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Petition: Stop the loudness wars and release High Definition Music Downloads

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Petition: Stop the loudness wars and release High Definition Music Downloads

Postby sometimesuk » Wed Nov 21, 2012 9:37 pm

Hi,

I’m trying to start a petition to try and get record labels to stop the loudness wars and also to release High Definition music downloads (24 Bit) of popular mainstream music that people actually want to listen.

The loudness war is where record labels turn the volume of a recording up to grab the listener’s attention upon first hearing. They make both the loud and quiet passages loud, so that there is very little difference between them in terms of dynamic range – The music has become compressed and often distorted.

While this is fine for radio broadcasts, it also means that listening to such music can often become tiring and many people experience listeners fatigue. When music isn’t compressed it actually increases people’s enjoyment and they also hear the music the way the artist originally intended.

You only have to speak to a handful of people to quickly find out that many are not fussed with music and could quiet easily take it or leave it. This is a direct reflection on the quality of records available today, the high levels of compression used is making music unlistenable and unenjoyable.

It’s not realistic to expect this situation to change overnight but an increasing number of music lovers are getting fed up and want to access music that hasn’t been heavily compressed. If you are one of those persons, sign my petition!

While many would like to see a fundamental change within the industry so that no record is heavily compressed, this is not realistic as no doubt the record labels / retailers would argue that many people prefer the music “louder” (Even though we may fundamentally disagree). It’s also It’s not realistic to expect an uncompressed CD to be brought to market alongside the “normal” version.

Instead the petition focus is for record labels and retailers to offer uncompressed downloads alongside the “mainstream offering” in the download market in both 16 Bit & 24 Bit format. This would differentiate uncompressed music in the market place and would also attract many people as they seek the “best”. It would also have the benefit of reintroducing people to music the way it’s meant to sound.

16 Bit (CD) recordings have been available for 30 years now and instead of sound quality improving, it has at best stagnated and in terms of downloads has managed to go backwards. It’s about time the industry took a leap forward and offered quality 24 Bit recordings. The playback technology is readily available, even modestly priced equipment and portables such as the iPod can support 24 Bit playback, so there is no reason why it shouldn’t happen.

If you want change then please show your support and sign the petition:

Petition Link: http://www.change.org/petitions/stop-the-loudness-wars-and-release-high-definition-music-downloads

There is also a Facebook Group, intended to act as a focal point for anyone who shares the above views and wishes to get involved:

Facebook Group:Stop the loudness wars and release High Definition music downloads

http://www.facebook.com/groups/463034807076103/
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Re: Petition: Stop the loudness wars and release High Definition Music Downloads

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Nov 22, 2012 10:16 am

sometimesuk wrote:I’m trying to start a petition to try and get record labels to stop the loudness wars and also to release High Definition music downloads (24 Bit) of popular mainstream music that people actually want to listen.


I completely support your first request, but the second is an absurd and pointless request with no technical or artistic merit whatsoever... in my humble opinion.

It’s not realistic to expect this situation to change overnight but an increasing number of music lovers are getting fed up and want to access music that hasn’t been heavily compressed. If you are one of those persons, sign my petition!


Rather than petitioning for the industry to stop doing something that they all think works for them, it might be better, instead, to ask them to start doing something else! People generally react better to that kind of approach. ;)

And the thing we need them to do is to adopt the ITU-R BS1770 loudness metering standards that are now being implemented across the TV industry worldwide, and will be introduced to the radio industry in the next few years. That should have the desired effect on the music industry as they will quickly discover that hyper-compressed mixing sounds as weak and feeble on the radio and TV as it really is!

By 'normalising' audio material to the 'loudness' rather than the 'peak' level, everything gets better! Hyper-compressed material sounds weak, feeble and boring, while dynamic material sounds lively, natural, powerful (when appropriate) and interesting... and that's exactly what you want. Moreover, selecting different records or tracks, or switching between TV or radio stations no longer requires adjustments to the player volume because everything is loudness-matched and sounds far more consistent.

