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Author Topic: The Volume wars chart  (Read 8753 times)

Shape

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The Volume wars chart
« on: April 22, 2004, 12:12:02 pm »

Brad;
      How relavent is this chart ? do we assume that all the High level CD's are squared off in this chart ,or is it that we just cant see because the waveform is not expanded enough in the screen.
       I know this chart has been floating around for a while,just wasn't sure how acurate it is. If it is true.....how do we educate people that the CD level "problem" has more to do with why records sound so crappy these days ?




http://www.mindspring.com/~mrichter/dynamics/dynamics.htm
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lucey

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Re: The Volume wars chart
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2004, 12:23:19 pm »

looks accurate...

another resource, bob katz Honor Role
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Brian Lucey
Magic Garden Mastering

"the economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the ecology" - unknown

bblackwood

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Re: The Volume wars chart
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2004, 12:36:43 pm »

Sadly, it's pretty accurate. That Ricky Martin track is how most modern releases look today (and they sound like it).

How do we stop it? Pretty simple, imo - make some hit records that are reasonable in level (so they sound great). I believe that if you had two, maybe three hit records in a year's time in one genre, the argument for level would go away, at least in that genre.

Funny how people talk and talk about digital/analog recording/summing/processing but aren't up in arms over the fact that most mastering houses are brutalizing the music that artists pour their hearts into...
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Brad Blackwood
euphonic masters

jfrigo

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Re: The Volume wars chart
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2004, 04:47:26 pm »

bblackwood wrote on Thu, 22 April 2004 09:36


Funny how people talk and talk about digital/analog recording/summing/processing but aren't up in arms over the fact that most mastering houses are brutalizing the music that artists pour their hearts into...


People sweat a tenth of a dB in a range they can't hear anyway, discuss whether cables have sound, jitter, noise shaping curves etc, as if those are the most important things in the world, yet they they add 6 dB at 10K and 12dB of limiting until the clipping distortion is obtrusive and don't seem to mind. I can assure you that after the mastering mafia is through with the song, the jitter on the background vocals is no longer an issue.

It kills me that some mixers will lament the fact that "those mastering guys" are going to ruin their wonderful mixes, but the minute you sent them back one that's not brutalized, they complain and ask why it doesn't sound like a brick wall. "Oh, I hate it, but I'm not gonna be the one to rock the boat! Give me more lows, more highs, more level, more everything! AND LOUDER!" Until they stop doing that, they have no right to complain. They're the problem, not the victim. We mastering engineers who have our hands tied by the clients and are forced to make it sound bad when we know how good it can really be are the ones who should be complaining - and many of us are, but to what end I don't know.
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Shape

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Re: The Volume wars chart
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2004, 06:35:58 pm »

JFRIGO;
       You are quite right about it being as much the Mixer and Producer's fault for getting (literally) sucked in to the volume war. There are always gonna be the Rick Rubin's etc who just want it louder and louder and actually almosty find of little consequence.
     I feel like there is a shift going on ....a minor shift...but some mixer's are very frustrated with this whole thing also and I'm one of them. I've spent too long fighting with certain Mastering engineer's about taking the volume down, and I'm kinda sick of it all so I've found a Mastering engineer who doesn't need to act like it's some kind of competition!!!!  (thanks Brad !)
     But that is not gonna stop me from being very vocal about this....it's the biggest single factor in the crappiness of too many records IMHO. Blame Protools( not)
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Tim Gilles

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Re: The Volume wars chart
« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2004, 07:42:53 pm »

Hello gang!!

IMHO. The mastering 'gain wars' are going to be looked back with the same degree of abject horror we now view the advent of digital reverb in 80's mix topologies prompted by the proliferation, and subsequent rampant abuse of 'Desktop' digital reverb(AMS/224/Quantec/Etc.) from that time period.

Just as what used to sound 'Bigger'.... now sounds 'Distant'...

What is now perceived as 'In yer face' is gonna be heard as 'Over the top'.

It's been a decade long slide.... and a VERY, VERY, silly ride.

And it WILL end.

It must.

The wholesale destruction, in mastering, of a bewildering multitude of carefully attained and maintained mix relationships will be viewed with much sadness and regret by those parties involved in such tom-foolery.

Myself included, in that assessment.

This process has already begun.

I view it's course as inexorable.

Best to all.

