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Is Louder Better?

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the mastering-mastering dept.

Music 544

GoodNicsTken writes "Rip Rowan over at prorec.com did an analysis of 5 different Rush CD's released from 1984 to 2002. The results show a definite trend in the recording/mastering style from each album. Rip contends that louder is not necessarily better as the record execs believe. The artist however, is often left with little choice in the matter."

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I'm so lost in love (4, Funny)

mao che minh (611166) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591638)

"Rip Rowan over at prorec.com did an analysis of 5 different Rush CD's released from 1984 to 2002."

Now that is one tough, durable fellow. I would have split my own head open with a .44 slug by the start of the third album.

Air Supply [airsupplymusic.com] , now there was a real band! ;)

Re:I'm so lost in love (1)

syrinx (106469) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591820)

"Rip Rowan over at prorec.com did an analysis of 5 different Rush CD's released from 1984 to 2002."

Now that is one tough, durable fellow. I would have split my own head open with a .44 slug by the start of the third album.


heh, it's going down to flamebait now, but I'm a big Rush fan (see my username), and I still found it amusing. if I had mod points, I'd give you a +1 funny. :)

Tom Sawyer (-1)

Fecal Troll Matter (445929) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591840)

No his mind is not for rent, by any god or government. always hopeful yet discontent.

Re:I'm so lost in love (2, Insightful)

Uber Banker (655221) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591844)

Air Supply ar cool.

But did an analysis of 5 CDs?!!!!

How about a random sample of 500, minimum... Sure, Rush don't have 500 albums, but that is the point... there is biased covarience - could be due to many many other factors other than the one being isolated.

Pity 'intelligent' people treat everything as a simultaneous equation and not subject to correlated deterministic factors.

How could he differentiate one album from another? (2, Funny)

glrotate (300695) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591863)

All Rush songs sound the same.

"Aren't you ... Barracuda?"

If it's too loud, you're too old! (4, Funny)

ScoLgo (458010) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591641)

'nuff said! ;-]

According to Weezer... (2, Funny)

psxndc (105904) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591650)

"If it's too loud, turn it down"

psxndc

Re: If it's too loud, you're too old! (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591681)

deh deh deh deh
deh deh deh deh
"Hope I die before I get loud",
deh deh deh deh
deh deh deh deh...

Re:If it's too loud, you're too old! (1)

winkydink (650484) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591718)

Extrapolating from the article, you're going to age much faster though, sonny.

I'll save ya some Geritol and a Depends

I totally agree. (5, Interesting)

DeathPenguin (449875) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591651)

I'm a fan of the heavy metal genre and I've seen (or heard, more like) many songs that would be absolutely great if they weren't subjected
to the same LOUDER IS BETTER butcher job Rush's Vapor Trails went through. One example is the song "Here Comes the Pain" on Slayer's latest album. I can barely make it past the intro because it simply sounds so terrible. Or if I really want to listen to it, I turn my volume down so my speakers don't peak or bottom out. Turning metal DOWN??? That just ain't right. Damn their sound engineers to hell.

On the other hand, In Flames' latest album entitled Reroute to Remain sounds absolutely beautiful on any speakers I play it on. Same holds true for other Nuclearblast artists such as Old Man's Child and Dimmu Borgir. Kudos to foreign audio engineers!

Re:I totally agree. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6591734)

Or the latest Manowar album recorded in 5.1 sound.... oh sweet!

Re:I totally agree. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6591756)

> One example is the song "Here Comes the Pain" on Slayer's latest album.
> I can barely make it past the intro because it simply sounds so terrible.

Probably that's why it's called "Here Comes the Pain"..

Re:I totally agree. (0, Offtopic)

mugnyte (203225) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591818)

nice one! mod parent up with your spare pts

Re:I totally agree. (1)

gpinzone (531794) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591785)

In Flames' latest album entitled Reroute to Remain

Finally! Another "In Flames" fan. Another album in the same style of music that was also engineered perfectly was Emperor's "Prometheus: The Discipline of Fire & Demise" CD. Simply brilliant work.

I agree as well, consider NASUM (1)

AtaruMoroboshi (522293) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591847)


Among the various styles of music I am keen on, I like a lot of death metal, particularly stuff along the lines of what Relapse records puts out. Unfortunately, one of the members of the band Nasum does production on a lot of records they put out, and they sound AWFUL, because of the use of a "finalizer", which does a hard digital compression of all the sounds on the record. My ear gets exhausted listening to Human 2.0, so I can't even tell if I like it or not.

