because of the distortion, clipping and minor pumping caused by the limiter, that it starts to sound really unmusical. What also happens is that the original soundscape of the mix that I made changes, because the "drums stay at same volume", but everything else gets turned louder.

    Louder clearly wasn't better in this case, atleast when you have already reached the maximum amplitude point. I think I could've shaved it to about -12dB RMS without a major problem, but the current commercial level is just way too much.
     
  2. AllanD

    AllanD boom tap boom-boom tap

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    Because people are lame and don't want to touch their volume knobs/buttons. Pretty sad :\
     
  3. muckypup1

    muckypup1 Sinister Haven \m/

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  4. FearComplexMusic

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    It would be one thing if i could take a mix I'm happy with and with a few steps achieve the loudness I need but the problem i have is unless I alter my mix that I'm happy with I wont get to the madness level. I've got to do eq cuts where I don't want to cut, boost where I don't want to boost, adjust volumes of instruments that should be left alone... making the whole thing sound worse. I'm nearly at the point where I'd be better of shooting for the shittier *easier to make loud* mix from the start and avoid ever having to take my good mix and butcher it. I know some people can achieve the loudness without it all falling apart but even then I'm left wondering how great it would sound if I was left in charge of the volume knob.
     
  5. BLUElightCory

    BLUElightCory Member

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    That's the fucked up thing. It absolutely does not have to be loud, but because of the "loudness wars" most artists expect their music's RMS level to be higher than ever before, to be "competitive" and consistent with other commercial releases. The truly stupid thing is, most television stations and radio stations these days are heavily limiting their signal, so everything is broadcast at the same basic level anyway.
     
  6. ttrentt

    ttrentt Member

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    AM I THE ONLY WHO ONE LIKES LOUD SONGS???!?@?#!?#@!?

    Maybe it is just me...but I think some of the shit kicks ass loud.
     
  7. Jarkko Mattheiszen

    Jarkko Mattheiszen The FU guy.

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    AM I THE ONLY ONE (OF US TWO) WHO'S GOT A VOLUME KNOB ON HIS STEREO?!?!?!
     
  8. jagarock

    jagarock Member

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    and i am the only one of us two whos so lazy he doesnt want to raise his hand above the keyboard reaching for the remote to turn up the sound?!?!

    edit: actually i dont even need a remote, the volumeknob is 50cm from my face.. but anyway!
     
  9. MarcusGHedwig

    MarcusGHedwig Member

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    ^ Hopefully, yes - and why do you need a remote for your monitors?
     
  10. Jormyn

    Jormyn Member

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    My understanding is that, as a root cause, the human brain perceives louder as better in some vague way. Way back in the early days of vinyl, some smartypants figured out that cutting his records a bit louder would make them more likely to grab the attention of studio execs. Flash-forward seventy years and you've got albums like Deaf Magnetic that make a point of pushing the maximum available volume all the time.

    Personally, I don't notice the overcompression until it gets to Metallica/RHCP levels. It would, though, be really nice if a volume standard could be agreed-on so that I'm not constantly scrambling to turn down my iPod on the morning commute/nap.
     
  11. shred101

    shred101 Member

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    Wtf? Every song is LOUD if you turn it up enough. Its so vague.. even Adagio For Strings is loud if you crank it up enough.
     
  12. BLUElightCory

    BLUElightCory Member

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    I think that the people that like it "loud" are actually just liking the sound that the limiter is imparting to the mix. You can still limit the hell out of music without clipping the master bus and digitally distorting the mix.
     
  13. shred101

    shred101 Member

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    I seem to remember some video on the net where they took a song that had been continually re-released/re-mastered and compared the waveforms and the most recent one they looked at just looked like someone had fed the signal through a foghorn. I think its on youtube...
     
  14. GarethSE

    GarethSE New Metal Member

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    i quit loud mastering like i recently quit smoking
    cold turkey and i do not miss it \o/
     
  15. P-E

    P-E Munchkin

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    ^ Congrats garth.
    For both haha
     
  16. Nauru

    Nauru Member

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    Think about it. We know that out of two similiar clips, most people will perceive the louder one as sounding "better". So everything on the radio is one volume, but then someone get's the idea to make their song louder than all the others, so when it plays, people perceive it as "better" because it's louder. Then others start mastering louder to compete, and this horrible war gets set in motion.
     
  17. Harry Hughes

    Harry Hughes   ‬‬

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    I pretty much don't bother to "master" any of my stuff any louder the last Katatonia recird,
    The fact that the latest Katatonia record was not as loud as Death Magnetic did not stop metal heads the world over from buying it, because the production is great and the music is fantastic (neither qualities which Death Magnetic possesses).
    Anything louder than the last Katatonia record is IMO, unnecessary and adds nothing to the music
     
  18. shred101

    shred101 Member

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    Professional mastering engineers should know better :heh:. I cant seriously imagine that if a decent pro mastering engineer got asked for a -0.1 db constant level or something stupid by someone who doesnt know better that they would be like YEAAArgH BABY!! LOUUUUDDdddDD!!! :kickass:

    I mean, as far as I know, most engineers have been given stupid requests by clients/band members/etc. at some point. I wouldnt shove +10db of 60Hz shelf bass into the rhythm guitar just because someone thought it might sound cool. I'd at least try and explain why that was a stupid idea if they were insistent. So is this just a case of people just letting people push them around too much?

    The only other alternative is that there are some engineers who seriously overcompensate for something. I cant imagine that an engineer would honestly choose to compress the shit out of everything and just make it as loud as possible for the sheer fuck of it.
     
  19. narcossintese

    narcossintese Member

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    It has to be loud because IT SUCKS to keep reaching the volume knob and adjusting to each song.
    It´s so annoying when you´re making a BBQ with your friends with some metal on shuffle and an old Black Sabbath, Motorhead or Led Zeppelin song starts to play and you can´t hear shit. Then you have to wash your hands to adjust the ipod just to have your ear blown away because the next song is something from Death Magnetic. It was somewhat acceptable when you listened to a whole album in one go, but it sucks nowadays, where you just want to grab your MP3 player and listen to random stuff.

    ...although it would be better if the standard was something like -13 RMS.
     
  20. Matthias King

    Matthias King The Machine

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    In this case, it would be better if the loud songs were made quieter and more reasonable than the quiet songs made loud and ridiculous. Just my opinion.
     

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