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Metallica Guitar Hero Release Has Higher Quality Than CDs

Soulskill posted about 6 years ago | from the facepalm dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 102

Last week Metallica released a new album, Death Magnetic, on traditional CDs as well as downloadable content for Guitar Hero III. Fans quickly noticed that the sound quality on the CD version was noticeably below-par, thanks to the recording studio's decision to sacrifice range for loudness. However, the tracks released for Guitar Hero III made no such sacrifice, as proved by Mastering Engineer Ian Shepherd. NME found an audio clip comparing the two tracks. This comes alongside statements from Activision claiming that Aerosmith's recent venture into Guitar Hero is generating more success for the band than their actual albums.

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Well... (5, Funny)

religious freak (1005821) | about 6 years ago | (#25080981)

I wouldn't exactly call any Metallica song made after 1995 "quality"

Re:Well... (5, Interesting)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | about 6 years ago | (#25081055)

"...studio's decision to sacrifice range for loudness."

That's retarded. Loudness is no good if it sounds like it's coming out of a tinny radio, which is what too much compression and limiting [harmony-central.com] can do. They apparently did such a poor job of it that the Cd signal was clipped! They certainly forgot what good "metal" is supposed to sound like.

Knowing Metallica, they probably cranked out a half-ass 10-minute session in the studio and had their "mastering" engineeer Pro-Tool the hell out of it, cut-and-paste style. Then they laughed, high-fived each other over beers, coke, and their solid gold Ferraris as they continue to be out of touch with reality.

And yes, in case you all were wondering, their new album most certainly does SUCK. Listening to Metallica is like having banged the prom queen in high school only to see her become a queen of the 300-pound welfare sort :(

money, good... Re:Well... (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 6 years ago | (#25081565)

Knowing Metallica, they probably cranked out a half-ass 10-minute session in the studi

high-fived each other over beers

solid gold Ferraris

Have you been watching Napster Bad [campchaos.com] again too?

Re:Well... (2, Insightful)

Nimey (114278) | about 6 years ago | (#25081643)

Listening to Metallica is like having banged the prom queen in high school only to see her become a queen of the 300-pound welfare sort :(

What's wrong with that? You did bang she who was supposedly the hottest girl at the time. You can't help what happens years later.

Re:Well... (1)

Mateito (746185) | about 6 years ago | (#25082311)

Nimey: What's wrong with that? You did bang she who was supposedly the hottest girl at the time. You can't help what happens years later.

It has the same effect that "The Phantom Menance" had on my Childhood.

Re:Well... (1)

falcon5768 (629591) | about 6 years ago | (#25083639)

I just knew SOMEONE was going to throw in the "raped my childhood comment!"

Re:Well... (1)

TheLink (130905) | about 6 years ago | (#25084891)

Maybe he "married her" and still has the relevant tattoos to prove it ;).

Maybe he's even had to pay alimony via the RIAA.

Re:Well... (1)

ecavalli (1216014) | about 6 years ago | (#25088669)

Yes, but in retrospect it becomes depressing as fuck as a result of her new-found corpulence being a palpable reminder of human mortality, and more specifically of the changes one's body goes through with age.

In short, the fatties mirror our own inescapable flaws back at ourselves. Quite a downer.

Well Said. (2, Interesting)

Grog6 (85859) | about 6 years ago | (#25085201)

These asshats only get my pity...

1. Fire your main talent. (Dave Mustane)

2. Use the cheapest transport company, drive insane hours, and kill a popular bassist off.

3. Alienate your fans by being corporate suits instead of the hard-core guys you image portrays.

4. Put out a series of albums that confirm how much you've lost it, and can't write music anymore. These albums were only bought by fanboys, afaik.

Somewhere, there should be a 'Profit' step; I'm not seeing it from here...

Re:Well... (1)

Stu Charlton (1311) | about 6 years ago | (#25085591)

From what I recall they did anywhere between 10 and 18 takes in the studio. And sure they pro-tool'd the hell out of it (as most professionals do these days).

Also, the album doesn't suck. It's got some very good tracks on it.

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25085835)

Knowing Metallica, they probably cranked out a half-ass 10-minute session in the studio and had their "mastering" engineeer Pro-Tool the hell out of it, cut-and-paste style.

I think the term you're looking for is "producer". A mastering engineer readies the final produced tracks for whatever physical media it will be printed on, so they don't ever cut and paste anything.

