Dynamic Range Day - Loudness War Protest

Production Advice

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Why your online discussions about mastering are probably pointless

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There’s a huge amount of discussion about mastering issues online these days – and most of it is completely pointless, in my not-so humble opinion.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m as guilty of debating all this guff just as much as anyone – but when we do, we often we miss several very large elephants in the mastering room with us. And this came out really clearly in a new interview I just did with Matt Butler from The Modern Producer website.

I really enjoyed the interview – it was relaxed, informal and covered a wide range of topics, including getting deeply nerdy at some points.

But while I was listening back, trying to find some juicy teasers to tempt you to listen to it with, I realised there was a clear trend in the things Matt and I were talking about.
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Discover the dangerous, destructive, delicate delights of distortion

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I love distortion.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.

Now that might surprise you, coming from the founder of Dynamic Range Day, but it’s true. Some of my favourite songs simply wouldn’t exist without it – like the sublime example in the video above, for example !

Distortion has been an integral part of the sound of recorded popular music since the very beginning, and it always will be.

And I love it.

So how can this be true ?

How can someone who bitches almost daily about the squashed-flat, distorted sounds of most modern releases, someone who has developed a plugin specifically to make sure people can hear exactly how much damage the Loudness War Sound is doing to their music – how can I claim to love distortion ?

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Music Tech Fest – 100% inspirational

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Technology is an amazing thing.

A two-edged sword, sometimes – but an amazing thing.

And music technology is no exception. As proved by any one of the following paragraphs:

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Why you want to go to Music Tech Fest, even if you don’t realise it yet

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This Friday I’ll be presenting my Perception plugin at Music Tech Fest in London.

I hadn’t heard of the event before, but the more I learned the more I realised just how cool it’s going to be. And that was before I got my invitation…

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Imogen Heap’s “Sparks”: How to build an album from a collection of songs

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At the most basic level, making an album is about putting the right songs, in the right order, with suitable gaps in between.

Which sounds simple enough, right ?

Maybe so. But the running order has an enormous impact on the way we perceive songs, and their meaning.

For example, Imogen Heap’s new album “Sparks” was released today. I’ve been listening obsessively to it for the last week (because I pre-ordered the amazing “deluxe box-set” version) and it’s a perfect example of what I’m talking about.

I was worried that it simply wouldn’t hang together as an album, because of the unique way it was produced – but in fact the opposite was true.

Quietly, without us (or herself ?) noticing, Imogen has created a concept album about the end of her relationship – with an unexpectedly happy twist at the end.

And the tool she used to achieve this was nothing more than the order she chose to put the songs in.

Bear with me though, this will take a little time to explain…

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Ian Shepherd

BBC Radio 4 Interview

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Ian Shepherd from Production Advice discusses the Loudness Wars