Apple have a system which is broadly similar to the BS1770 standard on iTunes and iPods etc called 'Sound Check'. It works pretty well to balance the perceived loudness of everything in the library (by turning the loud stuff down in advance), and if that was switched on by default the music world would be a much better place. ;)

Instead the petition focus is for record labels and retailers to offer uncompressed downloads alongside the “mainstream offering”


Twice the workload for no additional sales? I don't think so. The only practical and effective way of eradicating hyper-compression is by enforcing a world-wide standard for music reproduction where everything is balanced according to a standard loudness rating system. IMHO

16 Bit (CD) recordings have been available for 30 years now


And it is a properly optimised and entirely appropriate format for domestic music reproduction (including loudness-normalised music).

It’s about time the industry took a leap forward and offered quality 24 Bit recordings.


24 bit recording (actually closer top 20 bit in practice with the current converter technology) is entirely appropriate where generous headroom margins are required to cope with unexpected peaks when tracking and mixing. However, that is not the case in domestic reproduction systems; the dynamic range has already been controlled and optimised by then. Moreover, no domestic montioring system can come close to reproducing the full dynamic range capability oif a 24 bit format, and actually it is virtually impossible even to find and record real music with a full 24 bit dynamic range capability either.

The playback technology is readily available, even modestly priced equipment and portables such as the iPod can support 24 Bit playback, so there is no reason why it shouldn’t happen.


Again, few real world converters provide more than 20 bit performance anyway, and most domestic replay systems struggle to achieve the equivalent of 15 bits of dynamic range. The typical ambient background noise of a quiet domestic listening room might be 25SPL on a good day. Few high quality domestic speakers can produce peaks of 100dB SPL at the listening position. The very best with mighty amplification might achieve 110dB SPL or so -- if there are no neighbours or small children to worry about. So we're are looking -- at best -- of a usable dynamic range in the home of 75-85dB... which would require between 12 and 14 bits to encode perfectly, with the system noise floor swamped by the ambient acoustic noise floor, and sound level peaks painfully loud.

What I'm saying is that there is nothing wrong, restrictive, quality-limiting or inappropriate with 16 bit music reproduction systems for the domestic environment. It is actually the ideal format, in fact.

The 24 bit requirement comes from the need for higher quality (greater dynamic range and bandwidth) at the recording end of the chain so that the music production process has 'room to manoevre' -- so that unexpected peaks don't clip when recording, so that the noise floor doesn't become audible to the end user when dozens of tracks are mixed together, and so that the concatenation of band-limiting filters throughout the recording and post-production chain don't encroach on the wanted audio.

All of which means that 24 resolution is helpful at the recording and mixing end of the chain, but that 16 bit is absolutely fine for the reproduction end.

So I'm afraid I won't be signing your ill-conceived petition, but I will be continuing to campaign for loudness normalisation across the music industry and I would encourage everyone else to (a) familiarise theemselves with BS1770 metering and use it in their own productions, and (b) spread the word to musicians, engineers and music producers everywhere! That way we might actually achieve the changes we all want!

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Re: Petition: Stop the loudness wars and release High Definition Music Downloads

Postby James Perrett » Thu Nov 22, 2012 10:44 am

There is already an existing campaign at

http://turnmeup.org/

which has attracted some industry attention.

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Re: Petition: Stop the loudness wars and release High Definition Music Downloads

Postby SafeandSound Mastering » Thu Nov 22, 2012 4:03 pm

I absolutely agree that we should start leaving compressed file formats behind. I always buy the music I like on CD because it simply sounds like the artist wanted it to sound like, not a diluted and sonically compromised version. There are of course some practical reasons why MP3's and AAC exist a compelling one being low memory capacity on legacy ipods etc. I think they are to become legacy formats as soon as internet speeds are up, but also Apple has invested a tiny bit of time and money in marketing AAC and mastered for iTunes etc. which will slow it.

Ultimately people will always do what they want to do and thats fine, standardizing is often really boring. I actually find navigating the loudness issue quite straight forward. Advice and informing clients is the best way forward. You also want to consider that sometimes making music louder improves it, achieving some density and adjustment of instrumental balance for the better, limiting is not always bad.

I seem to be creating masters on average around -10 / -12 RMS or thereabouts, sounds good and level is decent, but always where it serves the music best in conjunction with communicating with the client, of course there are exceptions that are louder and quieter.