Re:Well... (2, Informative)

Lisandro (799651) | about 6 years ago | (#25087193)

And yes, in case you all were wondering, their new album most certainly does SUCK. Listening to Metallica is like having banged the prom queen in high school only to see her become a queen of the 300-pound welfare sort :(

Actually, i downloaded some of the clips that were floating arround the net prior to the release and i thought it wasn't half bad - excellent for the standarts the band set for itself lately, in fact. I DID notice the awful mixing though, and i read the CD sounded much better. Well, it didn't.

It's a shame. Lately a lot of bands are going with this loudness trend and i just can't help it, it sounds horrible. After 5 minutes i have to switch to something else.

Re:Well... (1)

InadequateCamel (515839) | about 6 years ago | (#25081105)

Their latest album is quite good. Also, before Death Magnetic was released I wouldn't call any album after 1991 "quality"...you don't really think Load was all that good, do you?

Re:Well... (2, Funny)

bledri (1283728) | about 6 years ago | (#25081287)

I wouldn't call any album after 1991 "quality"...you don't really think Load was all that good, do you?

I was really disappointed in Load, but it was aptly named...

Re:Well... (1)

Klobbersaurus (796024) | about 6 years ago | (#25081349)

the black album was pretty bad, it started their downfall and in my opinion it is worse then load. You have to give them some credit though, most bands don't live long enough to sell out once, Metallica has sold out 5 times by my count.

Re:Well... (1)

elrous0 (869638) | about 6 years ago | (#25088279)

Cliff Burton was the lucky one.

Re:Well... (3, Informative)

sleigher (961421) | about 6 years ago | (#25081359)

I agree. The day the black album came is the day I wept (figuratively), as the band I grew up with turned their back on me and so many other. Today is a new day for those who were abandoned. The album is good although it is only good because Load(of shit) and the other later albums actually happened. Compared to the real Metallica it is still low on the chart. It does have some balls though.

Re:Well... (3, Funny)

KGIII (973947) | about 6 years ago | (#25081615)

I listened, on their website, to Unforgiven 3 and it was awful. I closed the tab in my browser. I cleansed my soul with Thieves from Ministry so life is good again.

Re:Well... (2, Insightful)

sleigher (961421) | about 6 years ago | (#25082335)

Funny, I thought the way to do that was to CLEANSE THE SOUL! [youtube.com]

Re:Well... (1)

InadequateCamel (515839) | about 6 years ago | (#25082621)

Yeah, one glance at that title and I knew I wouldn't like it.

On the other hand, I found myself driving around like a murderous asshole with "All Nightmare Long" ruining my eardrums earlier today.

It's no Puppets, but they're 25 years older. It's also no Load/Reload/St. Anger, though those albums can still be heard in places (though, thankfully, without the terrible tin-can drums of St. Anger)

Considering the crap they have produced for the last 2 friggin' decades, I'm rather impressed. But I can't see them getting more Puppets-like on the next album, which probably means the next one will be Load all over again.

Re:Well... (2, Insightful)

KGIII (973947) | about 6 years ago | (#25082797)

If you get a chance I'd give some old Ministry a try. 'The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste' is one of the few albums I can listen too all the way through. Thieves, if nothing else, should be on everyone's "Drive Like A Maniac" playlist. It takes a couple of listens before one either loves or hates it.

I play guitar and one of the things that always amazes people is when I pick up an acoustic and start playing things like Metalica. They are surely still full of talent but I have to wonder if they're burnt out entirely and this album is going to be the last flicker of light before they burn out completely. If I can force myself to do so I'll sit and listen to the entire thing and try it with an attempt to appreciate them. I was, it would appear, spoiled by their earlier work and listening to anything "new" from them comes with much higher expectations and much more picky judgments.

Maybe they are a victim of their own successes earlier in life, at least with me. I don't think I have extremely picky taste really just high expectations from bands like them. Most of what is being produced currently, hell within the past fifteen years, annoys the hell out of me. Most... Not all.

As an aside, I have to wonder if it is just my (our) age(s) taking over. My parents did not like my music. My parents parents did not like my parents music. My parents parents parents banged rocks together and music hadn't been invented yet. I think an oddity is that I like much of the music that is older than I.

Re:Well... (1)

PainKilleR-CE (597083) | about 6 years ago | (#25109357)

My dad still listens to music all the time, and is always open to new music, as long as it has something he's interested in (he's interested in skilled musicians, but he can't ignore a growling singer to listen to great guitarists).

My tastes have changed over the years (as far as new music goes), but I've still been able to find plenty of music to listen to from bands that weren't around when I was in high school (12-16 years ago), as well as some good music from bands I enjoyed in high school (the last 2 Ministry albums were great IMO, better than anything they've done since I was in high school). The basic problem with the idea that age is taking over Metallica is that the new Testament album was the best thing they've put out in over 10 years, the last two Judas Priest albums were very good (and Painkiller, which came out 20 years into their career, is a highlight of said career), and so on. There are many bands, even fast, aggressive bands, that do well into their later years.

