November 25, 2013
The Real Reason Music’s Gotten So Loud

With each passing year since the advent of CDs and mp3s, artists have turned up the volume. Digital recording now allows sound to be louder overall without introducing audible background static and tape hiss, so audio engineers often elevate the volume of a song to the recordable limit through a handful of brute-force methods—dynamic range compression, limiting, brickwall limiting, and clipping—that sacrifice quality and fidelity for loudness.
This escalation over time has come to be known as the “loudness wars.” Most audiophiles hate it. Numerous petitions and online campaigns have pleaded for artists and engineers to avoid techniques that destroy the dynamic range of sound, saying it denudes music of its impact and emotion. When everything is loud, nothing is loud, the argument goes, and the results exhaust and agitate listeners. Bob Dylan referred to it as the dissolution of music into static.
Read more. [Image: AP]

The Real Reason Music’s Gotten So Loud

With each passing year since the advent of CDs and mp3s, artists have turned up the volume. Digital recording now allows sound to be louder overall without introducing audible background static and tape hiss, so audio engineers often elevate the volume of a song to the recordable limit through a handful of brute-force methods—dynamic range compression, limiting, brickwall limiting, and clipping—that sacrifice quality and fidelity for loudness.

This escalation over time has come to be known as the “loudness wars.” Most audiophiles hate it. Numerous petitions and online campaigns have pleaded for artists and engineers to avoid techniques that destroy the dynamic range of sound, saying it denudes music of its impact and emotion. When everything is loud, nothing is loud, the argument goes, and the results exhaust and agitate listeners. Bob Dylan referred to it as the dissolution of music into static.

Read more. [Image: AP]

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