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Author Topic: The Volume wars chart  (Read 8754 times)

bblackwood

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Re: The Volume wars chart
« Reply #15 on: April 24, 2004, 10:04:31 pm »

neil wilkes wrote on Sat, 24 April 2004 06:22

Unfortunately that will never happen as there will always be people around to whom the money is more important than either quality or principles.

Ahh, were it so simple...

For many of us, pleasing the client is the bottom line, not the dollar. I tend to start low in level (comparatively speaking) and can add level as needed. It's rarely requested. But frankly, to tell a client to walk because I don't share their vision for their art seems a bit pretentious...
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Brad Blackwood
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John LeBlanc

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Re: The Volume wars chart
« Reply #16 on: April 24, 2004, 10:30:24 pm »

Bredo wrote on Fri, 23 April 2004 05:13


It's sad. If everything is loud, nothing is loud.


Perhaps so, but it sets up the situation where something that isn't as loud really doesn't sound loud. The fellow who doesn't ruin a record by slamming it to the wall may fear his work will sound "weak" next to the 99% who do.

But as Brad points out, it's a bit pretentious to stand toe to toe with a client and tell him the method by which he wants to present his vision is stupid. I think there's a time to stand on principle and there's a time to service a clients demands. The line in the sand is drawn in different places for different folks.

John LeBlanc
Houston, TX
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lucey

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Re: The Volume wars chart
« Reply #17 on: April 25, 2004, 01:55:40 am »

bblackwood wrote on Sat, 24 April 2004 21:04

neil wilkes wrote on Sat, 24 April 2004 06:22

Unfortunately that will never happen as there will always be people around to whom the money is more important than either quality or principles.

Ahh, were it so simple...

For many of us, pleasing the client is the bottom line, not the dollar. I tend to start low in level (comparatively speaking) and can add level as needed. It's rarely requested. But frankly, to tell a client to walk because I don't share their vision for their art seems a bit pretentious...



In this brave new and friendly forum, it seems rude and presumptous to call him out as "pretentious" for having standards and principles.

One could easiy say that "the customer is always right" is prostitution and to please others as a guiding principle, is to be a whore.  Pleasing the customer is at root about dollars, although it looks and feels better at the time.

In any field there is Service and there is Slavery.  We can still be in business doing Service.  We see that everyday.




The interesting questions are thus:  

Are there such things as standards?  Or is it all subjective?

If there are standards, somewhere out there in the great pool of subjectivity, is anyone going to stand for them ?

If so, is Mastering the place to do it?





That Moment-of-Principle is why I have 3 jobs, so I can say no on occasion, or aim to educate, or piss off someone on occasion, and always respect music and it's needs.

It's hardly pretentious to look at a musician in the heat of their moment: ambitious, technically uneducated, often tired, selfish perspective on the whole, and tell them what's up if they are wanting to go too far based on bad ideas.   There are some bad ideas out there are there not?  

And if there are no bad ideas, what does that mean for music, politics, everything?  




Fact is, the best music is not owned by the artist, it's chaneled by them.  Musician as vehicle, not dogmatist.  Any musician with real skills will tell you this.  Even Barry Manilow, whose music I don't like, he get's it. "I write the songs" is about the spirit of Music, not him as you might think.  I did.

With training and experience there is a time and a place to see music on it's own terms, not just as theirmusic, but as the music.

In 5 years the artist might just thank you for the input.



Practically, face to face, it's all about negotiation.

Most of life is negotiation and this is no different, yet only if we stand up for music and principle.  Or it's moving widgets in sound.

And if that's the case, if we're just in it to move widgets, please the customer (and get their money and recommendation) we might as well make some real money in another business field.

Music needs friends of principle ... just listen, and look around.
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Brian Lucey
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bblackwood

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Re: The Volume wars chart
« Reply #18 on: April 25, 2004, 07:25:22 am »

lucey wrote on Sun, 25 April 2004 00:55

Are there such things as standards?  Or is it all subjective?

Purely individual when dealing with art.

Quote:

That Moment-of-Principle is why I have 3 jobs, so I can say no on occasion, or aim to educate, or piss off someone on occasion, and always respect music and it's needs.

Indeed, though I don't have to work multiple jobs for that freedom, I have it as well, and have told people to walk before. But generally it's a content issue with me - if I can't appreciate what the artist is doing, then I'm not the person who should be mastering their record, imo.