I really think that Cliff's death had a bigger impact on Metallica than anything else. He was still credited on some of the Justice stuff, and even the band members said that the black album contained a lot of stuff that had been sitting around for a very long time, which they revisited and brought up to whatever standards they were working on at that time. Even with the creative control James and Lars claim to have previously had over the process of writing the songs, Cliff was credited on a lot of the material on RtL and Puppets, and there's no doubt that he brought a lot of those songs to life.

Of course, Cliff was the reason I picked up a bass at 14, and still play to this day, so my opinion might be slightly biased ;)

Re:Well... (2, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | about 6 years ago | (#25085679)

I agree. The day the black album came is the day I wept (figuratively), as the band I grew up with turned their back on me and so many other.

I like the black album; most of the criticisms I've heard about it deal with the fact that it doesn't sound like their earlier stuff. You'll live.

Re:Well... (1)

sleigher (961421) | about 6 years ago | (#25086271)

Well I will reply like another poster further down. If you are going to change your format from metal to modern rock, then please don't use the name METALlica. I agree the black album was not that bad but they made a big change. From MoP and Justice to Black album and Load. come on.......

Re:Well... (1)

PainKilleR-CE (597083) | about 6 years ago | (#25109407)

The black album still had some metal on it, you just had to skip every song they played on the radio to find it, and none of it was as epic as almost anything on MoP. The strong metal songs on the black album are also pretty forgettable stuck in between a bunch of songs that got slammed into our heads for 4 years on the radio and MTV (remember when they played music?).

Re:Well... (2, Interesting)

unfunk (804468) | about 6 years ago | (#25083319)

Actually, yes. Load and Reload are a pair of excellent albums.. just because they're not balls-out thrash metal doesn't automatically disqualify them from any quality races.

As I've said many times (just not here..), if any other band had released those two albums, they would have been hailed as musical geniuses.

St. Anger, on the other hand... no thanks, I burned my CD of that (literally) and purged the hard drive the MP3s were stored on.

...and for what it's worth, I think Death Magnetic is a pretty good album (aside from the name), and The Unforgiven III is one of the best songs Metallica has ever written... it's just a shame they decided to give it such an awful name.

Re:Well... (1)

Kane Devaid (1339253) | about 6 years ago | (#25086457)

Load was dated 1996, so the GP did not think it was quality.

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25081121)

Have you heard their new album? I read a review on EW that said they were going back to their roots. I was a big fan of Metallica before that piece of crap black album and I'd be really nice if they were releasing another Puppets or Justice like album.

Re:Well... (0, Redundant)

gad_zuki! (70830) | about 6 years ago | (#25081201)

Yeah, if your band is going to switch from Metal to bland "Modern Rock" then please stop calling yourself Metallica.

What the hell is wrong with America? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25081857)

http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2008/0919082mattress1.html [thesmokinggun.com]

This guy shoots an 11 year old girl and a jury gives him $300k because he slept on a dirty mattress? He should be sleeping at the bottom of the Hudson River! What the fuck is wrong with America?

P.S. - Metallica pussed out after 1995. Now, whenever I think of Metallica, I think of a foul-smelling, cheesy snatch.

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25084949)

Any metallica album is good they each have unique sound and are all different even St. Anger is a good album it just doesnt have the guitar solos like their old albums

Re:Well... (1)

morari (1080535) | about 6 years ago | (#25088405)

My thoughts exactly.

So it has songs by other bands? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25080997)

Come on, these jokes almost write themselves.

Re:So it has songs by other bands? (1)

ari_j (90255) | about 6 years ago | (#25081099)

No, it just includes songs from Master of Puppets and before. Remember: If it had songs from other bands, they'd have to be from Garage, Inc.

Old News (2, Informative)

cryptoluddite (658517) | about 6 years ago | (#25081091)

Dance Dance Revolution on PS2 has better sound quality also, using 24 bit samples instead of 16 bit. And that was back in 2000 (or whenever).

PS2 samples? (1)

tepples (727027) | about 6 years ago | (#25085517)

Dance Dance Revolution on PS2 has better sound quality also, using 24 bit samples instead of 16 bit.

Citation needed. I've analyzed the streaming music in We Love Katamari and one of the DDR games, and they use the so-called "VAG" codec, a variant of ADPCM that expands on the "BRR" codec used for Super NES samples. This averages roughly 4.5 bits per sample.