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Re: Petition: Stop the loudness wars and release High Definition Music Downloads

Postby sometimesuk » Thu Nov 22, 2012 8:40 pm

Hugh,

You obviously have a lot of technical experience, so I’m not going to get in a technical argument with you, but I think that you have missed the underlying purpose of the petition, its is trying to get a message across that people aren’t happy with the totally compressed music that is being sold today. It has only been running for about 11 days, and has 663 signatures already, a drop in the ocean at the moment, but I’m sure it has the potential to grow, but perhaps I’m wrong (Which is quite regular!). Just read some of the comments people have made and you will see I am not the only one who is annoyed with the current situation.

People have said several times that I’m wasting my time and that record companies don’t give two hoots, but I firmly believe that if enough people got together then they will have to take notice. Yes I can see that other people have tried to raise the issue before, but have they ever actually tried to put a number to show the number of people who agree with them, like a petition does?

In answer to some of your comments, yes I am petitioning them to stop the loudness wars, but I’m also trying to petition them to start doing something – to release as downloads uncompressed music in 16 Bit & 24 Bit format. This is not twice the workload for no additional sales. I honestly believe that if they did that and advertised it as the “best” it would create a new market sector and would grow as people would release the benefits of listening to music when it isn’t compressed. Many people have stopped buying modern music because it sounds sh1t. I’m also convinced that people generally are not into their music as much, because listening to albums today, positively discourages listening for any period of time. People would also buy back issues of their favourite music if it was produced correctly.

I don’t know if enforcing a standard is the way forward, I always think that if they can be encouraged then that is the way forward. I honestly think there is a potential business opportunity here and that the record industry is just showing how slow it is to wake up to what people want, just look at how long it took them to get their act together and offer legal downloads.

As for 24 Bit offering no benefit over 16 Bit, you obviously know better than me, from a technical side of things, but what I can say is, I’ve listened to some 24 Bit and 16 Bit music, from the B&W Society of Sound website, and the 24Bit version sounds a lot better, wider soundstage, more dynamic, but most I would say, it sounds more fluid. I’m guessing you’re now going to tell me that this is because it’s from two different master tapes or something.

Also it’s not all about dynamic headroom; it’s also about the increased sound quality that 24 Bit can offer. Our ears are the best measurement instrument there is and from what I’ve heard 24 Bit recording sound better than 16 Bit. I don’t buy the argument that it doesn’t increase quality, as surely if more musical information is recorded then that is bound to make a difference. You may say that most people don’t have revealing enough systems to notice the difference – your right, but there is also many people who have spent a significant amount of money on our hifi systems and can hear the difference (Personally £10k+). This is not a small number, there are plenty of manufactures and retailers that make a living off those purchasing hifi equipment.

Whether 24 Bit actually offers any benefit over 16 Bit ( I believe it does) or not doesn’t matter, it can be used as a way to market a new product - uncompressed recordings, and differentiate itself from the market in that way.

I must confess I didn’t exactly understand what “loudness normalisation” is, how it works / what it achieves in practice, but it appears that this is just so that one TV channel / radio station sounds the same level as another. If that’s all it is, that’s not what we’re after. People just want to be able to buy a music album that isn’t in your face, is dynamic, detailed and musical. If it can also achieve that to a very high level, I’m all for that too.

You might think that my petition is “ill-conceived” but that’s obviously because you’re coming from a technical standpoint and now from the position of the person who is completely and utterly fed up with the [email]cr@p[/email] on offer. At least we both agree that chance is needed anyway.
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Re: Petition: Stop the loudness wars and release High Definition Music Downloads

Postby sometimesuk » Thu Nov 22, 2012 8:50 pm

SafeandSound Mastering wrote:I always buy the music I like on CD because it simply sounds like the artist wanted it to sound like.

No it doesn't! Not sure what CD's you have been buying but the majority of mainstream music that people want to listen to sounds rubbish, its completely compressed and that the problem.
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Re: Petition: Stop the loudness wars and release High Definition Music Downloads

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Nov 22, 2012 11:36 pm

sometimesuk wrote: I think that you have missed the underlying purpose of the petition, its is trying to get a message across that people aren’t happy with the totally compressed music that is being sold today.


