Why is "loudness war" still an issue on CD

compact disc, dacs, mp3 players and streaming audio
Bonzo_Dog
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Re: Why is "loudness war" still an issue on CD

Post by Bonzo_Dog » 06 Jan 2019 16:04

When I said "... one good master as a basis for all formats ..." I didn't mean that it should be used unaltered for different formats. For intance, the LP master must take into consideration the limitations of that format (for trackability, summing of bass to mono ...). When the master is high res it must be resampled and dithered for CD, and so on.

I'm not sure people really would prefer over-compressed sound if they had a choice, but they use what's available. Besides, it sounds less bad at low volume and/or over a short time period.

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Re: Why is "loudness war" still an issue on CD

Post by dysmike » 06 Jan 2019 16:06

I wouldn't have thought people would prefer it either, then I heard people complain about mixes that have full dynamic range being 'too quiet', and not enough bass.

I just suspect all of these things play into the mess we're in now. It's been 20 years of music being over-compressed. People that grew up with that, know nothing else.

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Re: Why is "loudness war" still an issue on CD

Post by Shadowman82 » 07 Jan 2019 00:39

There may indeed be lots of people who like loud really compressed music but again they'll likely be listening to MP3s and streaming these days , not CDs . Not sure why people would complain about something being too quiet , just turn up the volume. And you know something if you turn up uncompressed music really loud it sounds fantastic , compressed music sounds like a dental drill

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Re: Why is "loudness war" still an issue on CD

Post by Sterling1 » 07 Jan 2019 10:10

Until I was made aware that there was a "loudness war" I did not perceive there was one, since I heard no gun shots. Now, what I have noticed is what ever "Mastered for iTunes" means, compressed as it may or may not be, it sounds really good. In fact, comparing iTunes downloads to material I have on LPs, as well as CDs and hi-Res Downloads, the AAC downloads sound indistinguishable from my LPs and other media of same material. This supports my thinking that I am getting all there is to get off my LPs through playback from my audio system. At any rate, there are a multitude of reasons compression is appropriate, listening to music in a moving vehicle is one of them. Listening at low volume is another, or at a very high volume. Also, much contemporary compositions and electronic music do not have a wide dynamic range in the first place. In other words, I'm not at all worried about getting shelled, while maneuvering around this "loudness war".

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Re: Why is "loudness war" still an issue on CD

Post by Shadowman82 » 07 Jan 2019 23:57

AAC might be good enough for you and I would agree that for portable applications or places with allot of noise it is indeed good enough but on a good music system it just doesn't cut it .

I'm not sure what contemporary compositions and electronic music not having wide dynamic range you are refering to but if you were to listen to the master recordings of these you might be surprised just how dynamic they originally sounded before being compressed on downloads and CD . One example I can think of is the 2005 Depeche Mode Album "Playing the Angel" way way compressed on CD but much better on Vinyl and SA-CD .

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Re: Why is "loudness war" still an issue on CD

Post by Sterling1 » 08 Jan 2019 16:52

Shadowman82 wrote:
07 Jan 2019 23:57
AAC might be good enough for you and I would agree that for portable applications or places with allot of noise it is indeed good enough but on a good music system it just doesn't cut it .

I'm not sure what contemporary compositions and electronic music not having wide dynamic range you are refering to but if you were to listen to the master recordings of these you might be surprised just how dynamic they originally sounded before being compressed on downloads and CD . One example I can think of is the 2005 Depeche Mode Album "Playing the Angel" way way compressed on CD but much better on Vinyl and SA-CD .
AAC is proving to be good enough for most of the people on the Planet. Few folks can distinguish it reliably from 24/192. At any rate, I am not at all concerned about today's "loudness" issue because it does not effect my pleasure with any of the recorded music I have purchased, LPs, CDs, SACDs, or AAC downloads. It all sounds great. Sorry you are having problems with loudness in the genres you enjoy.

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Re: Why is "loudness war" still an issue on CD

Post by Shadowman82 » 08 Jan 2019 21:28

Could I tell the difference between CD and a higher resolution digital file ? I was able to with SA-CD but I never had allot of them and I have no other "better than CD digital music" . I can see why some people might have trouble telling the difference there . But honestly anyone who on a good system can't tell the difference between an MP3, AAC and CD or higher is IMO tone deaf or has some kind of hearing issue like you do .

But the issue I brought up here originally is not that downloads aren't high resolution enough( which they are not) but that CDs are mastered terribly when there is no longer any reason to do so . In terms of dynamic range CDs should once again be mastered the way the were in the late 80s to early 90s .

I think the only reason Vinyl isn't mastered like CDs are these days is because the format won't allow it , thank god for that .

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Re: Why is "loudness war" still an issue on CD

Post by Sterling1 » 08 Jan 2019 23:37

Shadowman82 wrote:
08 Jan 2019 21:28
Could I tell the difference between CD and a higher resolution digital file ? I was able to with SA-CD but I never had allot of them and I have no other "better than CD digital music" . I can see why some people might have trouble telling the difference there . But honestly anyone who on a good system can't tell the difference between an MP3, AAC and CD or higher is IMO tone deaf or has some kind of hearing issue like you do .

But the issue I brought up here originally is not that downloads aren't high resolution enough( which they are not) but that CDs are mastered terribly when there is no longer any reason to do so . In terms of dynamic range CDs should once again be mastered the way the were in the late 80s to early 90s .