Re:PS2 samples? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25085981)

Songs were ripped from 'DDR MAX 2' with 'cube media' patched with OllyDbg to allow saving ($30 for single-use software that was buggy as hell anyway was ridiculous). Plus I'm not sure how to send money safely to China.

WAV files produced are 24-bit samples, 2-channel, 44.1 kzh. They sound as good as CD, but I'm not an audiophile. Maybe the software did some kind of conversion.

Sound the XKCD alarm... (4, Funny)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 6 years ago | (#25081117)

This comic [xkcd.com] is no longer true. :(

Re:Sound the XKCD alarm... (1)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | about 6 years ago | (#25081297)

No, it's true, but you have to stick to their older work.

Re:Sound the XKCD alarm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25081445)

This hasn't been true since GH3 was originally released with One.

Welcome to 2007.

Re:Sound the XKCD alarm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25081831)

Uh, xkcd is way ahead of you. Read the hover text/tooltip.

Re:Sound the XKCD alarm... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25082235)

Reminds me of that bash.org quote;

Poster 1>Metallica sold out in like 5 minutes

Poster 2>Yeh I know

Poster 2>Oh you mean a concert)-:

i can't stand this. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25081123)

i can control my own volume thank-you. and because of records like this, i'm forced to hit the volume every time these songs come up on a playlist. i realize there are volume normalizing pluout there, but i don't like the effect on the overall song.

you'll know what i mean if you jump from a cd made in the 80's to one made in the last 10 years.

hopefully this gets enough coverage to signal the end of this incredibly annoying trend.

Re:i can't stand this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25081303)

hopefully this gets enough coverage to signal the end of this incredibly annoying trend.

hahaha... yeah right.

Re:i can't stand this. (1)

Renderer of Evil (604742) | about 6 years ago | (#25081341)

you'll know what i mean if you jump from a cd made in the 80's to one made in the last 10 years

There is an option on iPods to automatically regulate the volume when the tracks come up, called Sound Check. Not sure what you mean by "cd". Explain yourself, old man.

Re:i can't stand this. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25082135)

Explain yourself, old man.

I think he made his point pretty well when he said: "i realize there are volume normalizing pluout there, but i don't like the effect on the overall song."

There is an option on iPods

Ah, now I see why you need this stuff explained to you.

Re:i can't stand this. (3, Interesting)

sleigher (961421) | about 6 years ago | (#25081391)

I was in a band and engineered many of our records. One of the things we do is compare our recordings to those of other bands on spectrum analyzers and such tools to see how levels and frequency ranges compare. WAY too often we put in other bands records and they are off the top and are clipping all over the place. The problem is that the industry sets a sort of standard for loudness and you kinda have to follow or your record sounds quiet. When it comes to metal you really have to be loud because of the whole in your face obnoxious aspect of the music. It sucks because those who are sensitive and can hear this hate it.

Re:i can't stand this. (4, Interesting)

Mprx (82435) | about 6 years ago | (#25081593)

Yet people recorded metal in the 80s with high dynamic range and it sounded perfectly "heavy". The loudness war has ruined most modern music for me, and even older music is being destroyed in remastered versions. Untrained listeners might prefer the compressed sound at first, but it's tiring to listen to for more than a few minutes. This is especially true as you get older. If you're concerned with standards, there's a new standard in planning at http://www.turnmeup.org/ [turnmeup.org] . In the case of less mainstream music your fans will likely be more knowledgeable, and understand it sounds better if they turn it up themselves. Higher dynamic range could make you more popular and help you stand out from your overcompressed competitors.

Re:i can't stand this. (1)

sleigher (961421) | about 6 years ago | (#25082293)

It's funny too because my buddy and I were having this very discussion about the new album when it came out. He was comparing to MoP, and how this was better, I told him he is nuts. Master of Puppets has its share of problems but is light years better than this production. I will say I am a little surprised because Rick Rubin usually does a halfway decent job with metal.....

Re:i can't stand this. (2, Informative)

AttillaTheNun (618721) | about 6 years ago | (#25083943)

Unfortunately Rick Rubin is a producer, not a mastering engineer. He has little say in what happens to his work downstream of the mixing process.

Re:i can't stand this. (1)

sleigher (961421) | about 6 years ago | (#25084579)

That is generally true but producers sometimes have a lot of influence over the sound without turning knobs.

Re:i can't stand this. (2, Interesting)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | about 6 years ago | (#25083299)

I've seen people explain that the real reason why SACD and DVD-Audio sounded better than CD is not much about the higher sample rate and bit depth, but because they don't use dynamic range compression on the SACD or DVD-Audio.