No, I'm completely with you on that, and I've suggested a far more constructive and practical solution to cure the problem. And as James has already pointed out, there is another long-established movement championing the same thing. Supporting that would be more constructive that diluting the effort with yet another campaign... Especially one which is technically flawed.

Yes I can see that other people have tried to raise the issue before, but have they ever actually tried to put a number to show the number of people who agree with them, like a petition does?


Well, why not investigate and ask them. Join forces. Fight from a united front... ;)

I’m also trying to petition them to start doing something – to release as downloads uncompressed music in 16 Bit & 24 Bit format.


I've already explained why the 24 bit format is pointless for consumer applications. If you're arguing for linear files rather than data-reduced files, again, I would support that. But I would suggest that that is an entirely separate argument from the loudness wars and it should be tackled separately. Unlike the loudness wars case, there are very reasonable arguments to support good quality data-reduced files for download.

I don’t know if enforcing a standard is the way forward, I always think that if they can be encouraged then that is the way forward.


Lots of people have tried encouragement. Mastering engineers have encouraged artists and record company suits. It's to worse, or better. The only solution left is to force people to work in a different way, and that enforced loudness normalisation in TV, radio and, hopefully, iTunes will do exactly that.

... the 24Bit version sounds a lot better, wider soundstage, more dynamic, but most I would say, it sounds more fluid. I’m guessing you’re now going to tell me that this is because it’s from two different master tapes or something.


Yep. 24 bit files offer no improvement in soundstage width, or mix dynamics, or timing fluidity... So if it sounded different it was a different mix. The only difference you should have heard would be a lower noise floor.

it’s also about the increased sound quality that 24 Bit can offer.


Again, the ONLY sound quality improvement is a lower noise floor. Nothing else.

I don’t buy the argument that it doesn’t increase quality, as surely if more musical information is recorded then that is bound to make a difference.


More information isn't recorded. This is a very common fallacy. A 16 bit system properly dithered can record and reproduce audio signals down to around -120dBFS the same as a 24 bit system. The only difference is that it's well into the noise floor in a 16 bit system, and roughly level with the noise floor in a 24 bit system. But it's the same audio information...

...but there is also many people who have spent a significant amount of money on our hifi systems and can hear the difference (Personally £10k+). This is not a small number, there are plenty of manufactures and retailers that make a living off those purchasing hifi equipment.


The proportion of people with that kind of investment is very small in comparison to the total number who buy music, and while I'm sure they all think the cost is justified, very, very few are capable of coping with the dynamic range of 16 bits, let alone 24, as I said. You can believe whatever you like, but these are facts. My 'hifi' system costs even more than yours and I live in a very quiet village, and I can't reproduce the full dynamic range of 24 bits..

I must confess I didn’t exactly understand what “loudness normalisation” is, how it works / what it achieves in practice, but it appears that this is just so that one TV channel / radio station sounds the same level as another. If that’s all it is, that’s not what we’re after.


It's far from all it is, although that is a primary benefit. I strongly suggest you find out more about it because ignorance weakens your case. Most of the leading mastering engineers and equipment manufacturers are all behind it and see it as the only solution for ending the loudness wars..

You might think that my petition is “ill-conceived” but that’s obviously because you’re coming from a technical standpoint and now from the position of the person who is completely and utterly fed up with the [email]cr@p[/email] on offer. .


No, I'm completed fed up with it too. What I'm suggesting is that while I support your effort and enthusiasm to improve things, your arguments are technically flawed and it might be better to support the existing campaigns rather than start yet another. At least research what else is going on in this field and argue from a position of knowledge.

I don't want to sound negative -- I totally share your frustration, as do a great many others here -- and the more that register their dissatisfaction the better. But perhaps it's better if we shout from a united front that has technical merit and substance.

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Re: Petition: Stop the loudness wars and release High Definition Music Downloads

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Nov 22, 2012 11:42 pm

sometimesuk wrote:
SafeandSound Mastering wrote:I always buy the music I like on CD because it simply sounds like the artist wanted it to sound like.

No it doesn't! Not sure what CD's you have been buying but the majority of mainstream music that people want to listen to sounds rubbish, its completely compressed and that the problem.