I think the only reason Vinyl isn't mastered like CDs are these days is because the format won't allow it , thank god for that .
I'm gonna tell ya, today's AAC iTunes downloads are so good, that's to say, indistinguishable from 24/192 downloads of same material, that I no longer download the more expensive stereo hi-res stuff. I do however download multi-channel, especially the Orchestral works from the Seattle Symphony, since multi-channel delivers breadth and depth not present in stereo versions of same material. Now, back to AAC, I have some 50's and 60's DOO WOP I downloaded from the iTunes Store which I have enjoyed at 16/44.1 from Airport Express; but, the other day, I fed these tunes to my usb DAC, up sampling them to 24/192, and I could actually hear tape splice edits, which I did not discern in prior playback method. WOW! I guess that's getting all there is to get, the good and the bad.

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Re: Why is "loudness war" still an issue on CD

Post by dysmike » 09 Jan 2019 00:01

Sterling1 wrote:
08 Jan 2019 23:37
I'm gonna tell ya, today's AAC iTunes downloads are so good, that's to say, indistinguishable from 24/192 downloads of same material, that I no longer download the more expensive stereo hi-res stuff. I do however download multi-channel, especially the Orchestral works from the Seattle Symphony, since multi-channel delivers breadth and depth not present in stereo versions of same material. Now, back to AAC, I have some 50's and 60's DOO WOP I downloaded from the iTunes Store which I have enjoyed at 16/44.1 from Airport Express; but, the other day, I fed these tunes to my usb DAC, up sampling them to 24/192, and I could actually hear tape splice edits, which I did not discern in prior playback method. WOW! I guess that's getting all there is to get, the good and the bad.
[/quote]

I'm in complete agreement. For the sake of simplicity and ease (and because I travel quite a bit, for extended periods of time), I listen to a lot of AAC and quite a bit of streaming from Apple Music. It's a good time to have a good portable DAC ;)

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Re: Why is "loudness war" still an issue on CD

Post by Shadowman82 » 10 Jan 2019 21:42

I doubt very much AAC sounds as good as a high resolution 24-bit/192khz digital file . I mean yeah it probably does on a portable player but I don't think it will on a good home stereo set up .

Regardless even if they did sound the same they'll still fall victim to the same terrible mastering as allot of CDs still do .

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Re: Why is "loudness war" still an issue on CD

Post by dysmike » 11 Jan 2019 03:07

They sound 'close enough' for the listening to be enjoyable, certainly for casual listening (background music etc). This, of course, assumes a good mix and mastering.

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Re: Why is "loudness war" still an issue on CD

Post by Sterling1 » 11 Jan 2019 11:37

Shadowman82 wrote:
10 Jan 2019 21:42
I doubt very much AAC sounds as good as a high resolution 24-bit/192khz digital file . I mean yeah it probably does on a portable player but I don't think it will on a good home stereo set up .

Regardless even if they did sound the same they'll still fall victim to the same terrible mastering as allot of CDs still do .
Why doubt? All you need do is experiment. Perhaps start out with Sonny Rollins Saxophone Colossus recording in AAC and 24/192. No need to add a CD to the experiment but you certainly could, as well as an LP. At any rate, I have a truly revealing system and with such magnificent system I just can't justify the expense of 24/192, typically $20 vs $10 for an AAC album, since both sound identical.

Here's my chain: AAC or 24/192 download to iTunes Library>OPPO UDP-205 usb DAC up sampling to 24/192>Sony TA-E9000ES, or TA-P9000ES>Sony TA-N9000ES>JBL L100t3 Left/Right and TA-N80ES> JBL B-380 Subwoofer. And, BTW, whether AAC files "still fall victim to the same terrible mastering as allot of CD still do" is meaningless in this discussion, since any recording storage medium is subject to mastering which is considered by consumers as being flawed in some manner. Here I'm suggesting a comparison and contrast between just the AAC version to a 24/192 version of the same master. In this comparison, seems to me, the only difference is cost; thus, I'll be buying AAC and not hi-res.
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Shadowman82
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Re: Why is "loudness war" still an issue on CD

Post by Shadowman82 » 11 Jan 2019 22:42

Well very little of the music I listen to is available digitally in "better than CD" resolution . But here is my question if you think AAC is great then why are you even bothering with Vinyl ? I do assume you listen to Vinyl or you wouldn't be on this forum .

What I was saying about mastering is that MP3s , AAC and most of the time the CD are all going to get terrible mastering because that's what they do on those formats . I'm not sure if they would do more dynamic mastering for a 24-bit/192khz file . You would hope so but who knows . Only Vinyl seems to be spared from this because they can't master Vinyl like digital .

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Re: Why is "loudness war" still an issue on CD

Post by Sterling1 » 12 Jan 2019 01:22

Shadowman82 wrote:
11 Jan 2019 22:42
Well very little of the music I listen to is available digitally in "better than CD" resolution . But here is my question if you think AAC is great then why are you even bothering with Vinyl ? I do assume you listen to Vinyl or you wouldn't be on this forum .

What I was saying about mastering is that MP3s , AAC and most of the time the CD are all going to get terrible mastering because that's what they do on those formats . I'm not sure if they would do more dynamic mastering for a 24-bit/192khz file . You would hope so but who knows . Only Vinyl seems to be spared from this because they can't master Vinyl like digital .
I bother with vinyl because digitization of it makes my LP Library's contents convenient and pop free. I don't know what you mean when you say "most of the time the CD are all going to get terrible mastering". That's not my experience at all. Sorry, about your bad luck.

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Re: Why is "loudness war" still an issue on CD

Post by Shadowman82 » 13 Jan 2019 00:26

Luck has nothing to do with CD mastering . Unless it's something like classical , jazz or possibly soundtrack scores most CD releases these days are mastered in a way to be as loud as possible which kills dynamics . I mean on paper CD is supposed to have a higher dynamic range than Vinyl but if something is released on both CD and Vinyl the CD release often sounds worse . As for pops and clicks on Vinyl that's the nature of the format , never bothered me at all .