I think there have been recording standards all along, the problem is that no one abides by them. I think one standard is to record standard dialogue at -12dB of max.

Re:i can't stand this. (1)

AttillaTheNun (618721) | about 6 years ago | (#25083937)

All it takes is a bit of marketing (for good, not evil for a change) to come up with some brand name and logo to distinguish albums that have been mastered with care from the rest of the compressed junk out there.

Sort of like the SUPERBIT DVD releases, which focus on the quality of the main title as opposed to all sorts of extras.

If you stick a notice on the album/download explaining why the volume seems lower compared to others, the fans will appreciate it more.

Re:i can't stand this. (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | about 6 years ago | (#25083239)

Doesn't even make sense since pretty much anything you can connect to a speaker has a volume control. You can record something really quiet and just turn up the speakers...

Re:i can't stand this. (1)

travbrad (622986) | about 6 years ago | (#25088607)

Well too quiet can be a problem too (can cause more hiss/noise), but that's only when it's VERY quiet. Too loud is much worse by far though, it greatly reduces the overall quality and it's downright annoying. It's not just modern pop music that does this though, I've noticed TV commercials seem to do the same thing. On the occasion that I actually watch TV, I hit the mute button as soon as the commercials come on (it's easier than hitting "volume down" about 5 times).

They just want to "outloud" each other so they'll stand out, but unfortunately they only stand out as annoying. Apparently most people don't mind though.

Re:i can't stand this. (1)

willy_me (212994) | about 6 years ago | (#25084045)

The solution - screw what others are doing and just engineer the best sounding album you can. Most people will rip the CD into iTunes (or something similar) anyway. iTunes can then analyse the track and adjust the volume setting so that it is at the same "loudness" setting as the crap CDs that are being engineered. I believe there is a tag in the mp3/aac file that is set to determine this setting. The end result is that your track will sound better and be just as "loud" as the competition.

Re:i can't stand this. (1)

TheLink (130905) | about 6 years ago | (#25085209)

Trouble is lots of young people (and old musicians) are _deaf_ or half deaf nowadays.

Deaf as in can't hear well.

So maybe that's one reason why they are making the music louder. Otherwise they can't hear the music.

I'm sure you've heard at least one anecdote about some musician not being able to hear himself even though the monitor has been set to max.

It's a shame ear protection isn't as popular. The young musicians I know don't seem keen on it.

Pro bikers wear helmets, but musicians don't seem to think ear protection is desirable.

Re:i can't stand this. (1)

sleigher (961421) | about 6 years ago | (#25085317)

Well I will say to anyone who will listen. WEAR HEARING PROTECTION. I wore it all the time except during live shows and I definitely have diminished hearing. Not bad but I can tell it is not as good as it used to be. Live it is so hard to hear everything that even good earplugs tend to get in the way.

Re:i can't stand this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25086817)

WEAR HEARING PROTECTION

WHAT?

Re:i can't stand this. (1)

Falconhell (1289630) | about 6 years ago | (#25082695)

I have often said that since the 1980's the Music industry has actually been a garbage recycling industry.

Recent "loudness war" discussion on /. (5, Informative)

Graywolf (61854) | about 6 years ago | (#25081157)

FYI, the "loudness war" topic has been discussed on Slashdot lots of times, most recently here: http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/08/23/1219205 [slashdot.org]

Re:Recent "loudness war" discussion on /. (2, Interesting)

Cow Jones (615566) | about 6 years ago | (#25081571)

This is such a sad topic. On the one hand, I think that there's nothing wrong at all with raising the average volume of an album when you're remastering. The early CD releases were often lacking in volume, because the mastering engineers were doing the exact opposite of what they're forced do these days. Back then, a single very loud snare hit would automatically lower the maximum volume of the whole album, because the engineers didn't want to introduce artificial compression. That's the reason why old CDs sound a little muted. Thank god, that changed, and they soon started to use moderate compression by default when mastering to CD.

But what we have today is just bizarre. Nobody can tell me with a straight face that the newest Red Hot Chili Peppers CDs sound good (ignoring the music here). There's more clipping than music on those discs. I really *really* hope they're keeping all those original recordings safe, because there *will* come a time when quality will trump loudness again. Maybe we'll even get lucky soon, and Replay Gain will go mainstream. Here's hoping...

Re:Recent "loudness war" discussion on /. (4, Insightful)

Mprx (82435) | about 6 years ago | (#25081645)

Old recordings sound great if you listen on good equipment and turn up the volume. Dynamic compression destroys information, and while it's necessary for listening in noisy environments it should be a feature of the playback equipment, not forced on everybody.