No kidding. (4, Informative)

yroJJory (559141) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591655)

I always mix to -20 dBFS RMS because louder is NOT better. Headroom is much better.

Hopefully, surround music formats (DVD-Audio & SACD) will convince the tried & true engineers that they don't have to slam recordings at -0.1 dBFS like they've been doing with CDs.

A nice 24 dB of headroom allows for dynamic range in muxic, as well as loud transients. This is something you don't get when your music is an L2 brick.

Re:No kidding. (2)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591704)

I always mix to -20 dBFS RMS because louder is NOT better. Headroom is much better.
Then, you have to aim for Max Headroom [google.com] ???

Re:No kidding. (0)

slapshot (10210) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591819)

Then you've obviously never mixed or mastered for vinyl, radio, or especially television. Nothing wrong with an L2 brick, especially with certain genres. I wouldn't fool with much dynamic processing for good jazz players in a room, but smash the shit out of pop vocals ala bruce swedien...then again...this is slashdot.

Huh? (-1, Troll)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591656)

I will choose free will, thanks.

Todays tom sawyer gets high on you! Roll the bones!

I dont think Rush released any CDs in 1984, btw

Louder is better, btw. Slayer kicks the shit out of rush.

Re:Huh? (2, Informative)

I8TheWorm (645702) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591698)

Grace Under Pressure (1984).

Re:Huh? (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591716)

And it was originally released on CD, huh?

Thats right up there with this hippy chick I know who's convinced she has a original and very rare Beatles CD from the 60s.

Re:Huh? (1)

alecto (42429) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591808)

In fact, yes [connollyco.com] . And we had cars and television back then, too, youngster!

Re:Huh? (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591845)

What'ya know, I thought CDs didnt hit retail stores until 86 for some reason.

Re:Huh? (1)

HBI (604924) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591857)

It was an AAD recording however, which I think is more to the point.

Limbaugh? (4, Funny)

zapp (201236) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591657)

Did anyone else shudder at the thought of 5 Rush Limbaugh CDs?

Re:Limbaugh? (1)

freeze128 (544774) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591707)

That guy is loud enough as it is...

Re:Limbaugh? (1)

gilmour14 (693816) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591802)

He's also a big fat idiot [barnesandnoble.com] according to Al Franken.

Re:Limbaugh? (0, Troll)

Nagatzhul (158676) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591826)

That would lend credence to the idiom that it takes one to know one.

Re:Limbaugh? (1, Funny)

angle_slam (623817) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591744)

I was listening to music one day in my office. Someone who could hear my music asked what I was listening to. I said Rush. She approved. Later that day she started talking to me about Rush Limbaugh. It was only then I realized that, when I said I was listenting to Rush, she thought I said I was listening to Rush Limbaugh.

Re:Limbaugh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6591745)

In his case louder actually IS better, since he's going deaf and all...

Re:Limbaugh? (2, Funny)

jbottero (585319) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591829)

How about Limbaugh doing Rush spoken word style, a La William Shatner?

huh:? (2, Funny)

acxr is wasted (653126) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591660)

Whaat? Whaaaaaaat?

They oughta know... (1)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591661)

They really ought to know, given Disaster Area's track record [google.com] ...

Maybe... (0)

drskrud (684409) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591663)

Mayve louder isn't necessarily better in terms of production on a studio album... After all, no one wants a CD full of static and feedback. But at a live show a band needs to be louder than the thousands of screaming people. And Rush being one of the greatest bands of ALL TIME certainly knows this.

Its well known to speaker salesmen (3, Informative)

TerryAtWork (598364) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591665)

that the louder speaker system always sounds better. They move a lot of expensive speakers like that.

Re:Its well known to speaker salesmen (1)

RobKow (1787) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591758)

On top of that, slight differences in volume level often don't sound like level differences but rather quality differences...

11 (4, Funny)

The_Rippa (181699) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591667)

Well, it's one louder, isn't it? It's not ten. You see, most blokes, you know, will be playing at ten. You're on ten here, all the way up, all the way up, all the way up, you're on ten on your guitar. Where can you go from there? Where?

Re:11 (1)

grennis (344262) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591739)

Why dont you just make 10 the loudest number, and make that the highest...?

Re:11 (1)

ScoLgo (458010) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591764)

"no no, don't touch it - don't even look at it!"

Re:11 (1)

acxr is wasted (653126) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591789)

"...these go to eleven."

