Are the loudness wars fake so record companies can destroy the music?


Sam here and if the music industry have implimented EBU R 128 for loudness normalisation how come the volume on most digital remastered albums leaving the studio is set to "11" lf the listening volume will be the same across the board for streaming services why bother? l’ll tell you why. By lowering the overall volume after the fact does not repair the damage that has already been done! The goal here is to destroy the sound quality of the music and it makes no difference what side your on because the end result is still the same the album is unlistenable. l remember listening to music before the digital age and you not only heard the music you felt it.Well nothing has changed only now you hear the music and feel pain? Draw your own conclusions friends.
guitarsam
Answer this-
WHY WOULD THE MUSIC INDUSTRY ACTIVELY SEEK THE DESTRUCTION OF THE SOUND QUALITY OF MUSIC???!!!
Why? What is their motive?
Tell me, tell all of us!
Enlighten us as to why you think it is so.
Before you make another one of your posts, answer this question!
Sam here and i believe when universal music group bought up all other labels except sony and warner it was to have a monopoly so they could inact there plane.there tied in with big pharmacuetical companies and at the same time  Tsutomu Oohashi came out with his research paper on the hypersonic effect in the year 2000 the record companies started to really push the dynamic compression because it destroys all the healing effects of the hypersonic effect and big pharma spent millions trying to dicredit his findings.  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10848570/
And I’m going to do the exact thing I should do.

I’m going to put my thinking cap on and not dismiss this before looking at it. Closely. and in that, to not dismiss parts of it that may also make it a mystery.

As that is what clear headed investigation is all about. Going to places one does not understand.

the world does not come out of a textbook, as the linear safe seeking emotionally derived thought process mind demands. The world, actually... pours out of the things you don’t understand.

Negative proofing is great for engineering. Essential in fact.

Discovery.... means putting that away. And this would clearly be in the realm of discovery. Only an idiot would bring their purely ’negative proofing’ mindset here.

To do so would be advertising a lack of capacity for properly realized discernment, it would be a form of resorting to textbooks in the form of their being some sort of legally enabled dogma, with punishment waiting in the wings. And that ain’t science. That’s religion.

I’ve no idea if this is real or not, but I’m not going to take a dump in my brain and fill/stink it up with projections of dogma.

OK?
Psychological evaluation indicated that the subjects felt the sound containing an HFC to be more pleasant than the same sound lacking an HFC.


They felt the sound to be more pleasant. This supports records over CD, but says nothing about healing effects, let alone music companies destroying music to help big pharma. 

Compression is real, and used for plenty of perfectly prosaic reasons that mostly have to do with making a buck.
Sam here and the hypersonic effect caused the alpha waves in the brain to light up like a christmas tree on the EEG brain scan. https://i.postimg.cc/PfCzj8fn/journal-pone-0095464-g004.png

https://i.postimg.cc/Yqf7q08b/brainwave-benefits-accordion3.jpg you can see why big pharma spent millions of dollers trying to discredit the truth. Dynamic compression destroys the hypersonic effect and prozac is a billion doller a year anti depression drug. You can draw your own conclusions
MC correction:
"This supports CD over records"
;-)
I don't buy into conspiracy theories.

I also don't buy into digital vs analog debates. I hear good stuff in both formats.

What I do buy into is that most new music is horribly compressed. There is a fair amount of good data to support this. I probably have the least 'golden ears' of anyone on this web site but I can typically tell over DR compressed music immediately, at least on my system. And I hate it. It ruins the music for me in terms of hi-fi listening. In the car, no problem.

But here's the gist of why I'm responding: Many conspiracy theories are born when credible explanations are sparse. I don't believe record companies are trying to ruin any one's music. Those of us who are bothered by DR compression are a tiny percentage of people who pay for music.

So the question remains: Why does DR over compression persist? I know there are bands who meticulously produce their music but the final product is overcompressed. Why? Alabama Shakes and The Teskey Brothers stand out as bands who release well engineered stuff that is then over compressed. And it is not a CD vs vinyl issue. Both formats can be and frequently are over compressed. Vinyl seems less likely to be but is hardly immune. So the format is not the issue.