I think there maybe some confusion between data-reduced downloads versus linear PCM on CDs, and wide-dynamic range music versus hyper-compressed music. Both issues affect quality, but both can be managed to be much more acceptable than they currently are.

Linear downloads are available and are becoming more common -- and we need to encourage that through consumer demand. Hpercompression will only go away when peak-normalisation is removed and replaced with loudness-normalisation, and that will only happen with changes to the industry standards and some form of legislation -- and that is already here and being adopted worldwide asi type...

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Re: Petition: Stop the loudness wars and release High Definition Music Downloads

Postby sometimesuk » Fri Nov 23, 2012 9:13 am

Hugh,

I've glad you've cleared that out. At least it clear we both want the same thing.

I think your right, that the best way word is to join forces with an existing campaign, Even if the petition is just used to highlight how many support the issue, which is internationally. There is a facebook group, and I plan on using this to develop the petition as it grows.

As for dropping the (24 Bit) high definition bit from the petittion, that's a more difficult as many people have signed up (700+) and I don't want to change the terms once they have signed. I would just say that generally outside of your profession, it is perceived that many 24 Bit actually sounds better (I still think it does sound better).

As for learning more about the subject your right. There is a lot more within the industry that is happening in the background than what I imagined. But please understand that this petition was started because I and others like me, simply cant understand why its taking so long.

Going back to the 24Bit recording - the improvement must be because of the lower noise floor then. As this would make the music easier to follow / sound more detailed. But if this is the only benefit, I still say that this is a worth pursuing, I'm not the only one who has observed this benefit. Also (I do not want to open this can of worms) look at how much money people spend on mains cables, power suppliers and mains filters - in an attempt to improve mains quality - which helps to lower the noise floor. If its no real hassle to release 24 Bit files that has this inherent ability then why not give people this added benefit.
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Re: Petition: Stop the loudness wars and release High Definition Music Downloads

Postby Scramble » Fri Nov 23, 2012 9:29 am

>Going back to the 24Bit recording - the improvement must be because of the lower noise floor then.

Have you ever done a blind test with the same mixes on the same system comparing 16 vs 24-bit?

You won't be taken seriously by anyone in the industry if you start making these sorts of claims.

>But please understand that this petition was started because I and others like me, simply cant understand why its taking so long.

Sure, but why then start lecturing everyone on technical matters that you know nothing about?

>Also (I do not want to open this can of worms) look at how much people spend on mains cables, power suppliers and mains filters - in an attempt to improve mains quality - which helps to lower the noise floor.

A very tiny percentage of people spend extra money on this stuff, as record companies are well aware.
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Re: Petition: Stop the loudness wars and release High Definition Music Downloads

Postby sometimesuk » Fri Nov 23, 2012 9:39 am

Scramble wrote:Have you ever done a blind test with the same mixes on the same system comparing 16 vs 24-bit?

Yes I have actually, I will have another listen just to make sure. But in any case, I am not lecturing anyone, I am simply expressing my personal opinion / experience - Is that not allowed here?
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Re: Petition: Stop the loudness wars and release High Definition Music Downloads

Postby Richie Royale » Fri Nov 23, 2012 10:31 am

I suggest you have a read of Hugh's excellent article about digital audio.

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/feb08/a ... laudio.htm
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Re: Petition: Stop the loudness wars and release High Definition Music Downloads

Postby Scramble » Fri Nov 23, 2012 10:48 am

>Yes I have actually, I will have another listen just to make sure.

How do you know the CDs in question were based on the same mixes and the only difference was in the fact that one was 16-bit and the other 24-bit? How did you do the blinding? How many CDs did you use? And do you understand the science and maths behind these issues?

>But in any case, I am not lecturing anyone, I am simply expressing my personal opinion / experience - Is that not allowed here?

You've started a public campaign to change some technical matters, and you then came here and made various technical claims in quite a grand way. So yes, I'd call that lecturing.

Not that saying that you can't lecture. But you can't also expect people not to respond to what you say, point out flaws (or at least what they think are flaws), and suggest better ways of achieving your aims. Once you go public and start publicizing things you can't retreat to the old 'It's just a personal opinion, why are you criticizing me' routine.