FP! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6591670)

Forsta posten

Microsoft falls to RPC endpoint mapper problem (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6591671)

This just in, Microsoft.com is officially down.

Hope you patched today!

Editoralizing (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6591673)

artist however, is often left with little choice in the matter

Well, we cant write an article about music or sounds with sticking in the little jabs at the RIAA. Can the editors please stop going "Offtopic"? I think we have enough *AA bashing around here as it is.

Re:Editoralizing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6591767)

Yeah, and you might as well say the same thing about the FA, because the author made the same point about it likely being the label's, rather than the engineer or artist's, fault.

You did RTFA, right?

yeah... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6591674)

I could have told you that a long time ago!!!!!

fp - whoo hoo!!

A big Rush fan (-1, Troll)

wayward_son (146338) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591675)

Should we really trust the musical judgement of a man who claims to be "A big Rush fan"?

Re:A big Rush fan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6591708)

As opposed to a Kansas fan?

~~~

Radio broadcast (1, Redundant)

Pieroxy (222434) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591677)

It's all about the radio. If your song has a lower volume than another one, it'll just sound Lame when it'll start.

Of course all radios should/would/could normalize their playlists

Re:Radio broadcast (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6591695)

And they do. . . compress the hell out of them.

Re: Radio broadcast (4, Informative)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591719)


> It's all about the radio. If your song has a lower volume than another one, it'll just sound Lame when it'll start.

> Of course all radios should/would/could normalize their playlists

I just wish they wouldn't blast the commercials out even louder than the music.

Radio solution (1)

crow (16139) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591760)

The solution is to send a radio mix to the station, and sell the good mix on the CD. Of course, that requires more expenditure in production, so unless there's some trivial way to generate the louder radio version, it will never happen. (I'm not a sound engineer, can you tell?)

Re:Radio broadcast (1)

southpolesammy (150094) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591779)

In SOVIET Russia, the playlist normali....

...aaaah, screw it....

sound engineer's perspective (0)

typhoonius (611834) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591859)

The fallacy that seems to have become pervasive among many people in the pop music recording field, especially among record companies, is that if a CD is pushing the absolute digital max it will somehow be louder or better on the air and presumably win more airplay, and thus sell more copies to the public. This is not true at all. Compressing a CD will contribute to on-air loudness almost unnoticeably. Radio people have the brains to turn up a CD that's recorded at a normal level, and broadcast stations' existing compressors will even everything out anyway. The only thing that is accomplished is messing up the dynamic range for those who pay their good money for CDs, "squashing" the life out of any acoustic instruments in the mix, and increasing listener fatigue.

http://georgegraham.com/compress.html [georgegraham.com]

The article provides a nice perspective on the subject.

Artists say louder is better? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6591678)

Since when is volume fine tuned by the artist? I have a little knob to do that on my speakers.

I said it before on /. (-1, Flamebait)

thePancreas (690504) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591679)

Call me flaimbait if you will but:

RUSH blows. You may think I'm a Troll BUT Their lead singer looks like a Goblin. Their fans are dorks who hang out in music stores drooling over wa wa pedals.

Re:I said it before on /. (0, Flamebait)

kin_korn_karn (466864) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591700)

yeah, but once they're done with the wah pedal, they go find your girlfriend and give her the fucking that you can't with your worn-down pencil dick.

Is he a pirate? (3, Funny)

L. VeGas (580015) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591682)

RRRRR, matey.

Rip Rowan recounts rummaging Rush recordings.

LOUD POST (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6591686)

LOUD POST

The M$FT RPC HACK ATTACK has started..HELP!!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6591696)

I have lost control of all my department's windows machines due to the RPC attack launched at 8/1/2003 3:30pm EST!!!!
What am I supposed to do TO FIX THIS???
SHIT, I am going to be FIRED!!

Exchange rate (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6591701)

And don't forget that every Canadian decibel is almost two American decibels.

Re:Exchange rate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6591751)

That's funny on a couple of levels :).

~~~

The Death of Dynamic Range (5, Informative)

CTho9305 (264265) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591702)

Another great read here [raritanval.edu] .

More range is better (4, Informative)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591703)

More range is better, which can equate to louder "loud"'s, and softer "soft"'s. Just having the record be louder is going to sound like crap on really super-hi-fi systems that can pick up every little thing... you'll hear cats meowing in the studio, etc... I know from experience in the studio!

