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Ok, so I'm getting back into somewhat better sounding music after a 20 year layoff! I have been getting used cds and ripping them. I must say most of the "classic rock" I have ripped sounds pretty good. Out of the all the used cds I have, I have a "Best of the Doors cd", Not "The Very Best of the Doors" that was released 1985, and this cd sounds great to me! So I figured hey I'll get some more Doors cds, well I can't find any used locally, buy I did find one at walmart (in the clearance bin of course) "The Soft Parade". Well this cd sounds like sh#t!!! No Dynamic Range! 10 to 15db louder then the Best of Cd! (did not test just guessing). Ok, maybe I'm old school, but what is it with all the remastering trash! I get it that the new generation is into "louder is better", and hey I like Meshuggah and other bands with no dynamic range, but that's how they were recorded! or lets say mixed, mastered IN 2014 or what not! Not 45 years ago!

Hey I know what your thinking! This Cd was only 5 dollars, but it's not worth 5 cents! I'm thinking of taking it off my computer, and I guess... throwing it away, and getting HdTracks, or something!

 

On another note, I ripped Pink Floyd "The Division Bell" and it sounds Awesome! So glad I found it used... and not a Remaster! Here is a list of some of the new music I have had to get new, and my option:

 

Linda Ronstadt "Best of 1, and 2" on one Cd (uk remaster) Sounds pretty good!

The Allman Brothers "20th Century Master" Cd Sounds Pretty dam good!

Pink Floyd "Wish You Were Here" Cd (Remaster) Sounds good!

Pink Floyd "Dark Side of the Moon" Cd (Remaster) Sounds pretty good!

Led Zeppelin "Led Zeppelin II" Cd (Remaster) Sounds like Sh#t!

Black Sabbath "Black Sabbath" (HdTracks) Sounds Pretty dam good!

Black Sabbath "Paranoid" Cd (From walmart 5 dollar Clearance bin) doesn't say remaster or what! Sound pretty good!

 

I'm not saying all Remasters are Trash, but if your going to make one at least make it better then the original! I have a Madonna Cd someone gave me (not much of a Madonna fan), and this thing sounds Awesome! it's the "Immaculate Collection" Released 1990 (Remaster). I don't know who remastered this, but my hat goes off to them! So Look, don't mess with my Doors, Led Zeppelin, and what have you... unless your going to make them sound better then the original! You might be able to fool this now generation! But you can't fool the generation this music was created in! Louder is not always better!

 

I don't know who remastered some of these, and really don't care! So don't take this personally, but give me a Garage, the Master Tapes, Reaper, and a six pack of beer (and I don't even drink) and I'll give it my best shot!

 

 

Gear I used: Fiio x3, Sennheiser HD449 (Not the best eq, but hey, I'm getting there)

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Welcome to the plague that is the loudness wars. The only recourse is to hope for well done reissues, or to seek out the original CD releases.

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Any CD put out from the early-mid 90's on is suspect from suffering from the volume wars. Especially anything post 2000, when it really kicked in and became ubiquitous.

 

On the other hand, SOME hi-res remasters are done with care, and not "pumped up". For rock/pop I've pretty much stopped buying the hi-res until I can verify that it only has light added VC, as opposed to heavy.

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And, it's getting worse.

The Alabama Shakes are a hot band right now. Their first album, which was released on CD in 2012, has an average DR of 8. Their brand new CD has an average DR of 5, with some tracks as low as DR 3. This is really pathetic.

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And, it's getting worse.

The Alabama Shakes are a hot band right now. Their first album, which was released on CD in 2012, has an average DR of 8. Their brand new CD has an average DR of 5, with some tracks as low as DR 3. This is really pathetic.

 

3!!!! (expletive deleted)!

I can't even imagine listening to that.

They are flogging hi-res of it now. I wonder if it has the same DR.

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I have wondered but never got the chance to research, is it possible to compress on the fly? It seems that it would make sense that, rather than master to the lowest common denominator, recordings should be mastered to a higher quality level and then have the end playback device compress as needed.

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Not a remaster, but this is a horrific waveform close-up from a new Blue Note release:

 

[ATTACH=CONFIG]18185[/ATTACH]

 

Hey, it could be worse: it could be a 24/96 version....

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I have wondered but never got the chance to research, is it possible to compress on the fly? It seems that it would make sense that, rather than master to the lowest common denominator, recordings should be mastered to a higher quality level and then have the end playback device compress as needed.

 

This has also been my way of thinking, but... Who knows how the majors think... I also have almost completely stopped buying hi-res for the kind of music I listen to, as my experience has been "50-50"... Some very good remasters in hi-res, but some rotten ones too...

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I have wondered but never got the chance to research, is it possible to compress on the fly? It seems that it would make sense that, rather than master to the lowest common denominator, recordings should be mastered to a higher quality level and then have the end playback device compress as needed.

 

Yes, there's hardware (including some A/V receivers and PC sound cards) and computer software that'll do on-the-fly compression.

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I have wondered but never got the chance to research, is it possible to compress on the fly? It seems that it would make sense that, rather than master to the lowest common denominator, recordings should be mastered to a higher quality level and then have the end playback device compress as needed.

