A little change in perspective

Posted: May 14, 2011 in Loudness War

I think I found a nice way to hopefully change people’s perspective on this whole “Loudness War” BS.  And when I say “people” I mean the average listener/consumer of music…NOT the engineer.  At this point in time, if you are an engineer and are still crushing the life out of mixes, I think you fall in 1 of 2 camps.  1. You’re being forced to by the band/label, 2. You have a misconception of what competitive is and just don’t care.  I think and HOPE that most engineers fall into camp 1.

SO…..I was listening to an 80’s Pandora station today with my daughter (via my Tivo Premier….great feature!).  We were dancing around and playing and I had the music at a moderately loud volume (around 70db SPL).  As all the music is from the same decade ,the level was fairly consistent song to song and I had my receiver up a little louder than it usually is because music was quieter back then.

All of a sudden “Flagpole Sitta” from Harvey Danger comes on.  Oh….My…..God.  My daughter was freaked out because this song was RIDICULOUSLY louder than everything else before it.  Not to mention a Smiths song preceded it which are usually pretty soft compared to other artists.  First off, what the hell is a song from 1998 doing in the 80’s lineup (and one that TOTALLY doesn’t match the “style” at that)?  I also realized  that even for the late 90’s “Flagpole Sitta” is LOUD!

This brings me to a great way of convincing the consumer/listener that new LOUDER music is the inconvenience, NOT the other way around.  When you are listening to older/quieter music and a loud song comes on, it is jolting and could potentially damage your hearing.  When you are listening  to modern/louder music and a quieter song comes on, all you have to do it turn it up for a bit.  Not a big deal.

So, when you are trying to educate others on WHY louder isn’t always better, this is a great experiment to have them try.

  1. YES SIR! So true, there is a great you tube video that high lights this, and then also shows the actual harm to the music. Posted by the loudness wars. We’ve got a link to it on the PanGalactic website in our Our Mastering Philosophy under services mastering. Just click read more. Uses a McCarteny recording from 85 or 86. Great stuff.

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