Re:More range is better (2, Funny)

JMax (28101) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591848)

The cat meowing is what makes it collectible, dude.

Quieter is better! (0)

Vladimir9 (635161) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591705)

If your listening to Rush then quieter is definitely better. The lower you turn the volume the better for everyone.

1 Year old article. (4, Informative)

cioxx (456323) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591727)

It's been covered in many web publications back in 2002.

Dynamic range problem is real though. This is why you whould avoid mainstream, "radio-ready" artists and bands. Another excellent reason to buy indie music.

If you want to see how bad the problem is, get yourself a copy of the latest Foo Fighters CD and listen to the album with decent headphones. (Grado sr-80/125 or Seinheisers of equal quality). It's just noise.

huh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6591729)

This guy call himself a fan? Apparently, he's never heard Rush in concert.

The differences come from the old analog to new digital recording process.

He probably has old equipment that can't handle the new CDs... He's jealous that Rush isn't sold on 8-Track anymore.

This one goes up to 11. (0, Redundant)

jearbear (10099) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591735)

I find I enjoy my music much more when I turn the amp up to 11. It's one higher than 10, so of course, its even louder, and therefore better.

A little song (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6591737)

There is unrest in the changers
There is trouble with CDs
For the rockers want more volume
And the amps ignore their pleas