There are also bands out there releasing music that is not over compressed. So it can be done. Mark Knopfler comes to mind.

So to me the question is not one of conspiracy. But it is still a question of why? What drives it?
Over compressed music is just about a requirement for any music to sound acceptable to the masses on the near universal phone and earbuds setup.
Us audiophools comprise a tiny segment of the customer base and we are not the ones who are downloading songs and paying for said downloads to our iPod or whatever similar piece of gear.

Now streaming at a fixed cost per month has changed the landscape a bit as to what service they use but not really the way they listen.

Perfect example is my daughter who has a more than acceptable rig in her room but 95% of the time she is listening via YouTube on her phone and air Bud's.

How do you overcome that?
Why do you say it is a requirement? Not disagreeing, I just don't understand why.

Most sources, including radio, normalize loudness to some extent. It is the default setting in iTunes/Apple Music. So it would be unusual for a song to stand out significantly because of over compression. Having said that, there is quite a bit of variation in loudness on Amazon Music (normal resolution, I do not have hi-res at this point so can't speak to that.) Maybe there is a normalization setting in Amazon Music but if so I have not seen it.


Also, it isn't like a well recorded nominally compressed song has to sound bad in the car or with ear buds if loudness is normalized.

Anyway, I still don't get it and to me it seems like one of the biggest issues in hi-fi sound quality.


My conspiracy theory is that its just what everyone does because everyone has always (since early 90s) done it.


Mark Knopfler doesn't do it.......well not as bad as most, some of his stuff is moderately compressed. But I suspect Mark Knopfler 1) Knows what he's doing and 2) Does whatever he wants.
Just the way I see it is that most portable playback devices are so low on power that they need all the help they can get for the end user to play it loud.
Hence the over compression and loudness boost/ leveling whatever you prefer to describe it as.

The quiet passages just get lost on phone/ earbuds so they boost it up, reduce the dynamics range so it all sounds nearly the same level.

WE KNOW it's wrong but to the average consumer it works for them.
Maybe that's it.


And I agree, at this point it just seems to be a fact of life.

At the risk of hijacking the thread it seems to me is that the next question is what can we do about it? I'm not talking about changing the industry, I'm talking about what we can do within our systems to make an overly compressed song sound better.

I personally don't think you can do much. You just can't work with data that isn't there. One Audiogon member, I don't recall who it was, suggested that if you knew what you were doing and how to tweak your system and room etc you could make overly compressed music sound great.

I don't mean any offense and I'm probably the least qualified here to say so but I wouldn't believe it until I heard it. I'm sure it can be made to sound better, but I'm skeptical about a recording with a DR value of "4" (acceptable being 10 or more) ever sounding good.

I did experiment with  couple of Neko Case albums with average DR values of around "7" using the EQ in iTunes. You could mess with the curves and definitely improve things. That has always made me wonder about a component equalizer and if that would be effective. It also made me wonder if anyone makes a component EQ with presets that can be changed via remote.

With Sonos you have a very simple EQ and loudness setting. I have not played with that.
samjit,

"...caused the alpha waves in the brain to light up like a christmas tree on the EEG brain scan."

May I guess that you have never seen an EEG?
Sam here and if you take the melody out of any song from the billboard top 100 from 1960 to 1989 and you have no song! The beatles? who’s that.lf you look at the billboard top 100 for aug 1 2020 and 99% of the songs have no melody. Try to find a new song that isn’t gangster rap or that doesn’t feature a drum machine and a prerecorded track? does that mean that nobody is writing songs with a melody anymore? No it doesn’t however what it does mean is that the three major labels who’s parent companies own the radio stations restrict what is allowed on the radio and that’s a conspiracy fact. new independent songs like this with a real melody will never get on the radio https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2Dye2wdllE read the comments and you will understand why real music will never get on the radio.
"...read the comments and you will understand why real music will never get on the radio."
We want Earth frequencies on the radio!!!
Simple fact is that most people nowadays listen to music in noisy environments, and unless the music is loud and compressed they don‘t get to hear the quiet bits. The profits lie where the majority of consumers exist.
We are a distinct minority.
Pesky_wabbit gets it!
I'm not an engineer, but, wouldn't all recorded music, regardless of analog or digital formats, be compressed to some extent? Even live performances, if electronically amplified, have limiters and frequency equalization. Wouldn't that would be forms of compression, too? Help me out here. 
Yes, compression is necessary to 'contain' for lack of a better word the highs and lows within a listenable range. But that is compression that is used both out of necessity and, when done well, artistically. 

