Forums Music Sound Engineering DK : 15 minute video on loudness and EBU R128

This topic contains 4 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by Avatar Chrispydelic June 10, 2014 at 1:36 pm.

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  • #1054515
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    General Lighting
    Moderator

    Green Day is just -6dB down from full scale pink noise :laugh_at:

    #1263061
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    Chrispydelic
    Participant

    Good share GL

    I’ve got tickets to see Greenday next year! lol

    #1263059
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    cheeseweasel
    Participant

    Nice find. Although I can’t see the situation improving any time soon – people’s idea of ‘quality sound’ has deteriorated so much over the past 20 years with the advent of MP3, cheap portable music players and the fact that most people listen to music on their computers nowadays (usually on the built-in speakers or cheap powered speakers that came with the PC). I engineered a small pub gig at the weekend, and after the band had finished the girl who organised the event handed me a bunch of CDs that her little sister had prepared to be played until the venue closed. Every track on it sounded like it had been downloaded from Youtube, with the glaring compression artefacts typical of low bitrate MP3s. After a while I became conscious of the fact that I was sat with my fists clenched and muscles tensed up – that sound puts me on edge, I hate it! No-one else seemed to notice or care though, it’s depressing really.

    I think it’s a little unfair to place the blame on Green Day or Alicia Keys though. The ‘loudness war’ is driven by the cloth-eared suits who run the labels and have the final say over how the final master should sound, and supported by an apathetic public. I watched another video a while back where a mastering engineer described the exact process he had to go through to squeeze every last bit of headroom for a demanding record label boss (he kept getting his mixes sent back as they weren’t loud enough). From memory it involved stereo compression of the mix, then multiband compression, clipping in the analogue domain and clipping in the digital domain!! I think at one point it may have also been printed to tape above saturation point to introduce even more distortion! It all results in a boring sound.

    Until consumers start to be a bit more discerning about how they listen to their music, buying a half decent hifi (they’re not expensive) and getting their tunes on high quality MP3 at the very least (and preferably wav – digital storage is cheap nowadays, and download speeds are fast – IMO there’s not much excuse for MP3 anymore), we’re going to continue seeing badly mastered music in the future.

    #1263058
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    General Lighting
    Moderator

    to be fair when I pushed for ICR’s streaming to be uprated from 128k to 192k a lot of people did email in and say it was much better quality, though unfortunately most playout is still 128k until we can get good practice underway of not clogging up the playout and ingest PCs with old files – its a very basic peer to peer network, (due to me only having 2 evenings to deploy turn round a entire radio station’s main systems!)

    @cheeseweasel 509660 wrote:

    Every track on it sounded like it had been downloaded from Youtube, with the glaring compression artefacts typical of low bitrate MP3s. After a while I became conscious of the fact that I was sat with my fists clenched and muscles tensed up – that sound puts me on edge, I hate it! No-one else seemed to notice or care though, it’s depressing really.

    I’ve been doing QC for the radio station and it tends to be a certain group of younger people who do this. Usually the kind who are not just still living in the family house but probably still have their first micro systems from their teenage years, and don’t yet realise there is better kit available, and/or that computers can be fairly crappy when playing out music. Older people and those from other parts of the world tend to be more careful about sound quality. The Chinese lady on our station produces a particularly good quality show, even though I can’t understand a word of it (I listen to it as there is a variety of Chinese music from modern cantopop to ancient ballads etc)

    And if/when I hear people playing out poor quality material I will have friendly words with them as many of them are supposed to like specialist music and broadcasting crap quality sound doesn’t do anyone any good – especially when good sound equipment is way more affordable that it was when I was in my 20s or teens!

    #1263060
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    cheeseweasel
    Participant

    So I’ve just finished prepping a whole stack of walk-up music for an award show I’m mixing in a few days and was reminded of this thread, as it’s really hit home just how much louder today’s music is, compared to that made only 10 or so years ago.

    For those not interested in watching award shows (I would generally include myself in that group), it is usual for each winner, presenter, sponsor etc to walk up to the stage accompanied by music (often pre-recorded pop music, whatever is in the top 10 at the time). The sound engineer replays this on cue from whoever is calling the show. It’s important that all tracks play at the same perceived level of loudness for the audience, so I trim the gain for each track to bring them roughly in line with each other. Amongst the cheesy, over-compressed pop, I’ve managed to sneak in a couple of bangers (e.g. Walk This Land by EZ-Rollers), and I’ve had to bring most of the modern pop music down fully 8 or 9dB to make it sound as loud. Bear in mind that an increase of 10dB is generally equated to a perceived doubling of loudness, and you can see how much louder things have actually become!

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