The war of dynamic range

It will be nearly 9 years when Ian Shepherd announce a Day of dynamic range (http://dynamicrangeday.co.uk). Did something change? Why do I feel that nobody cares about this issue? Do recordings with a decent dynamic range only fit into the High-End world?

In 1980, Steve McCurry took a photo of the 12-year-old Sharbat girl in the Pakistani refugee camp, who lost her parents in the Afghan War. The photo made him famous especially because it captures the atmosphere, the story of a girl that is written in their strikingly green-blue eyes. Also important are technical details of photography such as light, composition, depth of field, and more. Everything together makes up a perfect work of art that lasts over time.

Legendary Metallica released its ninth studio album “Death Magnetic” in Warner Bros Records recording studio in 2008, where the drums are reminiscent of plopping and guitars bored bumblebees.

Do artists of this format have the law to such a thing?

From view of Metallica’s fans, it was a big disappointment not only for me.. Personally, in front of the soulless mainstream, I rather prefer quality and technical details.

Would Steve McCurry boast a blurry photo?

Miles Davis

He said he is most interested about silence in music because it creates tension in the music. Together creating a duality with sound and tone.

Bob Dylan

in an interview for Rolling Stone Magazine: “Current recordings are terrible. It’s a sound wall. They have no definition, they have nothing – it’s just static noise. ”

Craig Potter from Elbow

“I do not see how anyone can destroy their record in the way that is happening today. It kills all the hard work you have put into the recording. I think dynamics is absolutely crucial for the emotional perception of music. ”

Origin of phenomenon “Loudness war”

More than half a century ago, big music companies have noticed the simple fact that people choose louder recordings than those who are quieter when choosing a song. However, the innocent marketing engagement of the artist closer to the listener has become a phenomenon that has been consecrated by the public as “Loudness War”.

Psycho-acoustic research has empirically demonstrated that louder music simply makes people feel better. Sound engineer Bob Katz in his book Mastering Audio states: “The problem of psychoacoustics (music perception) is that when two identical programs are presented with a slightly different volume, a louder program always sounds better.”

However, the reason for this is not exactly accurate. The reason for this is the fact that loud music increases the nervous activity in our hearing center, thus qualitatively changing the state of the whole brain.

Barry Blesser, in his article The Seductive (Yet Destructive) Appeal of Loud Music, is even more specific about this situation: “Loud music activates the same brain centers as if consuming drugs, such as cocaine. There is evidence that the perception of music raises the level of endorphins associated with brain centers of pleasure. “He adds,” The expanse of intensity between delight and destruction is extremely small. “Loud music in the brain causes a state of light similar to that of drugs. Perhaps that is why our brain prefers music information in the form of more intense acoustic sensations.

The argument of high volume recorders (low dynamic range) is also the fact that more and more people are listening to music away from home – in the headphones in a noisy environment. A louder recording without silent elements can then be better heard. By that way recorded music is better listened to as a backdrop, its micro and macro dynamics do not disturb so much. The main theme, however, was primarily arose by the publishing house. In the radio, loudspeakers are louder (with a suppressed dynamics) than the ones that are quieter (with great dynamics) better heard.

Musical work

More than half a century ago, big music companies have noticed the simple fact that people choose louder recordings than those who are quieter when choosing a song. However, the innocent marketing engagement of the artist closer to the listener has become a phenomenon that has been consecrated by the public as “Loudness War”.

Psycho-acoustic research has empirically demonstrated that louder music simply makes people feel better. Sound engineer Bob Katz in his book Mastering Audio states: “The problem of psychoacoustics (music perception) is that when two identical programs are presented with a slightly different volume, a louder program always sounds better.”

However, the reason for this is not exactly accurate. The reason for this is the fact that loud music increases the nervous activity in our hearing center, thus qualitatively changing the state of the whole brain.

