Why is "loudness war" still an issue on CD

compact disc, dacs, mp3 players and streaming audio
Shadowman82
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Why is "loudness war" still an issue on CD

Post by Shadowman82 » 04 Dec 2018 22:12

Here is something I don't quite understand . Why are allot of CDs still falling victim to the "loudness war" during mastering . I mean these days those who don't care about dynamics and fidelity will listen to music as MP3s and on streaming services . Those who still buy CDs now do I think care at least a little about sound quality so then why still master CDs in a way that diminishes sound quality ?

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

Post by AceDeuce73 » 04 Dec 2018 22:28

If it can still dupe some into thinking louder = better, then the practice will continue. All the industry really cares about is profit, and there are better formats to get higher quality sound from than CD. If the average consumer really cared about best sound quality DVD-Audio, Blu-ray Audio and SACD would've had more mainstream success.

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

Post by Shadowman82 » 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 .

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

Post by Spinner45 » 05 Dec 2018 03:29

It's a shame how music is recorded these days.
And even the artists themselves are lacking the depth that decades ago was the thing.
I've not bought anything "new" other than Adele, most of today's stuff is crap.
Thank god I've held onto my older music - when it was "music".

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

Post by Shadowman82 » 05 Dec 2018 23:32

Lucky for me I like allot of underground wave and electronic music , there is still good stuff being made there and allot of it comes out on Vinyl too . Which is good because even there the CD versions often fall victim to loudness war mastering . Sometimes I think unless an artists specifies something different CDs just get mastered loud by default .

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

Post by Sterling1 » 06 Dec 2018 09:52

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 like your analysis of it all. I purchased an SACD Player back in 1999 or thereabouts, a Sony DVP-S9000ES. Before getting it home I stopped at a CD Store for a few SACDs and found only one. The store manager did not even know that they had that one in their inventory. In fact, he did not know anything about SACDs. Nevertheless, I could not wait to hook up my player. Boy, what a let down. I was expecting something better than CD, more detail perhaps; but, I did not get that or anything else that could be described as better. So, for the next 10 years, the only use I had for the player was to play DVDs. I'm sure others were disappointed too. At any rate, then multi-channel SACD Players and media appeared, which did give the format a breadth and depth greater than stereo; but, still there was no way to hook up these multi-channel SACD Players to a home theater system of that era. That's to say, hook-up to a preamp required a preamp with multi-channel analog inputs and at that period in time most preamps delivered a multi-channel experience only from Toslink or IEC 958, which do not carry SACD, stereo or multi-channel. Sony realized the problem and introduced the TA-P9000ES multi-channel analog preamp; but, then Sony abandoned analog multi-channel output for HDMI multi-channel output on the last SACD Players it manufactured. This created another delima, unless you had a new HDMI prepro, multi-channel was still not possible and therefore only very few could try out multi-channel SACD.

Now, the good news, some of today's inexpensive Universal Players will play multi-channel SACD and output it via HDMI; and, because today's AVRs and pre/pros all have multi-channel HDMI inputs, multi-channel SACDs can now be enjoyed by most anyone, without new equipment cost, or hassle. And, indeed, folks are trying out multi-channel SACD for the first time, apparently enjoying the experience enough for Amazon to list 32 new 2017 and 2018 SACD releases in just the first 3 pages of their SACD listing. The bottom-line is multi-channel SACD has been given a second chance; and, it seems it is finally getting a foot hold because it does deliver an experience which folks hear as sounding better than stereo. I'm one of those folks. And, BTW no loudness issues, just be sure to set the volume for crescendos, or you might get a more life-like experience on classical music, like The Firebird, than your system can handle.

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

Post by Shadowman82 » 07 Dec 2018 00:58

All things considered though the amount of SA-CD releases is still tiny compared to CD and even Vinyl . You are correct though , generally SA-CDs are not victims of the loudness war as they are mastered differently from CDs .

