Since: Aug 17, 2004
I think its amazing how they get audio to flatline :-/. Must take some knowledge. It doesn't sound great, but if I could get levels that hot and still make it sound that good I wouldn't turn back lol...
Posted on Feb 22, 2007 01:41 am
Member Since: Dec 23, 2002
I just got the new Fall Out Boy album, and MAN is it squashed! At first I figured there was something wrong with my stereo. But then I imported a track into Audacity and saw that it was maximized like that. I hadn't realized how far the 'loudness war' has gone until then. I knew a lot of CDs sounded crushed, just not that much. It got me thinking, because I just finished mastering a CD.
I usually do a tiny bit of volume maximizing, but not nearly as much as they do on commercial CDs. This makes my recordings sound softer, but I figure people can just turn them up. I personally hate ultra-compressed CDs, but if your record isn't as loud as the next guy's, it gives it that 'homemade' feel. So I was thinking about it, and I hit upon a possible solution -- master two copies on the same CD. One, fairly pristine with dynamics intact, for the audiophiles. The other copy, maximized to be as loud as commercial CDs.
There are two ways to do this. One is to include the pristine version as the actual audio CD data, and either FLAC or MP3s of the compressed version on a data track. I'm thinking MP3s, because it would be very easy to make a new CD of the destroyed version, just drag and drop, whereas FLAC takes some work, and the people who would want the louder version generally would probably be lazy about it.
The other solution would be the other way around -- compressed version as actual audio CD data, and pristine version as FLAC (MP3 is right out since that probably does as much damage to the sound as modern mastering). Of course, that limits the length of the CD to about 53 minutes (ie, 53 minutes of full-size audio plus 53 minutes of about half-size FLAC = 80 minutes total). Audiophiles would be much more likely to take the time to burn a pristine CD-R from the FLAC files. It might be inconvenient, but it's still better than most commercial CDs, which don't give you a choice.
I'm leaning toward doing the first solution on the record I'm finishing, but both have their merits. What do you guys think -- not just about what I'm thinking about doing, but about the 'Loudness War' in general?
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