Quote:

It's hardly pretentious to look at a musician in the heat of their moment: ambitious, technically uneducated, often tired, selfish perspective on the whole, and tell them what's up if they are wanting to go too far based on bad ideas.   There are some bad ideas out there are there not?

Of course. I made no such sweeping statements as to say I don't try to educate. And to even hint at that would ignore most everything I have done over the last few years to  educate as many people as I have about the issue.

The point is that not all artists are ignorant - some actually desire that sound. If that is what they want for their art, I will not stand int heir way simply because my subjective standards differ...

Quote:

Even Barry Manilow, whose music I don't like, he get's it. "I write the songs" is about the spirit of Music, not him as you might think.

As an aside, I've always found it humorous that although Barry Manilow is known as a songwriter, he didn't write that song...
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Brad Blackwood
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Ronny

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Re: The Volume wars chart
« Reply #19 on: April 25, 2004, 12:09:15 pm »

lucey wrote on Thu, 22 April 2004 12:23

looks accurate...



No, it is not accurate. You can not judge crest factor on two songs that have different timelines in full view. These songs are fairly close in timeline and I appreciate the author of this material bringing hypercompression to the attention of the web public, but to be accurately viewed, two waveforms must be viewed at the same range length. That is not the case with this url. Accurate enough to relate the message, yes, but not accurately displayed, IMHO. Also to view peaks better, he needs to change his 0dB line in CEP, to +1dB so that he can see the squared samples inside the vertical view.
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lucey

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Re: The Volume wars chart
« Reply #20 on: April 27, 2004, 02:12:08 pm »

bblackwood wrote on Sun, 25 April 2004 06:25


The point is that not all artists are ignorant - some actually desire that sound. If that is what they want for their art, I will not stand int heir way simply because my subjective standards differ...


I never said or implied ignorance, we are all most often educated by trend, and limited in that sense.  Some artists want to be competitive and they interpret that as volume, yes?  But are they wrong?

So can an artist be wrong?  Yes or no.

If they have the wrong idea about being competitive are we helping them by letting them screw up the music.  Their music.




And again, if what an artist wants is what they get, that seems like a no standards, no limits practice.  

Which evades the hard question .. are there any standards?

You argue that Art is subjective.  Most agree.  Yet good or great art in any genre has identifiably timeless qualities that are not subjective.  In music, one of these is some sense of dynamics.  true or false?




Is Mastering purely an Art, or is it partly Art and partly Science?  Seems like if it has any science in it at all, then there are standards.    Science is always referenced to a standard. Yes or no?
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Brian Lucey
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davidc

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Re: The Volume wars chart
« Reply #21 on: April 27, 2004, 05:03:01 pm »

Quote:

Some artists want to be competitive and they interpret that as volume, yes?  But are they wrong?



This is a really tricky question.

How loud a CD is could make a difference between whether an artist gets a break or not. I am told by hip-hop clients that their music has to be competitive or it won't get played.

All I can do is make them aware of the sonic penalty for squashing it. I do this by reducing the volume post limiting, so that the client does not hear any volume change. That way they can hear the qualitive effect of the limiting. At the end of the day it is their descision, and their right to tell me to limit the crap out of it. The only right I have is to refuse the work.

Usually we will settle on a compromise of making it as loud as possible before it turns to mush. On dense stuff this can be as low as 3db, whilst on more open material it can reach 9db. For material such as jazz and rock, I try and keep the limiting under 5db.

My own personal preference, by the way, is to leave the limiter off, because I can hear a degradation with even the smallest amount.

Best Regards

David C
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bblackwood

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Re: The Volume wars chart
« Reply #22 on: April 27, 2004, 10:57:12 pm »

lucey wrote on Tue, 27 April 2004 13:12

I never said or implied ignorance, we are all most often educated by trend, and limited in that sense.  Some artists want to be competitive and they interpret that as volume, yes?  But are they wrong?

Ignorance is simply the lack of knowledge about something. Calling someone technically uneducated is the same as calling them technically ignorant. My point is that not all are technically uneducated (ignorant) - many know what levels mean in translation but desire that sound.

There are those that love the oversquashed sound of Korn.

Quote:

If they have the wrong idea about being competitive are we helping them by letting them screw up the music.  Their music.

Indeed, that's where education comes in. It's not all black and white. Spend time letting the client know what happens when they get what they ask for and let them decide for their art.

I don't see the problem here.

Quote:

And again, if what an artist wants is what they get, that seems like a no standards, no limits practice.  

