Dynamic Range Day - Loudness War Protest

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Loudness War Myths Explored: 2 – Do some genres NEED to be crushed ?

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Sometimes you just need to go with the flow.

The plan was for the second of these Loudness War Myths videos to be about listening in noisy environments – but the controversy over a brand new metal release made this week makes it the ideal time to tackle another myth entirely.


Some genres NEED that ‘loudness war’ sound

This one gets trotted out with depressing regularity, even by people who should know better.

Metal and EDM are the most common styles that are supposed to only sound “right” if their level has been pushed up as hard as possible against digital’s brick-wall ceiling.

So, is it true ?

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The Distortion Of Sound documentary: fair comment, misleading over-simplification – or worse ?

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I’m not sure my feelings could be more mixed.

When people first sent me the trailer for a new documentary called The Distortion Of Sound, I was intrigued. Big names, high production standards, and a topic I care about.

But I immediately thought:

“I hope they don’t muddle up the two different types of compression – lossy (mp3) compression and dynamic (loudness war) compression”

Well, now I’ve seen the full documentary, and – they did.


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Longplayer for Voices – how to write music that lasts for millennia

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So, how long is the longest piece of music you’ve ever written ?

5 minutes ?

7 minutes ?

Maybe, if you’re Partial To A Little Prog like me, a 40-minute concept album ?

Or if you write classical music, you might have written something that takes several hours to perform.

But how would you feel about writing a piece of music that lasts a thousand years ?

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My ‘Perception’ plugin has been officially launched !

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Finally the cat is out of the bag – my new ‘Perception’ mastering plugin, developed by MeterPlugs, is officially launched this week – and to celebrate, it’s available for 33% off, for this week only.

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It’s a kind of magic
- Or: It’s not about the f****** format !

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OK, enough is enough.

I’ve made various videos over the last few years comparing vinyl and digital releases of different albums – because sometimes vinyl is mastered with more dynamics than the digital formats, which is something I care about.

But I always try to avoid passing comment on the actual formats themselves – CD versus vinyl, analogue versus digital – because I feel these discussions are actually red herrings. They’re distractions from the real issues of what makes our music sound great.

But inevitably in the comments of these posts and videos, someone will eventually jump in with the timeless old chestnut:

‘Digital can never sound as good as analogue’

Now this is a popular belief these days, but the fact is there’s no theoretical reason to believe it’s true – correctly implemented digital audio can exactly reproduce any analogue audio signal with complete accuracy.

But when say that, there’s always someone who says something like “people who listen to CD are missing out on the emotional experience. I don’t expect you to understand, but I know it’s true”.

To which my response is – how dare you ?!

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Ian Shepherd

BBC Radio 4 Interview

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Ian Shepherd from Production Advice discusses the Loudness Wars