Myriad of factors affecting the industry

I enjoyed reading some/most of the comments as much as Archimago’s.


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Couldn’t agree more. Thanks for this, I didn’t know about the Dynamic Range database. I found it interesting to choose an artist with lots of material (Herbie Hancock, for instance) and look through various releases to see the difference in dynamic range available. I’ll use this now when selecting downloads and CDs. It was utterly defeating to see hi-res remasters with pathetic numbers for dynamic range. We knew that they were out there but seeing it in print was sobering, especially with the amount of money that I have spent on some of them.

So, my big fantasy is that record cables could make available high DR downloads of new albums for audiophiles. Clearly this would come at a cost, since they would need separate mastering. The labels might not want the “Bad” high DR copies floating around out there because someone might buy one and be disappointed that they can’t hear the soft passages in their office cubicle through the Walmart speakers on their desktop. Sigh.

I read the Moby article in Stereophile. Funny that he’s called out for being a hypocrite. And that sums up the problem in a nutshell.

Elk and I discussed this last weekend after I posted Daft Punk’s, “Give Life Back to Music.” It’s a DR of 9 but still sounds awesome. I’ll bet it would sound better at a DR of 12 but who knows (at least it’s not a DR of 6). Any general statement about recorded music always seems to have an exception.

One fact I know from spending a lot of time listing to music, as most posters on this site…in general, high DR recordings sound way better then low DR recordings. It is irrefutable!! However, we’re old men, with an arcane hobby and equipment. The industry, and the vast majority of the consuming public, just doesn’t care. Worse yet, the consuming public may just like low DR recordings better.

I find good recordings of acoustic instruments in a performance space sound better with greater dynamic range, although a little compression can also sound just as good, if not better, and can add a bit of punch and bring the sound of the room more to the fore. This is one of the things that lovers of vinyl treasure. It depends on what you are going for.

For pop music, especially rock, all bets are off. Bass guitar, drums and vocals demand a great deal of compression do sound as we want them to. Electric guitar sustain is the very sound of heavy compression. Compression also thickens and adds body. A pop record without compression sounds awful.

Even vocal announcers, including classical stations, are heavily compressed.

As Random Access Memories demonstrates, compression is far from bad. But it must be skillfully used.

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