I'm still not sure I'm buying into the volume or low power devices theories. As far as volume, as I mentioned, most players and streaming services are normalized. As is radio. So , 'loud enough' to be noticed/heard really isn't the point any more. It can't be. Every device and service has a volume 'knob'. As far as low power devices, every iPhone I've ever had will play ear buds and even typical headphones loud enough to damage your hearing. So, to me anyway, that does not serve as an adequate explanation as to why this problem _persists_.
Really do not know what else I have to offer on this n80 unless you start digging into the conspiracy theory which I am not at that level yet...lol.

I can tell you though that my Motorola droid phone does NOT have enough power to drive my iem to the point of too loud for myself.
I tend to use a Dragonfly Black in between it and the phones to give a healthy boost in both volume and SQ.
I still don’t have an adequate conspiracy theory that works any better than your explanation or anyone else’s so I’m not ready to go down that path either.

I still think that for a number of years it was just the thing to do for reasons you mention and other reasons that were more valid 10-20 years ago and now it is just the de facto procedure. I suspect there is a fear among pop and high volume producers that if their song with minimal compression is played next to most any other songs in a system that is not normalized that their song will be thought to be the one with the problem and not the others and not be willing to risk it.

I also wonder what "normalized" means these days when the norm is loud and compressed.

Likewise, I suspect that the reason the problem is less common on vinyl is the reasonable assumption that people listening to vinyl are more discriminating. I just wish that attitude would carry over to CD (my preferred format). I think the reason it doesn’t carry over to CD is that currently CDs for new music are probably just an afterthought at most.

It seems like most of us audiophiles have 'push button' issues that set us off. It might be cables, it might be power supplies, it might be room treatment, it might be crystals and magnets. For me it is DR compression.  ;-)

Uberwaltz nailed it.

There’s no conspiracy here, music is just not being mastered for Audiophiles anymore, if it ever was. It’s being mastered to sound as good as possible on the devices that 98% of the world listen on. Phones, tablets, laptops and earbuds.

Is it a sad state of affairs for audiophiles who love dynamic range? Definitely. Is it a conspiracy? Not at all.
The problem is that compression doesn't actually make it sound as good as possible on typical devices and normalization often renders even that 'effect' pointless.

So that might be the reason why it is done but it still isn't a very good reason.


Of course many accepted standards don't make sense.
n80
The problem is that compression doesn’t actually make it sound as good as possible on typical devices and normalization often renders even that ’effect’ pointless.
I don’t know why you’re having so much trouble understanding this because it’s really simple, as @pesky_wabbit explained.

pesky_wabbit
... most people nowadays listen to music in noisy environments, and unless the music is loud and compressed they don‘t get to hear the quiet bits. The profits lie where the majority of consumers exist.
We are a distinct minority.

I know I'm beating a dead horse. And I don't mean to be argumentative. And I very well may be misunderstanding something. I probably am.


But........as has been said before, and not just by me, most of what people hear through ear buds is normalized. As I have played with normalization in iTunes and in Amazon Music nothing gets turned up. Only down. In fact, in Amazon HD normalization has no effect on minimally compressed song. Only on compressed songs. Can't say about other platforms.


In other words, as far as I can tell, the volume of a DR uncompressed song is not increased to match the volume of a DR compressed songs. The volume of compressed songs is decreased. So if that normalization decreases the volume of overly compressed songs there is no real benefit even where there is background noise. The softer bits will be made softer by the normalization. To hear them the volume has to be turned up by the user.....just like with an uncompressed song.