I think everyone here is behind you (I am -- I say 'good on ya'). Just because they're criticizing your technical knowledge doesn't mean they don't support your aims and admire your initiative.
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Re: Petition: Stop the loudness wars and release High Definition Music Downloads

Postby John Willett » Fri Nov 23, 2012 11:11 am

Scramble wrote:
I think everyone here is behind you (I am -- I say 'good on ya'). Just because they're criticizing your technical knowledge doesn't mean they don't support your aims and admire your initiative.

Yup
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Re: Petition: Stop the loudness wars and release High Definition Music Downloads

Postby sometimesuk » Fri Nov 23, 2012 11:34 am

Okay, point taken.

I do actually plan to take on board the advice given to join the existing campaign - I'll leave it to the experts to agree how best to achieve the goal.

If the petition is only a way of showing public support / demand for change, and somehow helps drive through change then that has to be a good thing.

I don't have all the answers, once I feel the petition has peaked, I'd be back, as hopefully, Hugh / other members have contacts to put us in contact with the right people to raise the issue further.
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Re: Petition: Stop the loudness wars and release High Definition Music Downloads

Postby johnny h » Fri Nov 23, 2012 12:01 pm

The rubbish about 24 bits needs to stop. Most music could work in 8 bit its so compressed! This poll is pure wishful thinking and its NOT going to happen. Sending out music without limiting is a waste of time because people equate loudness with good production. Yes, not everyone. But too many people.

You can listen in 96khz 128bit format and it will be slammed and clipped, or it won't get released. That's the reality out there.

But on the other hand, there is already an alternative - vinyl. Vinyl cannot accept the heavy clipping which you get on digital formats. Furthermore, vinyl collectors usually have good sound setups with fully working volume controls. And no laptop speakers. In my experience the vinyl editions are the best sound by far because of these reasons. The technical specifications of CD, mp3 or vinyl is largely irrelevant.

The poll won't work. You can either put up with the clipping, get lost in wishful thinking or discover the hidden secret of dynamic, well mastered, non-clipped audio of vinyl.
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Re: Petition: Stop the loudness wars and release High Definition Music Downloads

Postby The Elf » Fri Nov 23, 2012 2:02 pm

sometimesuk wrote:I’m trying to start a petition to try and get record labels to stop the loudness wars and also to release High Definition music downloads (24 Bit) of popular mainstream music that people actually want to listen.

If you are going to pursue this (and I agree with Hugh that there are existing campaigns you would do better to add your weight to), then I'd urge you to choose one or the other.

In my work as tutor/mentor I constantly witness dynamic range compression and data compression being confused. I was even at a seminar with some industry 'names' last year where a questioner and the respondant were discussing these two completely differing subjects for several minutes, neither able to comprehend the other!

Lumping the two together in your campaign is only likely to add further to the confusion.

I want to see the end of data compression for audio, but do we need 24-bit consumer audio? I'm unconvinced.

As to the loudness wars... I'm right behind you right up to the point where my refusing to hit that limiter means I lose the job. I can educate, but I can't dictate.
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Re: Petition: Stop the loudness wars and release High Definition Music Downloads

Postby Richie Royale » Fri Nov 23, 2012 2:21 pm

I've never tried, but does a 24 bit file null a 16 bit one?
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Re: Petition: Stop the loudness wars and release High Definition Music Downloads

Postby SafeandSound Mastering » Fri Nov 23, 2012 2:23 pm

sometimesuk wrote:
SafeandSound Mastering wrote:I always buy the music I like on CD because it simply sounds like the artist wanted it to sound like.


No it doesn't! Not sure what CD's you have been buying but the majority of mainstream music that people want to listen to sounds rubbish, its completely compressed and that the problem.


Whilst you are free to give an anonymous opinion. I'll be the judge of that, thanks. Sure it's based on what you listen to. But give me the CD any time compared with a 256kbps anything.

I will add I always want 24 bit files for the mastering.

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Re: Petition: Stop the loudness wars and release High Definition Music Downloads

Postby SafeandSound Mastering » Fri Nov 23, 2012 3:16 pm

I wonder when the petition against people recording and mixing who have not got the foggiest will start up ? Arguably of greater consequence than heavy limiting. Just a tongue in cheek thought.