 

That is how I wish it were done, and yes would be no big deal to do basic compression even in portable players or car systems. Even I understand for instance the need for some compression in a noisy car. With good unmolested music (and having a noisier than average car) I found across the board 3 to 1 compression makes music better in the car. If our playback devices had a selection for ratios of 2, 3, 4 and 6 to one, that should cover everything. I actually think the 6 not needed, but who knows. Anything you need to 6 to 1 for is probably just not a good environment for music.

 

Good luck getting that to be the normal however. Similar to the idea powered speakers with crossovers done at line level are far superior to the way it is normally done. This has been true for decades and yet doing it the lousy way is the normal way to do it.

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If your Madonna CD is the original pressing it was mixed with "Q-Sound" which was an attempt to mimic surround sound through conventional two channel systems. Many people hate it, I always thought it was interesting and fit with the music of the time. I've never found a comprehensive list of all that were mixed with it but I know there were a few. I do know that it was mostly pop music such as Paula Abdul & Madonna around 1990-91.

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I have wondered but never got the chance to research, is it possible to compress on the fly? It seems that it would make sense that, rather than master to the lowest common denominator, recordings should be mastered to a higher quality level and then have the end playback device compress as needed.

This has been my line of thinking ever since I realized we were deep in the loudness war.

 

Add it to the pile of things that we know how to do better, yet just don't do it so.

 

In addressing the why, I often wonder.

 

>> Why do people, in their vast majority, buy low-dynamic music and feel content with it? Is it that they never heard otherwise? Is it that, in their mind, it's expected that music at home must sound horrendous compared to real, live music? Is it that most of their equipment needs lower DR to perform decently (fancy way of saying iPod earbuds hurt music as an art, perhaps the very technical specs of iTunes itself...)? On this topic it's true that I don't see the youth today as owning any decent audio reproduction equipment (it's mostly integrated speakers on mobile devices and low-end earbuds, few spend even $100 on a decent pair of headphones), whereas before the digital era most teens would try to get our hands on something decent to play CD/radio/tape/vinyl.

 

Yet as we contemplate the massive financial drive that the post-2000 music industry has been, in the midst of a digital consumer revolution, it's hard to back a claim that market leaders made wrong choices. If anything, they survived the change and adapted to a world of low form factor devices, inherently unsuited to anything truly hires. And when I see 1080p/AAC2.0 videos on streaming ─talk about heresy to me, why not erase the words "balance" and "coherency" from the dictionary while we're at it...─ I always remind myself that most people only care about eye-candy, because their ear apparently can't or won't taste sweetness.

 

Here, we're probably all part of a biological subset of the human species, folks ─ somewhere along the lines of "a small bunch of people, equipped with weird ears and unconventional brain sound filters, who emphasize sound much more than the average Joe for some obscure reason they enjoy discussing whereas nobody else cares". Funny thing is, I'm also very demanding with my eyes (HD video for instance), and I suspect I'm not alone in the audiophile crowd.

 

>> Comparable trends exist in many if not all media: movies are tinted in blues and oranges, because supposedly that pleases the human eye ─ yet it destroys any sense of realism in many a modern picture, to an extent that's certainly not artistic but simply flawed, like DR3 songs can seldom be justified. I'm pretty sure in a few years we'll be offered to buy "the original, true-film-transfer, untainted version of <some_blockbuster>". It's cool you know, once you sold a broken version, you can sell a better one at virtually no cost, the music industry knows this all too well. And let's not even talk about video games and how it's ok to break the very premise of a game by forcing micro-transactions and farming to undecent proportions every step of the way ─who needs players with a brain and free will when you can have robots following linear instructions, by spamming a couple of keys over and over again, for hours on end, all the while paying for it?

 

In a nutshell, nowadays it's ok to destroy the very media you're selling, it's ok to voluntarily fail by your art, to alter its content to such an extent that it's broken, flawed, downright disturbing to the very amateurs of said media/art. It's actually how it's done. If it were only Universal, Warner or EA, I could understand ─ and even support, that some take that cheap approach (we need some of that, some of all approaches, in a thriving free market). But now even Blue Note sells compressed material without loudness-free alternatives. Who.. how?.. why?.. did.. This.. Happen?!

 

I personally support all the "good guys" in this war, from Chesky to NiN passing by countless others who do a fantastic job at trying to fight the good fight, defending dynamics where it matters. It should be noted that the movie industry has begun to actively sabotage their own picture but not the sound, still very dynamic, both in theaters and at home. Cue: Dolby (which already does on-the-fly compression at a consumer level), THX, and others, to teach some music majors a lesson in marketing and audio engineering.

 

But things won't change until it doesn't cost a dime, though, I'm afraid. Why would it?

 

Imho, the first move should probably come from the hardware manufacturers. If on-the-fly compression becomes a thing (a real option, on real devices, even if it's mostly useless at first for most tracks are already compressed...) to entice consumers to seek and buy loudness-free versions of tracks, on the premise that "it will sound better everywhere, from your fancy home equipment to your jogging buds", then the majors can make the shift cost-free (probably even save a few hours of foolish mastering per album). Sony is well positioned to do that for instance, because they sell both hardware and music, they are present on the whole chain from the studio to the end-consumer's ears ─ "we sound better than everyone else" isn't a bad catchphrase when it's true, it's the kind of global strategy that may prove very fruitful.

 

I don't know. Time will tell. In the meantime, we have ~40 years of abundant recordings to enjoy still.

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