The Loudness Wars


The Loudness Wars

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The loudness wars have been going on for years and are often discussed within the industry between engineers, producers record label’s and artists.

I get a lot of requests for super loud hot masters, not always but usually from new producers who are confusing volume with quality. Writing a good song and getting a good mix should be the main focus, leave the loudness to the mastering engineer. Of course you want a mix that is at commercial level’s but not by killing your transients and sucking the life out of your mix. The loudest masters always start with good balanced mixes, proper instrument placement and the right EQ.

The evidence clearly shows records that are mastered at lower volumes with more dynamics sound better on the radio, the web, in headphones and better in Clubs & Bars. Less compression and raising the volume a few db will always sound better particular over long listening periods. A lack of dynamic range can become fatiguing to the ears. I’ve been collecting music for over 25 years and I’ve never returned a CD or a Record because it wasn’t loud enough.

If you like your records with a lot of bass then you will have to sacrifice some volume or introduce distortion. There is no music on the planet where bass is more important than reggae. All of the old Dub classic’s including one of the worlds truly great artist’s Bob Marley never over compressed or tried to master there record’s to be loud. This is the job of the Amp’s and speakers that make up a Jamaican Sound system, the same Amp’s and speakers found in Club’s today.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_single_image image=”1550″ img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”680×215″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Grammy-winning engineer Mick Guzauski  who mixed Daft Punk’s latest album Random Access Memories  which hit Number 1 in the chart’s across the world had this to say when talking about loudness and dynamic’s.

The mix really seems to draw the listener in. How did you make that happen ?
The music and performance have to be there first. Sonically and mix-wise, I was very cognizant of not limiting a lot of things and avoiding drastic processing. I wanted to use compression sparingly so the whole thing could breathe and the dynamics could be unrestricted. This wasn’t a project where we cut the low end back and boosted the 5-7 kHz range to make it scream. We never tried to make it loud and I think it sounds better for it.

It still sounds full and rich, though.
The funny thing is, when it’s on the radio, even though it isn’t anywhere near as loud as many records, it does sound bigger. Radio compression makes the peak levels the same as something that’s been highly compressed and hyped. I don’t think we lost a lot of apparent level in keeping the low bottom end strong.

You can read the rest of his interview HERE[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]One of the most respected mastering engineer’s in the business is triple Grammy winner Bob Katz, the author of  “Mastering Audio: The Art and the Science” and who also developed the K-Stereo and K-Surround systems. You can listen to his take on the loudness war below.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_video link=””][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]A good site for checking the Dynamic range of other Artist’s can be found HERE[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_single_image image=”1064″ img_link_large=”yes” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”1024×853″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text][soundcloud id=’34378904′] [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Leave a Reply