Dynamic range overkill

September 3, 2022
 by Paul McGowan

7 comments on “Dynamic range overkill”

  1. Anyone interested in recorded music and who is not versed in the subject of rampant, music-ruining compression would benefit from reading the Wikipedia article titled “Loudness War.” (Or equivalent content elsewhere.) Everyone is entitled to their individual opinion and preferences, but this is a critical issue for audiophiles; it is very much a part of “the conversation.”
    Keep looking for the pretty notes!

  2. Try to record a piano with limiting dynamics. You’ve lost the soul of the piano. The same is true for the human voice which is a surprisingly powerful instrument(I’ve heard an opera singer overload a very large room). Linear dynamics is the most important factor in making recorded music sound close to the real thing. It’s not frequency response(the normal go to spec). Listen to live sound outside of a room and you know it’s live. But the frequency response isn’t preserved. It’s the dynamics that makes it out the door.

  3. There’s a great story about Oscar Peterson playing a huge outdoor festival with the attendant huge PA setup and when he played something that ended up in the very low register of the piano, he bottomed out the PA. So ya…..dynamics is it!

  4. The point is most of the great bands in history have made their great recordings and few are still around to make anymore. And those who are still around recording are not going into octave studios to record. So what we have is a huge collection of CDs that were recorded from the original tape that have no more than 60 or 70 DB of dynamic range. Which is why I am content with my vintage Philips and Philps based CD players. It’s all I need. I also have a 1 bit modified Philips based CD player by Conrad Johnson. Also have my analog playback components to play my vintage analog records and tapes.

    There are some of my favorite bands and artists who are still around in their senior years recording new material but I would like to know at what dynamic range. Probably not doing what they are doing at octave studios.

    A lot of the mobile fidelity recordings from the master tapes on 24k gold disks have shot up in price on the after market since they are no longer making those anymore and they are out of print. I was hoping octave studios would get a license to ramp up production of those clsssic oldies like dark side of the moon and all of the others that mobile fidelity stopped producing. They are getting too expensive on the used market, especially the unopened copies.

  5. When I first heard the Bat out of Hell album by Meatloaf I was thrilled that a cd of that record came out. Cd seemed to promise more dynamic range but alas that cd had the most destructive compression I could imagine. I hate peak limiters. There was room for the range but it was all compressed and stuffed at the upper volume not demonstrating what it it should have been captured live. I have recorded dynamic vocals on DAT as well as cassette and the ones I make blow the sound of most commercial recordings away. No peak limiting or compression. I look forward to the new octave production having a lot of bass and hopefully no peak limiting or compression.

  6. Seems to me that there really isn’t a need to support bandwidth limited delivery mechanisms anymore (FM, vinyl, etc). CDs have fallen out of favor. DVD-A never caught on. We have streaming and the occasional SACD. By definition, streaming has no limits. Make it whatever word size you want, and of course, have the source material. Dynamic compression has no real place other than the strange phenomenon of most people liking it. I’ve experimented in this with family and friends by playing an unmodified (no DSP) signal of single instruments in an A-B comparison with the same signal run through a Waves Ultramaximizer. The more aggressive I got with the settings, the more they liked the Waves version. It sounded to me like nothing heard in real life, and yet that’s what they liked. Not being a student of the psychological sciences, I have no idea what to infer from that.

  7. This all gets back to why how music is recorded today, based on the fact that those who buy most of the recorded music listen to it on portable devices, digital radios, Iphones, and buds where compression makes the music sound good as these mass buyers need. The fact is folks are not really interested in listening to a full LP, Billboard ran the sales of physical media sales for the week ending August 14 there were 1.986 million albums sold in the U.S. (up 17.1% compared to the previous week). Of that sum, physical albums (CDs, vinyl LPs, cassettes, etc.) comprised 1.570 million (up 17.1%), and digital albums comprised 416,000 (up 17.1%).

    There were 847,000 CD albums sold in the week ending Aug. 4 (up 37.7% week-over-week) and 713,000 vinyl albums sold (down 0.3%). Year-to-date CD album sales stand at 20.281 million (down 8.9% compared to the same time frame a year ago) and year-to-date vinyl album sales total 23.063 million (down 0.3%).

    Music is made today for today’s buyers, and streamers and with all the processing they use to make today’s “sound” signature on recordings who really needs a top-end audio system to listen to basically poorly recorded music? Audio music lovers/Audiophiles are a spec in sales and folks who still like to collect and own music is now becoming a thing of the past.

    Some interesting info is how music dominates the market and it is not rock and roll and Jazz and Classical is a blip on the screen.



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