Of course compression is not unique to CDs, it was applied to LPs before CDs were invented. Because digital sound is unaffected right up to the point of clipping, and because clipping is so exactly defined there is a temptation to push right up to the maximum. This would be more difficult working with an analog signal.
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I enjoyed that article you posted. I own some of the recent CD's that were dissed; Keane, Arctic Monkeys, Killers etc. Like the author, I enjoy the music but find the fatiguing sound on most this recent stuff highly frustrating. I am glad to see I am not the only one to have noticed that Studios in Nashville and particularly country music stars are leading the way back from the brink of crap hyper compression; the likes of engineers like John McBride, Blackbird Studios, and the crew at Soundstage Studios, such as Chuck Ainlay (Backstage Studio - the guy behind the console for Dire Straits, "Brother's in Arms").
Here are some other interesting links;
Producing Great Sounding Phonograph Records (or Why Records Dont Always Sound Like the Master Tape)
Sound Mirror: Mastering Articles
Wikipedia: The Loudness War
The Loudness War
Regulation in Digital Broadcasting
What happened to Dynamic Range?
Loudness War Explained
CD Honor Roll
I wonder if the audiophile industry will survive hyper compression loudness wars? After all, what is the point of spending megabucks on top notch gear when the source music is garbage to begin with; the CICO principle applies (Crap In Crap Out). Will audiophilia die out along with a generation of older listeners (who principally listen to music before it all became hyper-compressed)?
I highliy recommend to download this file and learn about how compression is done and how it sounds compared to th esame orginal music but uncompressed.
Matt Mayfield Demos Loudness War with Paul McCartney