Re:Recent "loudness war" discussion on /. (1)

Cow Jones (615566) | about 6 years ago | (#25081775)

I agree. In an ideal world, you own the volume knob, and you decide what's loud enough. But there are many situations when you can't / don't want to adjust the volume for every single track. Party playlists, jogging, and radio are a few examples. Or even when I listen to a my MP3 collection in random order. This wasn't an issue with vinyl, because 1) there was a natural compression/limit when you transferred the sound to the plastic medium, and 2) vinyl was a lot more forgiving about sounds that were "too loud", like the single snare drum beat I mentioned. Digital can't forgive, and can't expand just a little further than normal. If a sound is louder than 0db, it will cause hard distortion (clipping).

With CDs and other digital media, like MP3s, that's where Replay Gain [wikipedia.org] could really shine.
Unfortunately, as long as producers think that louder equals more sales, we're SOL.

Re:Recent "loudness war" discussion on /. (2, Interesting)

Tacvek (948259) | about 6 years ago | (#25087795)

My question is why do we only have one volume knob on most devices?
We always should have had a volume knob, and a compression knob. The common folk would quickly learn that the volume knob does what you think it does, but the compression knob brings the softest sounds closer in volume to the loudest, when you dial it up. It is not too hard for the average person to figure out.

Re:Recent "loudness war" discussion on /. (1)

Cow Jones (615566) | about 6 years ago | (#25088171)

We always should have had a volume knob, and a compression knob.

You mean, something like this [wordpress.com] ? :)

Re:Recent "loudness war" discussion on /. (4, Informative)

Cow Jones (615566) | about 6 years ago | (#25081859)

Ah, here I am, replying to myself. I'm sorry, but just in case there's somebody out there who isn't conviced yet, here are a few prime examples:

one of the most cited examples [youtube.com]
The Smiths - How Soon Is Now [youtube.com]

The Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] has a great article about it, too, as usual.

Re:Recent "loudness war" discussion on /. (1)

TheLink (130905) | about 6 years ago | (#25085109)

I'm no pro but I record stuff live regularly at my church (it's interesting that the recordings we do via a PC's "onboard sound card" don't really have that much noise).

I'm not really against compression - if it's techno music, you can use compression on some parts as an effect. Same goes for making a speech easier to listen to.

It's a shame though - the tech is there to have really good recordings (>=120dB range), but nowadays we're not even getting 96dB "CD quality".

The thing is, seems a fair number of the youth in my church are half deaf already. Some probably due to playing in a band without ear protection[1], and some probably due to listening to music at high volumes.

When they use the headphones to listen at the mixer - they turn the volume knob up to half way (or even more!), whereas 30% is loud enough for me. Their 50% setting is too loud for me.

So maybe the "pop" music is louder to cater for these "deaf" teenagers. And maybe the mixing is influenced by veterans in the industry who are already rather deaf themselves.

[1] I recently bought myself (and others) "musician ear plugs" - these cut the volume in a vaguely flat manner so things sound closer to "quieter" rather than "muffled". They're good for places where the music is too loud etc.

HDCD (2)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | about 6 years ago | (#25081351)

Are they still trying to market "high-definition compact discs"? We could be seeing this as deliberate downgrading in order to push more expensive and less rippable versions. I wonder what the iTunes version sounds like?

(And no, don't tell me to buy it and see. :-P )

Re:HDCD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25083893)

HDCDs can sound pretty good, assuming they aren't overly compressed like this. HDCD uses a 20-bit sample size [wikipedia.org] via some inaudible encoding trickery. If you have a Windows machine hooked up to a good receiver/amp/speakers, you can listen to any HDCDs you have (MS now owns the patents and has incorporated decoding into WMP). Check the list of available discs [head-fi.org] since many aren't labelled as being HDCDs.

Re:HDCD (1)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | about 6 years ago | (#25084855)

But that's not the point I was making. HDCDs may sound better - to audiophiles, but plain old CDs are perfectly capable of containing listenable music. The question is whether quality on CDs is being deliberately degraded in order to push other formats.

Re:HDCD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25085735)

But it's not like there are HDCD versions and regular CD versions - they're one and the same. There's a single disc. Unless you're thinking of DVD-Audio and SACDs, in which case, both are pretty much dead formats anyways.