If you went to a restaurant and asked that your filet be cooked to the point that it was essentially charcoal, because you want it that way, would you expect the restaurant to turn you away? Would you call that sticking to standards or forcing their will on the client?

Quote:

You argue that Art is subjective.  Most agree.  Yet good or great art in any genre has identifiably timeless qualities that are not subjective.  In music, one of these is some sense of dynamics.  true or false?
Again, not black and white. Not every piece of art is intended to be the Mona Lisa, some is intentionally made to be on the side of the McDonalds bag, to be viewed while eating then thrown away. My job is to help the artist achieve his/her goals, period.

Educate and enlighten? Yes.

Force my idea of what sounds good on them? No.

Quote:

Is Mastering purely an Art, or is it partly Art and partly Science?  Seems like if it has any science in it at all, then there are standards.

There are standards to the science aspect of it - redbook standards, fixed bit depths for releases, fixed fs, etc.

There are no standards (nor should there be) for what sounds good. Good is something that is not quantifiable.
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Brad Blackwood
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neil wilkes

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Re: The Volume wars chart
« Reply #23 on: April 28, 2004, 09:06:43 am »

My point was not meant to sound pretentious in the least, and I apologize for giving that impression.
I have, and will continue to tell people to walk if they are asking me to do something that I honestly believe is going to do more harm than good - not only to the mix but also to my business.
It can take years to build a reputation for quality, but as we all know it only takes one bad & well publicized disaster to ruin the whole lot.

Also, to play devils advocate, would it be pretentious of an equipment designer/manufacturer to refuse to produce cheap or substandard equipment?
And is it pretentious to have standards?

Finally, what is better - to do what the client wants, regardless of what it will do to them and my business or reputation, such as it is, or to gain a reputation for being honest with your clients as well as doing a good job?
I just cannot find it within me to crucify what may otherwise be a great song to satisfy a trend.
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davidc

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Re: The Volume wars chart
« Reply #24 on: April 28, 2004, 04:26:45 pm »

neil wilkes wrote on Wed, 28 April 2004 14:06

My point was not meant to sound pretentious in the least, and I apologize for giving that impression.
I have, and will continue to tell people to walk if they are asking me to do something that I honestly believe is going to do more harm than good - not only to the mix but also to my business.
It can take years to build a reputation for quality, but as we all know it only takes one bad & well publicized disaster to ruin the whole lot.

Also, to play devils advocate, would it be pretentious of an equipment designer/manufacturer to refuse to produce cheap or substandard equipment?
And is it pretentious to have standards?

Finally, what is better - to do what the client wants, regardless of what it will do to them and my business or reputation, such as it is, or to gain a reputation for being honest with your clients as well as doing a good job?
I just cannot find it within me to crucify what may otherwise be a great song to satisfy a trend.


Neil,

I don't think anyone disagrees with your point: it is our job to be honest with the client and say what we think is important. However if they say "Understood, but I want you to make it loud anyway", what can we do other than ask them to take their work elsewhere. I wonder how many of us would do that?

Best Regards

David C
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lucey

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Re: The Volume wars chart
« Reply #25 on: April 28, 2004, 05:04:46 pm »

bblackwood wrote on Tue, 27 April 2004 21:57


Educate and enlighten? Yes.

Force my idea of what sounds good on them? No.


no one said anything about 'Force' ... this is a standards/no standards question.

i mean, why educate if there are no standards?

some have a reputation that is all about standards, some have a reputation that is all about service.  i'm fine to say both are right.  and a subjectivist view would have to agree with that.

to say that standards are pretentious makes no sense from a subjectiveist view ... there is no pretentiousness if everything is a non-fact.

Quote:


There are no standards (nor should there be) for what sounds good. Good is something that is not quantifiable.



We can't have a subjective world and at the same time have any use for the terms 'education' or certainly 'enlightenment'.  Standards and enlightenment/education are exclusive.

If there are standards, we adhere to them/debate them/revise them.

If there are none, then it's open season on anyone's opinion, taste, desire, trend etc.  McDonalds Mastering or 5 Star Mastering ... whatever works for the client is best.





There's also a logical hypocrisy with this subjectivist view and the cable tone = none, view.   If there are no standards, then if someone says that cables sounds different or better or worse, then they are 100% right.  A subjective view of the world says that another's subjective view is always right.

For that matter, a subjectivist view has no clarity on anything moral.  Maybe the terrorists are right, and the US is an evil that needs to be destroyed, even civilians are fair game ... if there is nothing but this post-modern subjectivity on everything, how can we say anything is wrong at all?