It could be that I'm overestimating the use of normalization. Maybe the 13 year old ear bud listeners uniformly turn it off.



Fun to watch everyone take this troll's bait
Well, I think it is pretty clear now that uberwaltz, pesky_wabbit and cleeds are part of the conspiracy. ;-)
Yes we fully realise guitarsam is a class A troll but....

In this instance at least the subject matter has some merit and interest.
Troll, maybe.
Radio rental, more likely...
+1 n80!
🤣🤣🤣
Sam here and everything i say makes common sense because i know i’m right it’s hard to except a new way of thinking when i present the facts i prove my case just like when i said flac with compression level 4 is superior to all other flac levels and people tested my theory and confirms i was right and that’s just 1 case.
Sam here and people that agree with me do so because common sense tells them that i'm right. people call me a troll until i back it up then you can hear a pin drop.lf more people would think outside the box we could put the record companies on notice were not gonna take it anymore.
@n80...late comment on component eqs'....none with remotes that I'm aware of....my older (and the newer) Behringers' have up to 100 presets but have to called up on the faceplate...

If you're of a mind to run your 'puter in your gear, there's always APO with the Peace overlay... but, again, no remote.

Either will accomplish, both together you can bend acoustic spoons...;)
Imho....when whomever bites the rubber in the road and 'does' a studio that foresakes compression and whatever trickery that annoys, AND dupes the final to the medium of choice....

AND....makes 'the product' acceptable to more than just the few that would even notice 'the improvement'...

....since, to the majority of 'consumers', the finished product will likely make their earbuds 'sound like *excretement*, more annoying than listenable at their preffered levels....

It's doomed.  Welcome to the Kulture as it is, 2020.

I'd listen to it....but pardon if I 'push it around' with my 'stuff'....:(
Query:

Have you been to a concert lately?  Did you really pay attention to what's going on 'twixt board and stacks?

It doesn't 'sound' like it....(pun intended)
I'm sure the CIA is involved.

I think, we have another Flat Earther here.


n80
... most of what people hear through ear buds is normalized ... if that normalization decreases the volume of overly compressed songs there is no real benefit even where there is background noise. The softer bits will be made softer by the normalization. To hear them the volume has to be turned up by the user.....just like with an uncompressed song.
The use of normalization has nothing at all to do with the industry's overuse of compression. A listener typically sets volume by adjusting it to not allow the level to exceed a certain amount. That's how quiet passages get lost in ambient noise on a recording with wide dynamic range.
 
Sam here and everything i say makes common sense because i know i’m right
Modest too.......
I got lost in a quiet passage in a monastery in Tuscany.
Started to feel compressed but eventually found my way out...
So the music industry is in cahoots with the pharmaceutical industry to destroy music's healing powers so the pharmaceutical companies can sell more antidepressants. Where did you discover this stunning bit of news, Sam?
@cleeds Please do not confuse me with facts.......;-)

But I am confused now. So help me out. Seriously, I'm trying to understand.

A piece of music gets DR compressed. That means the range of lowest to highest volume is narrowed. In general this leads to an overall increase in loudness.

This makes the quiet bits closer to the louder bits. This helps with low end devices and to overcome ambient noise.

But when played through most iPhones the volume is normalized which basically means the volume is decreased relative to non-compressed songs. So when it is normalized those quieter bits are made quieter.

That would seem to defeat to a large extent the desired effect of compression.

I understand that the compression makes the quiet bits louder _relative_ to the louder bits but if all of it is 'turned down' by normalization then the quieter bits are turned down too.

What have I got wrong here?
Normalization has nothing at all to do with this. A recording with very limited dynamic range will sound "louder" than one with a wide dynamic range. It will sound that way even when "normalized" because its average volume is higher.

If you’re on a noisy subway, its easy for quiet passages on a wide DR recording to get lost beneath the ambient noise level of the subway car. Whether that signal was normalized or not has absolutely no bearing on it.