You can moan about anything ultimately but by and large perspective is a good thing and case by case is the way forward, no blanket statements/approaches because they usually have little relevance to any individual piece of music/job.

Lifes complex innit. :tongue:

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Re: Petition: Stop the loudness wars and release High Definition Music Downloads

Postby johnny h » Fri Nov 23, 2012 7:35 pm

SafeandSound Mastering wrote:I wonder when the petition against people recording and mixing who have not got the foggiest will start up ? Arguably of greater consequence than heavy limiting. Just a tongue in cheek thought.

Probably when people start paying for music so we can all afford nice studios and engineers again.
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Re: Petition: Stop the loudness wars and release High Definition Music Downloads

Postby SafeandSound Mastering » Sat Nov 24, 2012 10:24 am

johnny h wrote:
SafeandSound Mastering wrote:I wonder when the petition against people recording and mixing who have not got the foggiest will start up ? Arguably of greater consequence than heavy limiting. Just a tongue in cheek thought.

Probably when people start paying for music so we can all afford nice studios and engineers again.


It is doubtful people who cannot record and mix well will sell anything I agree with you there. Bad sounding productions do not help sales in any way, thats fact.

But people are buying music, with the exception to dance music (sometimes mixed by the producer), the majority sold will have been recorded and mixed by audio professionals.

Of course the music industry is not what it used to be but I do think it is a long as it is short. People need to determine if the glass is half full or half empty with the current situation. It has never been easy.

I am literally gobsmacked by the equipment available today, absolutely stunning equipment/software and it costs peanuts compared with 25 years ago. Without being too "promo" consider the price of mastering an EP then, to now. I would bank on it being 1/6th of the cost today. Things have changed but it's definitely not all doom and gloom.

I was recording an interview with Parky some years back one thing stuck in my mind, he was a working class lad come good, regarding his TV show he said "The one things that stands out from all of the guests that have appeared on my show is that they all worked harder than anyone else." That rang onwards in my brain ever since.

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Re: Petition: Stop the loudness wars and release High Definition Music Downloads

Postby Chaconne » Sat Nov 24, 2012 5:14 pm

Classic 'first world problems'.

Petition for something that might help save lives.
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Re: Petition: Stop the loudness wars and release High Definition Music Downloads

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Nov 24, 2012 5:15 pm

I would just say that generally outside of your profession, it is perceived that many 24 Bit actually sounds better (I still think it does sound better).


Perception often has little to do with fact.. And the hifi industry relies on that... :frown:

Also (I do not want to open this can of worms) look at how much money people spend on mains cables, power suppliers and mains filters - in an attempt to improve mains quality - which helps to lower the noise floor.


no, please dont go there. Its (mostly) more psuedo-science nonsense designed to part fools from their money and to cover up for poor equipment design in the first place!

If its no real hassle to release 24 Bit files that has this inherent ability then why not give people this added benefit.


Fundamentally because it removes the facility for pros to have a working space in which to optimise the signal for a sensible and entirely adequate release format.

Look at it this way. Pros use 24 bit to enable a material to be recorded and mixed with adequate headroom without compromising the noise floor. Mastered tracks (currently) have no headroom. So to turn a 24 bit source recording to a mastered track you're going to introduce gain which raises the noise floor... And so you no long have 24 bit dynamic range any more. No 24 bit system delivers the theoretical 144dB signal-noise ratio. The best manage about 120dB, and most about 110dB. If a source recording leaves 15dB headroom -- which is not unusual -- removing the headroom to produce a masted track for commercial release will have a signal-noise ratio of 95dB at the very most... Which, funnily enough, is the same as a perfect 16 bit system.

As I said, 16 bits is entirely adequate and well optimised for consumer listening formats.

That's the science. Perceptions, beliefs and hifi hyperbole are your problem ;)

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Re: Petition: Stop the loudness wars and release High Definition Music Downloads

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Nov 24, 2012 5:22 pm

Richie Royale wrote:I've never tried, but does a 24 bit file null a 16 bit one?

Yes, leaving only noise.

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Re: Petition: Stop the loudness wars and release High Definition Music Downloads

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Nov 24, 2012 5:25 pm

Chaconne wrote: Classic 'first world problems'.

Petition for something that might help save lives.