As I see it, standards are not dogma, they are a bit like morality, which is also not about dogma - it's the inevitable realization of the interconnectedness of everything.

Cause and effect. Repercussions.  Responsiblity.



So the point remains ... and it's truly not meant to be argumentative, it's the basis of any discussion on anything ... are there standards or not?

If there are none what does that mean for art, politics, life?

If there are standards, what are they and how is that line drawn in the sand?

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Brian Lucey
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bblackwood

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Re: The Volume wars chart
« Reply #26 on: April 28, 2004, 05:45:00 pm »

lucey wrote on Wed, 28 April 2004 16:04

If there are standards, what are they and how is that line drawn in the sand?

Simple - whatever helps the client achieve his/her goals.

We can talk about this forever, but at the end of the day, that's all that matters to me...
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Brad Blackwood
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ratite

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Re: The Volume wars chart
« Reply #27 on: April 29, 2004, 05:46:19 am »

I'm jumping in here,but what the hell.We live in an instant satisfaction age and as a result you get the slammed to the hilt ethic.Big hits will follow this precedure as a matter of course.The gems that reward extended listening will,as always,take time to appeciate.I'm afraid it's the nature of the beast.Or at least that's how it seems to me Smile
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Richard Horner
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SingSing

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Re: The Volume wars chart
« Reply #28 on: April 29, 2004, 06:09:46 am »

To begin with I want to make clear that I'm really concerned about the way records sound these days, and I believe all of the contributors on this forum feels the same way. We've reached a level of sonic degradation that is silly, especially considering the fantastic tools that are available to anyone (and perhaps that's what's partly the problem) at relatively low cost.

Evolution...that's what comes into my mind. Look at how the society works these days. It's all about Darwinism in absurdum, let me tell ya. If you're not loud enough, you won't be played. This whole squashing mania is evolution gone wrong (at least in terms of quality). It's a trend (multifaceted with links to many different areas of the entertainment & media industry, which makes it much more difficult to turn) and at the moment probably no one at the record companies (A&R/Management/Artist) wants to gamble and be the first to make a dynamic album, cause it'll risk being flushed down the toilet in terms of sales. In an industry that is bleeding, I can't really blame them for going down the same road as everyone else. Unfortunately the A&R's I know don't have a clue what actually sounds good, and perhaps that's how most of them are, I dunno. I guess they're more or less like the average music customer. If it works in the car with the roof down while going at 65 MPH, it's a truly versatile recording. If it sounds like a wall of sound coming out the $500 home cinema in fake surround, it's a damn good recording that makes well use of the 'Award-Winning' setup. If the breathing between the words is as loud as the actual singing, it's bringing out nuances they've never heard before. If they can't actually hear what's going on in a song, it's definitely there! Hey, did I mention that it's probably the same 'Award-Winning' setup at the record companies.

Listening to albums that were recorded 20-30 years ago it's quite obvious that those were the days when you actually could mix/master an album in an audibly preferable way. That was the trend of those days, but with the digital revolution at hand, it's easy to understand why things have changed. To begin with, recording & mastering used to be something that people outside the industry didn't even know existed. Some good old recordings don't even show credits for engineers & mastering! It was an area of the music business that more or less could do things the way they should be done quality wise. Nowadays anyone with a computer can do it (at least that's what many think).

I believe in enlightening & educating people & to actually show people what music can sound like given proper handling. Sooner or later they'll listen & be able to hear it for themselves.


Sorry for whining...I'm just so fed up with this ongoing destruction of art.

Read u all with great admiration & enthusiasm


Stefan
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neil wilkes

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Re: The Volume wars chart
« Reply #29 on: April 29, 2004, 10:55:00 am »

To quote a wiser man than I..
"It's not about how loud you make it, it's about how you make it loud".
I will make a loud record, but not to the extent where the output is clipped.
Sorry, but that is the way I work and I'm not gonna change it.

If that is what the client wants, then I take a tip from the DVD crowd who, when told by clients "but Sam down the road will do it for $100 cheaper", reply "well go and see Sam then".

If, once I have explained why IMO this is not a good idea (overdriven/over compressed/over distorted & clipped) & they still want me to do it, I just say that I'm very sorry, but I cannot do that. If they wish to go elsewhere then that is entirely their choice.
I will not vandalize innocent music.

If that makes me stupid, then so be it.

Just saw a link to this in GM http://www.loudnessrace.net/" target="_blank">forum..http://www.loudnessrace.net/

As it says - this is spinal tap stuff.
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