Barry Blesser, in his article The Seductive (Yet Destructive) Appeal of Loud Music, is even more specific about this situation: “Loud music activates the same brain centers as if consuming drugs, such as cocaine. There is evidence that the perception of music raises the level of endorphins associated with brain centers of pleasure. “He adds,” The expanse of intensity between delight and destruction is extremely small. “Loud music in the brain causes a state of light similar to that of drugs. Perhaps that is why our brain prefers music information in the form of more intense acoustic sensations.

The argument of high volume recorders (low dynamic range) is also the fact that more and more people are listening to music away from home – in the headphones in a noisy environment. A louder recording without silent elements can then be better heard. By that way recorded music is better listened to as a backdrop, its micro and macro dynamics do not disturb so much. The main theme, however, was primarily arose by the publishing house. In the radio, loudspeakers are louder (with a suppressed dynamics) than the ones that are quieter (with great dynamics) better heard.

Musical opus

During its origin the mastering comes as the last and relatively insignificant step, yet it significantly influences its character. During mastering finishes the sound of the finished recording. There is no change in the instrument volume ratios, but the color and level of the individual frequencies are matched. In addition, dynamic compression is applied to help enhance the properties of individual instruments or vocals, or masks mistakes in interpretation, but is also used to increase the volume of the entire recording. Simply put, the quieter sounds are louder and the louder ones are cutting off.

The key is the so-called dynamic range (DR), which determines the average difference between the loudest and quietest levels of recording. While the dynamic range of a 15dB rock plate was once the same, today’s similar albums are around 6dB. The dynamic range, of course, predetermines the nature of the song itself, but letting even the bawling punk have its own microdynamics.

What is the problem of loudly recorded audio boards?
They lack depth, color and dynamics; but only in the better case. In the worse case, which is quite common today, is heavily distorted – we hear the so-called digital clipping (crackling), the centers are thickened and flow together, the heights are unpleasantly squealing. Your newly bought audio set or dear headphones do not bring euphoria, a sense of joy from art, when it “sounds like it is from your mobile. Mastering, the last stage of compiling dynamic compression recording to make it “play” as loud as possible on all types of players.

Separate and very sad chapter are “new” remastered releases of musical classics. Remastering will usually clear and make overviewed the recording, but then it will literally kill it by reducing the dynamic range. In the result sounds better the original decade-old, including noise

Suppression of dynamics

Above the original with great dynamics, but overall small gain.

Downwardly identical recording with suppressed dynamics, with a great deal of amplification – the sad trend of modern times.

Is there a way out?

Against mastering engineers have recently turned the anger of fans across a range of diverse genres. Listen to music with pleasure today is not easy. There is no choice but to choose the artists who “defend” the “Loudness War”. Another way is to buy vinyls, where the principle of physical recording on the board to some extent limits the compression of dynamics – not everyone is a fan of analogy.

There is a large community of listeners and people from the background of the recording industry that has decided to actively defend itself. The result is, for example, an international day of dynamic range, different database of performers, sound safety certificate concepts, or the origin of software for simple dynamic range measurement.

-http://turnmeup.org
-http://dr.loudness-war.info
-http://dynamicrangeday.co.uk
-http://www.pleasurizemusic.com

I believe that with more awareness of the musicians themselves, more technical recordings will be added without suppressing the dynamics. Mostly they are the musicians themselves, who are in the forefront of deciding whether to suppress dynamics and be so “quieter” than others. I believe that “quieter”, but high quality and dynamic recordings will extend a lot of those who want to close their eyes while listening to music and let themselves get carried away by the atmosphere of a musical artwork.



 

 

References:

-http://turnmeup.org
-http://dr.loudness-war.info
-http://dynamicrangeday.co.uk
-http://www.pleasurizemusic.com
-http://www.theatlantic.com/sponsored/sonos-2016/all-ears/1166/
-http://musicserver.cz/clanek/36553/hudba-prohrava-valku-stava-se-z-ni-hluk/
-https://is.muni.cz/th/255902/ff_b/bc_prace_premysl_karbula_loudness_war_fixed_final.pdf

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