Dynamic range and the Loudness issue unravels a little more

by caro on August 24, 2011 · 0 comments

Caveat: This one is for the audio nerds.

VU meter

As i have developed as an audio engineer and producer of more creative music, I have become more sensitive to in your face productions that tire the ear and brain with sonic bombardment. And I have come out in support of Turn me Up – a not for profit music industry organisation that aims to increase dynamic range in music and to make loud music a choice for artists – not the only way to mix and master their music. I know it suits some styles of music but I do have a problem with all music being treated as louder and harder is better/best.

And I would also support Dynamic Range Day – which involves a challenge to ensure at least 8dB of dynamic range in productions. And unsurprisingly Elbow won the 2011 Dynamic Range Day award – i had noticed how their most recent albums were quite marked in their swells of quieter moments and louder outbursts.

But lo and behold, it seems the issue is not so straightforward. O no, another challenge to my soapbox temptations..in an interesting article in the reputable Sound on Sound magazine entitled Dynamic Range and the Loudness War, Emmanuel Deruty explains how dynamic range and loudness are not inextricably linked and that loud records are not necessarily less dynamic recordings. He states “We can prove beyond any doubt that the ‘loudness war’ has not decreased the loudness range”.

I do like it when someone convincingly makes you re-consider your opinion. And Ian Shepherd – shepherd of the save dynamics movement – adds further comment on his latest blog on Production Advice entitled “STOP PRESS – Why the Loudness War HASN’T reduced ‘dynamic range’!. Yes, Including a caps lock on the stop press bit and ending in exclamation mark. He commends the Sound on Sound article but still feels the dynamic range cause is worthy and necessary.

So, even though I can see how loud music can also be dynamic music, I still feel the (over)-use of limiters and compression in music is an important issue. Is it the harsh use of limiters that leads to harsh and tiresome sounding music?

Just felt i needed to share where we are at in this crucial issue for world aural peace and justice…

audio level display
image by freeimageslive.co.uk – gratuit

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