Dynamic Range

A very good article on the problem with most pop songs today. I remember teaching a class on this… and it’s true. You can hear which songs are ‘edited’ for different markets. No wonder the grammy’s for technical mastering is always given to some unknown work (unknown to me at least lar :P).


Over the past decade and a half, a revolution in recording technology has changed the way albums are produced, mixed and mastered β€” almost always for the worse. “They make it loud to get [listeners’] attention,” Bendeth says. Engineers do that by applying dynamic range compression, which reduces the difference between the loudest and softest sounds in a song. Like many of his peers, Bendeth believes that relying too much on this effect can obscure sonic detail, rob music of its emotional power and leave listeners with what engineers call ear fatigue. “I think most everything is mastered a little too loud,” Bendeth says. “The industry decided that it’s a volume contest.”

Producers and engineers call this “the loudness war,” and it has changed the way almost every new pop and rock album sounds. But volume isn’t the only issue. Computer programs like Pro Tools, which let audio engineers manipulate sound the way a word processor edits text, make musicians sound unnaturally perfect. And today’s listeners consume an increasing amount of music on MP3, which eliminates much of the data from the original CD file and can leave music sounding tinny or hollow. “With all the technical innovation, music sounds worse,” says Steely Dan’s Donald Fagen, who has made what are considered some of the best-sounding records of all time. “God is in the details. But there are no details anymore.”

I mean, when Britney Spear’s latest song on the airwaves get a ‘good’ review with statements like ‘her voice is better now, more rasp, more mature, yada yada…’ it shows how inexperience the reviewers are. It’s all technological nowadays. Want a verse sung ala Mariah Carey-like quality; no problem… just fire up ProTools and you’ve got it.

*It’s a wonder I don’t get ML into the record industry already πŸ˜› hahahaha. I would have if I had a mac computer… Garageband would have made ML a star by now πŸ˜› hahaha.

I digress.

There. Enya doesn’t suffer from this. I know. I can listen. πŸ˜›


One thought on “Dynamic Range

  1. Seriously, Britney Spears is getting an overall thumbs up for her latest effort with no effort? Maybe the reviewers are taking into account how her career is being affected by her degenerating personal life (“she still can hold a tune even though she is trashing her life’). Sigh, most of the current-hits singers cannot match up to the great singers of yester-years (even those from the 90s) vocal-wise. As for my closet aspirations, the Bali music recording will be a constant reality check for me (or us), haha! πŸ™‚

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