Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Loudness Wars

This is an image from wikipedia's entry on loudness wars and this is a perfect example of what is happening in the recording industry. Why does this matter? Its not because it really is all that loud, you can turn down the volume of your stereo. Its because all the good part of the music lives on the fringes. Example: image #1 there is plenty of space for "sparkle" to exist in this song. image #3, there is absolutely no space for "sparkle" to live. This occurs because in digital sound there is no going over a maximum level, period.

Loudness Wars suck because the song looses its sparkle. Sparkle is what makes you feel like the musician is in the room with you. It gives a song life. So what can you do about it if everyone is producing louder and louder songs? Well, nothing at the moment. But that will change soon with some exciting products. This also goes back to yesterday's post, What is Sound?

Loudness wars matter and sound matters because if everyone is listening to highly compressed recordings, the dynamic range is lost (i.e. sparkle). Its like eating pure sugar without flavoring. The crazy thing is that this has been going on so long that we don't even know what we are missing.

Why do you care about sound?

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