Will The Loundess War Ever End? (CD mastering)

As I mentioned in an earlier thread, I am ripping a bunch of my CDs to my hard drive this week. While listening to more music in the process, I have noticed this effect more than I have in the past.

Will the Loudness War ever end? Will it ever get better, or are we stuck this way forever? I sure hope not, it definitely degrades the quality and “listenabilty” of music.

What do you think? Commentary especially welcome from anyone in the music business.

Hard to say, I’ve already gone majorly deaf.

If the wiki article was not enough, there is a good write up on the topic here. Check out the Radiohead song! The Stooges were deliberately insane, though.

It is really noticeable when I listen to all my music on shuffle. The older songs are FAR quieter than most of the newer songs. I say most because some bands are sensible and have their records mastered properly. There is definitely more pressure for mainstream / commercial bands to do this.

It shows no sign of ending.

While it will not solve overcompression, for listening pleasure MP3Gain is your friend. Using a statistical model of loudness, your MP3s can be adjusted to the same perceived volume level (without losing any additional data, i.e. no re-encoding). I set mine so that all mp3s can be played on an ipod at maximum volume without hurting my ears. My wife and daughter complain that I set this too low for noisy environments, but earbuds are not earmuffs. If it is too loud to hear the mp3, it’s too loud full stop. It also helps prevent environmental isolation.


I used to use MP3gain, but I realised that it screws with the iTunes’ own loudness normaliser. Thus, all my old MP3s, which I manually adjusted the gain on, are now waaay too loud.
The price of progress. :frowning:

While I don’t feel that I’m going deaf anytime soon, the difference in contrast of volume of recordings versus live playing is so apparent that at times I actually prefer live karaoke, merely because that for all the karaoke singers’ flaws, at least he or she can contrast the volume in interesting ways. It brings a new level to so many songs :frowning: