radiant red

When digital is just too ‘Digital’

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Super Wammer
16 hours ago, StingRay said:

Who says it is all bad?

that seemed to be the theme coming out in the previous 5 pages or so

11 hours ago, StingRay said:

The problem with some digital mastering is the over compression, so it sounds loud, hence the loudness wars. 

That compression is more to do with modern production trends so tracks pop out on the radio rather than it being a digital mastering thing, the 2 just happen to coincide

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2 minutes ago, Phobic said:

that seemed to be the theme coming out in the previous 5 pages or so

That compression is more to do with modern production trends so tracks pop out on the radio rather than it being a digital mastering thing, the 2 just happen to coincide

The radio loudness thing has gone now as they equalise the volume. But I find most of the harsh sounding digital are the more compressed ones, generally it is not on classical or jazz, harsh is not the same as bright, some jazz are too bright for my tastes. I think harshness comes from clipping. Are compression and clipping linked? 

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Super Wammer
9 minutes ago, StingRay said:

The radio loudness thing has gone now as they equalise the volume. But I find most of the harsh sounding digital are the more compressed ones, generally it is not on classical or jazz, harsh is not the same as bright, some jazz are too bright for my tastes. I think harshness comes from clipping. Are compression and clipping linked? 

not sure I understand your point on equalising the volume, I think the loudness issue is still here to be honest, lots of compression around on new rock/pop releases, it's 1 of the main reasons I don't listen to as much stuff past 1990 as I'd like to. I find it hard work and fatiguing. I suspect this would be true if I were listening on vinyl (unless the mastering was different).

Too much compression can be a cause of clipping, too much clipping causes distortion.

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10 minutes ago, Phobic said:

That compression is more to do with modern production trends so tracks pop out on the radio rather than it being a digital mastering thing, the 2 just happen to coincide

3 minutes ago, StingRay said:

The radio loudness thing has gone now as they equalise the volume. But I find most of the harsh sounding digital are the more compressed ones, generally it is not on classical or jazz, harsh is not the same as bright, some jazz are too bright for my tastes. I think harshness comes from clipping. Are compression and clipping linked? 

Radio content is pretty much always compressed since the goal is to maintain a consistent amplitude/listening level for the audience whether it is music, the DJ speaking, commercials, or whatever.  Radio listeners do not want to constantly change the volume of their radios to maintain a consistent level.  Given all the varying content a radio station might play in a given hour, you can see why that would be a problem.  It also presents a safety issue for drivers constantly having to fiddle with the volume.

A related thing to this, at least here in the US, is the volume level of TV commercials relative to the volume level of the shows themselves.  It was becoming somewhat popular for local companies advertising on TV to make the audio of their commercials loud so that they stand out.  This drew a lot of criticism and so a federal law was passed, the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act (CALM Act) which mandates that commercials not be louder than the content itself.

Compression is a very normal thing really and can be desirable in some situations.  However, it can be abused.  The reason why recordings (CD, MP3, etc.) are loud is not related to radio for the reasons mentioned above, but rather it's probably related to A) not having quieter albums than the competition since quieter albums are often perceived as not being as good sounding by at least untrained listeners and B) the record labels know that most consumers listen to music on low quality headphones, Bluetooth speakers, and car radios.  On all these devices, 'loud' and compressed sound is probably advantageous especially when the music is listened to on those devices in loud environments like the car or a bus.

Keep in mind that London like this is not purely a digital thing.  Jukebox records were made to be loud in the ~1950s.  Then there are somewhat related ideas such as the RCA Dynagroove records from the 1960s which were LPs somewhat designed to maximize the sound quality on poor equipment at the expense of sound quality on good equipment. 

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Just now, Phobic said:

not sure I understand your point on equalising the volume, I think the loudness issue is still here to be honest, lots of compression around on new rock/pop releases, it's 1 of the main reasons I don't listen to as much stuff past 1990 as I'd like to. I find it hard work and fatiguing. I suspect this would be true if I were listening on vinyl (unless the mastering was different).

Too much compression can be a cause of clipping, too much clipping causes distortion.

The point about equalising the volume is it does leap out of the radio now as it’s the same volume, yes it still compressed. Before some music would be louder on the radio so had to turn the volume down, I only listen to radio in the car. 

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Online streaming sources tend to equalise volume across tracks* so that mastering a track to sound louder is now pointless.

*Unless the user deliberately disables this, as many here probably do.

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1 minute ago, MartinC said:

Online streaming sources tend to equalise volume across tracks* so that mastering a track to sound louder is now pointless.

Yes, but compressed music will still likely sound louder and more 'consistent' to the listener than music with lots of dynamic range.

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12 minutes ago, Klassik said:

A related thing to this, at least here in the US, is the volume level of TV commercials relative to the volume level of the shows themselves.  It was becoming somewhat popular for local companies advertising on TV to make the audio of their commercials loud so that they stand out.  This drew a lot of criticism and so a federal law was passed, the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act (CALM Act) which mandates that commercials not be louder than the content itself.

