Why is "loudness war" still an issue on CD

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

Post by KentT » 17 Jan 2019 14:59

Sterling1 wrote:
18 Dec 2018 06:26
Spinner45 wrote:
18 Dec 2018 04:02
Shadowman82 wrote:
04 Dec 2018 22:50
That's my point though . I think people who believe "louder is better" don't listen to CDs anymore , they just listen to MP3s and streaming .

As for SA-CD and DVD-Audio I think they made some big blunders early on in the formats history such as gearing marketing too much towards music in surround sound when most people don't really care about having music in surround sound . Don't know much about Blu-ray audio but I suspect people may not care much about it for similar reasons .
I have to add - think about the "Quadraphonic" years, the 1970's - yet another failed attempt.
It didn't last long, and at its peak in 1975, I was saying to people that it wouldn't take hold, that people should stick to Two Channel stereo.
The multiple platforms (CD, Matrix, SQ, etc) I just knew it would drop out.
And I was right.

So you would think that marketing/manufacturing of quad-4-chan stuff would be a lesson, and I guess it wasn't, to the current engineering crowd.
Perhaps they didn't do their "history" homework to see that people don't desire complex, more expensive techniques.

I still, 43 years later, contend that people stick to 2 channel sound, it's all you really need.
Of course, your statement, "it's all you really need", means stereo is all you really want. But, make no mistake, it's a surround sound world out there; and, now that multi-microphone, multi-channel, and multi-crossover sound has become economical enough for many to have a home theatre, anyone with a HDMI AVR or pre/pro can enjoy multi-channel DSD, SACD, or BD music without any expense other than for a Universal Player.
Music people as a rule are two channel people. Blu-Ray Audio is also until you get into high end players HDMI dependent, many high end users and two channel users don't have, want, or want HDMI in their way. Surround music is a small niche market then and now. Surround is most popular for video, TV, movies, and gaming. For music it's less than 10% of the universe. I tailor my system for 2 channel music as it's over 90% of what's available. I want Hollywood MPAA DRM nowhere near my audio system. As it's intrusive and obnoxious. I also want audible watermarking GONE! It is unacceptable (especially for music with quiet passages or solo instruments). P.S. The DVD-A/SACD/DualDisc/Blu-Ray Audio format war was Quadraphonic all over again. Too many formats for everyman to buy in. SACD was far and away the best thought out high res disc based format, in hybrid was the most workable solution for most needs.

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

Post by KentT » 17 Jan 2019 15:03

Loudness war is due to people too lazy to get up and adjust volume levels between discs and downloads. And poor playback equipment like cheaper shelf systems, bluetooth speakers, and earbuds. And people who listen for background and not paying attention.

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

Post by dysmike » 17 Jan 2019 15:30

Yep, but it's the whole torrent issue. I work in an environment where I effectively get paid for IP.. so I have qualms about it, and refuse to use it.

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

Post by dysmike » 17 Jan 2019 17:43

I doubt you'd change my opinion really, just like I doubt I'd change yours.


I will say this, there are a ton of use-cases for ripping your own records to the digital domain. Telling people there's no reason to is simply admitting you don't fall into one of those use-cases.

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

Post by TheFamilyMan » 17 Jan 2019 22:43

wrote:
17 Jan 2019 15:33
I was going to write a big post about it, but decided not to derail the thread. :D
Seems to me that ship sailed long ago in this thread :lol:

Now back on track with my rant. I totally hate the loudness war. What is most irritating is that it seems to be the entertainment pop-culture norm. Examples: the soundtrack to "The Greatest Showman", and nearly all the live performances which Disney Corp. blows your eardrums out with at their theme parks.

Shadowman82
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Re: Why is "loudness war" still an issue on CD

Post by Shadowman82 » 17 Jan 2019 23:12

Hmm well I haven't heard that soundtrack but generally I get the impression that soundtracks which are purely orchestra/instrumental based tend to have better mastering on CD as well .