Two formats for two purposes? (1)

FrankBlissett (1261314) | about 6 years ago | (#25081819)

Likely the two releases are for two different types of stereo: CD for the car (crappy speakers anyway) Download for the iPod -Frank

Re:Two formats for two purposes? (1)

NovaHorizon (1300173) | about 6 years ago | (#25082119)

I don't know many cars that have bad speakers.. And if these guys are assuming that everyone who owns guitar hero is likely to have better speakers than what came with the TV, they have those versions backwards. I know many more people with high quality speakers in their cars and cable TV quality speakers in their house..

I'm willing to bet it probably has more to do with the thought of having more room on the downloaded content then on the CD.

~22MB for typical loss less from the CD vs 60MB+ if desired for downloaded content

Re:Two formats for two purposes? (1)

tepples (727027) | about 6 years ago | (#25091819)

I don't know many cars that have bad speakers

Any speaker will sound less-than-audiophile-quality over engine noise.

Re:Two formats for two purposes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25082285)

Likely the two releases are for two different types of stereo: CD for the car (crappy speakers anyway) Download for the iPod -Frank

Huh???

My car stereo sounds a fuck of a lot better than a crappy iPod

Metallica? The Neanderthals of Heavy Metal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25082009)

What ever happened to them? Did Lars go back to Denmark? I heard something about Hetfield going to Wall Street. The others I don't think anybody remembers or cares that much about.

And to think... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25082053)

I'd been blaming whoever ripped the copy I got off the Pirate Bay...

Concerts (2, Insightful)

Jethro (14165) | about 6 years ago | (#25082289)

This is exactly why I stopped going to concerts.

They're all terribly loud, so much so that the music just turns into white noise. What the heck is the point of that?

Re:Concerts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25084789)

If it's too loud, you're too old!

Re:Concerts (1)

Jethro (14165) | about 6 years ago | (#25085005)

I'm OK with that.

Re:Concerts (2, Interesting)

EotB (964562) | about 6 years ago | (#25089713)

That is very much dependent on the particular band. A local NZ band, Blindspott, was always incredibly good live, very similar sound to their CDs (which are also very nicely mastered). Most recently I went to an Iron Maiden concert in Brisbane and it was fantastic. Their playing was spot on and sounded perfect. That said I've also been to a bunch that sounded terrible...

Re:Concerts (1)

Jethro (14165) | about 6 years ago | (#25089781)

I've kinda learned which venues to avoid. Speaking of NZ bands, I went to see Liam Finn play at a really small local place and they had the sound cranked up like it was a stadium. It sucked horribly. I had to leave before the migraine set in. That was extra sad since he was the opening act for a very quiet acoustic act I really wanted to see, too.

Re:Concerts (1)

EotB (964562) | about 6 years ago | (#25089889)

Yeah, I've talked to a few people who have seen Liam Finn play and a couple quite liked it, but there were also quite a few people who said he was trying to do too much by himself and was a little manic. Maybe it's part of that too?

Re:Concerts (1)

Jethro (14165) | about 6 years ago | (#25089983)

Oh he's a bit insane, and I think he's still trying to find his voice. I don't have a problem with that, it's just that it as a REALLY tiny venue - you'd have ZERO problem hearing his crazy drumming in there with NO amplification, but they had it cranked up all the way to hell.

Re:Concerts (1)

EotB (964562) | about 6 years ago | (#25090037)

What was the venue? I'm Auckland based.

Re:Concerts (1)

Jethro (14165) | about 6 years ago | (#25090075)

This was in the US - http://www.thecedar.org/ [thecedar.org]

Re:Concerts (1)

jasenj1 (575309) | about 6 years ago | (#25098897)

Earplugs are standard equipment for any concert I go to.

Even my church runs their "contemporary" service - i.e. a band - at over 90 dB, and our high school runs their services at some insane level.

I've never understood the need for such volume.

- Jasen.

Re:Concerts (1)

Jethro (14165) | about 6 years ago | (#25100063)

I go to concerts for the music, so I think using earplugs at them is kinda, well. For me, it's a bit pointless.

If I was ever at a church, believe me, I'd be using some heavy duty earplugs.

Similar effect in Rock Band. Probably most tracks. (2, Interesting)

NereusRen (811533) | about 6 years ago | (#25082711)

I was chatting with a Harmonix rep at their booth at PAX. He mentioned that the Paramore song is really compressed/limited on the CD (in the sense of lack of dynamic range). No surprise there. I asked him whether that affected their game at all, and he said that since they got access to the master tracks and mixed it themselves, not really. I'd expect the same is true of almost any Rock Band or Guitar Hero track.

That was great to hear, because the loudness war [youtube.com] sucks. There have been a number of albums that I would have liked listening to, but can't stand because of the loudness war. They sound the same all the way through, and the drummer sounds like he's playing in the other room while everyone else is standing too close to the mics. A drum hit, during the brief moment it happens, should be much louder than the rest of the band! Instruments shouldn't get quieter when other instruments start playing! Blech.