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

Post by ravelax » 17 Dec 2018 20:34

The loudness war is probably still raging on streaming services, and I highly doubt most record labels want to spend money on separate masters for CD and streaming, and thus we still end up with badly mastered CDs even though it's turning into a bit of a niche format these days (at least here in Sweden). And that is a shame. Though I have to say there's a lot of good, worthwhile pop music being produced these days that does sound good. Even though it often could've sounded better, it's just as often not nearly as bad as most of the throwaway commercial radio music is.

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

Post by Shadowman82 » 17 Dec 2018 23:09

"Amazon to list 32 new 2017 and 2018 SACD releases in just the first 3 pages of their SACD listing"

Yes SA-CD is not dead but if you compare that to the number of new releases of Vinyl for instance it's a drop in the bucket .

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

Post by Spinner45 » 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.

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

Post by Sterling1 » 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.

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

Post by Sterling1 » 18 Dec 2018 06:46

Shadowman82 wrote:
17 Dec 2018 23:09
"Amazon to list 32 new 2017 and 2018 SACD releases in just the first 3 pages of their SACD listing"

Yes SA-CD is not dead but if you compare that to the number of new releases of Vinyl for instance it's a drop in the bucket .
It being a drop in the bucket is as moot as it is meaningless since the market for multi-channel music is an emerging one. Remember, contrasting and comparing multi-channel digitally stored music sales to vinyl sales not only shows where the market has been, but also where it's going. And, where it's going is multi-channel, causing marketers to respond to opportunity by producing multi-channel products in DSD, BD, and SACD formats.

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

Post by Shadowman82 » 18 Dec 2018 22:53

Well the trend isn't showing much growth in high resolution ( meaning better than CD) digital audio at all wether stereo or multi channel . It seems people are either ok with CD or worse just listen to music as MP3s or streaming and or have switched to Vinyl . With Vinyl you do see growth year over year , the latest figures I have seen is that in the USA Vinyl accounted for 18% of all album sales , I doubt SA-CD or any other high resolution digital format will be anywhere near that anytime soon . It's a shame as SA-CD does sound great .

I'm not so sure either just how many households actually have a surround set up at all . Seems like allot of people are quite content to upgrade the crappy sound their flat screen TV has with soundbars . Understandable in a way as ideal speaker placement for a surround set up is often an issue , so is running countless wires all over the room .

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

Post by terry-a » 18 Dec 2018 23:24

Shadowman82 wrote:
18 Dec 2018 22:53
Well the trend isn't showing much growth in high resolution ( meaning better than CD) digital audio at all wether stereo or multi channel . It seems people are either ok with CD or worse just listen to music as MP3s or streaming and or have switched to Vinyl . With Vinyl you do see growth year over year , the latest figures I have seen is that in the USA Vinyl accounted for 18% of all album sales , I doubt SA-CD or any other high resolution digital format will be anywhere near that anytime soon . It's a shame as SA-CD does sound great .

I'm not so sure either just how many households actually have a surround set up at all . Seems like allot of people are quite content to upgrade the crappy sound their flat screen TV has with soundbars . Understandable in a way as ideal speaker placement for a surround set up is often an issue , so is running countless wires all over the room .
I think you're right. Disc players, whether audio or video or both, are becoming less essential as streaming takes hold. Oppo got out for this very reason. Most people don't maintain any type of music library. Instead they're choosing streaming. It's way too easy and it sounds good enough.

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

Post by Shadowman82 » 19 Dec 2018 00:28

Yeah and it seems allot of people who do want to keep a music library are going to Vinyl . That I believe is one of the reasons why Vinyl has been able to reach 18% of all album sales in the US . In a way the loudness war on CDs probably also contributes to this . There is also the possibility that allot of people have never even heard high resolution digital ( better than CD) in action but make assumptions that it sounds bad because allot of CDs sound bad . You know they think that because CDs sound bad that all digital must therefor sound bad .

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