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Dynamic Range Day - Loudness War Protest

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Dynamic Range Day – SHOUT OUT against the Loudness Wars

by Ian Shepherd

Dynamic Range Day - Loudness War Protest

Dynamic Range Day is March 20th, 2010

That’s TODAY !

Actually, that was two years ago.

But there’s going to be a third Dynamic Range Day in 2012, on March 16th and this year I want it to be even better.

DRD now has it’s own website – for all the latest information, click here.

If you’d like to get involved, please “Like” the Facebook page for regular updates.





Thanks, and see you soon !

 

Now just for the record, here’s the original text of this post, dead links and all, edited on the day…

Join us in a day of protest against the CD “Loudness Wars” – more info below

 

  • Use the Twitter hashtag #DYNAMICRANGEDAY on March 20th to try and get this issue “trending” on everyone’s Twitter page
  • It’s easy to take part – just SHOUT (type in all caps) ALL DAY, EVERYWHERE !
  • And when people ask, tell them why you’re shouting

Read the full story here: Dynamic Range Day – The Idea

What are the Loudness Wars ?

Watch this video: 

Latest News

    • 20/04/10 NEW Join us at 9pm GMT on Twitter to try and get this issue trending !

 

  • 19/03/10 Dynamic Range Day is global, and has just started in some time-zones !
  • 18/03/10 Over 2000 guests confirmed to the Facebook event already – still climbing
  • 25/02/10 TurnMeUp.org adds a Dynamic Range Day banner to their front page

Check back soon for more updates

More Information about the “Loudness Wars”

Music is getting louder, and sounding worse.

Engineers and artists are using modern technology to push the average level of recorded music up and up and up against the “brick wall” maximum level of the CD format. This results in distortion, lack of punch and a flat, two-dimensional, lifeless sound.

If you’ve ever wondered why you feel tired and get a headache listening to recent CDs, but not discs released back in the early nineties, the Loudness Wars are probably to blame.

The most famous example in recent years is Metallica’s “Death Magnetic”, which made the headlines when over 20,000 fans signed a petition asking for the CD to be remixed or remastered. CDs have a maximum dynamic range of over 96dB (decibels).

Until recently, the loudest CDs had a dynamic range of 8dB or more, even at their very loudest points. Much of “Death Magnetic” has a dynamic range of only 2dB, and most people agree that it sounds terrible as result. Dynamic Rangeis a measure of how much contrast there is in music, how much light and shade, how exciting it sounds.

It’s a two-edged sword, though. Too much, and rock won’t rock, pop won’t pop, and you’ll have to keep adjusting the volume. Too little and you’ll get sick of listening to even your favourite music far quicker, and probably end up with a headache.

Sadly, by 2010 this trend has affected almost every genre of music. You can hear it for yourself by listening to the audio examples in the short interview I did for BBC Radio 4 soon after “Death Magnetic” was released – click the grey arrow in the box over there on the right !

Or, check out this YouTube video comparision of the released CD version of Death Magnetic, and the much lower-level version used on the Guitar Hero game soundtrack

Metallica “Death Magnetic” CD vs. Guitar Hero Video

What Can We Do ?

Join in on March 20th 2010 - Dynamic Range Day ! Taking part is simple

Just SHOUT ALL DAY !

(For non-nerds, typing in ALL CAPITALs is know on the internet as “shouting”)

Why SHOUT all day ? Because over-compressed, distorted, unnecessarily high-level Loudness-War-Casualty music sounds as if it’s shouting at you, all the time. IT’S LOUD AND IT STAYS LOUD AND IT’s ONLY LOUD AND VERY SOON IT WEARS YOU OUT. AND GETS BORING !

So if we SHOUT all day on March 20th – on Twitter, on Facebook, in our emails – everywhere – if we shout and explain why we’re doing it when people ask, by linking to this post, or TurnMeUp.org, or the Dynamic Range Foundation, then hopefully we’ll spread the message far and wide:

NO MORE LOUDNESS WAR

So please, sign up for the Facebook Event to stay updated. If you have a blog, write a post explaining why you support Dynamic Range Day, and a Dynamic Range Day Banner.

