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Author Topic: Is -0.0 DB too high for digital levels?  (Read 8592 times)

Cucco

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Re: Is -0.0 DB too high for digital levels?
« Reply #30 on: October 04, 2005, 01:04:23 pm »

Brad -

I kind of agree that it's the artist's right to do whatever they wish with their music.  That being said, here are two other view points:

1.  A dialnorm does nothing but automatically regulate the volume.  This is a consumer-driven product, not artist driven.  Remember Magnavox's "Smart Sound" Technology?  This is essentially what they did - as a commercial came on that was significantly louder than the TV show, it automatically lowered the volume.  I didn't see too many complaints about that!  Also, remember, it has been suggested that this should be defeatable manually.  Frankly, if it were on my system, I would defeat it.  THAT is the definition of a free society - people are given the options (that is, the consumers AND the producers) and THEY choose which they prefer.

Bob's not arguing that bands can't produce a certain level.  He's just stating that, in a perfect world, people would understand the volume wars issue is a lose-lose scenario.

2.  Just as it's the artist's right to demand loud volumes, as a mastering engineer, it's YOUR responsibility to educate them on the process.  Explain to them how broadcast processors work so that their mix SOUNDS loud over radios, but on CDs sounds good - neigh, damn-good.

My biggest concern so far isn't the loudness war - it's the quantity of well-educated mixers and MEs that are doing nothing about it.  How come so many good mastering engineers are associated with so many sh*tty albums?  And furthermore, how come they get rewarded with Grammys or nominations?  (And this is by NO means an attack on any one personally here!)

Is it because the client DEMANDS loudness and instead of educating or even turning away the business for personal credibility, the ME takes the job for the sake of the money and the album credits?  I sincerely hope not.

I just find it amazingly funny that people (especially MEs) complain about the loudness war, but in so many cases, they are the ones that actually are in a position to make a difference.

Don't get me wrong - some make a HUGE difference.  Without trying to crawl TOO far up Bob's arse, his book is perhaps a landmark piece of non-fiction which many consider to be standard reading.  THAT's making a difference.

Engineers such as Doug Sax who repeatedly put out quality material *make a difference*.

Perhaps there should be some accountability amongst those of us in the audio world.  If we turn out utter poop and it winds up on the radio, damn what the 13 year old girls say, we should call poo "poo."  (Oh, and if you call an album "poo," you should also be able to defend your views).

Okay, I'm done.  BTW - any case where I used CAPS was for emphasis - not yelling.

Thanks!!!!!!!

Jeremy
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bobkatz

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Re: Is -0.0 DB too high for digital levels?
« Reply #31 on: October 04, 2005, 01:16:05 pm »

bblackwood wrote on Tue, 04 October 2005 11:42




Again, I guess we'll have to agree to disagree, as I see freedom for the art to be more important than anything else. What you're suggesting is simply a band-aid for the issue instead of a cure, and will only restrict the artist's ability to express themselves. I'm not cool with that.


You see the "volume" of a CD as part of the artist's expression?  

Don't you also see that limits the freedom of expression of the artists who don't want to slam but have problems playing their "lower level" CD on Barnes and Noble's loudspeakers?

If you win this argument, then there is absolutely no future for quality sound. Period. You can't win it.

BK
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bobkatz

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Re: Is -0.0 DB too high for digital levels?
« Reply #32 on: October 04, 2005, 01:20:14 pm »

blueboy wrote on Tue, 04 October 2005 12:36



This way, no one has to do anything other than the player manufacturers making sure that new designs are capable of DualDisc playback.

JL



The idea is good but you miss one point. The other side of the dual disc will die a terrible death due to its own loudness race, probably within 5 years. Unless we have dialnorm, the future of audio quality is completely shot.

To summarize: The practice of normalizing to the peak on a linear digital medium is the CAUSE of the state we are in.

BK
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Ashermusic

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Re: Is -0.0 DB too high for digital levels?
« Reply #33 on: October 04, 2005, 01:24:11 pm »

We live in an era when even voluntary self-restraint is considered anti-artistic.

I.E. Years ago I worked with a singer. She sang the first line of "What Are You Doing The Rest of Your Life" totally incorrectly. I pointed this out to her, She said,' That's how I feel it. Its my artistic choice." I  said, "No, if you can sing it correctly and you then choose to change it, that is an artistic choice. If you change it because you can't sing it correctly and will not take the effort to learn it that is not artistry, just a copout."

There are a bunch of people smashing the hell out of recordings out of ignorance or simply because others are doing it. That is not an artistic choice. (I am not accusing you, Mr. Blackwood of this, obviously.)

I have no problem with the concept of Dialnorm if it can be implemented.
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bblackwood

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Re: Is -0.0 DB too high for digital levels?
« Reply #34 on: October 04, 2005, 01:36:16 pm »

bobkatz wrote on Tue, 04 October 2005 12:16

If you win this argument, then there is absolutely no future for quality sound. Period. You can't win it.