The trouble with the rockers
(and they're quite convinced they're right)
The say the amps are just too puny
and the volume's just too light

~~~

What shit is this? (0, Flamebait)

Karamchand (607798) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591740)

First off it's stupid to base any "analysis" on just 5 items. That's plain stupid.

Second - who said is better? Yea, the prole said it. Nobody else.

Clearly an analysis (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591811)

He looked at the same artist, same musical style, over a period of time. He did a quantified, scientific analysis of their work (or the work of the mastering engineers). He clearly understands his topic. So yes, I'd argue that this is an "analysis". Nowhere in his article does he claim it to be representative of all music, or exhaustive.
You know, I thought it was just that Rush got old, but I think I've played Vapor Trails about twice.. it DOES suck.

CD vs Vinyl (5, Interesting)

spudchucker (680073) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591762)

When I working in a night club, I would receive promotional music on vinyl and cd formats. I could not tell the diff until the volume was way up. Bass sounded amazingly deeper and cleaner from the record. The speakers were flubbering at the same volume from the cd. http://www.howstuffworks.com/question487.htm

Dynamics are better! (1)

haut (678547) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591765)

I went to CES this year and heard the (vastly overpriced) high end sound systems. One thing that struck me on one pair (Avantgarde Duo [avantgarde-usa.com] ) was the dynamics. It was a simple recording with male vocals and guitar and every sound could be heard from quiet to loud. Obviously the recording must have been very dynamic and lacking the amount of compression that is used on most new recordings to make them louder. I cringe when I hear very compressed songs and get bored easily. Louder is not better! Dynamics are!

Its just a phase... (4, Insightful)

YllabianBitPipe (647462) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591768)

Just like how DX-7s and putting huge amounts of reverb on your Linn drum machine were in vogue during the eighties, I think this phase will play itself out. Right now the recording style seems to be centered around, compress everything, auto-tune the vocals, and master it so every track, it feels like the guitars and drums are burrowing into your eardrums. This too may pass. And besides, if people get sick of the excessive mastering trends of today, the record companies can just go back to the master tapes and re-re-master everything, and get everyone to buy all new cds.

I don't see how things could change. (2, Interesting)

ghislain_leblanc (450723) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591771)

Today, every commercial CDs comming out are compressed so heavily that you can barely see any difference between smooth and busy parts of any given mix.

Mastering engineers use all sorts of multiband compressors and loudness maximizers so that if you use the CD in a multiple CD charger, you don't have to ride the dial and ajust the level to make it sound even.

That means that the louder one goes, everyone bassicly has to follow so that they are not the softest playing CD in the set...which most people will perceive as inferior (psychoacoustics phenomenon here).

It really is a sad state of affairs because the role of the compressor is to limit dynamics in the sound wave which in turn, makes it harder to create climax and release in the song. The jazz and classical recordings seem not to be affected so much, fidelity is the word here...but for pop/rock records...they go as close as possible to digital 0dB.

Does Louder is better affect ripping? (1)

moderators_are_w*nke (571920) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591773)

Okay, I'm gonna float an ill thought out conspiricy theory now. Is it possible that CDs are being recorded louder to stop people ripping them? I know less than I ought to about digital compression of audio, but surely it is possible that making the music louder will adversely affect digital compression techniques?

Nope (4, Interesting)

Otto (17870) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591816)

Nope. If you were to try to compress some of those harsh clipped signals, you'd get much better compression than trying to compress a signal with good headroom to it. Go read the article and look at those signals. The peaks and troughs are just way the hell off the scale. When you clip a peak or trough like that, you're essentially throwing away all signal information that was in there. It's really easy to compress something when it's made up of all zero's.

In the case of Rush .... (1, Informative)

DogIsMyCoprocessor (642655) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591778)

softer is definitely better. Volume at 0 db is definitely best.

RUSH? (0, Redundant)

dangerweasel (576874) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591782)

Sure, they are great musicians. But Great White had WAY better hair!

Re:RUSH? (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591813)

Not to mention WAY better pyrotechnics!

Is Louder Better? (1)

CGP314 (672613) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591784)

yes. Yes! YES!

More cowbell (5, Funny)

pestie (141370) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591786)

No, of course louder isn't better. What rock 'n' roll music clearly needs is more cowbell.

Alternative solution for loud recordings (2, Interesting)

dokebi (624663) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591787)

Not only dynimically compressed music sound terrible, at the same time it drowns out the quieter, better made albums. A solution has been proposed that records maximum and average loudness into the sound file, so a music library can be played at a constant volume, to help alleviate the problem. See:
http://replaygain.hydrogenaudio.org/

It's true! and Elvis Costello knows it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6591790)

I wanna bite the hand that feeds me
I wanna bite that hand so badly
I want to make them wish they'd never seen me ...
You either shut up or get cut up, they don't wanna hear about it
It's only inches on the reel-to-reel
And the radio is in the hands of such a lot of fools
Tryin' to anaesthetise the way that you feel

Five? (1)

richlb (168636) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591793)

Rush made 5 albums after 1984?

Re:Five? (1)

Eccles (932) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591843)

Seven, actually. Power Windows, Hold Your Fire, Presto, Roll the Bones, Counterparts, Test For Echo, and Vapor Trails.

Audio Compression (2, Informative)

Icephreak1 (267199) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591794)

"Louder" may simply an illusion due to compression and levelling. Know when you turn on your teevee and flip channels and you don't have to continually adjust the volume on your set? That's the FCC (or CRTC in Canada) saying networks should spare our ears and broacast only so loud. In response to this, compression allows the soft sounds to be heard with equal ease as the loud sounds in commercials, essentially "pinning" the entire sound spectrum in your average 30-second commercial up against the FCC broadcast barrier, allowing programs and commercials to be loud without requiring you to turn up your television (or radio or CD, etc).

- IP

Audio engineering (1)

BWJones (18351) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591795)

