iphoneheadphones

Op Ed: What Do “Mastered for iTunes” and “Sound Check” Do To Music Listening?

One way or another, Apple is involved in a whole lot of the music to which people listen. Here, writer David Dodson considers what that means (and similar issues with other digital music listening beyond Apple, like Spotify. Photo CC-BY) Yutaka Tsutano. What does it mean to “master for iTunes?” Apple tripped that question with the launch of a suite of utilities and sound-processing algorithms intended to master music for their codecs and software, rather than more generically as would be done with the CD. More significantly, what does it mean that an increasing number of music listeners experience all …

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loudness

From the Trenches of the Loudness Wars, A Broad Survey of Research

This goes to ele—augh, no, aside from over-compressing, we need to stop overusing that joke. Photo (CC-BY) Orin Zebest. You’ve heard the gripes, and heard and seen the somewhat unscientific demos. Now it’s time to examine the over-compression of music with – science! Earl Vickers of STMicroelectronics examines the Loudness Wars in an academic paper, as noted to us by reader photohounds. The Loudness War: Background, Speculation and Recommendations [PDF Link, sfxmachine.com] The paper comes from last November, but it’s as relevant as ever. It’s not just the usual take, either. Its history begins with Phil Spector and vinyl, considering …

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Volume Wars: Dynamic Range Strikes Back with Campaign, Plug-in

Photo: Orin Zebest. Are you sick of the death of dynamic range? Are you mad as hell at squashed audio that means to be “loud” and only wind up with the actual sounds smooshed out? Alternatively, are you guilty of some detail-squishing dynamic abuse yourself? A campaign is on to get the dynamic war out of comment threads and forums and onto the streets. Taking a positive tack, the Pleasurize Music Foundation isn’t simply attacking overcompression and dynamic distortion: they’re suggesting an alternative path, in which restored dynamic ranges bring back joy to your life. There are opportunities to sign …

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Hot Rodding for Mastering: Loudness Competition

As the rest of us lament brick-wall limiting and other techniques for flattening dynamic range and making music louder (see Music Thing’s recent discussion), WWAYM is sponsoring a no-holds-barred, Monster Truck Ralley of audio engineering. The contest: make it as loud as you possibly can. The competition, sent to us by reader Adrian Anders, “must be as loud as possible but with taste.” (Does ‘taste’ disqualify redoing all the vocals with Hatebeak the death metal parrot?) The award is a license to WWAYM’s own mastering tool, which they’ll use to recreate thing winning entries more easily. I say do it …

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