We have the same issue in the UK. It's interesting to read that this has been banned in the US.

In an unrelated point you really do like describing things as 'London' in pretty much every post :). As this is a UK-based forum you would get your points across far better if you used some other term and I'm sure that to the vast majority here it makes as little sense as it does to me (even after you tried to explain it). I reads to me just as if I was to refer to things being say 'Seattle' in every post would to you :).

Edited by MartinC

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2 minutes ago, MartinC said:

In an unrelated point you really do like describing things as 'London' in pretty much every post :). As this is a UK-based forum you would get your points across far better if you used some other term and I'm sure that the the vast majority here it makes as little sense as it does to me (even after you tried to explain it). I reads to me just as if I was to refer to things being say 'Seattle' in every post would to you :).

Seattle?  The home of Amazon, Microsoft (well, Microsoft is in Redmond, but close enough), and Starbucks?  Feel free to use 'Seattle' as a synonym to 'London'.  I'm rather tempted to use it myself.  ;)

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1 minute ago, Klassik said:

Seattle?  The home of Amazon, Microsoft (well, Microsoft is in Redmond, but close enough), and Starbucks?  Feel free to use 'Seattle' as a synonym to 'London'.  I'm rather tempted to use it myself.  ;)

My point was that it was meaningless not that it was the same as London :).

(I have been to both cities actually.)

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Super Wammer

I don't buy the point that radio stations are too lazy to adjust the volume of tracks, they're radio stations, pushing playing and adjusting the volume is all they have to do! other than talk bollocks that is..

ditto for people perceiving that albums don't sound as good if they're quite, kids can figure out to turn the volume up.

studios compress because it sells more, it sells more because it's more noticeable, or actually if they don't they sell less because everyone else is compressing stuff

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23 minutes ago, StingRay said:

Why not call a spade a spade? 

Very misleading calling something London, maybe I will call everything bad Houston. 

I think the 'London' tag is mildly amusing, however if @Klassik used 'Cardiff' instead I would be quite cross >:( :D

  • Haha 1

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1 hour ago, StingRay said:

Very misleading calling something London, maybe I will call everything bad Houston. 

Sam Houston's relatives in Scotland might get a good kick out of that.  xD

It's fine with me if you want to use 'Houston' as a synonym to 'London'.  Houston was the short-lived capital of the only slightly less short-lived Republic of Texas.  Granted, there's not much legacy of Republic of Texas colonialism.  ;)

1 hour ago, MartinC said:

My point was that it was meaningless not that it was the same as London :).

I hear the weather in both places is quite Seattle, eh?  xD

51 minutes ago, Phobic said:

I don't buy the point that radio stations are too lazy to adjust the volume of tracks, they're radio stations, pushing playing and adjusting the volume is all they have to do! other than talk bollocks that is..

You have it backwards.  The radio stations do use compressors so that listeners don't have to adjust the volume.  If they didn't, people would be constantly having to change the volume while they listen to the radio.  Given the use of compressors, something really isn't going to standout on the radio over anything else.

51 minutes ago, Phobic said:

ditto for people perceiving that albums don't sound as good if they're quite, kids can figure out to turn the volume up.

  Yes, but the kids also know that a loud album turned up loud is, well, you see where this is going.  ;)

I don't have research here to cite for you, but I think it's pretty well established that two otherwise equal playbacks of the same music will be perceived differently if one is played back louder than the other.  Usually the louder one is perceived to be better.  Some London audio dealers and manufacturers will try to use this to their advantage.  I suppose the same goes for record labels!

51 minutes ago, Phobic said:

studios compress because it sells more, it sells more because it's more noticeable, or actually if they don't they sell less because everyone else is compressing stuff

But if they didn't compress, they might sell less.  xD  Perhaps everything being loud is of some benefit to those who rip their CDs and/or put their MP3s on their phones/MP3 players without normalizing them first.  They're all going to playback pretty consistently in terms of loudness when they are listening in the car or via the headphones.  :o

If record labels didn't use much compression, those who listen via headphones in public places and those who listen in the car will likely be even more upset than audiophiles having to listen to overly-compressed albums on their Hi-Fi.  That said, there's always an argument that perhaps less compressed masterings should be available as digital downloads for those who prefer such things, but perhaps the record labels don't think there is enough demand to even do that.  :S

Edited by Klassik

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Super Wammer

Well I’m running the Cambridge streamer direct into the amp via XLR for hi res duties.

The digital output on the Cambridge is going into the Meridian 563 as well as the Meridian transport. I have best of both worlds with the Cambridge as I can play it both ways. The meridian and Cambridge now sound pretty identical via the 563.
 

like I said at the initial start, I wanted to play CDs in a more relaxed manner and it does. Smooth but still has the attack when needed. Yes, it might be rolling off the top end slightly but there is no shortage of detail especially when I’ve run the transport through the Cambridge DAC for comparison.
very content until I can afford that Luxman 😜

Edited by radiant red
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