Haha, Bob, you act as if I'm against cutting dynamic, good-sounding records. This discussion will have little impact on the music industry, but hopefully will make some mastering engineers think about their role.

I tell people all the time how loud I think their record should be, and regularly cut records that are 3-5dB quieter than the 'a-list' engineers I beat out for the gig.

We're talking about a creative field and you guys act like no one can possibly cut a dynamic record because the new Green Day record is loud or because pop music isn't about sound quality.
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blueboy

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Re: Is -0.0 DB too high for digital levels?
« Reply #35 on: October 04, 2005, 02:31:27 pm »

bobkatz wrote on Tue, 04 October 2005 10:20

blueboy wrote on Tue, 04 October 2005 12:36



This way, no one has to do anything other than the player manufacturers making sure that new designs are capable of DualDisc playback.

JL



The idea is good but you miss one point. The other side of the dual disc will die a terrible death due to its own loudness race, probably within 5 years. Unless we have dialnorm, the future of audio quality is completely shot.

To summarize: The practice of normalizing to the peak on a linear digital medium is the CAUSE of the state we are in.

BK



I see your point, but if the DVD side began a similar loudness race, then there would be no benefit whatsoever as to marketing it as an "enhanced" audio version. You would end up with virtually the same thing on both sides.

I think if you "create the expectation" that the DVD side contains dramatic "movie-like" sound, people will want that option. No one wants to listen to movies with a squashed dynamic range as that would defeat the whole experience. If they wanted to they could (for late night listening), as most players already have built-in dynamic range compression circuits.

I like the idea of Dialnorm, and it would be great if it was implemented as well, but I think the only thing that can be done is to offer the choice to consumers and educate them on the benefits. They will ultimately decide.

It's too late for CD, and nobody wants to have to buy proprietary equipment to play back a new Hi-resolution audio format.

One disc, one player, one choice to make - "Loud" or "Dynamic"

Keep it simple - and they will listen.

JL

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Re: Is -0.0 DB too high for digital levels?
« Reply #36 on: October 04, 2005, 05:31:14 pm »

Perhaps it's worth mentioning:  I never went to a cut 20 years ago and said "make it nice and quiet and dynamic!"  We all said:  "cut it as loud as you can."

In the vinyl era, the limiting factor was the expensive cutter head, which an ME would only push to the max (possible expensive destruction) for a big-name client.  Now it is merely audio fidelity that is destroyed, rather than equipment.

It's really a matter of human nature:  no producer will ever ask for quieter ... at least for the last couple of centuries, most affluent people fully expect to have it ALL.  Good sound ... and loud!

It's just about the definition of "good sound."
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dcollins

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Re: Is -0.0 DB too high for digital levels?
« Reply #37 on: October 04, 2005, 06:36:56 pm »

AlanS wrote on Tue, 04 October 2005 08:23

Is it an athlete's right to take steroids so they can win, is it anyone's right to drive 90MPH in a 50MPH zone so they can get there faster, can I yell "BOMB" in a crowded theater to create an artistic performance event?


Well, there you have it.

I nominate BK as the "Special Prosecutor for Mastering He Doesn't Like" and AS can be the enforcement arm.

Mandatory minimums for crest factor?

Speaking, as we often do, of hilarious comedy I'm reminded of this thread:

http://recforums.prosoundweb.com/index.php/m/50244/831/?SQ=6 ebb2604f3a302a511978c7de2b1d0fb#msg_50244

DC

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Re: Is -0.0 DB too high for digital levels?
« Reply #38 on: October 04, 2005, 06:59:30 pm »

Great Discussion!


I don't like music being squashed, but there is nothing any of us can do about it. We are caught in the sea of change.

Lets face it, we are heading into a future where most people are going to be listening to totally squashed lo res audio. Hi res is never going to get a foothold. I wonder how long CD will be around for, and how we will be mastering in 10 years time?

Sorry if this sounds pesimistic
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Ged Leitch

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Re: Is -0.0 DB too high for digital levels?
« Reply #39 on: October 04, 2005, 07:00:36 pm »

dcollins wrote on Tue, 04 October 2005 23:36

AlanS wrote on Tue, 04 October 2005 08:23

Is it an athlete's right to take steroids so they can win, is it anyone's right to drive 90MPH in a 50MPH zone so they can get there faster, can I yell "BOMB" in a crowded theater to create an artistic performance event?


Well, there you have it.

I nominate BK as the "Special Prosecutor for Mastering He Doesn't Like" and AS can be the enforcement arm.

Mandatory minimums for crest factor?