Tim.

dcollins

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Re: The Volume wars chart
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2004, 01:29:16 am »

bblackwood wrote on Thu, 22 April 2004 09:36

Sadly, it's pretty accurate. That Ricky Martin track is how most modern releases look today (and they sound like it).



Ya know, I lost the shootout for that Amy Grant record -- mine wasn't loud enough -- story of my life.  Today, I did a new version of that Friends song, and it didn't look like a square!

Well maybe a little, but not too bad...


DC

bblackwood

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Re: The Volume wars chart
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2004, 01:33:30 am »

I think you're right, shape. Part of the reason is simply that we've hit the wall with how loud we can make it - until an 'L3' comes along we're at the limit. But more than that, I have to say that few clients ask for level at all any more. Perhaps it's because I've developed a rep as a guy who dislikes cutting hot levels (though my death metal clients don't seem to be aware of that reputation...), but it seems like more and more people are willing to take a hit when it comes to level nowadays than two years ago...

I'm telling you, two or three hits...
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Brad Blackwood
euphonic masters

jfrigo

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Re: The Volume wars chart
« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2004, 03:06:31 am »

Shape wrote on Thu, 22 April 2004 15:35


     But that is not gonna stop me from being very vocal about this....it's the biggest single factor in the crappiness of too many records IMHO. Blame Protools( not)


Certainly don't stop being vocal about it. It's a problem that won't go away if we don't do our part.
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Bredo

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Re: The Volume wars chart
« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2004, 06:13:39 am »


It's sad. If everything is loud, nothing is loud.
I can't understand why people think it's ok to turn the gain knob down, but not ok to turn it up.    
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Bredo Myrvang
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archtop

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Re: The Volume wars chart
« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2004, 11:36:07 am »

I have been very vocal about this

and will continue.


even when I try to slam the piss outta stuff, to the hilt,

I'm no where near the level of some of these cd's.


It almost seems as if the waves pluggs (will NOT get)

work like my tape deck aligned for gp9

+ 6 hotter inside the machine





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Richard Williams

Giovani gill

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Re: The Volume wars chart
« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2004, 04:41:44 pm »

I guess it will take a few of us to just "take the plunge"
and release the next things with breathing room.
People can always TURN UP their own Volume.
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lucey

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Re: The Volume wars chart
« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2004, 05:53:21 pm »

bblackwood wrote on Thu, 22 April 2004 09:36

Sadly, it's pretty accurate. That Ricky Martin track is how most modern releases look today (and they sound like it).



Adding insult to injury, that record was lauded for a time as 'validating' ProTools as a hitmaker ...  'Loca' was supposedly the first #1 single from PT.  





Sure it would be nice if a hit or 3 a year was not hot, but even that will probably come from the bottom up, us, and not the top down.

Buena Vista and Wrecking Ball were not hot, not rock or pop either.




After 3-4 years of hacking around with bad monitoring and half-baked ideas, in the last 8 months I'm finally good enough at this to master hot-not-too-hot music that sounds damn good ... and I have the words to educate anyone who will listen that the loudness extreme will ruin their record for timelessness, with ambition of the now.

Thanks in no small way to y'all and this forum something I believe in (timeless music) is now a part of the vocabulary of a specific role (mastering).



If we all educate, in whatever sphere we can, it will make a difference over time.  I still believe in democracy that way.  
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Brian Lucey
Magic Garden Mastering

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neil wilkes

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Re: The Volume wars chart
« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2004, 07:22:19 am »

This one has been a pet hate of ours for a couple of years now, and I have to say that we always turn the work away if that sort of overcompression is demanded.
We try to explain why it is not good, but oh so often it all falls on deaf ears.
"That's okay, but I want it LOUDER"!!

We now say that we cannot help them.
If we all take this attitude, the problem will go away. Unfortunately that will never happen as there will always be people around to whom the money is more important than either quality or principles.
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Ross Hogarth

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Re: The Volume wars chart
« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2004, 06:48:50 pm »

I find myself in this quandary at every mix.
The inner torment is terrible.
The A&R guys are going to judge my mixes not by their musical content but by the way they relate to the half a dozen super smashed production Cd's they have in their switcher.
If i do not make it loud, they might and have rejected mixes.
What I find myself doing is a special over limited cd burn for them and a real print in the end for actual mastering
In the end tho, I still need more compression then ever if i even want to compete with a lot of what is out there .... I find myself almost hypocritically over compressing and then being torn as to how much i really need or want ....
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