The D-Mag mix saga continues to spread across the netroots and the traditional media. The momentum is clearly building as more and more stand up and speak out. I continue to be impressed at everyone's resolve, but no surprised. The social nature of the internet has reached a new level; it is almost impossible for stories like this to stay quiet. Even if you do nothing but text your friends and put up a page on Facebook, you're helping to build a media narrative and draw worldwide attention to the cause.
Resentment against the loudness wars have been brewing for a number of years, but this frustration was localized among the audiophile community. That frustration is now expanding to the wider communities, as more and more people become aware of the sonic sabotage wrought on their CD's. Perhaps it takes a rock band as successful as Metallica (whose album sales this decade are second only to The Beatles) to finally push this issue to the mainstream.
When music fans realize that their new Metallica CD sounds atrocious, and then discover a second, clear version, there will be a backlash. This will become a real news event.
First up is Ian Shepherd's blog Mastering Media, which picked up the D-Mag story and ran with it. Shepherd is a mastering engineer and DVD author at Sound Recording Technology in the UK. Thanks to his efforts, the Death Magnetic saga has gained traction in wider news outlets. He also goes into detail and shares with you just why the commercial mix is so deeply flawed, as well as the vastly superior Guitar Hero mix.
In this post, Ian goes into detail on the loudness wars and D-Mag in particular. Tellingly, he compares the CD against a pair of previous Metallica albums (Load and Damage Inc), and discovers that those CD's are sonic masterpieces by comparison. He also shows you the fallacy of mixing modern albums as "loud" as possible. It's a lose-lose situation for music lovers and the music industry.
In a couple other posts, Ian examines the problems with clipping and distortion on the Metallica CD, and then makes comparisons to the Guitar Hero mix. No surprise that the GH version is far superior; this has practically become Gospel by now. Finally, he discusses the trend in pop music towards louder and more distorted music.
More D-Mag in the media:
The D-Mag backlash has also drawn the attention of Wired, which can be read here. They compare the two mixes, and predictably, the Guitar Hero mix easily wins out.
Music Radar offers their take on the controversy here.
Norway's newspaper Dagbladet has written an article on D-Mag's brickwall mix here. They again compare the CD to the Guitar Hero mix.
Wikipedia's Death Magnetic entry has been updated to include the controversy, although it remains painfully short. We need to update it properly, with visuals.
Digg is on the scene as well.
Hopefully more to come. Stay tuned, kids....