Tell your friends – talk about #DYNAMICRANGEDAY on Twitter and see if we can get it trending. Simon Howes has set up a mySpace page – tell all your friends about it !

Lets get this issue everywhere.

Show your support – sign up now.



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Original logo idea by Matthew Vince

facebook comments:

39 Responses

  1. Marko says:

    Hi Ian,

    Just signed up at the Facebook event page and tweeted about it.

    Blog post is on the way, but most likely will take a few more days due to my current production work.

  2. Ian Shepherd says:

    Thanks Marko, that’s great !

  3. Malc Smith says:

    “◦It’s easy to take part – just SHOUT (type in all caps)
    ALL DAY, EVERYWHERE”

    Surely, this is part of the problem. We shouldn’t be encouraging Maxed Out EQ Typing.

    Malc

  4. Malc Smith says:

    I’m all for this – just listen to Rush’s VAPOR TRAILS.

  5. Ian Shepherd says:

    @ Malc Lol :-) You’d better organise #TastefulTypingDay PDQ !

  6. [...] Dynamic Range Day – SHOUT OUT against the Loudness Wars [...]

  7. [...] zdecydowanie zbyt głośnym płytom CD i tzw. wojnie głośności postanowił zorganizować Dynamic Range Day (Dzień Dynamiki). Dniem tym ma być 20 marca. Aktualnie jest na etapie gromadzenia wokół tematu [...]

  8. Dave says:

    I’M IN!!!! It’s quite annoying, i’m doing a music production course at the moment and the lecturers keep banging on about making music loud and using crippling compression levels until it’s squashed all the dynamics out of the song and it’s near bleeding ears time. And they are getting paid a good wage to impart this wisdom! hmmm

  9. Forrest says:

    BE SURE TO HAVE A URL SET UP FOR THIS EVENT THAT RESOLVES WHEN SHOUTED!!!!!! OTHERWISE IT MIGHT BE HARD TO RELAY THE INFO ON THE DAY IN QUESTION!!!!!!

  10. [...] Loudness War needs to stop, which is why I love the idea of Dynamic Range Day, put forward by Ian Shepherd @ Production [...]

  11. Ian Shepherd says:

    Hi Forrest,

    If you’re talking about the issues this site has had in the last few days, you’re absolutely right – however I’ve moved the database to another server and it seems to be OK, now. I think I will also clone the site to a different host as a backup if we get lots of traffic on the day.

    Ian

  12. [...] light and shade, how exciting it sounds. It’s best explained on Ian Shepherd’s blog, Production Advice, here you can also read more about Dynamic Range Day and the Loudness Wars. Ian Shepherd is also [...]

  13. Ian Shepherd says:

    Great stuff Valentin, thanks ! Everyone should also check out the article Adam posted a link to above:

    http://soundzoo.squarespace.com/features/2009/12/15/war-of-the-levels.html

    “Loudness is relative” – exactly !

  14. Kev says:

    Hi, I think a last.fm group might be a good idea

  15. Ian Shepherd says:

    Hi Kev,

    Thanks for the suggestion ! Fancy setting one up ?! You could just copy and paste the text from the Facebook page (http://tinyurl.com/dynamic-range-day-event) if that helps ?

    Ian

  16. [...] up on what the loudness war is and join the Dynamic Range day [...]

  17. [...] Range Day: March 20, 2010 Dynamic Range Day – Loudness War Protest Anyone heard about this? I'm not plugging the website, but the concept is certainly worthwhile. (I [...]

  18. Chr says:

    “Hi, I think a last.fm group might be a good idea”

    One group against loudness war exists already (and DR day is noted there as well):

    http://www.last.fm/group/The+Death+of+Dynamic+Range+-++people+against+Loudness+War

  19. [...] this topic.Powered by WP Greet Box WordPress PluginFollowing the steps of Dynamicrange.de, guys at Production Advice in the UK have started a great initiative to have March 20 as Dynamic Range day. “What would that [...]

