“Loudness War”: Music Over-Compression, Demonstrated on YouTube

Talk to everyone from armchair music production critics to dyed-in-the-wool pro engineers, and you’re likely to hear about how today’s records are over-compressed. (We think this is what Bob Dylan meant when he said records “have sound all over them.” But we made fun of him anyway.) To audio lay people, though, it may be tough to describe exactly what this means. One music fan has taken the battle to YouTube, with a graphical and aural demonstration of exactly what the technique (technically “brick wall limiting”) does to the sound. Rather than approach this the traditional way, he takes a …

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Bob Dylan Art: Opening Up a Big Jar o’ Stature-Free CDs!

Bob Dylan’s insight into CDs continues to inspire new art. (If you’ve just joined us: Dylan rips CDs — really rips them, and a reader suggests cautionary emblems for CDs.) Now, thesimplicity has illustrated his answer, and I’m beyond words. Tasty: Big ‘ol CD jam. Thanks, thesimplicity! Yes, we’ll work out how to put some sort of t-shirt version together of these. Meanwhile, what’s that? Dylan shilling for Apple, so he can sell his new CD, the mastering of which he’s trashing in Rolling Stone, in a lossy, compressed digital format encoded with DRM? Actually, it is a good song. …

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Bob Dylan CD Warnings: Apply to a T-Shirt, or Stature-Free Albums

Dylan’s poetic non-sequiturs make great t-shirts. Something about his recent complaints just beg to be turned into brilliant designs. Arru, a breakdancing Swedish musician and designer, is the first to respond to our Dylan design challenge with these gems: Bob Dylan puts it thusly [boombox.se] Truly great work, Arru! I’m not sure whether to throw these on a t-shirt or print stickers and apply them to my jewel cases. (Or, even better, slip them onto the CD racks at the local Starbucks.) But if you are thinking of t-shirts, my friends over at Make have a great tutorial: DIY t-shirt …

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T-shirt Challenge: “New records have sound all over them” – Bob Dylan

I admire someone like Bob Dylan who can combine producing fantastic music with producing outlandish, sometimes random statements. Vying for the dumbest music quote of the year, Bob gives us this gem: “New records … have sound all over them.” And goes on to say: “CDs are small. There’s no stature to it.” (CDs actually prefer “portability enabled.” And what’s this obsession with size?) Now, let’s see. At this point, I could talk about how I’m no fan of over-compressed and over-produced music, while criticizing the fact that Bob has ignored the bulk of music production in favor of the …

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SSL Console Processing for Your Mac/PC DAW; Win SSL Gear in Remix Contest

Software companies are constantly claiming they offer “console-grade” processing, and comparing their effects to the legendary console effects from SSL (Solid State Logic). Well, now SSL themselves are getting into the DAW game, with a software/hardware solution called Duende. SSL has announced Duende is now shipping for Mac, coming to Windows in the fall: Duende — Console-Grade Processing for your DAW [Solid State Logic] SSL Duende includes channel and dynamics processing and the Stereo Bus Compressor for mastering. These are not native plug-ins; you connect a sleek, silver DSP hardware rack to your computer via FireWire. It’s too early to …

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Can BIAS’ Peak Make Your Sound Sound Better?

Converting sample rate and bit depth to lower-resolution data, as you’d do when a project was finished for output to CD and online files or when converting prior to assembling a project, is a dangerous task. It’s the moment at which you can lose a lot of what you put into your sound: the spectral content that gives the result the extra ‘sparkle’ you want. A test performed by Mac developer AudioEase recently took a shot at the sound quality in BIAS Peak, the flagship audio editor and perennial Mac fave. I’ve chatted with BIAS about this, and needless to …

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Mailbag Monday: Mastering on SONAR instead of Pro Tools

Pierre Hilaire writes: Thank you for taking my e-mail. I am a Recording Engineer who has [Cakewalk] SONAR Producer Edition Software. Can I Master songs on SONAR? I know the ideal mastering tool is Pro Tools, but how about SONAR? This sounded like an important opportunity to correct some common misinformation — namely, that Pro Tools is the only “real” digital audio tool. Secondly, mastering, which traditionally meant making a final 2-track stereo mix from which you could produce a stereo record (though a master these days might be in surround), is a process that can be done in any …

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