I'd rather petition for a way of stopping creating so many new lives! All of the worlds problems come down to massive over population in my view... But that a topic for a different time and place ;)

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Re: Petition: Stop the loudness wars and release High Definition Music Downloads

Postby uphillbothways » Sat Nov 24, 2012 6:41 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
Chaconne wrote: Classic 'first world problems'.

Petition for something that might help save lives.

I'd rather petition for a way of stopping creating so many new lives! All of the worlds problems come down to massive over population in my view... But that a topic for a different time and place ;)

Hugh

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Re: Petition: Stop the loudness wars and release High Definition Music Downloads

Postby mjfe2 » Sat Nov 24, 2012 8:17 pm

sometimesuk wrote:As for dropping the (24 Bit) high definition bit from the petittion, that's a more difficult as many people have signed up (700+) and I don't want to change the terms once they have signed. I would just say that generally outside of your profession, it is perceived that many 24 Bit actually sounds better (I still think it does sound better). [...] the improvement must be because of the lower noise floor then. As this would make the music easier to follow / sound more detailed. But if this is the only benefit, I still say that this is a worth pursuing, I'm not the only one who has observed this benefit. Also (I do not want to open this can of worms) look at how much money people spend on mains cables, power suppliers and mains filters - in an attempt to improve mains quality - which helps to lower the noise floor.


Oh god, reading the pseudo-science on this thread is making me cringe! Please don't pursue this campaign, it just confuses people. Asking for 24-bit downloads is simply asking for bigger files that sound the same. Don't pretend you can hear the lower noise floor just because it theoretically exists. You're confusing the medium with actual mixing/mastering practice, which is what you really mean to change. And that is what this well-established organisation is all about: Turn Me Up!
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Re: Petition: Stop the loudness wars and release High Definition Music Downloads

Postby sometimesuk » Sat Nov 24, 2012 10:57 pm

mjfe2 wrote:Oh god, reading the pseudo-science on this thread is making me cringe! Please don't pursue this campaign, it just confuses people. ... Don't pretend you can hear the lower noise floor just because it theoretically exists.


It is clear that we are not going to come to an agreement on this issue. There is no point in going back and fore with counter arguments. All I will say is that I am not pretending I can hear a difference.

I have even repeated a listening test of the same songs in both 16 / 24 Bit format to reconfirm this, and I can still identify the differences. I am not the only person to experience this.

All I will say is, have you actually listening to 16 / 24 Bit tracks yourself so that your talking from personal experience or are you simply regurgitating what you have been told or read?

Anyway... For those who are interested, The petition letter has now been revised. Let me know what you think, ideally though the facebook group. Please try not to burn me at the stake if there are grammar errors! Thanks



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Re: Petition: Stop the loudness wars and release High Definition Music Downloads

Postby mjfe2 » Sat Nov 24, 2012 11:12 pm

sometimesuk wrote:
mjfe2 wrote:Oh god, reading the pseudo-science on this thread is making me cringe! Please don't pursue this campaign, it just confuses people. ... Don't pretend you can hear the lower noise floor just because it theoretically exists.


It is clear that we are not going to come to an agreement on this issue. There is no point in going back and fore with counter arguments. All I will say is that I am not pretending I can hear a difference.

I have even repeated a listening test of the same songs in both 16 / 24 Bit format to reconfirm this, and I can still identify the differences. I am not the only person to experience this.

All I will say is, have you actually listening to 16 / 24 Bit tracks yourself so that your talking from personal experience or are you simply regurgitating what you have been told or read?


Yes, every session I work in is recorded at 24-bit then rendered to 16-bit. I know the quality is uncompromised every time (because the dynamic range of my mixes is objectively catered for by the lower bit rate). Have you done blind tests? Confirmation bias is stronger than you'd think. Also, did you make sure the two were compared at the same volume? And have you done a null test between the two?

Another way to put the point I made above is, why don't you just convert your CD collection to 24-bit wavs and then listen to those? Do you hear the improvement then? The point is, campaigning for 24-bit recordings won't change the settings applied by mix and mastering engineers, you've just changed the specifications of the medium. It's like asking an artist to paint on a canvas that's a marginally different shade of white, even though none of the white shows through on the finished painting anyway.
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