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

Post by Shadowman82 » 17 Jan 2019 23:22

"That headroom is meaningless when digitizing an analog recording, since the recording level has earlier been set."

It really depends on what you intend to listen your digitized LPs on . If it's not a high end system and you are not trying to do critical listening , just have it play in the background then I guess a lower resolution would be ok . Modern Vinyl releases will often come with a download code . While those downloads tend to usually be MP3s , for non critical , portable listening they are quite sufficient .

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

Post by Sterling1 » 18 Jan 2019 11:43

Shadowman82 wrote:
17 Jan 2019 23:22
"That headroom is meaningless when digitizing an analog recording, since the recording level has earlier been set."

It really depends on what you intend to listen your digitized LPs on . If it's not a high end system and you are not trying to do critical listening , just have it play in the background then I guess a lower resolution would be ok . Modern Vinyl releases will often come with a download code . While those downloads tend to usually be MP3s , for non critical , portable listening they are quite sufficient .
The MP3 download offer with some of today's vinyl in my experience is unlistenable no matter the means I use to play it. Regarding my vinyl playback, I have a magnificent high-end system, so whether I'm critically listening or not, I get all that's in the groove; and; when that vinyl is digitized at 16/44 or greater resolution I get sound only distinguishable from vinyl by absence of pops. In other words, no matter how the MP3's you are referring to may sound it's meaningless to me, since I have not engaged that recording process for over a decade.

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

Post by Shadowman82 » 19 Jan 2019 00:53

It's true that a digitized Vinyl record even at just CD resolution will often sound better than the CD version of the same album , most likely because the Vinyl was mastered better . That was my original point , CDs often get butchered in mastering .

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

Post by Sterling1 » 19 Jan 2019 09:48

Shadowman82 wrote:
19 Jan 2019 00:53
It's true that a digitized Vinyl record even at just CD resolution will often sound better than the CD version of the same album , most likely because the Vinyl was mastered better . That was my original point , CDs often get butchered in mastering .
I know that's right.

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

Post by Shadowman82 » 19 Jan 2019 18:37

Maybe secretly record companies want to push people away from CDs . Downloads are easier for them as there are less costs involved and as far as Vinyl goes I believe I read that they make more money on a Vinyl record sold than on a CD .

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

Post by mythrenegade » 20 Jan 2019 21:27

I gotta say that “On the loose” by Saga sounds VASTLY better on vinyl than the iTunes download I have. But when it comes to CD vs Vinyl I generally prefer the sound of the CD. In blind testing I can easily hear the difference between lossless and everything up through 192kbps AAC. It gets harder above that and at 320 kbps it’s impossible to reliably distinguish for me except with classical music, where the strings and high percussion fall apart under compression.

The OP’s point is a good one: CD’s should be mastered to take advantage of the entire dynamic range of CD, not the compressed dynamic range favored by the iPod generation.

As for high res, it’s a PITA to buy, PITA to play, and offers marginal increase in sound quality. Do we really need more dynamic range than a silent room to jet engine at takeoff? (96db of dynamic range covers that spread) Do we really need sound above 22kHz? I for one demonstrably cannot hear above approximately 14.5 kHz, nor is there really anything up there worth hearing in music...

I would jump at a disc that offered multi channel audio and could be imported into my media server, and played back, with the same ease as CD. I like discs because they outlast media services and are higher quality than anything I can easily purchase for download. And I can get them at library sales for $2 each :-) But every high res format focuses so much effort on copy protection I have zero interest. Not going to maintain a library of discs in my living room.

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

Post by Shadowman82 » 20 Jan 2019 23:41

Yeah that was one of the downfalls of SA-CD , because of all the copy protection when it was released there were only very few options to pass DSD digitally .

You're right it doesn't really add anything to have frequencies over 22khz . Vinyl and SA-CD do have them but that's not why they tend to sound better . I still think aside from mastering there is merit to not being limited to the 16-bit/44.1khz of the CD , wether that's analog or higher res digital . But seriously too little stuff is available in higher res digital , wether that's in disc form or downloads .

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