Interestingly, I was listening to the Rock Band 2 setlist to get to know the songs I'd never heard (downloaded mp3s), and one song in particular stood out as being very well mixed with great dynamic range. I don't really like the music of Modest Mouse, but it was definitely a pleasure to listen to Float On just for that. They earned a bit of respect from me that day :).

Re:Similar effect in Rock Band. Probably most trac (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25086387)

they aren't going to use the mixed CD versions of any song because they need to have the different instruments split up

Wait, so.... (1)

dino2gnt (1072530) | about 6 years ago | (#25082853)

...why do they get the tracks that don't SUCK?

And here I was about to order the new album. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25083237)

I found a rip of the new album in .wma form in my usual hunting place. While they may never be as good as the first four albums (to me,) I do like the latest in a Batman Begins/Casino Royale kind of way--enough to want to buy it and vote with my dollars. The tracks I've been listening to have some clipping that's annoying, but I thought it was the ripper's fault and was looking forward to ordering the real thing. Now I read this, found an up-to-date mp3 rip (which I haven't grabbed) and also a "Guitar Hero III rip." *sigh* Oh well, maybe I'll do what I've done with other "corrected" albums in the past: change the jewel case to a 2xCD case, and stick a GH3-rip disc in the first slot. I may just use the compressed copy in the car anyway: while distorted, the quieter details don't get completely drowned out when I'm headbanging on the freeway with all the windows down. ~~:-}

loud + clear? (1)

CaptainNerdCave (982411) | about 6 years ago | (#25084875)

i know this doesn't seem like it is possible, but i've been wondering why more modern artists don't mix for volume and clarity. out of all the albums i have, i think rush in rio, rush: different stages, motorhead: everything louder than everyone else, and slayer: diabolus in musica sound really good AND are really loud. slayer's album was the loudest one i'd ever purchased, but it still sounds great. the distortion on a few songs sounds like it is not from too much gain to max out volume, but planned to create a more gritty sound... (i think) it's done tastefully.

Re:loud + clear? (1)

KlomDark (6370) | about 6 years ago | (#25086085)

Yah, but Rush sounds good no matter what, so what's your point? ;)

They sound best at Red Rocks during a lightning storm in my opinion.

Why Sacrifice Quality for Volume? (4, Funny)

darkonc (47285) | about 6 years ago | (#25085275)

When fans can just set the volume knob to 11 on the amp?

Cheap op-amps in portable devices (1)

tepples (727027) | about 6 years ago | (#25091829)

Because a lot of portable audio players are built with cheap op-amps that don't go to 11. I've had some that don't even rate a 7 compared to the 11 position (out of 40) on my Magnavox home stereo.

silly (1)

Khashishi (775369) | about 6 years ago | (#25088831)

Maybe record labels should put out two versions of the song. Loud version and good version. See which gets bought.

Snag the torrent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25089693)

So how many people are now downloading the digitally ripped GH3 version? I've got to say it sounds a LOT better.

The clipping you hear on the CD really annoyed me. It felt like I was listening to a 96 kbit mp3.

The GH3 version is a breath of fresh air. I'm hearing a ton of details that just aren't on the CD. Like the echo in the quite part of "All Nightmare Long" around 6:55... compression sucks!

Did just that. (1)

JamesTRexx (675890) | about 6 years ago | (#25095939)

Got the retail and the GH version (flac) and compared them.

The songs themselves are a whole lot better than St. Anger. That one I listened to once and didn't bother even trying to again, that was dislike at first hearing.

The GH version sounds a lot better, in Audacious I can turn the volume up to maximum and enjoy it, the retail version I had to turn down not just because of the difference in loudness, but also because the sound made my ears hurt.
When looking at the visualisation plugins scope and voiceprint the scope on the retail was a lot more agressive and the voiceprint was almost a complete blue bar.

The flac files of the retail version were larger, so ripping them to ogg q10 also delivered larger files. The bitrate for "That was just your life" was on average 450Kb for the GH version, the retail version was 520. During playback I saw that one peak several times over 600Kb! Everything's so load across the whole frequency spectrum the encoder has a lot less to mask and reduce bitrate.

If the recording company won't re-release the album with decent sound I'll just see if I can get a copy of the Guitar Hero version (I'm not interested in the game itself). It doesn't matter if it's metal and supposed to sound distorted, if I have to turn down the volume to pop levels because otherwise my ears hurt it's crap quality.
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