  20. [...] Audionamix, Abbey Road, Dynamic Range Day, learning from Alan Parsons, Popular Mechanics on home studios, and talent being [...]

  21. [...] out more info at the blog, or a great explanation of the Loudness Wars in the YouTube video [...]

  22. [...] a Dynamic Range Day Banner to your website or [...]

  23. [...] FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT productionadvice.co.uk/dynamic-range-day [...]

  24. [...] it, it’s totally about something else…. And so it started off inspired by the idea of DYNAMIC RANGE DAY the incredibly admirable idea of encouraging increased dynamic range. Easy to state, far more [...]

  25. [...] March 20th, has been declared “Dynamic Range Day” by Ian Shepherd, the guy who broke the Death Magnetic / Loudness War story. His proposal? [...]

  26. [...] Well, I’ve been inspired by today’s Twitter hashtag #dynamicrangeday. It flags up an event designed to highlight the unpleasant but undeniable fact that commercially available music has (for [...]

  27. [...] CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT HOW AND WHY TO PARTICIPATE IN DYNAMIC RANGE DAY!!! [...]

  28. [...] March 20th, has been declared “Dynamic Range Day” by Ian Shepherd, the guy who broke the Death Magnetic / Loudness War story. His proposal? [...]

  29. Lars Ulrich says:

    Cool story, bro!

  30. Stephen says:

    Hey, is this going to happen March 20, 2011, too?

  31. Ian Shepherd says:

    Good question !

    At this point I’m thinking – yes. But I think it needs to be different. I’d like it to be more positive and less annoying :-)

    Will have to throw some ideas around with everybody and see what we come up with !

    Ian

  32. Earl Vickers says:

    I’ve posted a video based on my recent presentation to the Audio Engineering Society Convention, called “The Loudness War: Background, Speculation and Recommendations,” at http://www.sfxmachine.com/docs/loudnesswar/ .

  33. matthew andrews says:

    hears a really good idea to get the message across VERY CLEARLY!..

    this is based on the experience of my wife while watching a movie.

    we were watching harry brown and as its a movie I play it through my Hi-Fi. in once scene some one was unconscious and they guy next to him whispered “wake up” after a few times he loses his patience and shouts “WAKE UP!” the huge difference in volume caused my wife to jump and spill her coffee!. it was a living demonstration of dynamic range. so I got thinking instead of the rather naff video about the loudness war we have now, how about using an example set in a real life context.

    here’s the idea
    make a file that starts with with the caption, “dynamic range, please turn your volume up now” it cuts to two guys having a chat in a dinner, The conversation is fairly interesting so you kinda get engrossed, without warning theirs an explosion (or something else as loud), witch surprises the two guys so they duck

    cuts to another caption “compressed volume boosted audio, how your music sounds now” the film goes back to the beginning, the guys are having the same conversation (only there voices are much louder)
    and on cue there’s the sound of an explosion (proportionally its the same volume as there dialogue)the guys barley notice it, commenting” did you hear that?”
    cue cut to a caption with a message about bringing dynamic range back in to music.

  34. Ian Shepherd says:

    Hi Matthew,

    You’re right – movies are an excellent example of why dynamic range is important. I’ve got several ideas for videos to spread this idea – I’ll try to get them sorted soon.

    This post demonstrates the value of dynamic range in 2011:

    http://productionadvice.co.uk/loudness-war-secret/

    Thanks for your comment !

    Ian

  35. Will says:

    It’s scary to see how many people either can’t tell the difference between utlra-compressed and not-ultra-compressed music, or actually prefer the music ultra-compressed. I did a video for DRD (today!) and a few of my subscribers have already voiced that they prefer the compressed, ruined version of my song.

    http://youtu.be/06KrtaaX06I

    I hope this issue gets more coverage so we can make music sound good again!

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BBC Radio 4 Interview

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Ian Shepherd from Production Advice discusses the Loudness Wars

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