Do you think AC/DC tends to sound louder than a string quartet?
The quiet passages just get lost on phone/ earbuds so they boost it up, reduce the dynamics range so it all sounds nearly the same level.

WE KNOW it's wrong but to the average consumer it works for them.
From way back when in this thread..........
Sam here and the hypersonic effect is a proven fact and you can run your own test like i did and prove it to yourself. Why did the big pharmaceutical companies spend millions on bogus university research studies claiming they could not reproduce the hypersonic effect in there own independent test and to this very day if you do a google search you will find one negative story after another. Why would big pharma care about a little research paper published out of japan in 1999 involving music to the point where 20 years later there still publishing negative storys about the hypersonic effect? perhaps they no something they don't want us to know?
Same here and the bottom line is i can encode digital audio with various frequencies i have collected and dramatically change the sound of the audio to the point where i can even surpase vinyl proving that my earth frequency encoding technic is the real deal and when other people have tested my technic they have proven it to themeselves.
"If you’re on a noisy subway, its easy for quiet passages on a wide DR recording to get lost beneath the ambient noise level of the subway car."

I am as lost as n80, just maybe in different ways. If compressing makes quiet passages easier to hear, what is the disadvantage? Better to ask, what is the advantage of not being able to hear quieter passages in uncompressed material?


I tried a few of the recordings from that gospel people like to reference (DR database on the Internet) and which seems iffy at its accuracy to me, Some of those with allegedly narrow dynamic range sound horrible to me while some of the others sound just fine, again to me. Can it be that complaints about the sound are more due to something else than to the dynamic range? Could some other step in the production, or fashionable sound, be responsible?

@cleeds  I guess what you are describing is simply not what I experience when it comes to normalization.

With Amazon you can switch it on and off and it changes as you listen.

So if I'm listening to a compressed song and have normalization "off" and the volume set to where the quietest parts are just audible and then turn normalization 'on' then those barely audible quiet bits are no longer audible. In other words, normalization seems to have defeated the benefit of compression. 

On the other hand, if playing a non-compressed song with the quiet parts just barely audible and I turn normalization off or on, almost nothing happens.

So from an experience standpoint I'm having a hard time understanding what you mean when you say normalization has no effect on compression. I understand it does not change the level of compression or the level of the quiet bits _relative_ to the loud bits. But it does decrease the loudness across the entire DR which lowers the volume of the quiet bits and the loud bits together  in which case the quiet bits can become harder to hear. 

@glupson, I'm guessing, but do not know with any certainty, that producers could selectively compress specific portions of the DR and not just across the whole range. I would assume this is how artful DR compression is used with classical pieces that have extremely wide DRs.

I would also think that the effect of DR for the listener would vary with various types of music, recordings and production technique.
glupson

If compressing makes quiet passages easier to hear, what is the disadvantage?

Part of the power and emotion in music is attributable to dynamic range. It’s why composers include such notation in their scores. The nuance of a solo oboe and the thwack of a tympani are two different things. Yet a tympani can also be used to create a gentle roll, which is distinguished (in part) from the thwack by volume difference - dynamic range.

... what is the advantage of not being able to hear quieter passages in uncompressed material?

None at all! That’s why we have compression. But you can hear much deeper into a wide DR recording if you’re listening in a quiet room than you can in a noisy subway car.

Can it be that complaints about the sound are more due to something else than to the dynamic range?
Sometimes. There are many ways to ruin a recording. Overuse of compression is just one of them.


guitarsam,  Please see my answer to the tin foil hat question on my post above.
You’re right about one thing. Music was much better before 1980, or the invention of cds. In fact, when did the cd become competitive? 1995? And still it’s not vinyl. Pity. But on the upside. Vinyl never went out of style for many of us. Thank goodness. You digital heads can do your thing. Me, I’m vinyl through and through. Fully satisfied. So in short there’s no problem. Reason being is there’s been no decent music available since what, 1993? There you go.