Speaking, as we often do, of hilarious comedy I'm reminded of this thread:

 http://recforums.prosoundweb.com/index.php/m/50244/831/?SQ=6 ebb2604f3a302a511978c7de2b1d0fb#msg_50244

DC



LOL LOL LOL Laughing DC, Now THAT was a hell of a funny thread man, I can't believe how hacked off B.Katz was at you, I also CANNOT believe that oath thing was meant to be serious!
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Ronny

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Re: Is -0.0 DB too high for digital levels?
« Reply #40 on: October 04, 2005, 07:54:31 pm »

Gerald Leitch wrote on Tue, 04 October 2005 19:00

dcollins wrote on Tue, 04 October 2005 23:36

AlanS wrote on Tue, 04 October 2005 08:23

Is it an athlete's right to take steroids so they can win, is it anyone's right to drive 90MPH in a 50MPH zone so they can get there faster, can I yell "BOMB" in a crowded theater to create an artistic performance event?


Well, there you have it.

I nominate BK as the "Special Prosecutor for Mastering He Doesn't Like" and AS can be the enforcement arm.

Mandatory minimums for crest factor?

Speaking, as we often do, of hilarious comedy I'm reminded of this thread:

  http://recforums.prosoundweb.com/index.php/m/50244/831/?SQ=6 ebb2604f3a302a511978c7de2b1d0fb#msg_50244

DC



LOL LOL LOL Laughing DC, Now THAT was a hell of a funny thread man, I can't believe how hacked off B.Katz was at you, I also CANNOT believe that oath thing was meant to be serious!


It was real and although the intent may or may not have been noble, practicality of the implementation is non-existent. IOW, it wouldn't change anything and would be just drawing individual attention to an already hopeless issue. It would be stating that the problem stems from all ME's. Signing a paper to not squash anymore is admitting that you default to stun, IMHO. Not the case with most of us. People forget that it's the artist's music, their music, not ours. Give em what they want, or lose business, take your pick.

Hello, My name is Ronny,

crowd:
"hello, Ronny"

I'm a recovering pancaker. I started out squashing things to -8dB, but only once or twice a week, than it started to get hold of me. Before long I was squashing to -6dB and 5 times a week. Eventually I couldn't stop squashing everything to -4dB. By that time I was in denial but eventually my wife talked some sense into me and I decided that I better seek help from a higher crest factor.

Last week I got my -10dB token and I'm confident that in another month or two I'll be able to get my -11dB token.
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Re: Is -0.0 DB too high for digital levels?
« Reply #41 on: October 04, 2005, 07:55:31 pm »

dcollins wrote on Tue, 04 October 2005 18:36


I nominate BK as the "Special Prosecutor for Mastering He Doesn't Like" and AS can be the enforcement arm.
DC


Reading back over this thread, I don't see any way you could arrive at this statement, but hey, that's artistic license.   There probably will be numerous forms of enforcement on the horizon soon - it has become all too important in the new world of downloadable single songs.   Automated loudness equalizing systems will take hold so buyers can mix playlists without riding their volume controls - just like radio.  I don't care if a producer wants to pound the living crap out of his record with a meat hammer as long as dialnorm is around so that the next guy won't have to smack a jazz or folk project till it bleeds.
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compasspnt

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Re: Is -0.0 DB too high for digital levels?
« Reply #42 on: October 04, 2005, 10:52:13 pm »

I think we are missing a tremendously valid point here, as well as a golden opportunity.  If there is a law to be made (as there so obviously must be), it should legislate that all consumer playback hardware have a "never-under-exceed low limit."  IOW, it would be impossible to turn the playback DOWN below a pre-determined minimum.  If we set that minimum allowable volume exceedingly high, all mastering engineers will eventually be forced by the public (at least those with bookshelf speakers in apartments), to keep the final output level much lower!  We could call this the T-Level.




Of course, there would probably just end up being a black market in speaker cable-inserted attenuators...
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dcollins

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Re: Is -0.0 DB too high for digital levels?
« Reply #43 on: October 05, 2005, 01:48:48 am »

AlanS wrote on Tue, 04 October 2005 16:55


Reading back over this thread, I don't see any way you could arrive at this statement, but hey, that's artistic license.  



Because you were equating it with breaking the law, so I figgures you are the enforcer.

DC

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Re: Is -0.0 DB too high for digital levels?
« Reply #44 on: October 05, 2005, 02:04:42 am »

Gerald Leitch wrote on Tue, 04 October 2005 16:00


LOL LOL LOL Laughing DC, Now THAT was a hell of a funny thread man, I can't believe how hacked off B.Katz was at you, I also CANNOT believe that oath thing was meant to be serious!



Today the pitch would be more like "Dog the Bounty Hunter" except now it's "Bob the Clipping Hunter."  

"With his rag-tag band of misfits, Bob (The Chine) K., and Alan (The Arbor Press) S., run roughshod over a city made weak by clipping.

Wackiness ensues!

Ext. Manhattan from a helicopter at night.

An unmarked chopper weaves between buildings, flaring high nose-up; the fast roper piles out rappelling down the black glass.

With a flick of the wrist, the glass explodes and he leaps into the room.

Simultaneously the door of the room is battered open, and the two aggressors stand ready to meet their victim.

Stay tuned.........

DC
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