Often, the band will work with an audio engineer if they want to ensure quality and desired "loudness" of each track creating the whole of the album. If the artists do not insist on sitting in the studio with the audio engineer during the mastering, they are asking for trouble.

All that said, one of the four loudest concerts I ever attended was a Rush show. The other three were Husker Du, Lou Reed and (I can't believe I am admitting this), Van Halen.

yeah, especially.... (0, Redundant)

BurKaZoiD (611246) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591805)

The artist however, is often left with little choice in the matter.

Yeah, especially when you're a band that sucks as bad as Rush does.

<Bart>I didn't think it was possible for anything to both suck and blow at the same time.</Bart>

TK421 modification (5, Funny)

Openadvocate (573093) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591806)

All you need to do is to get the TK421 modification for your amp and everything will sound much better.

Presto (1)

angle_slam (623817) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591810)

I agree with the basic premise of the article, that modern CDs are too compressed. I just wanted to say one thing. Presto is one of the worst sounding albums I've ever heard. The music is OK for late 80s Rush, but the sound is among the worst ever. It was fine when I played it on a cheap system. But a friend of mine insisted that I become a "high-end" audiophile and took me to a Thiel [thielaudio.com] dealer. Thile speakers are among the best sounding speakers you can get--when the source is good. But when I put in Presto, I literally had to turn it off before listening to it for a minute, because the sound was so bad. Terribly bright, no bass at all.

Mars Bars (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6591812)

This is just a little off topic, but my wife had never heard of Marianne Faithful. So I explained to her who she was, etc., and mentioned the "Mars Bar" incident. This quickly led to the question "Are Mars bars still available?" (Note that this question was motivated purely by curiosity). Neither of us were sure. But low and behold, when Uday and Qsay (sp?) were found dead, what was next to them but a box of Mars bars. And I heard about this on Mick Jagger's birthday! Is that far out, or what?

Louder is better (1)

IWantMoreSpamPlease (571972) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591815)

only if you are a metalhead.

Up the Irons!

What? WHAT? (2, Funny)

spun (1352) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591823)

Sorry, I can't hear you, you'll have to speak up. Seriously, I have tinnitus because of you recording industry idiots. How about some music with a little dynamic range, you know, some quiet parts mixed in with the louder bits? Oh wait, my hearing is so damaged that when I listen to music with real dynamic range, like a symphony, I have to turn the volume up until the loud bits shake the windows in order to even hear the quiet bits. Guess I'll just go listen to some heavy metal instead.

This guy doesn't get it (3, Interesting)

PeteyG (203921) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591825)

I think this guy is failing to grasp the implications of the 'loudness' of Vapor Trails. Yes, it is quite 'loud'. It definately SOUNDS louder than previous Rush CDs. But this has nothing to do with the engineering of the album. It has to do with the sound that Rush was trying to make.

Rush was on like a 6-year hiatus. They produced the album (along with another longtime Rush producer guy). Do you think that they would have put out an album that didn't sound like they wanted it to?

Vapor Trails does sound different. There's more distortion, the amplifiers are more overdriven, being pushed to their maximum more... But that is more a style thing than anything else. There's been a lot of Rush stuff that has been very clean, very free of distortion, very clear.

And Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Niel Peart have said that they chose to make things 'louder' and less clean to give the album a bit more of a 'jam' feeling. They wanted to get back to their roots, and distinguish themselves from the different clean and synthy sounds they had in the '80s.

So... Vapor Trails doesn't sound loud and overdriven because it is engineered poorly, or because not enough effort went into producing it... it sounds that way because that's the sound Rush was going for

And for the (slashdot) record, Vapor Trails has generally been recieved well by fans, and has gotten very good reviews. And I like it, so you KNOW it's good stuff.

Don't overdo it (1)

mharris007 (142886) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591831)

While louder isn't always better, I must say, if an album is mastered at too low of a volume level it drives me nuts.
Say for instance there is an album where it has about a 33% lower volume level than all my other CDs, when being played in my cd changer, when the next CD comes on, your ears are blown out because now this CD is about 33% higher volume than the previous.
The worst CD mastering I've run into in recent times, is Pepper's album "Give'n It". It's volume has got to be close to 50% less than the average CD.

Latinos (1)

sbillard (568017) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591833)

Rip contends that louder is not necessarily better

Try telling that to the latinos in their 1992 Honda Civics. They will cut you - fool. Maybe if they turned up the volume a little bit more, the distortion would go away.
Aye carrumba!

louder is better for compression formats, too (1)

CommanderTaco (85921) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591835)

i remember reading that the wma format boosts the volume of recordings by 3db, and was doing better than mp3 and other formats in some tests. when they altered the code to make the mp3 encoder boost volume by the same amount, wma suddenly didn't look so hot.

if you want to hear really bad production on what should have been a great cd, check out "songs for the deaf" by queens of the stone age. the dynamic range has been compressed so much it's really ridiculous.

The Words of the Prophets... (1)

IceAgeComing (636874) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591838)

...were written on the studio wall. # # # CONCERT HALL! # # # (play Rush lick featured on South Park w/ Timmy)

This has been going on for a while now (1)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 10 years ago | (#6591854)

I dislike many of the recordings nowadays because the are so compressed. Yeah they sound "loud" because the dynamic range has been squashed almost to binary. The quiet nothing pause and full throtle.

Since I listen to many live recordings, it amazes me at how compressed newer studio recordings sound. However, I do not see any reform to the recording industry, because a true dynamic recording does not sound LOUD (ie, GOOD) at 1st listen. Also, I see this as a harm to the quality of recordings to come, because it will be hard to adopt a wider dynamic range format (eg, 24 or 32 bit) when the current 16bit version isn't used correctly anymore.

I don't have anything too insightful to add to the subject, but rather just an "Me too" as I have noticed this trend. Note that good recording companies do not compress their recordings this way, like Blue Note. Also, listening to these recordings at high volumes are difficult becuase they are monotonous and they are already loud.

One thing that just hit me, is maybe the music of today has demanded this recording style. It too is either at a pause/rest or full out, hmm.

BTW, since Rush's 1st album came out in 1974 how is that the "late seventies"?
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