Monday, November 07, 2011
Stop Crushing Your Music!
I cannot fathom what is wrong with the geniuses in the music industry who conceived of the Loudness Wars. It's what you get when corporate idiocy collides with rock-star egos, who also just happen to be deaf. I know! Let's hyper-compress and crush our music to death! Then people will get ear fatigue and stop listening to our songs...and then...profit? The collapse of CDs can't be blamed solely on internet downloading.
I know the topic of the Loudness Wars has been harped on endlessly, so I'll keep this little sermon short by presenting a couple of waveforms as examples. The first waveform is my needledrop recording of John Coltrane's Sun Ship LP. I recorded with a peak volume of -3dB, which means three decibels below the maximum volume of the CD format. The second waveform is Megadeth's "Public Enemy No.1," from their newly-released CD, Thirteen.
It's pretty hard to appreciate music when it's literally crushed into a cube. And there's really no reason for it. It's especially frustrating because so many musicians and bands have recorded amazing-sounding music in decades past. For example, I've finally heard some vinyl recordings ("needledrops") of Megadeth's 1990 LP, Rust in Peace, and it sounds amazing - loud, crunchy guitars, a fully three-dimensional sound, solid vocals. It's really a jazz fusion album, in case anyone bothered to notice, and it shames today's brick-walled wrecks.
And Coltrane, well he's God's Gift to Mankind. Everything Trane recorded was miraculous. Wouldn't we all like to go back to that? Return to music that is recorded and mastered properly? Hi-fi music...what a concept!