Dynamic range test using JRiver


A JRiver user created a test for dynamic range: see this page. Hi-res PCM and DSD do better than redbook (not a big surprise but nice see some actual numbers).

The best thing, though is that you don’t have to take his word about this . At the end of the page he gives the code he used, so those with a bit of JRiver experience can try it on their own albums.


I guess it was mildly interesting. I sure wouldn’t take the time to do it. And I have a lot less music on my PC.

Usually DSD downloads are remastered, and more expensive, so I would expect them to be good, if the original master was good.

A better comparison might be highly commercial recent releases, compared to the average releases of say the '60s or '70s. There I would think you might see more compression.

He doesn’t report on overall loudness, which is part of the problem. You can have some dynamic range, with overall volume being higher.

A good example of a lot of dynamic range were the early King Crimson albums. From very quiet to very loud. I wonder what the range was on those albums?




Thank you, Michael. The DR database was my immediate thought as well.

Note, they define dynamic range as the difference between the peak decibel level on a recording and the recording’s average loudness, not the actual range between softest and loudest.

The data is user submitted. They use the Foobar2000 Dynamic Range Meter to make measurements.

A good introduction to the subject, including a historical perspective, is on Bob Katz’s site, click. Look further down on the page for other good material. Matt Mayfield’s video at the bottom of the page is particularly good for understanding compression and loudness.


As it turns out, I just received PS Audio’s newsletter. It links to a very nice article on the history of audio, tape, vinyl, and dynamic range and compression. Click.


Thanks for posting that link Elk, I probably would have missed a good read otherwise.

In playing the Studer plug-in video, am I an aberration in much preferring the unprocessed sound? I am sure that there are cases where I might prefer processed, but in the video there may be one case​ where I could take it either way. Perhaps I am spoiled by having almost weekly experience of live (amplified) music and occasionally live acoustic music?

I do get the message of the article. I enjoy playing the tracks that I have on my server, many of which I am sure are severely compressed. Now perhaps I will have to start tracking those which I enjoy more and less and comparing the DR rating. I know that I have some “high quality” tracks in which I readily hear compression artifacts - including a few Diana Krall tracks. Nice music that may well be even more enjoyable with less processing, but how could we ever know without access to the original studio recordings.

More fun in audio land.


wingsounds13 said In playing the Studer plug-in video, am I an aberration in much preferring the unprocessed sound?
I don't think so. The plug-in emulates the sound of a Studer multi-track tape recorder. It adds coloration to the digital recording to make it sound as if it was recorded on the Studer, with the gentle compression of tape saturation, various distortions, etc. It is a nice, fat, warm sound, capturing the artifacts of recording to tape.

To me, it is like the artifacts, compression, etc. necessarily introduced when cutting to vinyl. It is a nice which and I appreciate why some are really drawn to it.

I prefer the clean digital recording without processing, but fully understand why others may opine otherwise. (The comparison is unfair as the processed version is a lot louder - louder is always compelling, to which the loudness wars attest.)

Diana Krall recordings emply a great deal of compression, especially on the vocal. But few would like the sound of an uncompressed close-mic’s vocal; it’s raw and brutal. To me what would be much better would be to record her a couple of feet from a superb ribbon or a flattering tube mic - think the sound of Sinatra.